U.S combat mission ends in Afghanistan: San Diego reaction - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

U.S combat mission ends in Afghanistan: San Diego reaction

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Now that the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan is over, we wanted to take a closer look at what that means for troops stationed here in San Diego.

Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, soldiers deployed to Afghanistan.

"Twenty-two days after 9/11," retired Navy SEAL and Command Master Chief Larry Wilske said.

Wilske retired last year, and he is now a candidate for Congress. He spoke to CBS News 8 about his experience in Afghanistan.

"We got some good things accomplished and we built a great military," he said.

In the 13 years in Afghanistan, the U.S. hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden, and nearly 1,000 troops were killed, including 360 Marines.

"We wiped out their capability to train Afghanistan and recruit and develop soldiers that came from our soil," Wilske said.

Now that U.S. Marines and British forces have turned the reigns over to Afghan troops, veterans question if those troops are prepared to take on the Taliban.

"(The Taliban) are going to gain steam, momentum motivation, and we are going to go back," Wilske said.

Marines on their way home worry the mission may not be accomplished.

"I'm sure there are going to people asking me did we make a difference in Afghanistan. I hope we did. I know we did," one Marine said.

Despite the controversy, one thing is for certain – these troops are ready to come home. And veterans say they deserve a heroes' welcome

"Don't paint the military as anything but patriots, because that's what they are. And let's give them that credit," Wilske said.

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