Local vets react to 300 troops sent back to Iraq
(KATV) - President Barack Obama is sending 300 military advisers to Iraq to try and stop a growing threat from a group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The president insists he's not sending the military back into combat. Still, when added to previously announced steps, Obama's actions could put about 600 additional U.S. troops in the midst of Iraq's deeply unstable security situation. KATV spoke with local veterans who survived combat from Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Col. Mike Ross from North Little Rock was part of an infantry combat team in Baghdad for 12 months. He said he saw combat more than once a week. While he was in Iraq, Ross said he played the role of a humanitarian by helping surrounding communities with building soccer fields, installing television, and protecting the Iraqi people who feel threatened. When Ross heard U.S. Armed Forces were to get back involved in Iraq, he said he didn't know why we as a county ever left. "We were doing well over there; we were doing a lot of good things. The reason I say that is because we weren't changing the older generation, we were changing that younger generation," said Ross. In Pine Bluff, Cpl. Landon Luzader spoke about his two deployments to Iraq very openly. He even spoke about his battle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition many solders battle once they return to civilian life. Luzader fears for the small amount of troops being sent to Iraq because he believes they'll be exposed to more, leading to a more severe case of PTSD. "They're going to feel a little scare at the situation they're going to be in, because you've got 300 there, how many more can you get (there) and how fast," said Luzader. According to U.S. senior officials, the first troops will arrive in Iraq soon to forces already station in the Middle East. Their initial assignment will be to assess the capabilities and needs of the Iraqi forces. The troops will be divided into teams of a dozen and not all sent at once.