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Chairman Thanks Troops During Kirkuk Visit

By Senior Airman Eric Schloeffel, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq, March 4, 2008 – The highest ranking U.S. military officer made a brief visit here to meet with several deployed units March 2.

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks with servicemembers at Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq, March 2, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo
  

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended meetings with the U.S. State Department provincial reconstruction team, presided over a short promotion ceremony for two Army officers, and had dinner with several airmen and soldiers during his visit.

Before dinner, Mullen provided a few words to an audience that included representatives from each service branch and other government organizations. One of the admiral's primary focuses was the impact families have on the mission in Iraq, despite being thousands of miles away.

"I'm not only grateful for all the people serving here in Iraq, but for their families as well," Mullen said. "Without the sacrifice of our families, none of us could be successful in our careers. We must maintain a delicate balance between the mission and our families."

More than 35 airmen provided security for the chairman while he visited several areas throughout the base.

"It was a ‘one-team, one-fight’ effort that ensured Admiral Mullen received a safe and secure visit," said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Terry Ferguson, 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. "Providing security for the highest-ranking U.S. military member was an outstanding experience for our airmen."

The admiral also mentioned how trips like these only re-affirm his strong beliefs that the U.S. military is the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.

"I've been in the military for quite awhile, and I can honestly say this is the best military the U.S. has ever had, probably the best in the history of the Earth," he said. "We all play a vital role in a vital time, and there isn't a day that goes by I get up without first thinking of what you are doing here. Our country wouldn't be what it is without the great sacrifices many of you are making."

(Air Force Senior Airman Eric Schloeffel serves with 506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs.)

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Biographies:
Adm. Mike Mullen, USN

Related Sites:
Defense Department Web Special: Travels With Mullen


Click photo for screen-resolution imageNavy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives at Kirkuk Regional Air Base, Iraq, March 2, 2008. U.S. Air Force photo  
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