Six months and five days. That’s how long Justin Enderson’s son, Specialist Justin Enderson Jr., served in Afghanistan in 2012.
It seems much longer when you’re worrying about someone you love.
“It`s a feeling that`s indescribable,” say Enderson Sr.
Six-thousand Iowans have served in Afghanistan to date. Their families thought they’d be home for good after President Obama announced the Afghan combat mission would end in 2014.
Now the US and Afghanistan are preparing to sign an open-ended military commitment. Its purpose would be to keep 15,000 troops in Afghanistan to train its soldiers and fight against Al–Queada.
If the US and Afghanistan sign the agreement, it would take effect January 1st, 2015, keeping troops overseas until 2024 or beyond.
The agreement could be broken if either party gives a two year notice. However, Secretary of State, John Kerry, predicts on keeping the troops for 3 to 4 more years despite what the agreement says.
Still Enderson Sr. says he fears the worst
“I was just blown away that they would actually do that after basically promising that after 2014 that nobody would be there in Afghanistan.”
Colonel Greg Hapgood with the Iowa National Guard says deployment is just another part of the job.
“Ours isn`t to question the duration of a mission or what the mission itself is, our job is to go execute that mission when directed by our civilian leaders.”
Enderson Sr. knows the decision is out of his control but having sent his son off to war once before; the time away will feel like forever.
“It’s so scary to know that`s it`s a never ending battle.”
The Iowa National Guard will welcome home its last unit serving in Afghanistan this Saturday in Ottumwa.