National Guard at the Ready After Trump’s Afghanistan Announcement

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  After a Monday night address from President Trump outlining a new policy for the war in Afghanistan, those in the armed forces are talking about what it means for them.

The president provided few details, leaving out any numbers about additional U.S. troops needed in Afghanistan and not revealing specifics of his war plans. That leaves branches of the military, like the Iowa National Guard, doing what they have done for years: preparing as if they’ll be called on tomorrow.

“Those who have served in the military for a while understand that whatever words are said takes a while to translate into action,” said Colonel Greg Hapgood. “If that changes for us, our units will be ready when they're called up. That's the very least we can do and that's the number one thing we do, is to make sure our readiness is at the top level.”

The policy shift from President Trump has no effect on the National Guard's planned deployment at the end of August.

“We'll have one unit that will have a sendoff up in Waterloo and then we have a second unit that looks imminent that they'll deploy later this year,” said Hapgood.

Meanwhile new recruits are paying attention, knowing that a U.S. presence in the Middle East will be the policy for the foreseeable future.

“I honestly think we need to get out of it. I just think we've lost too many lives over there and I don't think we should lose any more,” said Navy Recruit Preston Lee.

However, Lee says personal feelings get pushed to the wayside for service of the country.

“I think the biggest thing is I'm going to miss my family, but I know that I'm doing what's right,” he said.

Hapgood expects the National Guard will announce another deployment sometime in September.