New secretary of defense pays a visit to 25th ID

| July 18, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers with 25th ID listen intently as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (standing) discusses the goals he has for the U.S. armed forces during his visit to Camp Victory, Iraq, Monday. Camp Victory was one of Panetta's stops during his first tour of Iraq as the secretary of defense. See more photos from this event at www.flickr.com/25_infantry_division. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Soldiers with 25th ID listen intently as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (standing) discusses the goals he has for the U.S. armed forces during his visit to Camp Victory, Iraq, Monday. Camp Victory was one of Panetta's stops during his first tour of Iraq as the secretary of defense. See more photos from this event at www.flickr.com/25_infantry_division. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Spc. Breeanna DuBuke
29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGHDAD — Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta met with Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division at Camp Victory, Iraq, here, Monday, to discuss the goals he has for the U.S. armed forces.

Panetta’s visit to Camp Victory was part of his first trip as the new secretary of defense to tour Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I wanted to take my first trip to the war zones, Panetta said. “I wanted a chance to meet with the men and women who are putting their lives on the line for our country.”

During his visit, Panetta expressed his gratitude for the commitment service members have serving their country.

“First and foremost, I want to express my deepest thanks for what you do,” Panetta said to the Soldiers who crowded in around him. “Thanks for your service; thanks for your sacrifice.

“I thank you for giving something back to this country, which is what public service is about. There’s nothing better in public service than men and women in uniform fighting for what they believe in,” Panetta said.

“What you are fighting for here is to make sure that our children have a safer, better life back in America,” Panetta said. “I appreciate that.”

As part of the advise and assist mission in Iraq, service members have the chance to help bring the rights and freedoms that Americans enjoy to the Iraqi people.

Soldiers with 25th ID ask Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (standing) questions during his visit to Camp Victory, Iraq, Monday. Camp Victory was one of Panetta's stops during his first tour of Iraq as the secretary of defense. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Soldiers with 25th ID ask Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (standing) questions during his visit to Camp Victory, Iraq, Monday. Camp Victory was one of Panetta's stops during his first tour of Iraq as the secretary of defense. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

“As a result of the great sacrifice and work of the U.S. military, this country is on a much better path,” Panetta said, discussing the successes of the U.S. in Iraq. “This nation has been able to develop itself as a democracy in this part of the world.”

Panetta expressed the importance of the work Soldiers are doing, here, and how it will impact the future of the Middle East.

“We have a chance to put in place a nation that is going to be extremely important to this region, as a model for a democratic government,” Panetta said.

He added, Iraq will be a symbol. When people fight for freedom and independence, the country and region move in the right direction, towards providing better rights, better dignity and better opportunities for people.

Before taking questions from the crowd, Panetta thanked the Soldiers for their work and wished them a safe journey home.

“I thank you, and America thanks you,” Panetta said. “I just want to say God bless you for the service you provide and, more importantly, may you all be brought home safely from this responsibility.”

Panetta was receptive to the questions of the troops, said Sgt. John M. Lockwood, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.

“He was very down to earth, personable and responded realistically to queries,” Lockwood said.

(Editor’s Note: Spc. Karen Sampson, U.S. Forces-Iraq, contributed to this article.)

Tags:

Category: Deployed Forces, Leadership, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *