Army leader greets troops returning home

July 31, 2010 4:20:45 AM PDT
A top Army civilian leader welcomed paratroopers back home Friday after a recent deployment in Iraq.Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal greeted more than 300 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team at Pope Air Force Base.

"I was thrilled to be a part of it and watch it," Westphal said. "I've seen it on TV like everybody else, but this can't be beat."

First Brigade Combat Team troops spent a year in Western Iraq, mainly advising and assisting Iraq security forces there.

Westphal met the paratroopers at the plane, shook some hands and watched as families rushed to greet their soldiers.

He says the drawdown of American forces in Iraq should give soldiers more time at home.

"It will certainly give soldiers time to come back and spend more time in the installation and spend more time with families," he said.

Westphal said the Army are also trying to focus more on soldiers' needs including health care.

On Friday, Westphal spent most of the day at Fort Bragg touring the new U.S. Army Forces Command Headquarters and discussing the base's expansion with local leaders. U.S. Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command is moving from Atlanta to Fort Bragg next year.

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