Pace Lauds Service of Troops in Afghanistan
American Forces Press Service
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, July 30, 2006 Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, honored work being done by U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in Afghanistan when he visited troops here July 28. Pace carried a simple message: “thank you.”
Marine Gen. Peter Pace greets Navy Cmdr. Matt Mato, a pilot, during a visit to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, July 28. Pace answered questions and thanked the troops for their service. Photo by Staff Sgt. Robert R. Ramon, CFCA
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The U.S. military’s senior officer attended a luncheon for about 100 coalition servicemembers and addressed several hundred more at a forum in the afternoon.
“Those who planned the attacks on the World Trade Center did so from here,” Pace said as he reinforced the importance of the coalition’s mission in Afghanistan. “We are here, along with NATO forces, to ensure that the Taliban never has control of this country again.”
Officials said Pace comes to Afghanistan about every six months to evaluate progress, check on troops, and visit key local and international leaders.
“Things are getting better here,” he said. “There are more jobs, more schools and more buildings all over Afghanistan.”
Pace conducted a question-and-answer session, elaborating on topics ranging from reconstruction in Afghanistan to improved deployment cycles -- such as one-year rotations overseas followed by two years at home -- for all services.
Army Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Gainey, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman, accompanied Pace on the trip to spend time with troops and tell them how thankful he was for their time and sacrifice.
Gainey said the young men and women of America’s armed forces are the catalyst for success of Operation Enduring Freedom. As senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman, he said, he felt obligated to ensure each and every enlisted servicemember was taken care of.
Before departing, Pace told the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that he personally wanted to thank them for their selfless service and a job well done.
(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)