News: Congressional members hear Soldiers' voices at Echo
CAMP ECHO, Iraq – Like any normal day, conversation and laughter filled the air – ranging from familiar memories of home and beloved sports teams, to Baghdad, bailouts and President Barrack Obama.
The only difference was who was holding the conversation.
Six congressional members visited Camp Echo, Feb.16, during their two day visit to Iraq, to thank Soldiers for their service to the United States of Amerca.
Representatives Chellie Pingree (Maine), Dana Rohrabacher (California), Steve Cohen (Tennessee), Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida), Bobby Bright (Alabama) and Duncan Hunter Jr. (California) dined with Warhorse Soldiers at the Camp Echo Dining Facility Annex, where they enjoyed the opportunity to discuss life in Iraq, changes in the country and things going on back home.
Soldiers from each of the representatives' states had the opportunity to pick their elected official's brain, as well as ask them questions about issues that matter to them.
"I want to ask him about jobs in Miami," said Spc. A.J. Rodriguez, an administrative specialist with 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, prior to talking to Diaz-Balart. "There have been a lot of layoffs around the county and I want to know what's being done to stop it. Traffic is also horrible around Miami ... sometimes it can take two hours to travel 10 miles. I want to ask how that can be improved."
Rodriguez appreciated the representatives taking the time to come to Iraq and see for themselves the improvements that have been made. Other Soldiers echoed his sentiments.
"It's absolutely wonderful. They're showing their support to the troops here," said Pfc. James Murphy, Company B, a 2nd Bn, 8th Inf. Regt., 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division fire support specialist.
Murphy, a native of Fresno, Calif., wanted to discuss taxation in the "Golden State," as well as get Rep. Hunter's opinion on the job Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing.
Following the dinner, the representatives had the opportunity to have their pictures taken with the Soldiers before leaving them contact information and urging the Soldiers to contact them upon returning back to the U.S.
As the representatives hurried to catch their flight back to the Baghdad International Airport, Soldiers took the time to reflect on the meeting and were impressed by their elected officials.
"[Rep. Diaz-Balart] knew what he was talking about," said Staff Sgt. David Burch, a platoon sergeant with Co. B, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., and a native of Ocala, Fla. "We talked a lot about the improving economic situation here and also about provincial security. He did his research and really came prepared."
Date Posted:02.21.2009 10:00
- Soldiers, Iraqi police partner to improve community relations
- Mother sacrifices tradition for country
- Weapon safety: Every Soldier's concern
- 54th Engineer Battalion receives Department of the Army award