Texas congressmen visit 'Long Knife' troopers
August 19, 2011
CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq -- U.S. Representatives John Carter and Michael Burgess, both representing Texas, visited U.S. Soldiers currently deployed in support of Operation New Dawn at Contingency Operating Base, Marez, Iraq, Aug. 13.
Carter and Burgess met with brigade, battalion and stability transition team commanders assigned to 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, to discuss the unit's mission in Ninewa province before it culminates in September.
"We had 15 combined security areas that we were responsible for," said Col. Brian Winski, commander of 4th AAB, 1st Cav. Div. "We trained Iraqi Security Forces on multi-echelon levels, focusing on the things that would make them more effective."
"Long Knife" troopers deployed to Iraq to advise, train and assist the ISF, giving them the tools and opportunity necessary to establish better security in the region and target violent extremists.
"The ISF are effectively protecting the population in this area," Winski said to the congressmen.
Burgess and Carter have seen the improvement.
"I am surprised by how much progress has been made here," said Burgess. You guys are doing a tremendous job. Thank you for everything you do."
Following the meeting with Long Knife leaders, both Burgess and Carter had dinner with Soldiers from central Texas.
Soldiers had the opportunity to discuss current U.S affairs that are affecting the nation and military.
"When it comes to the military, I don't think there will be any attack on retirement or your pay, but TRICARE may (be affected,)" said Carter, in response to a Soldier's question about possible retirement cuts.
Texas border security, cohesiveness in Washington, D.C., and the current budget crisis were also discussed.
"You all have very intelligent questions and this speaks highly of the Army force," Carter said.
Individual Soldiers spoke with the congressmen, having greater access to elected leaders than most citizens.
"It was an enjoyable event," said Capt. Aaron Childers, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th AAB.
"I was able to get a perspective on the people who represent not just my family, but all of the troopers in D.C.," said Childers, a native of Plano, Texas.
Carter and Burgess will continue to travel to southern Iraq to visit other deployed Soldiers before the congressmen return to Washington later this month.