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Panetta Travels to Fort Benning to Address Troops, Families

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2012 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will travel today to Fort Benning, Ga., to speak to deploying soldiers and their families, a senior Pentagon spokesman told reporters yesterday.

 “[The secretary] will be addressing troops down there in a town hall discussion, and he’ll visit multiple training sites at the base,” Navy Capt. John Kirby said.

The defense secretary will speak to about 1,300 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division’s 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team and will answer questions during the town hall meeting.

“I think it’s safe to say that one thing that’s on his mind … is concerns over how recent isolated incidents of misconduct and ethical lapses in judgment have had, and continue to have, a strategic impact on the military – particularly in Afghanistan,” Kirby said. “So I think he’s just going to share some of his concerns over that with them as well.”

The secretary will eat lunch with 10 junior soldiers, observe dismounted squad training demonstrations and meet with senior leaders. He will also look at their advanced situational awareness training and observe an infantry battalion during a live-fire exercise and as soldiers negotiate a confidence course, Kirby said.

Panetta also will express his appreciation for the sacrifices the troops and their families are making.

 “As always, he wants to thank them for their service and what they’re doing and [show appreciation for] the support that they get from their families and the extraordinary work that they do every day,” Kirby said.

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Leon E. Panetta

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