As 10th anniversary of war on terror approaches, soldiers share - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

As 10th anniversary of war on terror approaches, soldiers share rewards, burdens

By Lauren Callahan

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -  The tenth anniversary of America's involvement in the war on terror in Afghanistan is this Friday, October 7. It marks the longest period of sustained warfare in United States' history.

 First and foremost says Staff Sergeant William Todd of the Texas Army National Guard's 136th Military Police Battalion, which deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, "We just want to be able to accomplish our mission."

A new survey by the Pew Research Center notes some of the rewards and burdens that soldiers of post-9/11 wars have felt as a result of their military service. Among those rewards were feeling proud of their service (96%), becoming more mature (93%), gaining self-confidence (90%), and feeling more prepared for a job or career (72%).

Staff Sergeant Todd said his soldiers gained a lot of maturity during their deployment in 2009 and 2010.

"I've never been more proud of the soldiers that we had," said Staff Sergeant Todd. "And you have to realize, the average age of the soldiers we have in the military now is in their younger twenties. I had soldiers between the ages of 18 and 24 years old that had great responsibility and a lot of stress put on them on this deployment and they did an outstanding job."

But the burdens can be great, too. They include feeling strains in family relations (48%), frequently feeling irritable or angry (47%), having problems re-entering civilian life (44%), or suffering from post-traumatic stress (37%).

Sergeant Ronald Mullin deployed to Iraq in 2008 and said the greatest strain on him was the strain put on his family.

"What a lot of people don't understand is, yes the soldiers go to war, but when we go to war, our families go with us. They may not be riding over on the plane with us, but they are constantly in our shadow," Sergeant Mullin said.

The nation's post-9/11 wars have been fought by all-volunteer military forces.

To read the entire story, visit the Pew Research Center site.

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