Congressman Marsha Blackburn is returning today from a five day tour of the Middle East where she met with Soldiers and diplomats actively defending America. Blackburn was part of a bi-partisan delegation which traveled to Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan this week. In Afghanistan, Blackburn spent a day with the 101st Airborne Division, who are based at Ft. Campbell located in Tennessee's 7th Congressional District. Speaking of her visit with the Screaming Eagles, Blackburn said:
"Every time I visit our Soldiers in harms way, it is a humbling experience. To witness the sacrifices that these young men and women endure and to experience the danger they are in reminds me of how fragile freedom is around the world and how indebted we are to those who volunteer to defend it. This has been a difficult year and a long deployment for the 101st family. They are returning soon and I know Tennesseans are anxious to welcome them back home. In the meantime, their focus is on the job at hand, solidifying the gains they have made, continuing to deny safe havens to terrorists, and creating an environment where democracy can take hold. Soldiers told me that they know it is up to the Afghan government now to ensure their people's freedom. Washington has a role, too, in advancing the fragile progress here and ensuring that the Afghan government meets their commitment and the 101st's sacrifices have not been in vain."
On her second day in Afghanistan, Congressman Blackburn met with Commanding General David Petraeus, who formerly commanded the 101st.
"General Petraeus gave us the kind of no-nonsense assessment of the situation in Afghanistan that I have come to expect after years of working with him. He reinforced with us that the progress we are experiencing is fragile. It's endurance depends on getting the kinetic and non-kinetic inputs right. I am confident that the General is the best person to oversee that mix." Blackburn said.
Among Blackburn's activities in Afghanistan was a visit to Forward Operating Base Sharana where she received an overview briefing from Task Force Currahee (4th Brigade, 101st ABN DIV) leadership then had lunch with Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division.