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Soldier, Family Center Underscores Nation’s Commitment, Chairman Says

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky., Feb. 21, 2009 – The construction of a new Soldier and Family Assistance Center here underscores the nation’s commitment to those who sacrifice so much, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said during a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.

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U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, third from right, and leaders from the greater Fort Campbell, Ky., area break ground on a new Soldier and Family Assistance Center Feb. 20, 2009. DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley
  

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“The entire capability of the SFAC -- but the broader commitment to men and women who’ve been wounded and the support of their families -- is one we have spoken to [and] have invested in,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said. “Today is certainly a critical day in terms of meeting that commitment.”

The 15,000 square-foot center will be the focal point of the future Warriors in Transition Complex, an overall 18-month, $43 million endeavor.

To boost the mood even higher, officials announced that President Barack Obama had included the Warriors in Transition Complex in his stimulus package for Fort Campbell.

“Being part of the stimulus bill will stand it up a year earlier,” Mullen said. “I’m really delighted to know that that’s going to happen.”

Army Col. Richard Thomas, commander of Fort Campbell’s Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, described the new Soldier and Family Assistance Center as world-class.

“This groundbreaking of this world-class facility, which we’ll soon be able to inhabit, goes a long way to ensuring that we can provide that outstanding health care to our soldiers and their families for years to come,” he said.

For Thomas, however, the second half of the ceremony was just as important.

“Today is especially significant as we sign the Army Warrior Healthcare Covenant … because this is a rededication, a recommitment to the very principles on which military medicine was founded,” he said. “There is no more sacred mission, there is no more honorable calling, than taking care of our soldiers and their families.”

The covenant states, in part: “Our Greatest Asset: You. If you are wounded, ill, or injured, we will get through it together.”

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Biographies:
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

Related Sites:
Special Report: Travels With Mullen
Fort Campbell


Click photo for screen-resolution imageU.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Steve Townsend, deputy commander of the 101st Airborne Division, sign the Army Warrior Healthcare Covenant at a ceremony celebrating the ground breaking of the new Soldier and Family Assistance Center on Fort Campbell, Ky., Feb. 20, 2009. DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley   
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