His four-day trip began with a visit to the North Carolina Army National Guard's 113th Sustainment Brigade, where he met commanders, had lunch with troops and conducted a town hall meeting. The 113th Sustainment Brigade, also known as the Steel Brigade, is deployed here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit is no stranger to Ingram; his previous position was adjutant general of North Carolina.
Ingram spoke to the unit's soldiers after a briefing by Col. David Jones, the brigade commander.
"It's wonderful to see old friends and familiar faces, and I am extremely proud of all that the Steel Brigade has achieved," Ingram said, smiling. "Your unit is only three years old, and in that short time you have become one of the premier sustainment brigades in the Army.
"High-level military logisticians in Washington, in Central Command, and in both the regular Army and Reserves know of the 113th Sustainment Brigade and the hard work and assistance you have given in support of the Kuwait mission and Operation Enduring Freedom," Ingram added.
Ingram attended a town hall meeting hosted by the Steel Brigade. Most of the soldiers' questions concerned the future force structure of the National Guard, budget constraints in hard economic times, and the Guard's success in executing state-level and worldwide missions.
Ingram spoke passionately to more than 300 Guardsmen about the sacrifices of Guardsmen who rushed to the aid of fellow Americans during the devastating tornadoes that struck Joplin, Mo., in May 2011, and Guardsmen who gave their lives to protect innocent civilians and fellow comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Your service and professionalism has been monumental to our nation," Ingram said. "You are what every other nation's soldiers want to be - an American soldier - and I salute you.
"Keep up the good work, continue to make your state and nation proud, and come home safe," he added.
Ingram's visit here is one of many trips he has taken around the world in recent months to meet with National Guard soldiers and see first-hand their missions and accomplishments.
"I have been in this position for less than one year," Ingram said, "and to do my job effectively, I decided to travel to as many places around the world where there are deployed Guardsmen and in those travels speak to as many National Guard commanders and troops deployed in the field as possible, walk on the terrain they walk on, and in so doing these trips will greatly help me during the many Washington debates and policy decisions that lay ahead."
For more information, please visit the National Guard website at www.nationalguard.mil and the 113th Sustainement Briagde's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/113thSB.