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Department of Defense Press Briefing by Gen. Volesky via Teleconference from Baghdad, Iraq

CAPTAIN JEFF DAVIS: So good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We're pleased to be joined today by Major General Gary Volesky. He's the commander of Combined Joint Forces' Land Component Command for Operation Inherent Resolve. And is also the commander of the famed 101st Airborne Division, joining us live today from Baghdad.

General, I know your time is somewhat limited and you have to leave us at 11:30, so we'll turn it right over to you, sir.

MAJOR GENERAL GARY VOLESKY: Yes, thanks. And I appreciate you all coming today.

First, our condolences go out to the families that were affected by the bombings in Baghdad today. As we've seen, as the enemy loses more and more terrain, they resort to some of these desperate acts. The security forces in Baghdad have the situation under control, but our -- our condolences go out to those families.

As you've heard, I'm Major General Gary Volesky, the commander of the Joint Force Land Component Command here. And we've been on the ground for about -- just over two months, and some of you know our mission. It really is -- really threefold.

The first is to enable Iraqi security force maneuver through kinetic strikes. We provide those by air and ground. The second task that we have is to train Iraqi security force brigades that are really focused on the counter-attack of Mosul at the five build partner capacity sites that we have. And then the third mission that we've been given is to really advise and assist those brigades as they prepare to go into the fight.

You know, we've been here, as I said, about two months. When we got here, the focus was strictly on clearing Ramadi and protecting the northern portion of Iraq, that forward line of troops up there. Over the last 60 days, the situation has changed here.

As you've seen, I reported over the last few months the Iraqi security forces have made great progress in the Euphrates River Valley, putting constant pressure on ISIL, or Daesh as we call them here, throughout the Euphrates. And they've started operations at a place called Makhmur, just to the east of Qayyarah. That's the farthest north that Iraqi security forces have been since the fall of Mosul.

And so what we've seen from the enemy is the enemy was originally able to, you know, use the Tigris River Valley and the Euphrates River Valley, tied them as really one operation. So they could move men, weapons and equipment really without much problems from the Tigris to the Euphrates River Valley. But based on these operations that we've seen, they -- they're no longer able to do that. So they have to fight the Euphrates River Valley and the Tigris River Valley really as two separate operations.

And the pressure that the Iraqi security forces have put on them have changed how Daesh is able to operate. As we saw previously, their ability to conduct large-scale offensive operations has primarily stopped. They're more -- more every day on the defensive, delaying -- trying to delay Iraqi security forces just to buy time.

And we at the CJFLCC have really looked at our targeting methodology to continue to apply pressure across all of Iraq. So not just originally in Ramadi or along a forward line of troops up in the north, but all through the Euphrates River Valley, all through the Tigris to continue to maintain pressure on -- on Daesh.

And so again, that's kind of a quick summary and I'm ready to take your questions.

CAPT. DAVIS: Sure. We'll start with Courtney Kube from NBC News.

Q: Hi, General Volesky. Can I ask you first about these bombings in Baghdad that you've already mentioned? There's reports of more than 150 people killed and hundreds wounded. What is -- has anyone claimed responsibility? And has that changed the U.S. military posture -- security posture at all there in the green zone? What can you tell us about the attacks?

GEN. VOLESKY: (inaudible) -- still being developed and we have not, to answer your question -- you know, it's not changed our posture here. We -- we -- force protection is our first priority, and so we -- we are fine here.

The other piece is, as you know, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. In Baghdad in February, there was an attack just as we were getting here.

The -- the Iraqi Security Forces have not asked us for any assistance, frankly. They've got that well in hand.

And we have not seen a call to move forces that are currently conducting operations against Daesh in both the Euphrates River Valley and the Tigris River Valley back to Baghdad.

So, our assessment is that they are able to handle the issue as they see it.

Q: Something you said in your opening statement, you said that the coalition continues to maintain pressure throughout the Euphrates and Tigris River Valleys.

When you -- do you anticipate that that pressure will include more -- forward bases or fire bases, like we saw formed up in Makhmur? Do you see some of those being place in the Euphrates and Tigris River Valley?

GEN. VOLESKY: Well, as you know, Courtney, the capabilities that we provide are really based on the supporting the Iraqi Security Force plan.

And so, any of these capabilities that we bring in -- you know, we work with the government of Iraq. As we're going through the training and the advise and assist piece, to identify capability gaps they may have. And then we recommend a few that we could potentially provide.

