JALALABAD AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (December 22, 2008) – Sailors working with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan had a visit from the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, last week.
“The reason I’m here today is to thank you for your great work. You’re making a significant difference. You should be proud of everything that you’ve done,” Roughead said, during a visit to a Konar based Provincial Reconstruction Team. “It’s really a privilege and an honor to be here with you and see what you do day in and day out.”
Working in one of the most kinetic province of Afghanistan, the team has completed a laundry list of projects, from helping to establish an adequate healthcare system to standing up a landmark program known as the Konar Construction Center.
Graduating approximately 150 students every month, the KCC trains locals in electrical work, plumbing, and general construction. During his visit, however, Roughead learned statistics alone cannot demonstrate the PRT’s accomplishments.
“We talk about PRT’s a lot back home, but I’ll tell you, until you get a bird’s eye view of what you all are doing and the environment in which you work, you don’t get a full appreciation of how challenging it is,” Roughead said.
Working with a PRT is unlike any other Navy job. Roughead told the Soldiers and Sailors of the Konar PRT to never forget the skills and lessons they take from their experiences in Afghanistan.
“Talk about some of the specific things that you did here, because it will show whoever looks at your record that you’ve really done some things that are different and that make you a better person, a better leader, and a better Sailor,” Roughead said. “When you go back into a normal assignment, the way you think and how you’re going to be able to do more things is going to make you stand out.”
After an introduction to the PRT’s home, Roughead attended an award ceremony for the team’s Soldiers and Sailors. He addressed each service member, clipping achievement medals to their uniforms and posing for a number of pictures. With his visit coming to a close, the Admiral stopped to pay sincere gratitude to the men and women of the PRT.
“Thanks for what you’re doing. It is really impressive and it becomes more impressive when you can come out here and see it and look at the terrain and the challenges and look at the amount of projects you have underway, it’s absolutely incredible,” Roughead said. “Part of [the Navy’s] culture is we get things done. It doesn’t matter if it’s in our job description or not, if there’s something to be done, we’re going to do it, and you are a perfect example of that and I thank you for it.”