COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The use of the US military's most lethal non-nuclear bomb has certainly grabbed the attention of the nation.
Veterans, especially, have been focused on the recent decisions made dealing with our nation's military. Many of them remain aware that the development might signal a change in military strategy in the battle against ISIS.
Those vets know that it can be easy to roll out our war technology and make a big splash and then get pulled into a protracted engagement that puts major demands on personnel and resources without achieving the desired outcome.
The Midlands is military-friendly in a big way - with a high number of veterans along with major installations close by like Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base, and McEntire Joint National Guard Base. Anytime the potential for military engagement ramps up, they are particularly tuned in and concerned about the way these conflicts can draw us in.
Following the missile strike in Syria, and with American forces watching North Korea, veterans here in the Midlands are among the first to wonder what's coming next?
"A lot of people are very conflicted. There's a certain segment of the population who I think has been very frustrated, who felt you know that we've not done enough, we've not been forceful enough. And at the same time, I think people feel very strongly about well, we don't want to just jump in and you know involve especially our young people in conflicts where we don't have a clear goal or an endgame in sight," Air Force veteran Joe McGillis explained. "You know this conflict in the Middle East has dragged on now for well over 10 years and I think people sense that things just aren't getting any better or more settled over there."
McGillis teaches at the University of Kentucky and often works with veterans.
As for local families that have someone actively serving in the military, or even someone preparing to serve, they feel like they are between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they want to protect their families. On the other, however, they want to serve their country as well.
Without a doubt though, they are keeping a close eye on news around the world.
One Midlands family reacted to the use of the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) on Thursday in the Middle East. The bomb that is commonly referred to as the "Mother of all Bombs" represented one of the latest projections of U.S. military power.
Miguel Munoz is a father in a three-generation military family. He said he had to step back and think twice about what it was that he believed in following the bombing – especially since his son is preparing to join the Air Force next week. Munoz said he concluded he firmly believes in giving time to the military and serving the country no matter what happens.
"The time came when I had to realize that my son now is going into the military. And there is, you know, situations happening around the world where it seems to be getting hot. And I had to kinda stick to what I believe. Is it true what I believe? And yes, it is. At this point I still believe that you know, even more in these times should we give our time to the military and to the country that we live in," Munoz explained.
His grandfather joined served in the Vietnam War and after joining the military one week before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Munoz is preparing to retire from the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson. This, while his son is preparing to leave for Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
""I am slightly nervous because I have never done this before. It's like before you do a roller coaster, but I am pretty sure once I do it I will get used to it," Munoz's son said. "I just hope everybody stays safe and I can just play my part the way it's meant to be played and make a difference if I can."
Munoz's son said he also had a few friends who wanted to join the military as well and he helped to point them in the right direction.