JBLM soldiers contemplate future without war in Middle East

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jakewhittenberg

KING5.com

Posted on May 28, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 28 at 12:31 PM

LAKEWOOD, Wash. – Joint Base Lewis-McChord has sent fewer soldiers into combat in recent years due to the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

JBLM is still sending its Special Operations Forces to the war. That includes the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade which is expected to arrive in time for Afghanistan's national elections next month.

For soldiers who have been to war once already, the threat of returning to the Middle East is now greatly diminished.

“We might not be going back over there. For our families this is definitely a good thing,” said Specialist Jeffery Cotner. “A lot of people in my unit were definitely excited to see their families when they came back."

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that after the combat mission in Afghanistan ends later this year, 9,800 troops will remain in the country to finish training and equipping Afghan security forces. Those forces are expected to be out by the end of 2016.

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