US Service Member Talks About Afghanistan Withdrawal: I 'Wrestle to Make Sense of My Service'


Service member Chase Spears shared his experience with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying it “brought a rush of memories and deep sadness that persists to this day.”

In August 2021, the U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In a piece published by The War Horse, Spears noted that he arrived in Afghanistan in 2011.

“I hoped that our brigade could play a small part in bringing justice to those who’d committed horrible crimes, peace to a war-weary populace, and security for the U.S. homeland,” Spears wrote.

He recalled that the “images of desperate Afghans swarming to flee Kabul at the end of the mission filled me with a painful sense of loss.”

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Spears explained that he felt as if he was walking “in a fog, filled with a sense of grief more akin to losing a loved one.”

He mentioned a poll showed that a majority of American military members who served in Afghanistan feel “angry, betrayed, and humiliated with how the mission ended.”

Spears added, “A year later, I still wrestle to make sense of my service.”

Mentioning the stories coming out of Afghanistan, Spears argued that they are “laced with cruelty that seems more in line with the worst of medieval society than the 21st century—stories of torture, the deaths of civilians, and even the sale of children.”

The piece goes on to mention Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“These are the wars of our time. The reality is that others will follow. Future generations will go to war and grapple with the same questions I now struggle with,” Spears wrote.

Reflecting on families of fallen soldiers, Spears said, “I still see the stretchers bearing the remains of Spc. Jeffrey White and other soldiers who lost their lives during our 10 long months in Afghanistan.”

Speaking about his faith, Spears wrote he prays “that those of us who served there and the people who waited back home for us will find the kind of peace that could not be won in that ancient land.”

He concluded, “Even when it feels like the rest of the world has forgotten all that we gave there, Afghanistan is part of our life story now. We’ll always remember.”

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According to his biography, Spears is a military officer, communicator, and educator.

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