By Capt. John T. StammJanuary 28, 2011
SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras -- Secretary of the United States Army John McHugh paid a visit here, Jan 11-12, to learn more about Joint Task Force-Bravo capabilities and to speak candidly with Soldiers stationed here.
Secretary McHugh received an orientation flight aboard a UH-60 helicopter, courtesy of the 1-228th Aviation Regiment, and attended a command briefing detailing the history, accomplishments, and current operational capabilities of JTF-B before hosting an open forum where he addressed the concerns of Soldiers in attendance.
"I had the chance to meet with Soldiers, NCO's and later the officer corps," Secretary McHugh said. "(I) just try to get a read as to how (troops) feel about things, how they feel about their service and (the mission) and try to respond to any questions. That's what these trips are all about."
Secretary McHugh equated the United States Army to any large business organization, and said that there is always a "rumor of the day" to address, and that open forums are the best way to answer questions such as the future of the Army in places such as the Middle East and what that means to the Soldiers' careers and family life.
"I don't always find myself in a position to answer their questions (completely), but I try to do my best to respond to whatever they may be thinking about," he said. "Coming down here, I hope at least, says that we recognize the important, in fact invaluable, work you are doing."
While Secretary McHugh acknowledged that the attention of Americans and the U.S. Government has been drawn to the on-going war in Iraq and Afghanistan, he stressed the importance of contributions to the security of the region and the United States that JTF-B has made and continues to make.
Secretary McHugh concluded that, as the top individual in the Army, he devotes most of his attention to issues that affect Soldiers. But, he expressed his admiration for all men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
"I just want the folks to understand we're not just aware they're down here, we're deeply appreciative of what they do," he said. "In terms of Central America, when you think about American presence, this is as important as it gets."
Joint Task Force-Bravo provides U.S. military first-response capabilities throughout Central America, providing security and stability and enhancing opportunities for prosperity, cooperation and democratic development.