President Obama's announcement Wednesday evening of his plans to withdraw tens of thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was welcomed by many, including military families here in Lake Charles.
Among the millions around the country watching the president's address was the Bartie family of Lake Charles.
R.J. Bartie and his wife Adrienana know what many families of Afghanistan soldiers are feeling right now, following Mr. Obama's announcement of troop draw downs.
"It was an announcement that the American people, family of soldiers, sailors, marines, air force men and women needed to hear," said R.J. Bartie, a U.S. Army staff sergeant who recently returned home from three tours of duty in Iraq.
"I can almost bet that they will feel great relief," said Adrienana Bartie. "It's soothing to know that there's some kind of answer to some of the questions that military spouses are wondering. It's nice to know that [Obama] is sticking to his word and he's just trying to do what it is he told the U.S. that he was going to do."
Last year, thousands of U.S. troops began returning from Iraq with the last military combat brigade leaving in August of 2010. The withdrawal in Afghanistan will look somewhat similar with 10,000 troops returning by the end of the year and an additional 23,000 returning by the end of summer 2012.
Among those who will be returning from Afghanistan eventually is R.J.'s fellow soldier, his brother.
"It's mentally tough for family members, especially if you have children or spouses back at home," said R.J. "The yearlong deployments are tough, staying out there for so long."
Mr. Obama said after the initial reductions in 2011 and 2012, additional withdrawals will continue gradually until 2014, when the U.S. believes the Afghans will be able to take over their own security.