And all of those are approved by the government of Iraq. And so, how they're integrated into the Iraqi operations really is based on that operation. And I would say that, as you mentioned, our -- our Karasour base, where our artillery is, that was an example of a capability that was brought in.

We determined with the Iraqis what the best location was to support that. And then that -- you know, that capability has been very, very well used and supporting the Iraqi forces up in Qayyarah.

So, we take every -- every operation independently, and we look at how we best can support it. And then we work with our Iraqi counterparts, because as you know, we aren’t on the tactical edge of this fight.

The Iraqis are leading this fight. Unlike 2008, when I was here, when we were shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight, the Iraqis are leading this. And we're really enabling them to get after and defeat Daesh.

CAPT. DAVIS: Next to Thomas Gibbons-Neff from the Washington Post.

Q: Hi, sir. Thanks for doing this.

Kind of going back to -- what you were talking about, the tactical edge. I have a question about how the Apaches that have been authorized for future operations kind of fit into the picture.

From what I understand, the way that they're kind of controlled in combat is they're controlled by a very forward element to ensure that they're hitting the proper targets, you know, no collateral damage.

And wondering how that's going to look going into future campaigns, if they're going to be used, how they're going to be controlled, if they'll be controlled from the rear, or there will be some kind of forward element ensuring that they're on-target?

GEN. VOLESKY: Yeah, thanks for the question.

I would just tell you, we won't talk about the tactics or procedures we're going to use. I mean, you know that I'm not the only one that reads your newspaper. I expect they've got a readership here, as well. So, we don't want to talk about tactics.

But what I will tell you is, you know, that's just one tool of the many that we have available to us, and we ensure that we plan those operations very deliberately, that the force protection for those assets that go in are -- are -- (inaudible).

The -- the overarching targeting process we use -- that is, determine our proportionality, you know, military necessity. And then the systems that we use to ensure that we mitigate collateral damage or that -- things that could come out of that.

And so, you know, Apaches, you've heard -- we've talked about artillery. Those are -- those are two capabilities that we have, as well as some of the others that we enable the Iraqis on a daily basis.

Q: Thanks, general.

CAPT. DAVIS: Next to Andrew Tilghman, of Military Times.

Q: Hi, general. Just wanted to ask you to kind of follow up on the announcement from a few weeks ago about the additional authorizations.

Have you actually used Apache helicopters to provide close-air support for these operations in Makhmour? And are there any advisers at this point working at the battalion level?

GEN. VOLESKY: Thanks for the question.

These enablers, as you've talked about, we -- we are using enablers every day. One of those enablers are our advise and assist teams. And right now, we are advising and assisting at the division and operational command level. As we go look at the Iraqi operations, we look to determine what echelon that we can better advise and assist, to enable the Iraqis, one, to maintain good situational awareness, as well as give us our own feedback on how our -- our support is going into that.

As we start to look at these other enablers, you know, these are tied to the fight in Mosul. And so, you know, as we're working with the Iraqi counterparts, we look at when the best to employ those are, based on their operations. So again, it's not, you know, U.S. forces just unilaterally flying across Iraq conducting operations or moving across Iraq.

You know, there aren't U.S. forces in their own patrols like there were in 2004 when I was here before. This is an Iraqi-led operation and we support them. And so any of those enablers you talk about, they're deliberately planned as an operation, not just carte blanche "We're going to fly Apaches," you know, all throughout Iraq.

Again, it's tied to a specific operation and planned just that way.

Q: Just to follow up, is it fair to say that you haven't used the Apaches? You don't have advisers at the brigade or battalion level? And is that basically because the Iraqis have not identified a need for that yet at this point?

GEN. VOLESKY: I didn't say we hadn't used Apaches, and I won't say when or if or have we. And we do have advisers right now at the brigade level. As I said, as these brigade -- or building partner capacity training sites go in, we are focused on training those counter-attack units that are going to go to Mosul, as well as some of those critical hold forces that will enable the Iraqis to ensure that when they pull a force out, to train it, to get it ready to go to Mosul, that that area doesn't become weak that allows the enemy to exploit it.

And as they -- that brigade comes out of training, we put advise and assist elements before they leave training to enable them to -- and help them plan and coordinate those operations.

How we advise and assist, again, is a very deliberate decision. And where we put those advisers, we make sure that we've mitigated the risk to the force. As I said, force protection is job one.

