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Gates, Pace Laud Troops Serving Far From Home

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Dec. 22, 2006 – New Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today thanked American servicemembers and their families “for the sacrifices they’re all making and for their bravery in pursuit of our nation’s security.”

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Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates meets with U.S. Army and Marine trainers embedded with Iraqi units during a breakfast meeting in Baghdad, Dec. 22. Photo by Cherie A. Thurlby
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Gates, on his final day of a three-day visit to Iraq, said he’s been very impressed with the American troops he’s met.

“As we enter this holiday weekend, I’d simply like to express my admiration to the men and women in uniform and to their families,” he said.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, who accompanied Gates on this trip, agreed.

“One of the things that I’m always impressed with whenever we visit here is the incredible dedication and focus of our men and women here in uniform,” he said. “I continue to be impressed with our U.S. military from the privates first class to the generals. They get it; they’re focused. They know what they’re doing is worthwhile. They want to see this mission to a successful conclusion.”

Pace acknowledged the troops are missing their families “more than ever” as the holidays approach. “We thank them for that sacrifice, and we thank their families too, because obviously the families miss their loved ones, and they worry about whether or not they’re safe here.

“And our military families serve our country as well as anyone who’s ever worn the uniform,” the general added.

“To the folks at home and the folks here,” Pace said. “We wish them a very happy and peaceful holiday season.”

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Biographies:
Robert M. Gates
Gen. Peter Pace, USMC

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