Huizenga Thanks Troops in Afghanistan
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga returned from a trip to Afghanistan, where as promised he visited and thanked our troops and learned more about the mission on the ground. He had the chance to meet soldiers from across Michigan, including Ludington, Grand Rapids, and Detroit.
“I was honored to be able to personally thank the men and women of our armed forces for a great job on our missions there. I wanted to let them know that my constituents and I have not forgotten them or the work and sacrifice they put in every day to help keep our country safe,” Huizenga said.
For more on his experience:
· PHOTOS: View here
· VIDEO: Click here to view and link to U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga’s House floor statement on his experience in Afghanistan.
· OP-ED by Rep. Bill Huizenga “Thanking Our Troops in Afghanistan”
Last weekend, I was honored to have the opportunity to visit our troops in Afghanistan, to thank them for the brave service to their nation and to learn more about our mission there and what comes next.
This trip fulfills a promise I made to the constituents of the 2nd District to visit our troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I visited Iraq in May, and Afghanistan on January 12-16.
While each trip was very different, in both countries I was highly impressed by all of the members of the military that I met.
I was honored to be able to personally thank the men and women of our armed forces for a great job on our missions there. I wanted to let them know that my constituents and I have not forgotten them or the work and sacrifice they put in every day to help keep our country safe.
I met troops from across the nation, from across our great state of Michigan, and from West Michigan, including Ludington and Grand Rapids; members of the Air National Guard, the 82nd Airborne, as well as the Marines from Camp Leatherneck, Embassy and civilian Department of Defense staff.
In Afghanistan, I was cautiously encouraged by the progress I saw on the ground. I also witnessed the truly coalition effort this is, and want to recognize the work of the troops of our international partners – including Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, Jordan, and Romania - who are helping to push this effort forward.
I was encouraged by the reported improvement of the Afghan National Army, and how much they want to move forward on their own to protect their country.
Just before we landed for our visit, a unit of the ANA had successfully completed a mission without any major coalition assistance – a mark of progress that indicates Afghanistan is on its way to take over control of their country and to keep the insurgents at bay.
There are still a number of concerns that combine to make me wary of setting an arbitrary date years in advance for pulling all our support and troops out of the country. These factors include corruption in the Afghanistan National Police and local and federal government, adding to the frailty of the current government there. The pressure from Pakistan to the east and other countries in the region also is of major concern as Afghanistan moves forward.
The intelligence our servicemen and women are learning from the ground is fast-changing. We must trust them and their combined cultural and historical knowledge, from more than a decade in Afghanistan and on multiple tours that will help us judge when the country is strong and stable enough to fully take over on its own.
Each day, I now proudly carry in my pocket a challenge coin given to me by a Marine Sergeant Major from Gladwin, Michigan. It’s a small but heavy coin that reminds me of their service and sacrifice, and as a signal to those veterans and service members I meet:
They will not be forgotten.