Local group goes into “support mode” following deployment announcement

Following the announcement of the U.S. preparing to send an additional 560 troops to Iraq, a local military support group says they’ve gone into “support mode”.

“We might or might not agree with the mission that they’re going on,” says Jeff Merritt. “I don’t think that’s for us to decide.”

Merritt is co-founder of Operation We Care. The group, based out of Salisbury, was formed in 2007. He says he was sad to hear Monday’s news of having to deploy additional troops.

The move is a part of the stepped-up fight against what U.S. officials call the “cancer” of ISIS. Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was captured by ISIS two years ago. Iraqi forces are punching back.

“This contingent will help the Iraqis establish logistical springboard for their offensive in Mosul, which Prime Minister Abadi confirmed to me that he wants to accomplish this year,” Secretary Ash Carter announced Monday.

The additional troops are set to begin arriving within weeks. This means the U.S. force level in Iraq could rise to over 4,600.

With army bases around the country, Merritt says there’s a chance that an active military member of a family from Delmarva could be deployed. He explains support could come in the form what his group is known for: sending care packages overseas.

“For us, it might not mean a whole lot,” he says. “For us who’s halfway around the world, when they get a box from somebody that they don’t know and they don’t know it’s coming, it’s a huge morale boost.”

Merritt tells 47ABC it’s not just about showing support for those who are serving, but also their families back home. He says any little help could go a long way.

“There’s home repair needs, there’s car repair needs, the kids might need some extra help in school,” he explains.

Operation We Care collects items for care packages year-round. For information on how you can donate, click here.

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