Sunday, May 10, 2009

ISAF top enlisted meets with Marines in Afghanistan

Date written: May 1, 2009
Story by: Sgt. Juan D. Alfonso

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s top enlisted leader personally delivered a message to Marines on Camp Leatherneck in the Islamic republic of Afghanistan May 1, 2009 – “we couldn’t have selected a better outfit to come down here.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Iuniasolua T. Savusa, the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan command sergeant major, spent part of the day touring construction sites on Camp Leatherneck and observing the development of Camp Bastion’s new expeditionary airfield, in preparation for the arrival of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. However, Savusa had an additional mission in mind – he wanted to speak with the troops.

“Listening to what they really need is what every senior enlisted leader is charged by their commanders to do,” he said. “Marines do very well in (counter insurgency environments) and at gaining the trust of the people. I’m here to listen … and push out the resources needed to build up Leatherneck and the (forward operating bases) so they can accomplish that mission.”

Savusa spent the majority of his trip answering questions and speaking about the pivotal role Marines and sailors will play in supporting the Afghan people during their upcoming presidential elections.

“It’s all about being on one team,” said Sgt. Maj. Paul G. McKenna, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Afghanistan sergeant major. “CSM Savusa and I are on the same page when it comes to taking care of all NATO and U.S. service members in this coalition environment. Our visit today to Camp Leatherneck is a display of that partnership and demonstrates to all hands that regardless of the style of uniform you wear, we all execute from the same playbook.”

Savusa left a few parting words for the Marines “on the ground.”

“We need the Marines here as soon as we possibly can to bring the level of security and trust way up,” Savusa said. “We have to help the Afghan people get their lives back. While you’re out there, be safe and take care of each other.”

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