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U.S. Military Towns Closely Watched As U.S.-Iran Tensions Ramped Up


OK, so Iran and the United States may have backed away from a full scale war. But, of course, tensions continue. And the confrontation between the U.S. and Iran continues. And people in military towns across this country are watching closely. Colorado Public Radio's Dan Boyce reports from Colorado Springs.

DAN BOYCE, BYLINE: There are five military bases in the city of Colorado Springs. And if you walk around the parking lot of the local VA clinic, it's not hard to get former service members talking about the situation with Iran. Take Allen Brown (ph), a Marine in the 1970s. Today, he's wearing a Marine Corps ball cap and a T-shirt that reads God, guns and Trump.

ALLEN BROWN: This is my everyday attire. I am very supportive of this president.

BOYCE: He was impressed by the president's resolve in ordering the lethal airstrike which killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

BROWN: And he's cleaning up mess that has been left for not just Democrat but Republican presidencies before him.

BOYCE: The Army post in Colorado Springs, Fort Carson, has seen near-constant deployments to the Middle East since 9/11. You can almost hear the fatigue in Lena Ramsay's (ph) voice if you bring up Iran. She's a combat-disabled Army vet from the war in Afghanistan.

LENA RAMSAY: It just feels like history is repeating itself again. And we are in for another long haul - that we are at the start of another war. That's what it feels like to me.

BOYCE: Despite that, Ramsay says, she does continue to have confidence in Trump and believes showing strength can sometimes be the best way to avoid further conflict. She just hopes that's how it turns out this time. Chris Mack (ph) has not been a veteran very long. In fact, he deployed with the Army in Afghanistan just last year.

CHRIS MACK: That doesn't really make sense to kill someone to stop a war when the whole country backs that general.

BOYCE: He says Trump's decision to kill Soleimani just seems too brash and too risky.

MACK: I think he needs to listen more to his advisers up front and not be so impulsive.

BOYCE: It's also easy to spot active-duty soldiers in the city, running errands in their camouflage uniforms after the workday. Getting them to talk on the record about all this - not so easy. But in another parking lot, a strip mall, I run into two willing and brand-new soldiers James Holmes (ph) and Cameron Isaacs (ph)

JAMES HOLMES: I'm getting a haircut at Great Clips.

CAMERON ISAACS: You got to get the fresh cut.

BOYCE: They're both Army combat medics, both 19 years old. Holmes says as he was hearing about the conflict with Iran, the first thing he thought was this might actually affect him personally. He may end up involved in it.

HOLMES: But that's also my expectation when joining the military. I want to get deployed. I want to serve my country.

BOYCE: The base where Holmes is stationed, Fort Carson, is home to infantry, artillery and aviation brigades with long experience fighting in the Middle East - units that stand ready to deploy again if called upon.


Dan Boyce reporting on NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Dan Boyce moved to the Inside Energy team at Rocky Mountain PBS in 2014, after five years of television and radio reporting in his home state of Montana. In his most recent role as Montana Public Radio’s Capitol Bureau Chief, Dan produced daily stories on state politics and government.