Military family happy to hear Obama's plan

June 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The war in Afghanistan has taken its toll on America's military families. Those serving, and their loved ones, have made immense sacrifices. ABC7 was with one Oakland couple as they watched President Barack Obama's national address on Wednesday night.

Norb and Anita Waldron are a blue star family with a soldier serving in Afghanistan and they are generally pretty happy about what they heard during Obama's speech.

As the president spoke Anita watched without expression, but when he finished, she felt good about his plan for bringing the troops home.

"Ten-thousand now, 20,000 by the end of 2012 and that makes sense to me," said Anita.

Anita misstated the numbers slightly. It's a total of 30,000 out by this time next year, but that's OK with the Waldrons.

"We're doing the best we can to set them up to do it and if they fail. Then I think we can be proud because we did what we could do to build it up," said Norb.

The Waldron's son, Vincent, is serving as a medic with the first infantry. He was just recently home for a couple of weeks of rest and told his parents the U.S. is making a difference.

When asked how Vincent would react to Obama's speech, Anita said, "I think it's a plan that he would be proud to be a part of. He knows he's making history there, with every person in the village that he meets and every patrol that he goes on."

"He'd support what's going on with what Obama has said there and he is very concerned about the Afghani people and he wants to see them do well and I think he's been working with them and doing what he could," said Norb.

On Thursday, the president will take his plan directly to the troops. He'll be talking with soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum in upstate New York.

Bay Area members of Congress are calling Obama's latest plan disappointing, which is a much different reaction than what we're hearing from the Waldrons.

South Bay Blue Star moms express concern

While there is a lot of relief among military families, there is also concern. Some are afraid that once American fighters start leaving, those left behind could be left more vulnerable. As the president spoke, South Bay Blue Star moms listened.

"It is very emotional for us who have children in the military," said Blue Star Mom Anna Vanegas.

But what many thought would be a speech that would bring happiness and optimism is creating concern.

"I'm not sure what to feel yet, except I want it over," said Blue Star Mom Debbie Parks.

"Let's not rush this. Let's get it done right," said Blue Star Mom Cathy Crowder.

Parks and Crowders have sons who are in the Marines fighting in Afghanistan. They doubt they'll be in the first wave of troops to return, since they're specialized and on the front lines. Military experts suggest support staff in transportation and logistics should pull out first. Those at home fear once the withdrawal starts, the violence will rise.

"If they're going to get the ones out in the spring next year, that's when the fighting is going on heavy again, so I just want to make sure they're safe," said Crowder.

Still, deployments won't end. That's why Wednesday night's Blue Star Moms fundraiser at Chili's in San Jose is going forward as planned.

"They always seem to get deployed around Christmas and it makes me sad. It's my brother, it's my nephew, it's my family," said Blue Star Moms associate member Tracy Deitschman.

Military leaders on the ground told the president they would prefer a more staggered withdrawal after the summer of 2012 because that would give troops more time to maintain control.

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