Local veteran reacts to troop draw down - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Local veteran reacts to troop draw down

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By: Mike Lacrosse
Email: mlacrosse@abc6.com

As a kid Dave Rothermel always knew he wanted to be a Marine.

He signed up at age 17.

"Parents signed off on the papers.  I knew I was going to the Marine Corp out of high school," said Rothermel.

Rothermel, who is from Johnston, was deployed three times including once to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"I am glad to see my brothers and sisters coming home, but i don't know if they're at that point where they can sustain on their own," said Rothermel.

Rothermel watched President Obama's announcement today about the soldier drawdown but has concerns.

He says the U.S. should maintain a strong presence until the Afghan forces are properly trained to keep peace.

"Otherwise our efforts are kind of wasted."

The war has left its mark on Rhode Island ... more than 25 hundred members of the Rhode Island National Guard have been deployed since the conflicted started.

"We've lost two soldiers in that war and we've had numerous valor, combat commendations as well.  so we have a lot of soldiers that are tied to that war and the outcome of it and we are watching it closely," said LTC. Parente.

Soldiers like Rothermel who is proud of his service. he says he would do it all again but wants the outcome to be lasting.

"I think it was something that needed to be done to protect freedoms of the world."

The Rhode Island National Guard doesn't currently have any units in Afghanistan but it will be sending about 30 people to the region in June to support the efforts even as it continues to wind down.

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