Wednesday, December 2, 2009


NY soldiers relieved that wait is over

FORT DRUM, N.Y. - FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) — Some soldiers at Fort Drum watched President Barack Obama outline his strategy for Afghanistan and felt a sense of relief that their wait was finally over.

"I'm just relieved to know where we're going," said 29-year-old Adam Candee, of Chicago. "It's nice to have a final answer and we know for sure."

Candee and several other soldiers from Charley Company 187 gathered at the John Hoover Inn, a bar outside Fort Drum, to watch the president announce his plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan on Tuesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

"After seeing this, it's like official. We know where we're going now, we just don't know the date," said Private Justin Danowit, of Estero, Fla.

Danowit, 24, who watched the speech at the Fort Drum home of a fellow soldier, spoke with his mom during the speech.

"She's proud of me, she supports me, but she worries about me just as much," Danowit said.

Other soldiers, though, had their doubts about the troop surge.

"I don't know exactly if it will fix the problem, but I think with our job we serve more purpose being in Afghanistan versus Iraq," said Lorenzo Young, 21, of San Bernadino, Ca.

"The war in Afghanistan is really confusing to me," said PFC Brian Transon, who belongs to an infantry unit expected to deploy to Afghanistan. "What is our exact motive?"

Both had just watched Obama's speech at a bar in nearby Watertown.

Befor the announcement, soldiers with the Army's 10th Mountain Division agreed that more troops were be needed to get the job done.

The light infantry division based at northern New York's Fort Drum has seen repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and is expected to be part of the new surge.

Troy Lockhart returned Monday from Afghanistan. Speaking at a Dunkin' Donuts outside the post's main gate near Watertown, he said a stronger force is needed as long as the nation is committed to the fight.

"I definitely feel there's a need for it if there's a need to stay in Afghanistan," he said. "At my level, I'm not what you call a big thinker, I'm an executioner. So all the people who do the big thinking, that make the ultimate decision whether we need to stay or not, we just have to put our trust in our government."

Leroy Orso, who has done tours in Iraq, also believes bolstering the force is a good idea.

"It'll take a couple of years, but overall I think it will definitely work," he said.

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