CAPT. DAVIS: Okay. Next, David Martin from CBS News.

Q: Two things. One, could you elaborate on the operations of the artillery fire support base since it got there? I mean, how frequently does it fire? How many rounds per day, for instance? And as I remember, they were going to be swapped out in the near future with another -- an Army artillery unit. Has that happened yet?

And then Secretary Carter said that by June 6th, I think it was, all the forces for the envelopment of Mosul would be in position. What does -- what's that going to look like when all the forces for the envelopment of Mosul are in position?

GEN. VOLESKY: It's great to hear your voice again. It's been a while.

The artillery unit, the one that's coming behind it, wears Apache -- see on my shoulder. It's part of the Screaming Eagles, so we're excited to get them back in, coming in from Fort Campbell.

The impact that you talk about that the Marines have had has been -- has been a phenomenal impact. And I will just share with you, you know, a few days ago, the 72nd Brigade went and took another village away from Daesh over in the Makhmur area and artillery enabled that movement, provided some fires for them, as well as close air support in that movement.

And they were able to get into that town and seize it, you know, within one day. And they provide counter-fire, as you might image, to indirect fire threats that come on. So it's a really -- a full range of missions that artillery typically does.

As far as your second question, what it looks like, the -- again, the Iraqis are driving the planning, here. We are just enabling it. And so as they identify these units that are going to go up to go, you know, defeat Daesh in Mosul, you know, we'll support their plan. And you know, the plan is the one that they -- that they're developing and that's the one we'll support.

Q: Give us a ballpark number, I mean, for rounds fired in a day. Is it dozens of rounds? Scores of rounds? Hundreds of rounds?

GEN. VOLESKY: We'll give you that number. I'll have our folks call you and give you an assessment of that. It really depends on frankly if the Iraqi security forces are moving to do an operation. Clearly, there's more rounds fired if the Iraqis are in the defensive position and that's more (inaudible). So I'll get our team to call you, Dave, and give you -- give you an assessment of that -- our numbers.

CAPT. DAVIS: Okay. Next to Kim Dozier from The Daily Beast.

Q: Hi, General Volesky. Picking up Dave's question on Mosul, you've been working for a while not to cut off the supply routes between Mosul and ISIS in Syria. So how is that going? How are they still getting supplies in? And are you hearing of any shortages or seeing increased signs of fighters leaving the city, trying to leave the city because of these prepping the ground efforts?

And then a second question. Could you give us an average of ISIS targets taken off the battlefield per day by coalition ops, whether it's a task force or a plane in the sky?

GEN. VOLESKY: To get to your second question first, Kim, the -- I think the last time I saw you you were riding in the back of one of my Bradleys here back in 2004 or '05, so it's great to hear you again.

The -- the -- what I would tell you is that as we get closer to Mosul, the harder the fight's going to get, and so when you talk about the numbers of things that we've taken, you know, we can just talk about, you know, the Euphrates River Valley. When I got here, Ramadi was just being cleared. Well, now you look, they're all the way through Hit and -- and Dulab is north of – and clearly you get up farther north into that towards, you know, Rabla and Al-Qaim.

And so you know, what we're working is with the Iraqi plan. I mean, they have a campaign plan. They've been pretty consistent about it, and so that's the one that we support. If you look up in, you know, Makhmur and that pressure on Mosul, what we have seen is the enemy is -- is really fixed on that force that's up there, and so that has -- every -- every step they take towards the -- the -- the river -- the Tigris River Valley up there, every step they get closer to the river, that just continues to put more and more pressure on Daesh.

And so again, we're -- we're using their campaign plan as our -- our enabling piece and they've been fairly consistent and what they want to do.

And repeat your -- your other question for me, please?

Q: Well, I was curious as to the number of ISIS fighters taken off the battlefield per day, by your estimates, by coalition efforts.

And then the second one was, are you seeing results inside Mosul from the actions to cut them off from supplies?

GEN. VOLESKY: Yeah, the numbers of them taken off the field. What I will tell you is they're losing terrain every single day. And the -- the -- versus the numbers, we saw them able -- being able to generate, you know, combat power outside of their -- their areas that they -- they currently occupy on a more frequent basis.

You know, right now, we're not seeing them generate these -- these large operations. We expect it's about a two- to three-week cycle after they do an operation to be able just to try to generate enough combat power to maintain relevance, frankly.

