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First Lady to Visit Military Families at Fort Bragg

By Reginald Rogers
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORT BRAGG, N.C., March 12, 2009 – First lady Michelle Obama will meet today with military families and several organizations that support them during her first visit here as first lady.

“Mrs. Obama’s visit is important to our Fort Bragg families, because we will hear firsthand from the first lady of the United States about her support and concern as it relates to the impact of repeated deployments on our families and children over the past eight years,” said Charlene Austin, wife of Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq and 18th Airborne Corps.

Austin said she expects that the post will make a favorable impression on the first lady as well.

“I have no doubt that Mrs. Obama will leave as impressed and excited as I have been about the events, activities and initiatives I have seen demonstrated by our volunteers, civilian work force and community partners in support of military families,” Austin said.

Members of the community here said they look forward to welcoming the first lady and realize the importance of her visit. “It demonstrates the emphasis and concern that this current administration has about the well-being and lifestyle of our soldiers and their families,” Barbara Trower-Simpkins, director of the Fort Bragg Army Community Service, said.

During her visit here, the first lady will have the opportunity to see some of Fort Bragg’s newest facilities, several of which have opened their doors within the past year.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase what we’re doing to take care of our soldiers and their families,” Gregory Bean, installation support manager for the Directorate of Public Works said. “The facilities and homes are a manifestation of respect we have for them and their dedication to our country.”

Karen L. Miller, chief of Child, Youth and School Services on post, said she is equally excited about today’s activities.

“Child, Youth and School Services is excited that Mrs. Obama’s first visit as the first lady to an Army installation includes a visit to a Fort Bragg child development center,” Miller said. “It demonstrates her commitment to improve the lives of Army families and continued support of the Army Family Covenant.”

Austin said Obama’s visit also provides an opportunity for Fort Bragg’s leaders, volunteers and civilians, along with the community, to showcase the post’s proactive support for military families and children.

“Mrs. Obama’s visit also provides an opportunity to say “thank you” for your decision to focus on military families and children,” she said. “We will ask Mrs. Obama to help continue the way forward for military families … who are true heroes on the home front.”

(Reginald Rogers works in the Fort Bragg public affairs office.)

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