KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William Mayville, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division visited Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, Oct. 25.

Mayville visited key military leaders from the Fort Knox, Ky.,-based 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke as part of a multi-day tour of operations in Regional Command-East.

Before attending the planned briefings, Mayville awarded the Purple Heart Medal to nine soldiers for their contributions and sacrifices to the country.

"You are doing a fantastic job," Mayville said after presenting the awards to the recipients. "This is a complicated place to fight."

He reminded soldiers that although the end of their deployment is right around the corner they need to stay focused on the task at hand.

"Keep your eye on what is in front of you. You are about to enter a danger zone mentally," he warned. "Stay focused and that day will come."

After the awards ceremony, he attended a briefing on TF Duke current operations and plans for the winter months. The briefing gave him a chance to understandthe experiences of soldiers face on the ground.

Later, he flew to Camp Clark with U.S. Army Col. Chris Toner, commander of the TF Duke and a native of Topeka, Kan., to speak with Afghan National Army andTF Duke soldiers about operations in the area.

"This is about more than just fighting insurgents," Mayville said. "It's about making sure our partners have the capability to carry on the fight after we're gone. You're doing an awesome job."

He toured the headquarters of the 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 1st Inf. Div., TF Duke, and the 2nd Brigade, 203rd Corps, Afghan National Army, and asked questions about the partnership between the two groups and their operating procedures.

He closed the day by reminding soldiers of the men and women who stayed behind at Fort Knox and are working to prepare the way for the Duke Brigade to come home.

"They are doing a great job. They're taking care of the wounded soldiers sent home from the fight and the families of your loved ones," Mayville said.