U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey congressman, recently led a congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan, in May, during which he had the opportunity to meet soldiers at Train, Advise, and Assist Command-East (TAAC-E) to receive first-hand information on military operations."It's great to be here with the men and women serving our country, and I am very grateful for their service," said Booker.The senator engaged with U.S. Army soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson, Colorado, within moments of his arrival.1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division arrived in Afghanistan in May and oversee a larger portion of the Train, Advise, and Assist Command-East responsibilities for the NATO-led Resolute Support mission.Booker attended a luncheon with Soldiers from the brigade and took a personal interest in the Soldiers' military occupational specialties, hobbies and future goals."Senator Booker was genuinely interested in our jobs," said U.S. Army Spc. Erica Zuyus, Train, Advise, and Assist Command-East human intelligence collector. "I had an opportunity to explain our rank structure in the military. In return, he explained congressional duties as it relates to the military."Booker serves on several U.S. Senate committees, including the Foreign Relations and Judiciary committees."Visits by members of Congress are extremely important, because they provide leaders of our government insight into the situation on the ground here in Afghanistan," said U.S. Army Maj. Josh Suthoff, Train, Advise, and Assist Command-East chief of staff.After the luncheon with the Soldiers, Booker received a facilities tour, where he motivated Soldiers at the gym and visited the Morale, Welfare and Recreational Center where Soldiers go to relax after a hard day's work.He received hands-on briefs at the medical facility and at the M777A howitzer and 120 mm mortar firing points. The crews fielded Booker's questions in reference to ammunition types, weapon characteristics, and the ability to protect the base and support the Afghan National Army."I was excited to show Senator Booker how we work as a team to operate the M777A Howitzer and was shocked when he spoke fluent Spanish with me during our interaction," said Sgt. Yudith Ledesma, Train, Advise, and Assist Command-East cannon crewmember,.The tour ended at the Joint Operations Center with an operational and intelligence brief on the capabilities of the Afghan National Army."I was very impressed by the visit from Senator Booker," said U.S. Army Capt. Douglas Bright, Train, Advise, and Assist Command-East deputy command judge advocate general. "He was keenly interested in building an understanding of the situation here in Afghanistan, which is necessary for making policy decisions that affect both operations and the lives of service members. His personable interaction is paramount, as it gives our Soldiers a real sense our leadership in Washington, D.C., he cares,"U.S. Army Col. Monté Rone, Train, Advise, and Assist Command-East, deputy commander, emphasized the importance of the train, advise, assist mission and explained its desired end-state of enabling credible, capable and increasingly sustainable Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.There were 17 congressional delegations that visited Afghanistan in 2017 and nine this year. The visits are designed for lawmakers to experience matters relevant to their constituents."Trips are scheduled through liaison offices in the U.S. Capitol," said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Sam Burke, the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) legislative affairs deputy director. "Those offices contact the congressional travel department at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, who then coordinate with us. We gather the congressman or congresswoman's interest and intent, and build a corresponding itinerary. We want to make sure they have the opportunity to execute their oversight responsibilities."Established in 2015, Resolute Support (RS) is a NATO-led, non-combat mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), who assumed nationwide responsibility for Afghanistan's security following the conclusion of the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. Its purpose is to help the Afghan security forces and institutions develop the capacity to defend Afghanistan and protect its citizens in a sustainable manner.