A visit by a commanding general served as a holiday gift for veterans receiving medical care.

Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, commanding general, Joint Munitions Command, traveled to the Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center, Dec. 19, 2013, to visit veterans during an afternoon tour.

"I applaud you for all you do," French said to Iowa City VA Medical Center Systems Director Barry Sharp. "Really, it's very encouraging to see (the VA) dealing with all the challenges and helping our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who are returning from (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and (Operation Enduring Freedom)."

Touring the medical center with French, included JMC's deputy to the commander, Mrs. Trish Huber; JMC Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Bryant; Aide-de-Camp 1st Lt. Gretchen Gaskins, and Sgt. First Class Wally McFadden.

French met Ms. Hasting who served three years in the Army working with Patriot missiles.

"It's about time I saw a woman general," she exclaimed as French entered her room.

Eldred Dubishar, of Ottumwa, Iowa, served in the Army from 1954-1957 and worked with ordnance at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

"I was carrying around boxes of sand (for practice carrying ammunition)," he said.

Visiting veterans' hospitals is part of a larger Department of the Army/Chief of Staff of the Army's mission to reach out to veterans.

French learned that the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System services are available to more than 184,000 veterans living in 50 counties in eastern Iowa, western Illinois and northern Missouri.

She also visited the Women's Health Clinic and met veterans there.

"I've been coming here since my discharge from the Navy and I get very good care. It keeps getting better and better," said Kim Liuzzo, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

During the tour, French handed out command coins and handshakes to the staff and veterans.

"(The visit) was very neat," she said. "It was nice to see the different generations of veterans from the older to the younger generations. It's a very nice facility."

From its headquarters here, JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. Government agencies, and allied nations.