By Kelli Bland, Fort Campbell CourierOctober 17, 2006
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (Army News Service, Oct. 17, 2006) - Vice President Richard Cheney visited Fort Campbell Monday to thank Soldiers for their service and welcome home members of the 101st Airborne Division from a yearlong deployment to Iraq.
More than 4,000 Fort Campbell Soldiers braved the cold rain and wind for Cheney's visit to the Sabalauski Air Assault School on post.
"This country is very proud of you," Cheney told the Soldiers. "Last month in Iraq you completed a yearlong deployment that has reflected tremendous credit on the Army and helped to move a liberated country one step closer to a future of security and peace. As a part of Task Force Band of Brothers and Task Force Baghdad, you have amassed a record of excellence and solid results."
Cheney congratulated the Soldiers for their success in Iraq.
"It's hard and unrelenting work, and it's vital to our nation's freedom and security," Cheney said. "You've shown exactly what it means to take on perilous assignments and to adapt to enemy tactics and to press on and hang tough. You've returned to Fort Campbell in the knowledge that your deployment has added further glory to the history of the 101st Airborne Division. Screaming Eagles, welcome home."
Prior to the vice president's entrance, Maj. Gen. Thomas Turner, commander of the 101st Airborne Division and Fort Campbell, reminded the Soldiers in attendance of the importance of their work in Iraq and the support they receive from Americans across the country.
"For Soldiers of this great democracy to be successful in combat, we must know that they have the support of their fellow citizens," Turner said. "Our leaders, our commander in chief and our vice president have been tireless in reminding the American people of the threat to our way of life, the threat to our very existence posed by this brutal, evil enemy that you have faced firsthand.
"They have been unwavering in their support of Soldiers deployed in combat. That the vice president would take time from his busy schedule to welcome you home speaks volumes of his leadership and speaks volumes of your accomplishments during this past year."
Cheney discussed the work of the armed forces in Iraq. He reminded the troops of the reasons why America is still fighting in the Middle East.
"If the terrorists were to succeed, they would return Iraq to the rule of tyrants - make it a source of instability in the Middle East and use it as a staging area for more attacks," Cheney said. "The terrorists also know that as freedom takes hold, the ideologies of resentment and hatred will lose their appeal, and the advance of liberty and equality of self government in the Middle East will lead to a much safer world.
"The terrorists know they cannot beat us in a stand-up fight - they never have. The only way they can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission, so they continue committing acts of random horror, believing they can intimidate the civilized world and break the will of the American people."
During his visit to Fort Campbell, Cheney recognized the accomplishments of the 101st, the 5th Special Forces Group and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, who have all deployed from Fort Campbell throughout the war on terror.
"Having been on the ground, all of you know that we've made progress - not easily, but steadily, and we can be confident going forward," he said. "Members of our military have worked diligently to make sure that more Iraqi families have police protection and electricity and water and sanitation for their homes. By your openness and your decency, by your honor and your kindness to others and thousands of interactions, you've built bonds of friendship that are very important to our two countries."
Aside from thanking the troops who serve, the vice president was sure to remember the Soldiers' families. He wanted them to know how much their fellow Americans appreciate their dedication to the United States. Standing among the Soldiers and families at Fort Campbell gave him confidence in the will of the American people, Cheney said.
He also recognized the more than 150 Screaming Eagles who have given their lives for freedom since the war on terror began.
"The Army brethren still feel their loss, and a grateful nation will honor their memory forever," the vice president said. "Every sacrifice reminds this nation that our freedom comes at a price, but we're fortunate that so many fellow Americans have stepped forward to wear the uniform of the United States."