Pace Visits Qatar to Thank Troops for Terror War Support
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2005 The top-ranking U.S. military officer visited U.S. and coalition troops at an air base in Qatar yesterday to thank them for their contributions to the war on terror, treat them to a USO show and re-enlist three members.
Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander, U.S. Central Command, escorts Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from his plane after arriving in Southwest Asia, Dec. 28. Photo by Airman 1st Class De-Juan Haley, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace kicked off a week-long trip at an air base near Doha, where he thanked hundreds of troops gathered under a tent at the base's Memorial Plaza, Air Force Capt. Eric Badger, public affairs officer for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, told the American Forces Press Service.
The past year has been an "incredible one of progress in the war on terrorism, and it's because of you," news reports quoted Pace as telling the assembled airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines and coalition troops.
"He told us how well everyone here is doing and how important everyone is (to the overall mission)," Badger said. "It felt really good to hear it, and it reinforced that what we're doing here is worthwhile."
Pace issued the oath of re-enlistment to three members of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing: Tech. Sgt. Shannon Midgette, Senior Airman Brian Davis and Senior Airman Bradley Evans.
Retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, who received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War, shared stories of his own deployments and compared his experiences to what troops are facing today, Badger said.
Jacobs told the servicemembers to stay focused on their objective, keep their training up to date and to look out for each other. "Always remember to take care of each other," he said. "Your comrades depend on you."
A USO-sponsored troupe accompanied the chairman to entertain the troops with a rousing music and comedy show. They included 2004 American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo, country music star Michael Peterson and comedian and actor Reggie McFadden, Badger said.
"Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. It brought a slice of home for everybody," he said. "And it's always a warm feeling to hear people thank you and tell you how proud they are of what you are doing. It's good to hear that you're cared about and loved."
Pace addressed the group after meeting with Army Gen. John Abizaid, who heads U.S. Central Command, and other senior officials at the command's forward headquarters in Qatar. He is continuing his visit and USO tour through the Middle East and Central Asia.
(Air Force Master Sgt. Stanley Coleman with the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing contributed to this article.)