A Message to Our Afghanistan Veterans

Tom Sheets
Colonel, US Marine Corps (Retired)

It is painful for Americans to watch the events unfold in Afghanistan on an international public stage. It is especially painful for many Veterans who served and sacrificed in Afghanistan—and for our Gold Star families who lost a family member in that theater of war.

Here are some numbers to keep in mind:

  • Over 800,000 Americans military members served in Afghanistan
  • Over 2,400 were killed
  • Over 7,000 received combat wounds
  • Thousands of American civilians—most of whom were Veterans—also served
  • Untold thousands suffer from the invisible, emotional wounds of war

Many are asking whether this “Long War” in Afghanistan was worth the cost? As a result of the service and courage of those who served there, we accomplished the original missions: get those who perpetrated the attack on 9-11 and prevent our enemies from planning, training for, or launching additional attacks on America and Americans.

In latter years, the phenomena of “mission creep” expanded the original missions to nation-building activities. Unfortunately, those missions have not succeeded.

Regardless of what happens next week, next month, next year, or next decade in Afghanistan, it will not diminish the value, the valor, or the honor of those who served there. They answered their Nation’s call to service and unselfishly served to accomplish their missions and make the world a better place.

All Americans who served in Afghanistan—and other places during this “Long War”–should be justifiably proud of their service and sacrifices. We salute these courageous men and women. We honor their service. We will never forget them.

Next Tuesday August 24th at our weekly collaboration at Maggianos in Scottsdale, we will alter our regular routine somewhat to honor these brave, patriotic Americans. Representing our SWVCC Member SEE4Vets, Ian Parkinson will be our guest speaker. Ian is an Army Veteran who not only served in Afghanistan, but lost both legs to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). We hope you will join us to honor Ian and all Afghanistan Veterans.

To ensure proper event planning, preregistration and prepayment is strongly encouraged either at the SWVCC website https://business.swvcc.org/events/details/scottsdale-networking-luncheon-at-maggiano-s-1737?calendarMonth=2021-08-01 or by calling 602.677.2961/760.213.3705.