LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The U.S. soldier who allegedly massacred at least 16 Afghan civilians is reported to be from Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington. Soldiers assigned to the base express shock at the violence and concern about retaliation. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.
One Lewis-McChord Stryker brigade is already in Afghanistan. Another is on its way soon. At a uniform alterations shop near post, Army rucksacks ready to go line the floor and a steady stream of soldiers come in to pick up their battle ready uniforms.
Araujo: “I’m picking up my SUs.”
Among them Private First Class Joan Araujo. He’s an infantryman preparing to deploy. He says an incident like this killing spree has the potential to make U.S. troops targets for retaliation.
Araujo: “The same way they were burning Koran’s over there. They’re going to think that we all think the same way. So of course it’s going to be more dangerous.”
Out in the parking lot, Specialist Chris Smith calls the massacre “sad” and “disturbing.” He too is about to deploy and expects to encounter more resentment.
Smith: “They’re going to be very upset as we would be too if they had done that to us.”
Recently, four Lewis-McChord soldiers were sentenced to prison for the murders of three Afghan civilians in 2010.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network