When we used to see, you know, 50, 60, 70 fighters, now what we're seeing is five to eight, maybe 15, with a VBIED associated. But even that generation is based on the local area they're at. If they're in an area near Mosul, where they have had two years to build up and they've got a larger force there, then they can project it in the local area much quicker than they can at other areas like Qayyarah, you know, like down in Sharkat, specifically in the ERB.

In mean, as the Iraqi security forces were going through the ERB, you know, they got done with Hit --- correction, Ramadi; started to move to a place called Mohandas -- or Mohammedi, rather. We expect it was going to take three to four days to clear that. They did it in one. And the enemy was running off.

So what we have seen is a clear degradation in their ability to reinforce and conduct offensive operations. So I think that's probably more telling than talking about numbers of enemy fighters.

As far as Mosul and the interdiction of those, clearly we're -- the Iraqis are putting pressure on them; kinetic strikes from our close-air support have had a significant impact on the enemy. I mean, we get indications of their challenge to resupply their forces, move in men, weapons and equipment throughout Iraq. We get indications that every time they hear an aircraft or one of our platforms, they go to ground. They don't want to move because they know they're about to get struck.

So I think those are pretty good indications of the impact that is being made on the enemy.

CAPT. DAVIS: Okay. Next, Lucas Tomlinson from Fox News.

Q: General, do you or the Iraqis think that Mosul will fall this year?

GEN. VOLESKY: What I'm doing is supporting their plan to get to Mosul and defeat Daesh. I will tell you, you know, there's a lot of discussion. You've heard it, as I have: What are we going to do for Ramadan? You know, how will we get to -- what condition -- how are we going to start to shape by Ramadan?

I will tell you in my dialogue with my counterparts here, they are focused, and they understand the timeliness and the advantages that they have right now, based on the impact that their operations and our enabling have had on Daesh.

And so what I would tell you is they are as focused on accelerating and getting to Mosul as quickly as possible. I will tell you some of the -- the challenges they have, frankly, are force generation. You know, unlike at Fort Campbell when, you know, I've got brigades there that we can call and say, "Hey, send them forward." Every unit here in Iraq is engaged against the enemy.

And so generating a force to get through training, get ready to go up to Mosul, it requires them to move that piece out of another location that's been cleared. And so they want to make sure that they're doing that very deliberately. And, you know, this -- this confrontation is going to have a pace that it will get harder the closer we get to Mosul.

I mean, as you -- as you saw Ramadi, it took about six months to get that city cleared. And they had only been there for a few months. They've been in Mosul for two years. And, you know, as you know, Mosul is about three times larger than Ramadi. And so, you know, as we talk -- talk to them, we just need to be prepared to ensure we're going the right enabling and we've got the right conditions up.

Q: And general, you said that ISIS is losing terrain every single day.

The Pentagon has assessed that more than -- about 40 percent of territory has been retaken from ISIS. Is that still your assessment today, that 40 percent figure?

And also, this area that has been retaken from ISIS, are there local forces protecting that area, and when would that turnover occur?

GEN. VOLESKY: Yeah, the -- the percentage of, you know, is it 40, is it 45, is it 50? All I can tell you is, you know, three or four weeks ago, they had four or five villages that they were sticking a flag in, in a place called -- just out of Qayyarah.

They've lost all those -- they lost another one two days ago. So, you know, I'm not looking at percentages, I'm just looking at the number of places they currently are and where they soon won't be.

So, that -- that's the perspective that I have. What was your other question?

Q: When this area -- these -- like these villages you just described, do those now have -- are those villages protected by local forces when ISIS is cleared?

And if not, when will that turnover occur?

GEN. VOLESKY: Yeah, I -- that's a good question. I think it really depends on where you're at. And it's based on where the enemy -- what the enemy's situation is.

I mean, clearly, if you look at the Euphrates River Valley, and the hold forces that are there, you may see some army, you may see some other forces, some police, some other forces. This is really going to be based on what the enemy's situation is there and the level of security that's required to do that.

You know, up in those villages in Qayyarah, the enemy is still there. And you know, so, they have the capacity to -- to, you know, do some small attacks.

And so, you'll see the army and some other forces come back behind to fill that -- to relieve them as they continue to move forward.

But it's really based on what the enemy's situation is in that area.

Q: Do the Iraqi forces want U.S. forces to do more? Like, you mentioned going shoulder-to-shoulder with the Iraqis years ago. Is that something they have requested?

GEN. VOLESKY: No, they have not. They clearly understand this is their fight. And you know, frankly, we've told them we're going to enable them.

But I -- you know, I've not gotten anyone that says, hey, we want you to take that Screaming Eagle unit and bring it over here. That's -- they are clearly in the lead, and they -- they are executing operations based on the ones that they plan, not the ones that we plan.

CAPT. DAVIS: Next to Jim Michaels from USA Today.

Q: General, just to get a little clearer sense of geography here around Makhmur, could you give a sense of how much progress -- how far Iraqi Security Forces have advanced since kicking off that offensive?

And also just how that fits into the overall shaping operations in advance of an eventual offensive into Mosul?

GEN. VOLESKY: Well, that -- if I could just give you a perspective. Qayyarah and that area that they are in is about 35, 40 kilometers south of Mosul. And so, when say that there is the farthest north since, you know, Daesh came over and took -- you know, came in and occupied Mosul.

That's the farthest north that they've had Iraqi Security Forces for a while.

I would tell you that, as you know, the centrality to Baghdad and the ability to ensure that that is secure has -- you know, that's why the Euphrates River Valley and their campaign plan was the most critical.

You know, you've got places at Ramadi, Fallujah. You know, as they start to -- as they took Ramadi, as they get after Fallujah, that starts to free up some other forces to put other locations -- other places.

And so, you know, the Euphrates River Valley clearly a priority for them; they've made great progress through it, as we have discussed earlier.

They're focused on continuing up the Tigris River Valley. So, you know, our assessment is they're on track with their plan, and they're -- we're getting those forces trained that become available to get them into the fight.

CAPT. DAVIS: Okay. Next to Kasim from Anadolu News Agency in Turkey.

Q: Hi, General. Thanks for doing this. My question would be back on fire bases. We have heard that these fire bases were established in order to protect the U.S. enablers in Makhmur camp who are training the Iraqi forces. And now you -- we have heard from you that you're saying that these guys have also provided counter-fire for -- in support of the 72nd brigade, who were taking on freeing some villages from Daesh in Makhmur.

Could you just clarify the mission of these fire bases and artillery over there?

GEN. VOLESKY: Well, for -- for our bases -- build partner capacity bases -- those are the facilities that we have that we train these units that are tied to going to the Mosul counter-attack. The Karasour base that you're talking has been established for a little bit, and that was primarily -- that was put there specifically to provide some force protection for the Karasour base complex. And that -- as the Iraqi security forces continued their assault down towards the Tigris River, it was there -- there to enable their maneuver.

So that's -- that's what their role is.

Q: How many -- how many fire bases do you have now in -- around that area? Just one or more than one?

GEN. VOLESKY: We -- we have exactly what we need to accomplish the task that the Iraqis are able and asking us to support them with.

CAPT. DAVIS: Luis Martinez from ABC News.

Q: Hey, general. Thank you for doing this briefing. You spoke about the different fights in the Euphrates River Valley and the Tigris River Valley. What kind of different enemies are you facing there? In terms of what -- what -- is one the larger ISIS force than the other? Do they use different tactics because of the fighting that's going on in each of those separate fights?

And also, now that Ramadi is over, are you seeing large numbers of civilian population returning to the city?

GEN. VOLESKY: Hey, it's great to hear you again. As far as composition of the enemy, you know, it's primarily what we've seen. There's no, you know, Euphrates River sect and Tigris River sect that are different. You know, as -- as they try to reinforce and put their -- their -- I'm not seeing different -- many different flavors. It's -- they're just ISIL fighters. So that -- that dynamic hasn't been there.

Ask me your second question again?

Q: Now that the fight for Ramadi is over, are you seeing a flow back of civilian population in large numbers or smaller numbers?

GEN. VOLESKY: The -- you know, as you know, Ramadi is -- that's really a government of Iraqi entity, and they're -- they're managing those that have come back. There have, as you know -- you saw reports previously of thousands that have returned, and that's what -- the government of Iraq is really tight and they're managing that there. So you know, that's under their auspices. So once we -- once the Iraqi security forces have cleared that, you know, they've transitioned that and that's under the government of Iraq's, you know, purview.

CAPT. DAVIS: General I know your time is tight. Do you have time for one or two more or do we need to cut -- cut it off?

