Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus came to Scott Air Force today to present the Joint Meritorius Unit Award to USTRANSCOM, which is responsible for moving the troops, equipment, supplies, and wounded troops in and out of the battle zones. Today's honor specifically noted its work in the past three years in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I've seen General Petraeus on television quite a bit but this was the first time I've seen him up close. He was very gracious in taking questions from the press. Speaking of the press, each crew had its own escort who accompanied us during the visit. Sgt. Baymore was KMOV's. I enjoyed talking to him about general topics, then I asked if he had deployed. Oh yes, he'd been in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I looked around the hangar, I realized that probably all of the people in uniform there had at one time been in harm's way and would probably be again. I interviewed Command Sgt. Major Hawkins and afterward, sort of stepped out of the reporter role. I showed him a picture of my nephew who is in Afghanistan (in his Marine dress uniform) and said "you got him there safely, bring him home that way, too. OK?" The Com Sgt. Maj. said "Semper Fi", will do.