Congressman Marsha Blackburn (TN-7), whose congressional district is home to Ft. Campbell and the 101st Airborne, joined President Bush on post today to welcome home the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (BCT). The 2nd BCT returns from duty in Iraq early, before the scheduled end of their 15 month tour. With conditions on the ground in Iraq more secure than they have been in years, the 2nd BCT is the first to come home ahead of schedule. Blackburn, commenting from Clarksville, Tennessee, said:
"This homecoming means so many things. To the families here in Clarksville, it is the joy you find in a holiday spent together after a long deployment. In Iraq, there is a greater sense of security that these brave men and women worked so hard to establish. In Washington, this return is proof that a conditions based withdrawal from Iraq, one directed by our military commanders, is the best path towards a responsible and victorious end to our involvement in Iraq."
"This is the first of a long series of homecomings that will take place across our country in the years ahead. It is wonderful that President Bush chose to honor the 101st with this visit. These troops are coming home because of a strategy that the President directed but the 101st made a success. That makes this day all that more important."
"Tennesseans know that we are all honored by their service, and we know that their work to keep us safe is not done. While we celebrate today; many other 101st and Tennessee National Guard soldiers still serve in Iraq. Their comrades, including some of the soldiers I met today, are off to join other elements of the 101st in Afghanistan. They are all in our prayers."