FORT BENNING, Ga. -- The Honorable Ryan D. McCarthy, the senior official performing the duties of the Secretary of the Army, visited the Maneuver Center of Excellence this week.

During his two-day visit, he met with senior leaders and Soldiers, including cadre and students of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. The 1st Security Forces Assistance Brigade demonstrated its capabilities and discussed the team's deployment kit with him. Also, McCarthy was one of 16 inductees of the 2019 Ranger Hall of Fame.

Sgt. Joseph Meggison, a team mechanic with 1st SFAB, was in charge of the team's kit display during McCarthy's stop at Duke Range.

"This is everything we deploy with when we're downrange," Meggison said as he pointed out communication equipment, weapons and medical kits.

In 2018, 1st SFAB deployed to Afghanistan for nine months. The unit activated in 2017 to support NATO's Resolute Support mission. The SFABs mission is to train, advise and assist foreign nation military partners. Meggison said his job during the deployment was to advise foreign security forces on maintenance policy and supply logistics.

He and the team compared the deployment to "building a plane in flight."

During the briefing, McCarthy who deployed with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, for Operation Enduring Freedom 2001-2002, asked if the unit had what they needed while deployed.

"Bottom line: We can protect ourselves," replied Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, 1st SFAB commander.

Shortly thereafter, Soldiers demonstrated these skills by reacting to an attack on "their" vehicle, exiting and returning fire.

In addition to the demonstrations and briefings, McCarthy met with Spc. Jantzen Plyler, who graduated from the Basic Leader Course in June as the Distinguished Honor Graduate, Distinguished Leader and Iron Soldier. Assigned to 14th Combat Support Hospital, she wrote an essay on the prevention of sexual assault and harassment in the Army, which won a SHARP essay contest.

"It was a surreal moment," Plyler said. "He read the essay and we talked for about 10 minutes. He congratulated me on the award and presented me with a coin, which is the coolest one I've gotten.

"It was an honor to meet him."