Secretary Applauds El Paso’s Contribution to Growth, Deployments
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week thanked elected officials and business leaders in El Paso for supporting the soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss, as well as the $5 billion construction campaign carried out over the past five years to prepare the post for the arrival of thousands of new service members.
“We can’t do it alone,” Panetta told the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. “Defending America is a team effort. It’s a joint effort on the part of our troops and their families, but it also includes the people of communities like El Paso.”
The secretary noted the strains placed on the community’s infrastructure, including its housing and schools, due to growth at Bliss resulting from the relocation of the 1st Armored Division from Germany and other moves.
Panetta later recounted the oversized contribution the military — including Fort Ord, the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute — provided Monterey, Calif., when he served in Congress.
“And there’s no doubt that these military installations — places like Fort Bliss — play an extremely important role in the economy of this area,” he said.
“But let me say something else: this community is important to Fort Bliss. And, for that matter, you’re important to the entire United States military. Your support ensures that our troops can succeed in their mission, they can do what they have to do to protect us and to protect the safety of this country,” Panetta said.
Read the American Forces Press Service story.