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    Governor Sarah Palin Visits Task Force Arctic Eagle Soldiers in Kosovo

    Governor Sarah Palin Visits Task Force Arctic Eagle Soldiers in Kosovo

    Photo By Sgt. Adam-David Pepper | Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took time to pose for a photo with chief warrant officer 4,...... read more read more

    Soldiers from the 'Land of the Midnight Sun' got a huge morale boost when Alaska's governor, Sarah Palin, and the state's adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, trekked the approximately 5,000 miles to see their National Guard troops from the 49th state and to show their support for the service members of the Multi-National Task Force-East KFOR 11 mission.

    "Our Soldiers are America's heroes and I want to do whatever I can do to show them support and take the time to do so, to travel and to see them," said Palin, who became Alaska's 11th governor in November 2006 and the first female to be elected.

    The 130 troops, assigned to 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, who wear the patch depicting the stars of the Big Dipper and the North Star, form the bulk of Task Force Arctic Eagle, who's main contribution to keeping the peace in the Kosovo region is commanding the skies with their UH-60 Black Hawks.

    "I truly appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. I have such a sincere, great appreciation for all that you are doing to serve your state and your country," said Palin.

    Camp Bondsteel Soldiers welcomed with smiles, flash bulbs and a whirlwind tour. That evening she met with senior leadership hosted by the commanding general of MNTF-E, Brig. Gen. Keith Jones, and was briefed on the current situation in the eastern sector. The next morning Palin was treated to a unique breakfast of pancakes and smoked salmon by her fellow Alaskans and to hear what the rank and file had on their minds.

    "[The governor] is real down-to-earth and as a mother of a teenager, she is someone I can relate to," said 1st Lt. Sarah Payeur, Task Force Arctic Eagle, aviation liaison officer, 1-207th Avn. Regt. "With her son in the Army, serving in Iraq, she completely understands what we are going through and to me that is important when it comes to knowing what family support is all about," said the Eagle River, Alaska native.

    Following a meet-and-greet opportunity, interested service members at the CBS theater, Gov. Palin and the Alaskan delegation were whisked away to visit a Task Force Artic Eagle adopt-a-school program in the nearby town of Ferizaj/Urosevac.

    "I think it is great what our troops are doing in helping these students learn English," said Palin, who took a sidewalk tour of the town with one of the students, Albana Mani, who explained what the program is all about. The teenagers learned more about her during an exercise that involved reading and answering questions about her biography.

    "We are very proud of our program and to show it off to the governor was an honor. It was important to let her see how we interact with the local community, to let her know the impact we are having with these students," said Spc. Robert Sapp, a chaplain's assistant with the 1-207th Avn. Regt., from Anchorage.

    The tour of her short visit wound down when she returned to the flight line of CBS and took part in the pinning of newly promoted Soldiers and awarding achievements.

    "The characteristics that you all embody; your self-determination and self-sufficiency, combined with teamwork that is needed in order to get the job done. You embody that. You have that discipline and tenacity and that patriotism that I pray our younger generation will adopt. Our country will be better off if we have more of you out there serving something greater than self," concluded Palin.

    "It was an honor to host Gov. Palin for her visit to Camp Bondsteel. The Soldiers were elated to see her and appreciated that she made the long trip from Alaska to show her appreciation for their service," said Maj. Matthew Schell, the 1-207th's acting battalion commander.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.27.2009
    Date Posted: 06.27.2009 03:19
    Story ID: 35696
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    Web Views: 3,024
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