Troop Realignment - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/18/04 - East Texas

Troop Realignment

The threat level in our country has evolved over the last several years due to the war on terror. As a result, US Armed Forces are repositioning our troops. The government wants to have troops ready to go after terrorists before they can attack the United States.

The realignment of our soldiers means troops will be repositioned all over the United States, and the presence of military bases overseas will be reduced. The realignment also means good news for our troops and loved ones who have been waiting for their return.

General Mike Taylor of the Texas National Guard said, "the quality of life for the soldiers and their families will probably improve. They'll be able to stabilize tours longer so they can stay in one place longer. Kids can stay in school longer, in one place, so there's other benefits other than just the economic aspects of it as well."

Repositioning US troops is expected to take several years. A group of soldiers from our area is preparing for deployment. In just a few days, these men and women will head off to combat training at a nearby military installation.

When Sergeant Conlon joined the military four years ago, his goal was to protect and serve his country. His goal is still to protect and serve and also to make sure the men and women who are at war are brought home safe to their families.

Sgt. Michael Conlon said, "we prepare for things like this every day, every hour that we're at work. There is not a down time when we're not training to go to war; even at peace times. So, I say we're fully prepared for anything that comes our way."

This isn't Sergeant Conlon's first deployment to Iraq. It is his first time leaving behind a bride-to-be. He says being ready to fight is a part of the job, so is leaving everything else behind.

Conlon said, "having someone else pay the bills, having someone else take care of the household responsibilities that you once held. You also need a job to come back to."

With almost a thousand U.S. Troops killed in Iraq since the war started, more deaths are inevitable. But how do our soldiers feel about being killed for their country, on foreign soil?

Staff Sgt. William Todd said, "if you ask a soldier that, I think that most will tell you that they would rather give their life for their country overseas, than give their life for their country here in the United States, because that means the war has been brought here."

If someone you know is in the military, you may want to consider joining a family readiness group. These groups are usually made up of wives, mothers, friends and family members who support their troops with fund raisers, care packages and encouragement when they need it most.

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