by Nondice Thurman
Courier staff

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (June 23, 2011) " Chief of Staff of the Army General Martin E. Dempsey visited with Soldiers and their Families at Fort Campbell, Ky., June 23. He wanted to take the time to see the installation, find out some of the concerns of Soldiers and their Families and to thank them for everything they do for their country.

“Fort Campbell, the 101st, the 5th Special Forces Group and all the other folks here they’ve been carrying a fairly significant share of the load,” said Dempsey. “They’ve deployed I think more than any other [major] unit in the Army. They’ve had some incredible successes in both Iraq and Afghanistan and frankly I wanted to come down and tell them thank you and to also give them some thoughts on where we might be headed in the future.”

Dempsey visited the 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment, met with senior leadership and took the time to talk with Soldiers and their Families from various units across the installation. The Family Forum gave Soldiers and their Families a chance to voice some of their concerns with everything ranging from housing, behavioral health and recreation.

“I love visiting with Soldiers and Families,” said Dempsey. “No one is as candid with you as a Soldier and a Soldier’s spouse.”

He appreciated many of the Soldiers and the Families bringing their children to the forum he hosted with his wife, Deanie. He felt it portrays part of what we want in our military.

“That’s the image we want,” he said. “Soldiers, Families and children united in a common purpose, part of a profession where we have to trust each other if we are going to move ahead.”

Dempsey explained he appreciates what the 101st has done, especially since his first tour to Iraq in 2003. He served with the 1st Armor Division at the time and worked with Gen. Raymond Odierno, who has been nominated as the next Chief of Staff of the Army, and Gen. David Petraeus, then commander of the 101st.

“I’ve held a deep appreciation for what this division provides not only in terms of its capabilities, but also the spirit,” said Dempsey. “What you want is an Army that can not only deliver, but also is proud of itself, is aware of its history and believes it can make a difference. It is actually a sense of trust and I sense that those assigned to this division have a great deal of trust in each other. That’s the kind of foundation of the Army I want to be a part of.”

Dempsey repeatedly thanked the Fort Campbell Soldiers and their Families for what they have done. He explained he is proud of them and wants them to strive and continue on despite the uncertainties in the world.

“My message to them is thanks for what you’ve done, continue to be ready for that uncertain future,” said Dempsey. “Be proud of yourselves and your Families and your children for the role that they’ve played. [Don’t] be distracted by the discretions about the budget; I’ll take care of that. We will preserve our commitment to their training and to their Family programs, our Wounded Warriors and our Gold Star Families. It is really a commitment that as we go forward that despite the uncertainty, we are going to be OK.”

He enjoyed his visit to Fort Campbell and acknowledged Fort Campbell continuing its rendezvous with destiny, continuously adding to the heritage of the units stationed here.

“It is an inspirational place,” Dempsey said. “Not just because of the place, although there is inspiration in looking at the great history of the 101st, but also what we know the Soldiers who have deployed from here have done. They have really written another page in their extensive history and I think it’s one of those places you come to remember, why we do what we do.”