Afghanistan war vets remember on 10-year anniversary - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Afghanistan war vets remember on 10-year anniversary

Chris Hawk Chris Hawk
Staff sergeant Pearce Staff sergeant Pearce
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) -

October 7, 2001, the first American troops set foot on Afghan soil. On the tenth anniversary of that day, many Heartland soldiers remember their service to our country in Afghanistan.

"It's been a big impact - this war, for a while it was the forgotten war because of Iraq and everything," said Staff Sergeant with Delta Company 2-130 IN 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team out of Mt. Vernon.

Staff sergeant Pearce says he will never forget his time in Afghanistan.

"Two tours, first in 2003 to 2004 then the second in 2008 to 2009," said Pearce.

In his deployments, Pearce helped train both afghan soldiers and police; a role in which he feels he made a difference.

"You work with them eight or nine months and see them progress. That's where you get satisfaction," said Pearce.

Chris Hawk of Cobden served with the 173rd Airborne Infantry. He also did two tours, but says during his second deployment, in 2010, the violence in Afghanistan intensified.

"It got pretty bad over there," said Hawk. "We couldn't leave the wire without getting hit by an RPG or an IED or shot at. It was constant."

The memories of those attacks haunt Hawk, to a point that he's been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"I drink a lot to try to erase everything, it's made me very short-tempered," Hawk said. "I don't sleep. It's been kind of rough. Really rough."

But in spite of his daily internal battles, he says was proud to serve, and proud of the work he did to help train Afghans and keep insurgents at bay.

"We have to keep the terrorist threat over there and away from our country," Hawk said.

At ten years, American troops have been on the ground in Afghanistan longer than U.S. combat operations in Vietnam or the Revolutionary War.

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