Marines React to Troop Buildup Reports

By Rory Devine
|  Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009  |  Updated 7:03 AM PDT
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Local Troops React to Troop Buildup Reports

Marines at Camp Pendleton will be part of the troop buildup in Afghanistan.
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Marines at Camp Pendleton will be part of the 30,000 troops heading to Afghanistan over the next six months.  The deployment will be announced in an address to the nation by President Barack Obama tonight.

"I think it's a good thing," said Pvt. 1st Class Brent Van Wagoner, a Marine at Camp Pendleton. "The more we send over there, the faster we get it done. That's my point of view."
   
The White House announced an increase of 30,000 more U.S. forces Tuesday. The move is hoped to defeat the Taliban-led insurgency and stabilize a weak Afghan government. The escalation, which would take place over the next year, would put more than 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan at an annual cost of about $75 billion.

While Van Wagoner will not have to deploy at this point, he did acknowledge that things could change.

"I don't mind going if I have to; it's what we train for,” Van Wagoner said.
   
First Lt. Tom  Garnet, who is also based at Camp Pendleton, said there are 9,000 Camp Pendleton Marines already in Afghanistan. They will be replaced with the same number sometime in early spring. That's been part of a "large-scale deployment that's been planned for a long time," Garnet said.

As for the buildup, Garnet said that number has "not yet been established."
      
John Gomez, owner of the Esquire Barber Shop in Oceanside, said businesses will suffer, a sentiment echoed by the manager of Firewater Saloon, Bud LeMay.

"Everybody's hurting," LeMay said. "If they send more Marines over, Oceanside -- it will survive, but it will be rough."
 
Gomez said the city has been through it before and that it will survive.

"We've hung in there before over the years, and we've come out of it, so here I am, willing to do whatever it takes to get it done, get it done and see if we can get back to normal," Gomez said.

Obama will outline his decision to an increasingly skeptical U.S. public in a nationally broadcast address from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top commander in Afghanistan, has recommended speeding up the growth of the Afghan army and police. He wants an overall Afghan security force of 400,000 -- 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police officers -- by October 2013.

The president's address will air at 5 p.m. Tuesday on NBC 7/39.

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