FOB SALERNO, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Feb. 11, 2008) - Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody talked to Soldiers at a forward operating base near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan Saturday about the Army's plan to alleviate some of the burden of long deployments.

"We are standing up six new infantry brigades and eight other brigades," Cody said, explaining how the Army will grow over the next five years. "We would like to get to the point where we have 12-month deployments with 24 months back at home with your family and taking care of schools and training."

Cody promoted, awarded and re-enlisted Soldiers this weekend at FOB Salerno in the Province of Khost, Afghanistan. He met with Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, deployed from Vicenza, Italy; 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, from Fort Campbell, Ky.; and others from the 4th Squadron, 73rd Calvary Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C

He also discussed operations with leaders, and talked with the troops about their effort and dedication.

"I don't know about this war like you do, but I understand what it is like," said Cody. "I'm not just some bureaucrat from Washington. I have two sons in the Army with six deployments between them."

"You joined because 300 million people back home depend on you," Cody said. "You're writing history. You'll be able to look back in 30 or 40 years and know you made a difference in this world."

Cody spoke of the support from the people back home and how much they supported their Soldiers.

He said America holds its Soldiers in high regard during this war and they understand the struggles and hardships the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq face daily.

"I am very optimistic, regardless of the stress of six years at war," Cody continued. "People are behind you and support what you're doing. Where the American Soldier marches; freedom marches in his footsteps."

(Spc. Nathan W. Hutchison serves with the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)