Troops in Afghanistan react to McChrystal's firing
From soldiers from the Hohenfels, Germany-based 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, which has a company task force deployed to Zabul Province in Southern Afghanistan, on McChrystal’s fate:
* “I think it’s a good thing,” said Sgt. Shannon Grier, 24, of Augusta, Ga., who served in Zabul from August to December last year. “He may not have been a bad guy, but he was taking away things that gave infantrymen success, like night missions.”
* “Just because he said what he had to say doesn’t mean he should get fired. I know he’s done a lot for the Army,” said Anthony Malagoli, 22, of Lacey Township, N.J., who expects to deploy to Zabul in the near future.
* “I have a lot of confidence in Petreaus,” said one Marine gunnery sergeant in Marjah, who is on his eighth deployment, including four in Iraq. “If he can do what he’s done before (in Iraq), he’ll be like a god in people’s eyes. ... Either way, we know what we are doing tomorrow. The military is designed to be able to handle this. Tomorrow, our mission goes on.”
From Strongpoint Belanday, a small outpost about six miles southwest of Kandahar, troops with 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment on the change:
* “I think McChrystal’s approach was a good approach, but it was too soft,” said Cpl. Brian Baumgardner, 24, of Louisville, Ky., who also served in Iraq in 2007-2008. “We’ve been here 10 years, but what have we done? I don’t see anything. We were all under (Petraeus’) command in Iraq, and the job got completed. But it’s still going to take some time here.”
* “Winning this fight to me means getting the (Afghan National Security Forces) to a point where they can stand on their own,” said Spc. Andrew Scott, 24, of Las Vegas, Nev., who also served in Iraq in 2008. “I think Petraeus can get the job done, from what I saw in Iraq.”
* “Personally, I think either way, the mission is going to stay the same,” said Staff Sgt. Sterlin Richardson, 31, of Brooklyn, N.Y. “Logically, if a plan is in place and working, it makes little sense to change it. A lot of people, although they didn’t like (McChrystal’s approach), understood that it’s working. I think it’s going to be too much to change.”
Stars and Stripes staff writers Drew Brown and Dianna Cahn contributed to this report from Afghanistan, and Seth Robson from Germany.