CNN Balkan Conflict News

U.S. troops ready for Bosnia

December 2, 1995
Web posted at: 3:50 p.m. EST (2050 GMT)

From Correspondent Wolf Blitzer

BAUMHOLDER, Germany (CNN) -- The soldiers of the 1st Armored Division have been training to go to Bosnia for months. They say they understand the mission, and they appear to be well motivated and ready to go.

But some are more anxious than others. "They are concerned about their families and what is going to happen in the future, concerned about themselves," said U.S. Army Specialist Nilah Hazard. "Hopefully a peace will take place."

Sergeant Kevin Stuart is also hoping for a quick completion to the mission. "Hopefully it will not be that long, hopefully it will not be that messy so hopefully I will be able to make it back safe and sound," he said.

Specialist Jermaine Cleveland said that Clinton's personal appeal to them made a difference in his attitude.

"I already knew the reasons why I was going," Cleveland said, "but hearing him personally tell me this, he gave me more motivation."

The president put on his commander in chief bomber jacket for lunch with about 100 soldiers and their families following his speech. It was a day designed to bolster morale -- but also with one eye on his image at home. The debate in Washington continues, even though he has already signed off on the U.S. role in NATO's operational plan.

Clinton was received enthusiastically as he waded into the crowds at the completion of his speech. As commander in chief, he has no more difficult responsibility than to decide when to order U.S. troops into harm's way. And when he does, he must convince his troops, Congress, and the people at home.


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