CJCS Holds Town Hall Meeting for Military Families
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Scott A. McCall
Navy Public Affairs Support Element Northwest
SILVERDALE, Wash. (NNS) October 4, 2012 -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, spoke at a town hall meeting for military family members at Bangor Plaza on Naval Base Kitsap, Bangor, Oct. 3.
More than 300 service members and family members from commands within the Pacific Northwest attended the meeting.
"We're going to be okay because of you," said Dempsey. "I've never met young men and women, ...who are so impressive in your intellect, your energy, your dedication, your resilience, your enthusiasm, your optimism, and as long as you keep that by the way, and continue to trust each other we'll get through whatever the world can throw at us."
Dempsey spoke about issues affecting not just Navy personnel but all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Dempsey said there is a transition going on within the military and that transition has many aspects.
"We're transitioning from a force, especially the ground component, which has been extraordinarily committed, to focus like a laser beam, really, on Iraq and Afghanistan and conducting deployments one year on, one year off and that tempo will slow," said Dempsey.
"Second, we have to transition in terms of our fiscal condition, bigger budgets to smaller," said Dempsey. "The Navy and Air Force have done quite a bit of resizing over the last decade or so, and they are not going to do much more resizing, but the Army and Marine Corps will over the next five years to seven years. And those folks will pass into civilian life and we need to pass them properly into civilian life and that's a big transition."
Dempsey also fielded questions from the audience relating to issues that affect all branches of service, issues specific to the Navy and ones that affect personnel stationed in the Pacific Northwest.
Some of the topics discussed included the Defense Travel System, privatized housing, manning, suicide awareness, military retirement, and Veteran's Affairs (VA) benefits.
"It was pretty good, he was a good speaker," said Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Christopher Neal, assigned to Commander, Submarine Group 9. "He talked about a couple of the issues, and I was able to get up there and ask him a couple of questions. I really appreciate him taking his time."
Dempsey also thanked the family members in attendance who have a Sailor currently deployed on the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
"We turned [Stennis] around pretty quick," said Dempsey. "We had to do that because we had some challenges in the Gulf region as you know, and we really needed that extra little touch of America that only an aircraft carrier brings."
Dempsey also thanked everyone in attendance for their service and sacrfice. "The foundation is so solid that we're going to be fine, if you don't remember anything else I say remember two things," said Dempsey. "One, thank you for your willingness to serve, and I mean you plural and cumulatively, that's those of you who wear the uniform and those of you who support those who wear the uniform. The second thing is if you stick together then we'll be fine."