Pull Out of U.S. Troops to Reach Highest Number in August

The number of U.S. Marines leaving Afghanistan this month will be the largest monthly number of exiting Marines in a year, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. General David Berger told NBC News. "It's a cut of about two-thirds of the size of strength here (compared to) a year ago, and it will be somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 Marines when we finish up," Berger said. The NATO coalition's mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to wrap up by the end of 2014, and the number of U.S. forces exiting this year is expected reach a total of 23,000 troops. Although the withdrawal of U.S. troops will entail shifting control to Afghan security forces and police, Berger assures the Afghans' military development has made "amazing progress." As tens of thousands of service members leave Afghanistan, however, many fear what awaits them at home. From the backlog of disability claims to sluggish job hiring, some are choosing to remain in the service. "This is the worst possible time for anybody to look for work let alone anybody who has been wounded and has the cards stacked up against them," said Retired sergeant Thomas Maretich, who was wounded by a car bomb in Iraq and has had trouble finding work. "They just don't see a job in the civilian world that is safe and pays the same."

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