Fort Stewart, GA --The 32nd Under Secretary of the Army, Patrick J. Murphy made his first visit to Fort Stewart Hunter Army Airfield, Aug. 10-11.
Murphy's platform consists of readiness, the Soldier for Life program and the establishment of partnerships. Visiting Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield would give him a hands-on opportunity to evaluate these areas of importance in one location.
On day one, of his two-day stay, Murphy visited Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment in their motor pool and a Georgia Army National Guard Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site; ate breakfast with unit leaders; stopped in on a few classes at the Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith Education center and participated in a town hall meeting with personnel assigned to the base.
During the town hall meeting, which was attended by Soldiers and Civilians, Murphy discussed Army budget cuts, Soldier transition and the importance of taking care of Soldiers and telling their stories.
Murphy had the opportunity to speak with transitioning Soldiers at the Fort Stewart SFL Transition Assistance Program Academy, where he received candid feedback on the challenges that transitioning Soldiers face.
One Soldier in the academy expressed to Murphy that a challenge he faced, was getting notice to leave the military - in the middle of his deployment. The Soldier said it was frustrating to try and transition out; while he was still trying to support the mission.
"The Soldier for Life Program is a readiness issue," Murphy said. "Every Soldier will eventually leave the military; whether they do three years or 30 years, and we have got to do a better job in making sure that they have the necessary skills 12 months before leaving the military."
After discussing hot topics with Soldiers, Murphy ended day-one of his visit at Warriors Walk.
Warriors Walk is a walkway of white blooming Crape Myrtles planted to honor Fallen Soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division and attached units who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
"Whether you support the war or not, you should separate the war from Warriors," said Murphy as he spoke on the harsh treatment Vietnam Veterans received when returning home.
Murphy said that when the Nation calls, it is not the Soldier who decides when or where.
Murphy is a former Army captain with two combat deployments.
"We've asked less than one percent of our nation to serve and you are part of that one percent," Murphy said to a group of Soldiers. "Your Families are a part of that one percent."
Murphy began day two of his visit with Soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, by completing the Marne Mile Obstacle course for physical readiness training and then ate breakfast with 3rd ID Artillery Soldiers at the DIVARTY dining facility.
"We owe our Nation the ability to fight tonight," Murphy said. "It's important to stay ready and lead by example."
That's why he chose to get up before sunrise and work out with the Soldiers.
After PRT and breakfast, a 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade UH-60 Black hawk helicopter awaited the Under Secretary in front of division headquarters. He then headed to Hunter to visit troops from 3-160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, 1-75th Ranger Regiment, and 3rd CAB.
Hunter is home to the Army's longest runway on the east coast, 1-75th Rangers and 3-160th SOAR.
"Fort Stewart Hunter Army Airfield is a place where we take care of Soldiers," Murphy said. "Every Soldier that we have is an asset to our Nation. Wherever we send our Soldiers from 3rd ID or elsewhere, they make a positive difference in those communities and we are just so proud."