« Marines Launch New Offensive in Afghanistan's Helmand Province | Main | Numerous Lejeune units to deploy in surge »

A Calif. Town Feels Afghan War's Impact

In Oceanside, Near Camp Pendleton, Nearly Everyone Is Linked to the Military - and Feeling the Strain of Repeated Deployments

(CBS) The president announced this week an additional 30,000 U.S. troops will head to Afghanistan. Of course, in this country that means more changes on the home front, and not just at home, as CBS News correspondent Terry McCarthy reports from Camp Pendleton, Calif.


News video:

OCEANSIDE, Calif., Dec. 6, 2009
By Terry McCarthy

Mia Wayne has her own way of supporting the war in Afghanistan. She lives in Oceanside, right next to the Marine Corps base of Camp Pendleton, so she invited two Marines to Thanksgiving dinner.

"They were thankful - they were thankful to have a home-cooked meal," Wayne said.

Oceanside's population of 170,000 are strong backers of the military - particularly now some 4,000 more Marines from Camp Pendleton are likely to be deployed to Afghanistan starting this month as part of President Obama's new war strategy.

"I think we have to finish the job," Wayne said. "With 30,000 people more; if that's what it's going to take, okay."

Or as Oceanside Council Member Jerry Kern put it, "The Marines' job is to support the mission, and our job is to support the Marines."

Everybody here feels it when a big deployment happens.

"The town empties out," said resident Scott Gladden. "There's a lot less people here, a lot of women with their husbands gone, so you see a lot of ladies and children walking around without their daddies."

Oceanside is a proud military town, but with three-quarters of the population linked to someone who is - or was - serving in the armed forces, they know better than anyone how much this war really costs.

Dawn O'Brien has a son, son-in-law and daughter-in-law in the military. As a mother, she says every day of their deployments is torture: "Constant fear. Constant, 24-hour fear."

O'Brien thinks the repeated deployments have pushed the military to breaking point.

"Some of them have gone two, three, some four, some are even on their fifth tours," she said. "It's just too much."

In Oceanside's Mary's Diner, retired teacher Marilyn Pirkola sees no easy way out of this war.

"It causes one to ponder - and I would say to pray," Pirkola said. "I pray for soldiers at war."

It's a war that in Oceanside is constantly part of everyday life.