Myers Wraps Up Iraq Trip With Meetings, Unit Visits
By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 16, 2004 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrapped up his first trip to Iraq since April with a series of unit visits and high-level meetings Nov. 15.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers joined Task Force Baghdad soldiers for breakfast at the unit's dining hall. The task force consists of 1st Cavalry Division soldiers augmented by soldiers from other units. The chairman mingled easily with the soldiers as he waited in line, chatted amiably with them as they ate, and posed for pictures with many of them at their request after the meal.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers converses
with Army Spc. Kevin Shaffer, center, a combat engineer with the 458th Engineer
Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division, and Army Spc. Maria Kahookele, 110th
Military Intelligence Battalion of the 10th Mountain Division, during breakfast
at the Tiger Brigade dining facility on Camp Al Tahreer (Liberty), Iraq, Nov.
15. Photo by Spc. Andy Miller, USA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
From there, the chairman went to the division's headquarters, where the division commander, Army Maj. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, briefed him on operations in and around Baghdad.
Myers' next stop was a private meeting with Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., commander of Multinational Force Iraq. Then Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq, updated them on the command's progress in training Iraq's security forces.
Following a working lunch with coalition partners from South Korea, the chairman's party boarded helicopters for a trip to Camp Fallujah. There, Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler and his staff briefed the chairman on operations in Fallujah and elsewhere in Iraq's Anbar province.
After the briefing, Marine Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, 1st Marine Division commander, discussed the operations with reporters traveling with Myers.
"Fallujah was critical, because it was a sanctuary," Natonski said. "This was the location where the insurgents could refit, rearm, rest and launch their attacks. That's now been denied to them. So, in effect, what we've done is placed them on the run."
Later, at Forward Operating Base Kalsu in northern Babil province, Myers visited Marines of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit for a briefing on their operations and a first-hand look at enemy weapons the unit had captured, some of them modern and some of them so old they'd be at home in a museum.
The chairman's final meeting occurred with Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and other interim Iraqi government officials.
Myers said that although he knows the way ahead will continue to be "very, very tough," he is encouraged by what he saw and heard during his visit, and he is optimistic about Iraq's future.