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Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff visits troops in Horn of Africa

By Sgt. Matthew B. Roberson | | November 25, 2003

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Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, visited Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa here, to meet with and congratulate Marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen on a job well done Nov. 26.

During his visit, Pace had the opportunity to tour the camp, and talk to individual units about the importance of their job in the region and thank them for their personal sacrifice and dedication to the mission of detecting, disrupting, deterring and defeating transnational terrorism in the HOA region.

The task force was the last stop on Pace's tour of the Middle East, and with the presence of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit here, he had the opportunity to address a diverse crowd of service members.

Pace began his speech by saying, "I've traveled here for a couple of reasons, the most important of which is to tell you thank you for all you do here and for your personal sacrifices for the War on Terrorism.

"I know you work closely with each other out here and it feels like a family, but probably not the family you would like to be with during the holidays," Pace continued.  "Your individual sacrifices and your families' sacrifices mean more than you realize, and you are making a difference here."

Next, Pace explained to the troops what he's been doing since leaving Washington a week ago and discussed his visits with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He said service members are performing incredibly in both areas and he has enjoyed meeting many of them face-to-face.

He went on to say that the work being done here is leading the way in terms of tracking terrorist networks and providing solid intelligence information.

"What you are doing here is how we are going to win the War on Terrorism," Pace said.  "Creating intelligence networks capable of tracking terrorists throughout the world is the only way to defeat terrorism.  The things being done here today are going to be the things the U.S. is going to be doing for the next 15 to 20 years."

Pace ended his speech by saying the main reason he was at CJTF-HOA was to answer questions personnel had for him and to meet as many troops as possible.  After a few questions pertaining to future plans for the MEU, Pace walked among the troops shaking hands and personally thanking them for all they are doing.

Before leaving CJTF-HOA, Pace had the opportunity to sit down and eat dinner with non-commissioned officers and answer questions they had pertaining to the Global War on Terrorism.

"Being able to sit down and talk with young service members like yourselves has been the highlight of my trip, and I look forward to more trips like this," Pace said after dining with the troops.

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