GEN. VOLESKY: No, go head. One or two is fine.

CAPT. DAVIS: Next is Richard Sisk from

Q: Sir, could I ask you about the basic tactic that ISIS uses on -- on offense, sending truck bombs and then follow-on forces, such as happened in – Tal Asqaf last week? There was an effort last year to get some AT-4s to the -- to the ISF. I believe the Germans got some (unintelligible) -- shoulder fire to the -- to the Pesh.

Is there an effort now to get some more AT-4s to both the ISF and the Pesh?

GEN. VOLESKY: As far as the tactics the enemy uses, as I said a little earlier, you know, before I got here, they were trying to project forces to go and do these big attacks with a lot larger population. But as we've seen now, it's much smaller groups, really attempting to, in my mind, stay relevant, and to put pressure, really, to try to fix the Iraqi security forces from continuing to move and -- and take away the terrain that they have.

As far as what the equipping strategy, weapons strategies are, you know, we -- we work -- we have a training and equipping program. It's -- we -- we look at a full scale of the capabilities that they have. And as a requirement comes in -- you mentioned AT-4s -- they've got AT-4s. We clearly supply them with that.

But it's, you know, we look at what the requirements are and then we work those to make sure that whatever their requirements are, you know, if the capacity is available and it meets their needs and it's acceptable, then -- then we look at resourcing that.

Q: Just one point of clarification. You won't say whether the Apaches have been used or whether they've not been used. Is that -- is that where it stands?

GEN. VOLESKY: That's pretty much where it stands.

CAPT. DAVIS: Next, Laurent Barthelemy with Agence France-Presse.

Q: Hello, general. Thanks for doing this.

In your introductory statement, you mentioned airstrikes -- the airstrikes of the coalition against ISIL. And you mentioned also I believe ground strikes. What -- what are the ground strikes? Is it only the -- the artillery that was near Makhmour and Karasour? Or is there any other artillery that is playing?

GEN. VOLESKY: As you know, we've -- we've been pretty clear. We've had artillery in the Euphrates River Valley that has supported operations for the Iraqi security forces during that clearance. And we have artillery up in, you know, the Karasour base. So those are -- those are, when I talk about ground fire, that's an example of one of those.

And just to go back to clarify, you know, I want to just make sure that people -- that you understand that these things that we're talking about, when you talk about Apaches, that's really tied to the Mosul counter-attack. And so I want to -- I want to be clear again when you try to pin me down where they're being used, these are not assets that are flying all over independently all over Iraq. These are focused specifically for enabling Iraqi security force operations towards Mosul.

Q: I believe some HIMARS batteries were to be deployed in Iraq. Have they been deployed?

GEN. VOLESKY: I'm sorry. I didn't hear your question.

Q: I believe some HIMARS -- I'm sorry. I think I'm not pronouncing it correctly -- the rocket batteries. Have they been deployed?

GEN. VOLESKY: Yeah, we've had HIMARS since I've been here.

CAPT. DAVIS: One quick follow up from Courtney Kube with NBC News.

Q: General, you mentioned some force generation problems ahead of the Mosul campaign. How many Iraqi security forces need to be trained before the Mosul clearing operations can actually begin? Not the envelopment, the encircling, but the actual clearing operations need. How many need to be trained?

GEN. VOLESKY: Well, I think that, you know, we've got to look at what the enemy is doing at that time. As we've said, the enemy is -- is getting weaker and weaker. And so, you know, as we look and we assess this with our Iraqi partners, I mean, they're the ones that are going to do that mission. And so as we start to define that requirement, we'll work with them and determine exactly what that number is, and then we'll enable them and train them to go accomplish that mission.

That's all the time I've got. What I do want to say is, you know, I want to thank you all again for, you know, sitting with me today and asking your questions. I appreciate it.

The thing I'd leave you with is, this coalition is unlike any other one that I have ever served in. I have been associated with coalition -- we're one of 18 countries that are a part of this coalition, all of them making a huge contribution.

And the other piece I'd say is, you know, from 101st perspective, you know, our saying is, "When you want it done, call in the 101." You know the division deployed to Liberia to do counter-Ebola just about a year -- just short of a year before we came here.

And so, we can't do what we do without our military families and the great communities that support our army every single day.

And I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk with me today.

CAPT. DAVIS: Thank you, general. We appreciate your time.

Thanks, everybody.