Gates Thanks Troops for Afghan Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE WALTON, Afghanistan, June 5, 2011 — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates, pay­ing his final vis­it to Afghanistan before his June 30 retire­ment, told troops on the front lines today that it’s tough for him to say good­bye.
Gates vis­it­ed this base in Region­al Com­mand South and Camp Dwyer in Region­al Com­mand South­west to speak to and thank the men and women who car­ry out the mis­sion every day.

“I’ve come out here to thank you for the last time for your ser­vice and for your sac­ri­fice,” he said. “More than any­body except the pres­i­dent, I’m respon­si­ble for you being here. I’m the per­son that signed the deploy­ment papers that got you here. And that weighs on me every day.”

About 200 sol­diers wait­ed here for the sec­re­tary under an awning, as the tem­per­a­ture already was over 100 degrees when he arrived. Gates answered ques­tions on var­i­ous top­ics — such as the sit­u­a­tion in Libya and how to get state­side train­ing for ser­vice mem­bers who dri­ve and work on mine-resis­tant, ambush-pro­tect­ed vehi­cles — before pre­sent­ing each with a com­mem­o­ra­tive coin.

Gates has held the posi­tion longer than all but four pre­vi­ous defense sec­re­taries, and with the nation at war the entire time. Pres­i­dent George W. Bush nom­i­nat­ed him for the job, and he took office in Decem­ber 2006. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma asked the sec­re­tary to stay in the posi­tion when his admin­is­tra­tion took office. He told the deployed ser­vice mem­bers he took the respon­si­bil­i­ty for the young men and women who make up the armed forces to heart from his first day on the job.

“I con­sid­ered myself per­son­al­ly respon­si­ble to make sure you had what you need­ed to com­plete your mis­sion, to come home safe­ly, and if you are hurt, to be mede­vaced as fast as pos­si­ble and get the best pos­si­ble care,” he said.

“I just want you to know I think about you every day. I think about your hard­ships and your sac­ri­fices and your bur­dens, and those of your fam­i­lies, more than you can pos­si­bly know,” he con­tin­ued. “You are, I believe, the best our coun­try has to offer, and you will be in my thoughts and prayers every day for the rest of my life.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →