Mission Not Entirely Accomplished
Make no mistake, the War on Terror is not over.
Over the past 10 years, U.S. troops have carried out the mission to stamp out terrorism in Southwest Asia and elsewhere, with the dual mission of defending our country's freedoms while securing a level of stability in those locations where it seems that freedom has always been in short supply.
We must remind ourselves that even though the U.S. and its allies have joined forces to make a major dent in terrorism, the mission that U.S. troops embarked on after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 continues in Iraq and Afghanistan, and will continue until all our troops come home safely.
As the mission continues overseas, the mission also continues for Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), as programs and services must still be provided for troops deployed overseas, servicemembers stationed stateside and their families.
Ten years ago, President George W. Bush ordered a campaign to stamp out terrorism, and the organizations that supported violence and hatred, and defend our country and our freedoms.
The feeling of patriotism that recently enveloped the U.S. following President Obama's historic announcement on May 1 showed that we have not forgotten those 3,000-plus innocent lives lost on that tragic Tuesday morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
This meant that you, as MWR personnel, from that fateful day forward, had to go into overdrive to ensure that enough facilities were constructed in deployed areas, and that programs in those war-torn areas would be increased to ensure that the quality of life of troops overseas would not be diminished, but rather enhanced.
Back home, you also stepped up your efforts to boost the morale of troops who either returned from lengthy deployments or were stationed on base in preparation for possible deployment.
In addition, you provided support for the families who watched their loved ones go away for months at a time — ramped up with the uncertainty and stress they faced each day, not knowing if they would ever see them again.
Ten years later, as your tireless efforts to boost the morale of servicemembers and their families continue, they do not go unnoticed. It's that concert or barbecue that puts smiles on the faces of military families that need a break from the daily rigors of their lives. It's the food and beverage operations that provide military families with a taste of home. It's the fitness centers that keep everyone of all ages healthy. It's the catered events that fulfill customer needs for special events, including weddings, welcome home gatherings, retirement parties and conferences.
Let's not forget about the clubs that promote esprit de corps and host a variety of social events; the child-care centers that provide services for the kids; and the recreation centers that offer social, competitive and educational activities.
And then there's lodging. We know the difficulties that servicemembers and their families face when traveling from base to base on official or unofficial travel. The smile that a lodging manager or front-desk clerk gives to a soldier, sailor, Marine, airman, Coast Guardsman or family member upon checking in makes all the difference in the world. Guests know that they will receive first-class service throughout their stay and be treated with the respect they deserve.
There is still a lot to be done in the War on Terror. Although the drawdown of U.S. forces continues in Iraq, troops still maintain a major presence in Afghanistan and other countries where terrorism remains a threat.
As a result, your job is the same as it was yesterday, and you must continue to perform with the same dedication and commitment, even after this war finally ends.