Cheney Praises Active, Guard Troops for Terror War Contributions
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2005 Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Fort Drum, N.Y., today to thank and welcome home troops just returned from Iraq and to tell them they've helped make a difference for the future of Iraq, the Middle East and the United States.
Vice President Dick Cheney thanks soldiers of the Army's 10th Mountain Division and the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division for their service in Iraq during a speech at Fort Drum, N.Y., Dec. 6. Photo by Spc. Sam P. Dillon, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"We know your country asked you to carry out some difficult and some dangerous missions," the vice president told the group, which included members of the 10th Mountain Division and the Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division.
"You went about that work with tremendous focus, skill and regardless of the conditions," Cheney said. He praised the troops who he said "have been taking on tough assignments, adapting to enemy tactics, pressing on and hanging tough."
The vice president praised both divisions for the contributions they've made to the global war on terror. "In the four years since our nation was attacked, you've deployed on many fronts in the war on terror," he said. "Whether the job is dragging mortar tubes through waist-deep snow 9,000 feet up in the foothills of the Himalayas of Afghanistan, or conducting raids up staircases in urban Iraq, you know how to take the fight to the enemy and to get the job done right," he said.
He noted that 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team was one of the first to train the Afghan National Army. And in Iraq, he added, it provided support for the elections and helped round up and detain about 600 terrorists around Baghdad.
Similarly, the 42nd Infantry Division, nicknamed "the Rainbow Division" during World War II by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, demonstrated its mettle as the first Army National Guard division headquarters to deploy into combat since the Korean War, Cheney said.
In Iraq, the Guardsmen conducted thousands of raids and search missions, killed and detained terrorists, helped train Iraq forces and provided security for the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum, he said. At the same time, they maintained, supplied and supported one of the largest operational areas ever belonging to an Army division.
"Each and every one of you is part of a team that continues to make history, removing threats to America and other free nations, bring new hope to a troubled region of the world," the vice president said. "As a member of the armed forces, each of you defends this country and represents the best that is in it."
Cheney praised the troops for dedicating themselves to serving the United States and its ideas and meeting that commitment during a challenging but critical time in American history.
As they have committed to the challenges, their families have, too, the vice president noted. "Military service often requires a great deal of commitment and sacrifices by families," he said. "And on behalf of the president and all Americans, I thank the family members who are with us today, and I want you to know that all Americans appreciate the sacrifices of our military families."
No one knows every turn in the road ahead in the war on terror, and servicemembers and their families will continue to make sacrifices as the fight continues, the vice president acknowledged. He called the period of struggle and testing an opportunity for the United States to make the world a better place. "And each of you," he told the soldiers, "is helping write a proud chapter in the history of freedom."
Following his statement, Cheney presented Purple Heart medals to two soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Brigade, Special Troops Battalion, who were wounded by improvised explosive devices in Iraq: 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Moore and Pfc. Marcos Maldomado. Cheney also administered the oath of re-enlistment to 20 10th Division soldiers, reminding them of the division motto, "Never forget: Climb to Glory!"