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Joint Chiefs chairman visits servicemembers in Kirkuk

by Senior Airman Eric Schloeffel
506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs

3/4/2008 - KIRKUK AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- The highest ranking U.S. military officer made a brief visit to meet American servicemembers at several deployed units March 2 at Kirkuk Air Base.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen attended meetings with the State Department Provincial Reconstruction Team, presided over a short promotion ceremony for two Army officers and had dinner with several Airmen and Soldiers during his visit.

Admiral Mullen provided a few words to an audience that included representatives from each service branch, government organizations and national media members.

One of the admiral's primary focuses was the impact families have on the mission in Iraq, despite being thousands of miles away.

"I'm not only grateful for all the people serving here in Iraq, but for their families as well," Admiral Mullen said. "Without the sacrifice of our families, none of us could be successful in our careers. We must maintain a delicate balance between the mission and our families."

More than 35 Airmen provided security for Admiral Mullen while he visited several areas throughout the base.

"It was a one team, one fight effort that ensured Admiral Mullen received a safe and secure visit," said Senior Master Sgt. Terry Ferguson, the 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. "Providing security for the highest ranking U.S. military member was an outstanding experience for our Airmen."

The admiral also said how trips like these only reaffirm his strong beliefs that the U.S. military is the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.

"I've been in the military for quite awhile, and I can honestly say this is the best military the U.S. has ever had -- probably the best in the history of the Earth," he said. "We all play a vital role in a vital time, and there isn't a day that goes by I get up without first thinking of what you are doing here. Our country wouldn't be what it is without the great sacrifices many of you are making."

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