Veterans react to plans for troop withdrawal

(KFVS) - Local veterans react to news the U.S. will pull out of Iraq at the end of the year. All troops will leave by the end of 2011 except for about 160 troops at the U.S. Embassy.

The pentagon considered leaving up to 5,000 troops to train security forces and hinder Iranian influence.

We talked to local veterans Sunday about the decision to leave Iraq. Some say it feels too soon.

"Our presence has really made a big difference," said Robert Wake of Malden. He was injured three times during his deployment in 2004. He also received a purple heart. Wake now participates in a number of Veterans programs and organizations. Now he worries leaving at the end of the year will mean some progress may have been in vain. He says troops in Iraq keep us safe at home.

"I believe it's helping us by protecting our safety and interest," said Wake.

Wake says even after experiencing nine ambushes in 12 days, he says he was most shocked by learning about deadly plans groups in Iraq had for us at home.

"We were able to uncover a lot of information that helped us and the most amazing thing was their goals for attacking our country," said Wake.

Wake feels leaving now could give those groups opportunities to make progress in their goals to attack, and hinder ours to protect.

"We prevent a lot of disasters," said Wake.

Meanwhile, Robert's Brother and fellow veteran, Tim says he agrees it's a complicated decision.

"I don't think our work is done," said Tim.  "At first, I did think it was crazy keeping us over there."

Now he feels his brother may be right. He says listening to his stories and the stories of other veterans changed his mind. While Tim proudly served his country at home, he never served overseas.

"I just think there's still people over there trying to do us in," said Tim.

So will some missions end early or be canceled? National Guard representatives and other military spokesmen tell us they will stick to their current orders until they receive news otherwise.

We're told deployments could be extended to other areas of the Middle East or around the world. There are numerous possibilities at this stage.

Meanwhile for Robert and Tim Wake, they say whether you support government decision or not, remember to support our troops and veterans wherever they are.

"It's so important we hold them in the highest regard," said Robert.

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