War on Terrorism

Monday, December 01, 2014

Top Enlisted Leader Visits Troops in Afghanistan

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jake Richmond
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2014 – The Defense Department’s senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff traveled to Kabul, Afghanistan, to spend Thanksgiving Day with service members deployed there in support of the International Security Assistance Force mission.

In a video interview posted by ISAF public affairs, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia discussed several issues confronting the military. He was joined by ISAF Senior Enlisted Advisor Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. James E. Booker.

“The main purpose of the visit is to spend Thanksgiving with our deployed troops,” Battaglia said. “Knowing that our troops are on the cutting edge, doing the nation’s bidding for the most part, they can’t be home with their families.”

A Transitioning Force

American troops deployed in Afghanistan are serving in a historic time, Booker said, citing progress in the ongoing transition in that country.

“Now, more of our attention is focused in on minister-advising, and how to get the government to help with programs that are going to be the legacy in the future to sustaining a fighting force,” Booker said.

With Operation Enduring Freedom winding down, Battaglia said the U.S. military is conducting a natural reshaping cycle following more than a decade of conflict.

“Although smaller and leaner, we, as America’s military, are going to maintain a level of readiness, posture and poise that [positions us] to answer any emergent requirement that the president may direct,” the chairman’s senior enlisted advisor said.

Help For Separating Veterans

For those veterans who are leaving the military during this transition, Battaglia acknowledged the switch to civilian life can be trying and challenging. He also reminded service members that they’re not alone in their efforts.

“There’s a constant appetite [from employers] looking for those veterans, which makes the transition a little easier,” he said, adding that there are new mechanisms in place to help make those connections.

Earlier this year, the Departments of Defense and Labor jointly launched the Veterans Employment Center, an Internet-based service that aims to link veterans with job opportunities in their career field.

Battaglia said America’s veterans bring their technical skills, professionalism, loyalty, work ethic and teamwork as they join the nation’s civilian workforce.

He called the military the country’s “greatest profession” and expressed his appreciation for America’s service members.

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