By Master Sgt. Chris Miller, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 12, 2006 – The commander of Combined Forces Command Afghanistan spoke to the cadets of the National Military Academy of Afghanistan here today about leadership, vision and character development. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry told the first two cadet classes of the academy what a great honor it was to be standing in front of the future leaders of Afghanistan. He said they live in a country torn apart by almost three decades of war and must dedicate themselves to change if they want a better future.
"Your country and army face a time of great change and opportunity," Eikenberry said. "You must decide what your destination is and what the best way is to move forward." He said the real long-term change in the army and in the country begins here at the academy. "You are the engine of change for the future," the general said.
The vision for the academy is to become a "crown jewel" of university-level educational and leader-development institutions in Afghanistan. Its graduates, according to the academy's vision statement, will set the highest standards of professionalism throughout a lifetime of service to Afghanistan in military and civilian leadership positions.
The general challenged the cadets to make the vision happen and to make a positive future for their country. He asked that they exceed the standards set by their leaders. "Become a military expert, a professional and, most importantly, learn to be a man of great character. Do that, and I am confident you will be a young leader that Afghanistan can be proud of," Eikenberry said.
The general said the cadets' path includes great responsibility. "You must lead the way and set the standard for all the rest," Eikenberry said. "The future of your army and country depends on you, and it starts right here, right now."
(Air Force Master Sgt. Chris Miller is assigned to Combined Forces Command Afghanistan.)