Soldiers Withdraw Early Through Busy Overseas Transit Centers - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Soldiers Withdraw Early Through Busy Overseas Transit Centers

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(KCEN) -- As the January 1, drawdown date approaches in Afghanistan, more and more troops are coming home early, and that means high traffic at transit bases in surrounding countries.

The Transit Center at Manas in Kyrgyzstan usually pushes through about 1,500 soldiers a day, but recently, that number has been closer to about 2,000.

Many of those troops are pleasantly surprised when they find out they are coming home sooner than expected.

On Saturday, Specialist Caleb Charron stopped in Kyrgyzstan on his way home three months early from Afghanistan.

His 3-year old daughter, Carlie, is back in Missouri, anxiously awaiting his return ever since he left last spring.

"I just keep telling her, 'soon,' which I'm pretty sure she's going to grow up thinking soon is a really long time," said Caleb.

Carlie was only three weeks old when Caleb left on his first deployment, and then he was only home for ten months before he had to deploy again.

Sergeant Dale Mettes received the same news about cutting his tour short about a month ago.

"My wife is thrilled. I don't think she could be any happier, unless I was coming home today," Dale said.

 More than a decade of war has taken its toll on U.S. forces.

"I think I'm about deployed out," said Dale.

An early homecoming means Specialist Ben Whary will be just in time for his son, Kaleb's, 88th birthday, a party he expected to miss for the second time due to deployment.

With the drawdown in action, Ben realizes this could be the last time he ever has to deploy to Afghanistan.

He said, "That feels pretty good actually. With all the losses we've suffered, I wish it hadn't have taken this long."

That loss includes two soldier's from Caleb's first deployment.

"I'd seen them around the FOB (Forward Operating Base), and that's when it hit me, where I was actually at."         

Now he'll catch an early ride home, leaving that danger far behind.

"I've met some of the locals, and I wish that they'd have a better future and that we in the future never have to come back here, but if we did, I'd come back in a heartbeat."                          

It is also important to remember that while many U.S. troops are coming home early, others are still headed into harm's way to finish out the war.

Reporter: Sophia Stamas sstama@kcentv.com

Photographer: Jordan Bontke jbontke@kncentv.com

 

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