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Godspeed and good luck

Tuesday, Jul 30, 2019

* Posted in full with permission from the Sun-Times. Here’s the paper’s editorial board

We’d like to take a moment to express our appreciation for the Illinois National Guard troops now headed to Afghanistan.

To them we say, “Godspeed and good luck.”

And thank you.

Your unselfish commitment to our country calls for recognition and commendation from every resident of Illinois and every American.

As Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a send-off on the South Side, one of five such events across the state over the weekend, the young men and women of the 178th Infantry Regiment do indeed represent “the very best of our state.”

Their deployment — 400 men and women in uniform — is the largest mobilization of Illinois National Guard troops in more than 10 years.

Let’s take a moment, too, to send our best wishes to the families and friends of the troops, who will undergo training in Texas before heading to Afghanistan for a year.

National Guard members are citizen soldiers, not full-time military. The mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents and spouses and children of these men and women perhaps never expected to see their loved ones march off to a war zone.

Now they’ll spend the next year hoping and praying for a safe return.

American troops are no longer engaged in official combat in Afghanistan, but the danger is still very real: Just on Monday, two U.S. troops were killed by an Afghan soldier. In late June, two other American service members were killed.

So we join with the families to await the safe return of those 400 troops. And we remember the four members of the 178th Infantry who died in the regiment’s previous deployment to Afghanistan during 2008 and 2009.

America awaits the safe return of all 14,000 U.S. service members still deployed in Afghanistan today. Our nation has spent nearly two decades at war there, and the toll has been devastating: More than 2,400 troops killed and more than 20,000 left with crippling injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And, by a United Nations estimate, more than 70,000 Afghan civilians have been killed.

The conflict drags on even as most of us here at home, cocooned from the dangers and the sorrow, all but forget.

Then 400 of our own, from the towns and cities of Illinois, join the battle.

And the praying and worrying begin anew.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Fair winds and following seas

  2. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    A good time to think about why we are still in Afghanistan.

  3. - Techie - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    I read an article indicating that these troops are being deployed to assist with counter-terrorism efforts, but that we already have 14,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan.

    I hope our troops remain safe, but can’t help but wonder what their real purpose will be. For how long we have occupied Afghanistan, has it made us or the Afghan people safer?

  4. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    Good luck and be safe. Thank you for your service.

  5. - Red Ketcher - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    In the Spring of 1941, Infantry Units of the Illinois National Guard were called up and supplemented with New Draftees and they went on to fight for almost 5 years in most of the Major Battles in the Pacific Campaign.
    A Proud Tradition of Illinois Soldiers Continues.

  6. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    I would not say that we occupy Afghanistan. We are now part of a civil war with multiple sides.

    Our goal is a stable government in Afghanistan that does not support terrorists and works to eliminate them. Cannot tell how close we are to achieving that goal. Remember that 9-11 was launched from there.

    I feel for the troops and for their families. The sleepless nights and days of dread are coming.

  7. - YSW - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    Members of the Illinois National Guard who are being sent to Afghanistan deserve “commendation from every resident of Illinois”? Why? It’s commonplace to say things like that and taboo to question what the troops do, but maybe more thought should be given to what exactly they are doing in Afghanistan that’s worthy of commendation. What’s the factual and ethical basis for the claim that troops represent “the very best of our state” as opposed to, say, firefighters, teachers, doctors, etc.?

  8. - YSW - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    Last Bull Moose, the assertion that 9-11 was launched from Afghanistan is clearly untrue. It’s kind of scary that someone would say something like that given all that is publicly known about the Saudi 9-11 hijackers - the propaganda for the war on Afghanistan was a smashing success for people like you.

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:34 am:

    People, stop your arguing now.

  10. - Domer 84 - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    YSW - we can question the need for the orders, but yes, the troops themselves deserve commendation for being willing to follow those orders. One can question the policy, and still support the troops themselves - in fact, I submit that both are essential.

  11. - Southside Markie - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    Some of us may not completely believe in the cause, but we cannot question the motives of those who serve. Therefore, please love the warrior regardless of how you feel about the war. My prays and very best wishes go with these sons and daughters of Illinois. They go with all of the other sons and daughters as well, who are putting themselves in harm’s way for a cause that is larger than themselves, larger than our country, even. Hold them in your hearts until they come home safe and forever for those who don’t.

  12. - OldSoldier - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    From a soldier who deployed to a combat zone 50 years ago, to these brave young men and women who are about to deploy to Afghanistan, God bless you, thank you, I will pray that you return safely, and BE ALERT AT ALL TIMES. As with Vietnam, there is no “front line” in Afghanistan. You will always be within the enemy’s reach.

  13. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:53 am:

    I hope they all come back safe and sound and thank them for honoring their commitment to protect us.

  14. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    ==the propaganda for the war on Afghanistan was a smashing success for people like you.==

    Lol. I didn’t know you were part of the Bush administration, Last Bull Moose. Are you secretly Donald Rumsfeld? If so, Capfax seems an odd place to hang out. /s

  15. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    Nice piece. Nice reprint. Safe work soldiers.

  16. - former southerner - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    I hope that they return home to IL safely but also stay safe after their return. The veteran suicide rate is frighteningly high.

    As I type this, my high school daughter is in a video conference with several professors she is working with to mathematically model veteran suicide risk factors to help address this quiet epidemic. I am as proud of her involvement in this worthwhile project as I am of my brother’s service in Vietnam.

  17. - SAP - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    God bless these brave men and women and all who put their lives in harm’s way to make our lives safer. Godspeed.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    Godspeed. Be safe. Thank you.


    Oswego Willy

  19. - CubsFan16 - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    I am grateful for their bravery and service.

    I am sad that we are still fighting this endless war in Afghanistan.

  20. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 1:41 pm:

    Peace is the goal?…Can we war our way there?

    Stability in the region?…will war produce stability?

    National Security?…will war in perpetuity increase our national security?

    I hope all of these Soldiers return home… safe and sound.

    War no more.

  21. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 2:25 pm:

    War…only good for…good God y’all.

  22. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 3:13 pm:

    Former Southerner, suicide is truly scary. Thank your daughter and the professors for their work.

    My sons’ unit has lost more men to suicide after their return from Afghanistan then they did during their deployment. Most of them had multiple deployments, which must increase the risk.

  23. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    If we really cared as much about the troops as we pretend to, we would focus on veterans who return home (homelessness, unemployment, mental health services). But we don’t — we consider them disposable. We can say “thank you for your service” all day, but until we treat the trauma that was inflicted upon them by their sacrifice, we are not supporting the troops.

  24. - YSW - Tuesday, Jul 30, 19 @ 7:05 pm:

    Sorry about my posts earlier, i was not in a great state of mind and wish I could delete them.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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