News: Sergeant Major of the Army visits soldiers in Afghan hotspot
Story by Sgt. Ashley Curtis
FORWARD OPERATING BASE ZANGABAD, Afghanistan - After visiting several wounded Soldiers in Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler III noticed that many of those soldiers were injured in Afghanistan’s Panjwa’i district, and decided it was high time for a visit.
The highest-ranked enlisted member in the Army visited Forwarding Operating Base Zangabad, located in Panjwa’i district, as part of his visit to the country’s southern region.
Chandler brought the deployed soldiers personal messages from their wounded stateside brothers, and commented on what makes the soldiers of the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, unique.
“That bond between you and them is strong,” he told the deployed soldiers. “They’re connected to you as they will be the rest of their lives and you to them.”
The soldiers in Panjwa’i have been dealt many heavy blows during their time in Afghanistan, taking casualties through direct fire and roadside bombs, in addition to dealing with several incidents of Afghan security force members turning their weapons on them. Through all of these roadblocks, the soldiers continue to push on with their mission.
Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Murphy, 3rd Stryker Brigade command sergeant major, said, “In order for us to close this war out successfully, we have to train the Afghan security forces to get to an acceptable level to provide security for their own country.”
“That’s the tough part of this job, and you guys are bearing the burden for that,” responded Chandler. “You’ve just got to keep getting after it, like you’ve been doing.”
During his frequent meetings at the Pentagon, Chandler said he’d often heard about the things these soldiers have been doing and what they were up against in this area.
“Your battalion’s gotten tremendous amount of coverage because of all the things you’re doing,” he said. “But you’re turning things around, you’re making a difference and I’m proud of what you do.”
Chandler showed his appreciation to the soldiers by answering questions, hearing their stories and handing out coins to deserving soldiers.
“We’re proud of you,” he said. “That’s the thing that I want you to take away from this [experience]. You’re doing such a tremendous job over here that the country is amazed by what you do.”