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With Iran Conflict Looming, N.H. Veterans And Military Personnel Consider What Could Come Next

F-16s Virginia with KC-135R New Hampshire via Wikimedia Commons

As relations between the United States and Iran remain tense, New Hampshire's military personnel and veterans are also considering the implications for the two nations.

New Hampshire veteran Kevin Grady spent 25 years in the Air Force. He says nobody dislikes going to war more than those in uniform.

"Because we're the ones who have to go out and do the actual fighting" Grady says. "So we always are big fans of somebody figuring out a way that the shooting doesn't start, and we get by our differences and move on. We're big fans of that."

Grady spoke last night at the conclusion of a meeting of the State Veterans Advisory Committee, which declined to take a position on a resolution proposed by some state house lawmakers to pull all American troops out of the Middle East.

Military personnel at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Pease Air National Guard Base say they understand what their role would be in a potential escalation of U.S. conflict with Iran.

The shipyard is tasked with maintaining the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet. Engineers’ union president Larry Dennis says they work hard keeping up vessels so they can return to the water, and that personnel on the shipyard are well aware of the tensions with Iran.

“Everyone knows that the minute we stop doing work on these submarines, the more it becomes real that that attack could hit our soil at some point," Dennis says. "As long as we have these submarines out defending the coastline, there’s no chance of that ever happening.”

Across the Piscataqua River from the shipyard is Pease, home to the 157th Air Refueling Wing. The detachment and its mid-air refueling tankers routinely support combat missions, including in the Middle East. 

A spokesman for the Air National Guard says 80 guard members recently began six- and 12-month deployments in that region.

This post was updated to include details provided by the New Hampshire Air National Guard. 

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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