The spotlight is back on Afghanistan, now that President Donald Trump has given the Pentagon more power to ramp up troop levels in what is still considered one of the most dangerous parts of the world,News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Those who have served in the war zone say, even on the U.S. military bases, there are daily attacks that can be felt, as terror groups such as ISIS fight for control.
"Our CH-53 helicopter was shot at twice," San Antonio Marine Allison Brenton says, remembering her first tour. "That was our welcome to Afghanistan."
She tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI, the fighting there has only become more dangerous as ISIS evolves their strategy.
"They're adapting their weapons and their bombs to where we don’t detect them as easily," she explains. "The bomb that killed my fiancé was not detected at all."
After the loss, she returned to San Antonio, where she's now studying at UTSA to help combat vets. In her same squadron was Marine Sgt. Cesar Ruiz, who was killed in action in 2009. There is now a room dedicated to him at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, where people will take their oath of citizenship.
There are currently about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan. Some U.S. military generals have said that a few thousand more troops would help the US break the current stalemate against the Taliban. President Trump has giving the Pentagon authority to ramp up troop levels.
"Micromanagement from Washington, DC, does not win battles," Trump said.
The move marks a change from the Obama and Bush administrations, where Brenton says there were restrictions placed on US offensive operations.
"When I was out there, there were a lot of constraints and rules of engagement. If we're getting shot at, we cannot return fire unless they are a certain distance from us," she explains.
She says, among marines, there is near universal support for Defense Secretary James Mattis, who is now putting together a plan for Afghanistan.
"Gen. Mattis is loved by not just the Marines, but the military in general. He's an incredible leader and an incredible war fighter and someone who we admire."