We can be proud that the Alabama National Guard has played such an important role in American efforts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Alabama Guardsmen have given over and over again with multiple deployments and countless months away from their families.
How we wish that 600 more Guardsmen from northeast Alabama didn’t have to head for Afghanistan this summer. Departure ceremonies for these men and women from Oxford, Talladega, Sylacauga and elsewhere are scheduled for later this week.
Those Alabamians are now among our many reasons why we yearn for the day when U.S. troops are no longer at risk in a land as volatile and geographically challenging as Afghanistan.
Granted, removing American boots from Afghanistan soil isn’t as easy as scheduling transport flights out of Kabul. The transfer of power from the U.S. military and NATO troops to Afghan police and soldiers is an ongoing process of spits and starts. Every victory seems coupled with a setback. Bombings haven’t ceased. The role of neighboring Pakistan only clouds the operation.
And yet, amid this chaos are Americans such as the members of the Alabama National Guard, which has withstood more than 17,000 deployments since 9/11.
We trust those on their way overseas will perform their duties well and will represent the state — and the nation — with distinction.