More than 70 troops based out of the Annapolis Valley are on their way to south east Asia to help with the mission in Afghanistan.
Fifty-two members of the mission support squadron out of CFB Greenwood are arriving at an undisclosed location this morning with another 20 to follow on Sunday.
Maj. Glen Waters explains they’ll be processing and supporting troops coming in and out of Afghanistan.
“They’ll do what they do in their normal jobs,” he said. “We’ve got cooks, plumbers, electricians, drivers, mechanics. There’s a whole range fo military trades.”
Master Cpl. Charlene McKeegan has one son waiting to be called up, with another currently posted in Afghanistan.
“Can’t wait to get going,” she said. “It’s been heavy training in the last year, so we’ll put it into action now and get over there. That’s where my son is too, I can’t let him get a medal before me.”
The troops six-month long deployment comes as U.S. President Barack Obama announces another 30,000 troops will join the war in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday Obama said the first new U.S. forces will join the fight by Christmas and begin returning home by July 2011.
Speaking to Americans from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Obama acknowledged Afghanistan has moved backward and huge challenges remain. Obama said the Taliban has gained momentum and al-Qaida has safe-havens along the border with Pakistan.
Obama has spent three months in an intensive review of the U.S. strategy for an eight-year war that followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Obama is vowing that the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan will not turn into another Vietnam and rejected the argument that the U.S. should cut its losses and get out.
He said the comparison with Vietnam “depends upon a false reading of history,” and noted that unlike Vietnam, the U.S. has been joined by a coalition of 43 nations in Afghanistan and is not facing a broad-based popular insurgency.
He argued that the most important difference with Vietnam is that “the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target” for al-Qaida extremists.
Obama laid out several objectives that he says are part of that overall goal. First, U.S. forces and allies want to deny al-Qaida safe haven in Afghanistan, while reversing the momentum of the Taliban insurgency.
Next, the U.S. will seek to strengthen Afghanistan’s own security forces to eventually take over the fight.
The military strategy presented is aimed at breaking the Taliban’s momentum over the next 18 months.