"I am very, very proud of their courage"
|By Walter T. Ham IV|
8th U.S. Army
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea , May 4, 2012 - As he meets with U.S. service members in South Korea this week, the military's top enlisted leader is stressing the importance of their mission and the need for resilience.
Battaglia said the bilateral relationship enables the alliance to deter and prevent the daily threat of possible conflict with North Korea.
Emphasizing the importance of the U.S. presence, Battaglia said American troops on the Korean peninsula have to maintain a high level of readiness.
"We have potential threats that live very nearby," he said. "It's extremely important for us to maintain a footprint -- not only in the best interest of our national security, but in the protection and best interest of this Korean peninsula."
A combat veteran who served in Anbar province during the Iraq war, Battaglia emphasized the importance of readiness. "You really have to keep a game face on," he said.
As the U.S. military reshapes and downsizes after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sergeant major said the Defense Department will strike a balance that maintains military readiness.
The senior enlisted leader also noted that readiness and resilience go hand in hand.
"They are intertwined," he said. "If I don't have the ability to overcome adversity, I'm not ready." And that extends to families, he added, because if a service member's family isn't resilient as well, the service member can't be ready.
Battaglia said American troops continue to serve with distinction in Korea and around the world.
"We ask more from our troops now than ever before in our history of our armed forces, and these troops continue to clearly answer the call," he said.
During his visit, Battaglia also met with senior military leaders, including Army Gen. James D. Thurman, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea, and Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, commander of the 8th U.S. Army. This is his first trip to South Korea since he assumed his current duties Oct. 1.
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia Related Sites:
U.S. Forces Korea