United States Secretary of Defense Visits JBER

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by Whitney LB Miller

ANCHORAGE - The troops on JBER got a visit from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Wednesday afternoon. A visit that prompted discussion about what our forces here in Alaska mean to the global mission.

Soldiers stood in formation to give a warm welcome to the man that signs their paychecks - a surprise visit for some on his brief stop in the last frontier before heading overseas.

"I want you to please convey to your families how much we appreciate their service and their sacrifice," said Hagel. 

The head of the D.O.D and former Vietnam veteran talked shop with the troops and about the importance of strengthening partnerships with our allies in other countries.

Emphasizing building partnerships at a time when the U.S. military is experiencing a down sizing. However, amidst the cuts, top officials with the army in Alaska say their trained paratroopers are ready to serve as Americas force of choice and are prepared to go anywhere at anytime.

Air Force commander Colonel David Nahom says the cuts the Air Force is experiencing will have many effects and prove to show some difficulties.

"We will just have to figure out creative ways to accomplish the mission here," Nahom said. 

Secretary Hagel says accomplishing that mission will happen regardless of the fore structure size. Stressing that it will take recruiting the best of the best. 

Hagel's stop here in Alaska was the first of a 12 day trip spanning Asia and Europe.