Chairman of Joint Chiefs Visits Warhorse Soldiers
March 12, 2008
FORT CARSON, Colo. (Army News Service, March 12, 2008) - Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division Soldiers Mar. 10 at Fort Carson.
Mullen visited the 2nd BCT Soldiers while they conducted training using simulated Iraqi villages and Iraqi contractors role-playing, to prepare the brigade for its upcoming rotation to the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.
"This is training time," said Mullen to the Soldiers. "Push yourselves to get as much as you can, because you'll need all that."
The visit came as a total but pleasant surprise, said Pfc. Jason Hickman, infantryman, Company A, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd BCT.
"It was a shock. Here we are pulling security and all of a sudden two helicopters land and here comes the highest ranking man in the military," said Hickman.
"It was a great experience meeting him and him talking to my Soldiers and giving them a chance to interact with someone at that high of a level," added Capt. Larry Brown, commander, Co. A, 1-67 AR.
"We're working hard down here and just knowing that leaders at all levels are taking an interest in our training and that (Mullen) would come out to spend time with my Soldiers is a great morale booster," continued Brown.
The Soldiers explained that their mission in the village was to help stabilize the area by working with the villagers and the local leaders, building up the Iraqi Security Forces and weakening the terrorist groups.
They said utilizing actual Iraqis, working through translators and learning more about their culture, brought a greater realism to benefit the training that will help the Soldiers accomplish their mission when deployed.
"One of the nice things about training like this is it really prepares you to be able to carry out the mission and do it in a very successful way," said Mullen.
He told the Soldiers that security in Iraq is much better than it was but that there is still a ways to go.
The group of Soldiers responded by asserting their determination to get the job done.
"Thanks for what you're doing and thanks to your Families for all the support that they give," said Mullen, shaking the Soldiers' hands, patting them on the back and presenting them with his coins of excellence.
(Sgt. Rodney Foliente serves with the 2nd BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.)