Congressman Jeff Duncan returned home this weekend from a seven day trip to Afghanistan and Iraq where he visited with US Military personnel. The primary purpose of the trip was to see firsthand the status of military operations in the region, ensure that US troops have the resources needed to accomplish all their objectives, and thank military personnel for their service to the nation.
Duncan described the trip as "valuable," and said he left with a better understanding of the status of combat operations and now has an even deeper appreciation for those who serve in the military.
"The United States has the finest troops in the history of the world," said Duncan. "We're very fortunate to live in a country where we have so many heroes willing to put on our country's uniform and defend our freedoms."
Duncan stated that morale on the ground appears strong, and that the troops exuded a good sense of optimism about their mission. "Our troops have definitely made a lot of progress in the region. The focus right now is to protect the gains that have been made and to further dismantle terrorist operations in the area."
However, Duncan did signal concern with President Obama's recent troop withdraw announcements. "The commanders on the ground gave their recommendations on how many troops they felt could come home and when, but President Obama disagreed. I hope the President's decision to go against the military's recommendations won't jeopardize the safety of our troops."
The final portion of Duncan's trip included visits with wounded and recovering soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Hospital in Germany. "Spending time with our wounded soldiers only reinforces my view that we have a sacred responsibility to support our troops both on the battlefield and when they return home. We must honor the promises made to those who have answered our nation's call to service," said Duncan.
Duncan says honoring those promises includes making sure veterans have access to the type of quality care and benefits that they were told they would receive and rightfully deserve. Duncan encouraged any veteran needing assistance with a benefit claim to either contact their local Veterans Affairs office or to reach out to his office directly.
Duncan said his trip was one that he would never forget. "I was truly honored to spend time with so many brave men and women, and cannot thank them and their families enough for the sacrifices they have made for our nation."