Military families react to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

February 12, 2013 3:21:43 PM PST
President Obama is set to announce the withdrawal of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan during the State of Union address Tuesday evening.

The cut means the size of the American troop presence will be cut in half by next February, which puts the military on pace to formally end the war in Afghanistan by the end of next year.

The troop withdrawal certainly hits home for thousands of people in our area. Some of those troops still in Afghanistan are based in Fort Bragg.

Most Fort Bragg units have already returned from Afghanistan. However, there are still local troops there and it's not hard to find people who have been affected by recent deployments.

For some families who have dealt with multiple deployments over the past decade the announcement is bittersweet.

Fayetteville native Joi Williams will be listening. She returned home with her children when her husband, Army Spc. Marcellus Williams, deployed several months ago with a Fort Campbell unit.

"I'm excited, but to be perfectly honest, I'll believe it once I see it," said Williams. "I want to see my husband get off that plane. Once his feet hit the ground, I'll definitely believe that it's true."

The big question remains just how many troops will remain when the decade-long war is over, and how long those support services will be needed.

Senator Kay Hagan will be in the crowd at the State of the Union address with Terry Marquez, whose son, Staff Sgt. Justin Marquez, was killed in Afghanistan last fall. Marquez said her son died doing what he wanted to do. She's happy to know his mission is done.

"He made us very proud by serving his country. He really wanted to do this," said Marquez. "Justin was a soldier and a warrior and he did what he wanted to do and he would be happy for them in that their job would be completed."  

Hagan and Marquez said they hope the president will focus on the troops who remain and their families, and providing for their needs.

They say they'll both be listening to hear what President Obama has to say about cuts to the military.

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