With all of the recent homecomings from Afghanistan, Christmas has come early for many Fort Hood families. But then on Friday, the Army did what the Army does so often: It pulled a 180.
The Department of Defense announced more than 2,000 Fort Hood soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan next spring. The local soldiers — 2,050 from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and 350 from the 1st Cavalry Division Headquarters — will join about 6,000 other soldiers coming from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., and elsewhere in the Army.
While there has been a lot of talk about the war in Afghanistan winding down, the spring deployment is one more sign that the war is far from over.
It got me thinking about just how long this war has raged on.
I remember — all too well — getting ready for another day of class during my senior year in college when I turned the radio on and heard, in disbelief, the news that terrorists had rammed jetliners into skyscrapers.
I remember, too, a month later seeing the images of American troops parachuting into Afghanistan, beginning the long hunt for Osama bin Laden, his fellow terrorists and their supporters.
A lot has happened in my life and with our nation since the war began.
I graduated college. I moved from Texas to Alaska. The war in Iraq began. I saw the Northern Lights. I had a close encounter with a Kodiak brown bear. Bush won re-election. My brother developed a tumor the size of a mango next to his heart. He defeated cancer. Hurricane Katrina blew down a 100-year-old pecan tree on my grandmother’s house. I moved to Louisiana. My father developed a brain tumor. He died. Obama was elected. I got married. I moved to North Dakota. I visited Mount Rushmore. I became a father. Navy Seals killed bin Laden. The war in Iraq ended. I moved back to Texas. Obama was re-elected. My wife gave birth to a second baby girl.
Kids turning 18 this year, and joining the Army, were about 6 years old when the Twin Towers fell and our Army entered Afghanistan. They likely don’t remember what the country was like before the war started.
The war in Afghanistan is officially America’s longest war. When will it officially end?
That’s a hard nut to crack. But I do have an idea, and it looks a lot like Korea.
I’ll get into that next week.