'Keep trucking,' admiral tells servicemembers in Afghanistan
March 15, 2006
JALALABAD, Afghanistan — One of the U.S. military’s top commanders made a quick stop in eastern Afghanistan as part of a tour of the nation Tuesday.
Adm. William Fallon, the Hawaii-based commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, met with local leaders and troops stationed in Jalalabad, one of Afghanistan’s largest cities. Jalalabad Airfield is home to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Fallon also visited Bagram and Kabul on Tuesday.
During his two hours in Jalalabad, Fallon met with Nangarhar governor Gul Agha Sherzai and a slew of local dignitaries at the governor’s mansion Tuesday afternoon.
“They tell me you are the greatest general coming here,” Sherzai said.
“Maybe not the greatest,” Fallon joked, touching his silver hair, “but the oldest.”
Fallon later said he felt the meeting, which was brief and filled with platitudes and pleasantries, was an important gesture toward local leaders. “I demonstrated to the governor that the senior leadership cares,” he said. “I don’t think you get a guy as senior as me out here very often.”
He did not publicly address the Monday death of a Jalalabad-based Marine, whose name has not been released. However, local leaders offered a prayer for four Jalalabad-based soldiers who were killed Sunday in Kunar province.
Fallon also spoke to a small group of Marines and soldiers at tiny Jalalabad Airfield, offering praise, encouragement and several pounds of Hawaiian coffee.
“There’s so much good work going on here that it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I appreciate what you are doing. I know it’s tough. I wish I had more time to spend with you, to go out into the field and see what you’re really doing.
“Keep trucking,” he told the crowd of mostly young Marines. “We’ll keep the home fires lit.”