FORT HOOD, Texas (Army News Service, Oct. 3, 2006) - With deployment on the horizon, Soldiers at the Ironhorse Dining Facility quenched their qualms about leaving for Iraq with a little help from one of the Army's highest-ranking senior leaders.

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Richard Cody talked with Soldiers over lunch at the 1st Cavalry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team Dining Facility Oct. 2.

Cody talked with Soldiers about their deployment fears and concerns, and reminded them to stay in touch with their families.

"My son just got back from Iraq," said Cody, who has two sons with the 101st Airborne Division. "As a father, I've got to tell you to make sure you're emailing your mom and dad a lot."

One Soldier raised concerns about the current 12-month rotations for Soldiers in Iraq.

"We currently don't have a big enough Army to rotate Soldiers every six months," Cody explained. Deploying Soldiers for six months at the Army's current size would result in more frequent deployments, he explained, adding that keeping a division in place for 12-months is best for the mission and Soldiers' safety.

"It allows you enough time to learn the neighborhoods - who you can trust and who you can't trust," Cody said. "We've elected to keep the team together (longer), and I think we're having fewer casualties because of it."

He also spoke about the mentality of the enemy in Iraq.

"This is a test of will, they believe the American people will give up," Cody said, referring to the insurgents in Iraq. "They believe by 2007 we won't be able to sustain our forces."

Cody said he sees that as a ridiculous notion, considering the fact that the Army met its recruiting goal over the past year by enlisting 80,000 new recruits.

"We also have 65,000 of you who are combat vets, and that is powerful stuff," said Cody.

He summed up the reasons for the Army's continued involvement in Iraq with a touch of motivation.

"Where you march, history has proven freedom follows in your footsteps," Cody said. "We just need to stay the course."