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    Congressional Delegation visits Kuwait

    Congressional Delegation Visits Kuwait

    Photo By Spc. Howard Ketter | Sen. Jack Reed speaks with Maj. Gen.Charles A. Anderson, deputy commander, U.S. Army...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Brooks Fletcher 

    20th Public Affairs Detachment

    By Sgts. Brooks Fletcher and Jarod Perkioniemi
    U.S. Army Central Command

    CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – It was an inspirational day as three U.S. senators visited U.S. military posts throughout Kuwait, July 18.

    Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., toured the U.S. military bases in Kuwait, accompanied by Lt. Gen. Jim Lovelace, U.S. Army Central Command commanding general, to visit service members deployed to the region.

    The visit provided the congressional delegation with the distinctive opportunity to visit with military and government dignitaries and receive an update on operations in country.

    "What we want to do is have a chance to meet Soldiers, talk to small unit commanders and noncommissioned officers, and get an impression everywhere we go, both Afghanistan and Iraq, of the situation facing our American forces," said Reed.

    The official party made their first stop at a camp coined "The Rock," where they were given a tour by Col. Marcia R. Meeks-Eure, 386th Mission Support Group Command, before enjoying lunch with servicemembers.

    The meal was followed by an exhibit by the 424th Medium Truck Detachment and 109th Truck Company. Master Sgt. Charles E. Mann, convoy commander, 424th MTD provided the delegates with information on the capabilities of various military vehicles, such as the M915A3 line-haul tractor and the M1151 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle.

    The tour continued as the senators were taken to Camp Arifjan, where they explored an exhibit displaying the evolution of the M998 HMMWV. Chief Warrant Officer Eric McKay, quality assurance inspector, 2nd Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade and Lt. Col. Mark Kelly, operations commander, 401st AFSB walked the party through the exhibit.

    The entourage made their final stop of the Kuwaiti tour at the fitness center gym, where they where greeted with an eruption of applauds and cheers from the servicemembers awaiting their arrival.

    "I am so grateful to all of you for the extraordinary service you do for our country, we are so proud of you," said Obama, riling up the crowd.

    After a brief speech by Obama, service members were able to come down onto the basketball court for a chance to meet the senators.

    "These are men and women dedicated to a cause and purpose much higher than their own self-interest," said Hagel, when asked what he has taken from his trip so far.

    "I think the greatest privilege an American can have is to lead American Soldiers, and I was fortunate enough to have that privilege," said Reed, who is a West Point graduate and served as a company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division.

    After greeting the large crowd of servicemembers and signing autographs and taking pictures, Obama played a friendly game of "Horse" with Spc. Lakeisha D. Willingham of the 311th Sustainment Command. And although Willingham put up a great fight, Obama's basketball skills were just too much.

    "Playing basketball with such a humble man of God was a great experience," said Willingham, a Los Angeles native. "I am overwhelmed with joy."

    Obama closed out the visit by saying, "America is unified in being so proud of the extraordinary, brilliant, dedicated and professional service that is provided by all the members of the Armed Forces."

    Upon leaving the gym, the senators made their way to the airfield, catching a flight and continuing their tour.



    Date Taken: 11.30.2004
    Date Posted: 07.19.2008 14:59
    Story ID: 21653
    Location: CAMP ARIFJAN, KW 

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