Army psychiatrist Major Delvena Thomas has served two tours in America’s most recent wars – one in Iraq, and a second in Afghanistan – treating servicemen and women for mental health issues.
So when President Barack Obama declared in a prime-time speech from Afghanistan Tuesday that after years of sacrifice the U.S. combat role there is winding down, Thomas took a long view.
“I don’t like to get too enthusiastic prematurely because we still have a long way to go there – the president has stated that there is another decade commitment and we don't know what can happen,” she said inside her Biscayne Gardens home.
Thomas watched as the president talked about bringing most of the 88,000 U.S. troops home, leaving some 20,000 in support roles.
She is well aware of issues on the battlefield, as well as at home.
”You can’t begin to imagine the effects it will have on the children as far as not growing up with their father, not growing up with their mother,” she said.
In his brief speech, the president emphasized the progress that has been made in making Afghanistan a safer nation, and noted the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.
"I will not keep Americans in harm's way a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security. But we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly,” he said.
Thomas said she stands by her commander in chief.
“I am in total agreement with staying in Afghanistan because, like President Obama mentioned, we started something and to pull out prematurely we would lose the gains,” she said.