Troops Deploy

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On the fifth day of the U.S. led war with Iraq, a new poll shows that Americans are increasingly supportive of the effort to overthrow Saddam's regime.

A poll by ABC News and the Washington Post shows that about seven in ten Americans are now in support of the war. The same trend is showing up in east Mississippi and west Alabama.

"I do support the President of the United States and that all people now should support the President. Remember, divided we fall but together we stand," said Larry Moore.

"When the military is over there fighting it reminds me of Vietnam," said
Joe Johnson. "People protesting, they didn't know what was going on then either. I sure hope when this war is over that they get a better welcome than we did."

"A lot of people disagree with it but I say we need to keep what we stand for in the USA and that's for freedom," said Emily Franks. "I think we're doing the right thing."

Among those against the war is Tamika Sanford. She said that the U.S. has not made its case effectively enough to warrant the conflict.

"I hate that it's going on because there are innocent lives getting killed and for what reason we don't know," said Sanford. "Supposed to be about oil. I think it's ridiculous."

Public opinion certainly affects the morale of troops, like those based at the Air National Guard Base at Meridian's Key Field.

Twenty guardsmen were deployed from Key Field Monday, 18 from the 186th Air Refueling Wing and 2 from the 248th Air Traffic Squadron.

And even though there is seemingly more support, it's still hard on the troops.

"It's never easy though, doesn't matter how many times you do it. It never gets any easier," said Lt. Col. Randy Pope.

The troops are bound for an undisclosed location for an undetermined amount of time, adding to the strain it puts on them.

Col. Joe Spraggins, wing commander of the 186th, said a community that stands behind them is a big help.

"They need to support them, let them know how much they appreciate them," said Spraggins. "The worst thing in the world right now is for these people to think the community is not behind them."

And at least for now, the community and the nation are standing proud for them.