CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan -- The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus visited Marines and Sailors with Regional Command (Southwest) during a two-day visit to Helmand Province May 13-14.
His recent trip marked the 11th time he has traveled to Afghanistan since taking office. Mabus said his passion for visiting troops serving in Afghanistan has grown over the last four years and meeting with them is still undeniably the best part of his job.
“It is a sacrifice to wear a uniform in this country,” said Mabus. “I recognize many Marines and Sailors have made multiple deployments over the last decade and I enjoy meeting with each one of them and their families to tell them how truly grateful I am for their sacrifice and willingness to serve.”
During his visit, Maubus said he has seen a remarkable change in the stability of the country, which he attributes to the continued development of the Afghan National Security Forces.
“The change in the security picture in Afghanistan has been dramatic,” said Mabus. “Within Helmand, I have seen amazing progress. The Afghan National Army, Afghan Local Police, and Afghan Uniformed Police have each stepped up and become capable of providing security for Afghanistan.”
Mabus said he is confident in the mission of Security Force Assistance and he believes the training of Afghans by coalition troops will ultimately lead to a successful transition of leadership by 2014.
“Afghanistan has a road to a stable future,” said Mabus. “The mentoring of Afghan troops is and will continue to be a success here in Afghanistan. As we move forward, they will continue to transition into the lead and I have no doubts they will be effective.”
Mabus said he wants to remind troops the United States’ commitment to Afghanistan and troops serving within the country will not be effected by current budget cuts.
“Regardless of what budget decisions are made in Washington, we will continue to resource the war effort,” said Mabus. “We will continue to ensure Marines and Sailors have every thing they need to complete their mission.”