The men and women of the U.S. military are still fighting the war in Afghanistan, even if it doesn’t get much mention in the mainstream media, said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell.
“Our nation continues to be a nation at war,” Campbell said during a noncommissioned officers forum at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition Oct. 21. “You don’t see it on the Washington Post. You don’t see it in the news.”
“Every single night, there are hundreds of acts of valor and we start taking it for granted,” he added.
Campbell emphasized the even though the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is winding down, it still remains a dangerous and noble cause for the Army.
“We can never ever forget the sacrifices of these soldiers,” Campbell said.
The general reminded the soldiers present that during AUSA’s 2003 Annual Meeting, then-Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker had warned that the war in Iraq was going to be a long struggle.
“And 10 years later, he was right,” Campbell said. “And our nation continues to be in danger today. Whether it’s Iran, Syria, what’s happening in China, this is a dangerous world we live in.”
Campbell said that even though the Army is transitioning to a smaller force, it will still remain the best army in the world with a focus on addressing these growing global dangers. Using recent Army missions in Africa, Campbell described near future missions as ones focused around small teams, led by a single NCO.
“We going to make tough decisions,” he said. “We’re going to downsize our army as the world gets more dangerous, I believe, and make some very tough choices as we move forward.”
Adding, “We always have, and what no one can take away, is the spirit of the American soldier, and the strength and experience of our leaders, especially our noncommissioned officers…You may not have all the resources you’ve had in the past…but you’re rich in leadership and you’re rich in experience.”