SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Third Infantry's Commander gives his troops in Iraq high grades as many hit the midpoint of a year-long deployment. Major General Tony Cucolo says troops are handling the challenge.
"Where I go, I see high morale. The chief of Staff for the Army was here the other day and got the same impression," he said. "You know the deal, when soldiers are busy time passes quickly and keeps morale up when you work hard."
Task Force Marne includes thousands of Third Infantry soldiers as well as units from around the country assigned to him. Maj. Gen. Cucolo said US troops in his region of Northern Iraq are helping Iraqi and Kurdish forces fight terror groups who don't want to see national democracy.
"That's amazing. To see three different uniforms climb on a helicopter pre-dawn and land in some remote area and get off together, move together, engage enemy forces together and make arrests and find caches of weapons and supplies," he told WTOC.
He said the Army's plan to reduce troops in Iraq by September 1 doesn't necessarily mean Third ID troops will come home any sooner than expected.
"I would urge families to listen to their soldier's chain of command as rumors increase closer to the September 1 date approaches," he said.
He also suggested for families, or anyone with questions about the deployment, to visit the Task Force Marne website at www.stewart.army.mil/tfm/homepage/default.asp.
"If you hear a rumor, visit the website and see the rumors we've addressed and write us about others you hear," he stated.
He used the upcoming Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother's Day to praise the families holding down the fort back here at home.
"It makes us appreciate what you do for us so much more," he added. "We can go forth, deploy, and operate with confidence and energy because of the work you do back in the rear."
This Military Salute recognizes Major General Cucolo for his efforts to keep families informed until their soldiers come home.