FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The Fort Bragg community played host to a special visitor as the Army's second highest-ranking general dropped in on the community March 3.

Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, who became the 32nd vice chief of staff Aug. 4, 2008, visited the XVIII Airborne Corps leadership, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division Joint Tactical Radio System's Handheld, Manpack, & Small Form Fit Excursion.

Chiarelli arrived at Pope's Silver Ramp at about 8 a.m. and was greeted by Lt. Gen. Rodney O. Anderson, the Corps' deputy commanding general; Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Howard, the Task Force Bragg sergeant major; Maj. Gen. James Huggins, commanding general, 82nd Abn. Div. and Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Lambert, the division's sergeant major.

He was then taken to the Objective Palmer viewing area to observe Soldiers training. Chiarelli also visited Company C, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment as it trained with the Joint Tactical Radio System. He then observed a company air assault to seize high-value targets and demonstrate integration of the JTRS, WIN-T and FBCB2 equipment to provide dismounted Soldier networking and hand-held situational awareness.

Chiarelli held a press conference and addressed various subjects, including U.S. government officials as they work to resolve national budget issues that may affect military spending.

"It has impacted us all," he said. "We're all hoping that we can get a budget. We feel a budget is absolutely essential. If the Army were not to get a budget because of a continuing resolution throughout the year, we would have some shortages of money in our base program, which would cause some problems. But we're confident that Congress will, sooner or later, pass the budget and we'll be able to move on through the rest of fiscal year 2011."

Chiarelli pointed out that Fort Bragg is leading the Army when it comes to meeting the requirements of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, which will bring members of the U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command to Fort Bragg later this year. The commands are currently located at Fort McPherson, Ga.

"Everything seems to be going very well here and as I understand, you'll end up with about 1,000 more people with all the leveling that's done, with the FORSCOM headquarters coming down here. But from a community standpoint, from a construction standpoint and all the different angles that I look at it, BRAC is on track down here and we're not going to have any issues," Chiarelli said.
Before departing Pope Field, Chiarelli thanked the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg community for its support to the Soldiers and their Families.

"It's really wonderful to see a community that's so supportive of these wonderful Soldiers who, for the last 10 years, have been in Iraq and Afghanistan and rather than that support decreasing in any way, what I hear is that this wonderful community continues to support its Soldiers even better today than ever and we thank you for that."