10th Mountain Division commander visits deployed Soldiers: Visit boosts morale of 7th Engineer Batt
February 16, 2012
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, made a stop at Forward Operating Base Shank on Feb. 6, to visit with 7th Engineer Battalion. During his three-hour visit, Milley spent time to meet the Soldiers and leaders of the battalion.
Accompanied by Lt. Col. Mark Quander, battalion commander, and Maj. James Handura, battalion executive officer, Milley went from one office to the next, speaking to the team of Soldiers working there.
The main topic of discussion was work- and Family-oriented, but often ended up at the outcome of the Super Bowl. As a Massachusetts native, Milley wanted to ensure that the New England Patriots fans in the 7th Engineer Battalion were all handling the loss well.
Following the initial orientation, Milley ate lunch with a selection of Soldiers and leaders from 7th Engineer Battalion and held a question-and-answer session. For more than an hour, Milley fielded questions on Afghanistan, Fort Drum and the Army.
"It was really great for the Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Maki, commenting on the candid and open discussion during the session.
Maki also commented on the importance for the young NCOs to be able to speak with the general.
"It is probably the only time many of these NCOs will be able to speak to a two-star general, and it was really great for them to get his view on their day-to-day operations," he said.
Before departing, Milley was briefed on several pieces of route clearance equipment from members of 3rd Platoon, 630th Route Clearance Company. These briefings provided Milley with an overview of the Buffalo, Husky and RG-31 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
"It's great any time a division commander can take time to come down and spend several hours with a battalion," Handura commented. "I think that's a testament to Maj. Gen. Milley's interest in what's going, plus it's great for him to get a sense of Solders' concerns, be it concerns with living at Fort Drum or operational concerns. Everybody in the battalion (who) participated was pretty motivated to have the chance to interact with Maj. Gen. Milley."