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Edwards Tells Bragg Soldiers Congress Supports Them

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FORT BRAGG — Senator John EdwardsvisitedFort BraggMonday. He was briefed on what units of the 18th Airborne Corps can do in combat. Edwards also met with some soldiers preparing to go to Albania.

Eight soldiers from the 505th Parachute Infantry Brigade joined Edwards and Fort Bragg brass for lunch. Seven hundred paratroopers from the brigade are now guarding Apache helicopters in Albania.

Edwards assured the soldiers he and the rest of Congress support them. Two paratroopers at the table will leave for Albania in a couple of weeks.

"Of course I'm nervous about going over there. I don't know what to expect. I know it's muddy. I know it's wet, I know it's my job," said Sgt. Lynn Eller of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Edwards says he is pleased with the release of the three American POWs.

"I think it's a good thing that we've gotten those people released. I don't think it changes our strategy in terms of what we're doing with Serbia," said Edwards.

On the issue of sending ground troops into Kosovo, Edwards says he thinks it is better to wait to see what effect the air strikes will have.

"I think General Shelton said most recently that we're in a period he described as domination now. In terms of these air strikes, he still believes the air strikes will be successful. If we get to the place where we have to make a decision about that, we'll make it," explained Edwards.

Edwards wants to go to Albania to see the situation for himself. However, he says the conflict can end only after Serb troops leave Kosovo and Albanian refugees are allowed to go back to their homes in Kosovo.

Edwards believes that will require aNATOpeace keeping force.

After his visit, Edwards flew back to Washington to vote on whether to table a bill authorizing the use of any force, including ground troops, in Kosovo.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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