01/07/05 — Congressmen bring greetings to airmen at Seymour Johnson

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Congressmen bring greetings to airmen at Seymour Johnson

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on January 7, 2005 2:10 PM

Camaraderie filled the Southern Eagle dining hall at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base today as several members of Congress members thanked the airmen for their service.

Five members of the House Armed Services Committee -- Chairman Duncan Hunter and Reps. Robin Hayes, who is from Concord, Roscoe Bartlett, Silvestre Reyes and Heather Wilson -- joined the airmen for breakfast.

"We are just here to say thank you," said Hunter. "You are our best citizens and we really appreciate you."

The committee members visited with pilots last night and learned more about the equipment being used overseas and what is working and not working. Hunter said the information will help them decide what items Congress needs to fund in the upcoming year.

The visit also provided a chance for the members to thank the airmen and their families. Hunter said there is better support for families today than in the past and there is a strong communication between military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan and their family members left behind.

Tech. Sgt. Patrick Seiler with the 4th Mission Support Squadron deployed to Iraq last year for five months. He was assigned to Kirkush Military Training Base and helped start the first non-commissioned officer's academy.

A team of military personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and British and Australian forces brought civilians off the street and into a four-week training session. After the session they joined the Iraqi Army.

He said that during his deployment they trained over 2,500 soldiers, and when they left the trained soldiers trained other civilians to become a part of the Iraqi Army. He listened to the committee members while they addressed the airmen.

"It's really nice that they show their appreciation for what we do," said Seiler.

Charlie Miles with the Miles Foundation donated items for the airmen including game systems and DVDs. Scott Turner, an professional football player with the Denver Broncos, helped pass out the items, signed autographs and also addressed the airmen.

"You all are the true heroes and true champions of this country," said Turner.