US Secretary of Defense visits Fort Benning, addresses troops - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

US Secretary of Defense visits Fort Benning, addresses troops

The National Infantry Museum posted this photo on Facebook Friday. (Source: Facebook) The National Infantry Museum posted this photo on Facebook Friday. (Source: Facebook)
FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was spotted at Fort Benning early Friday as he prepared to address service members who are preparing for deployment. 

Friday afternoon he spoke to leaders and soldiers from the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at McGinnis-Wickam Hall.

 "As it was for many of you, "Fort Beginning" was my first introduction to real Army life," remarked Panetta in his address to troops on post.  "I have to tell you the treatment I've been getting today is a hell of a lot nicer than what I got back then.  The chow is about the same, though."

The defense secretary spoke to about 1,300 soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team and answered questions during a town hall meeting. 

When speaking about professionalism in the military, Panetta stated, "The reality is that our enemies are losing on the battlefield, and they will seek any opportunity to damage us.  In particular, they have sought to take advantage of a series of troubling incidents involving misconduct on the part of American troops." 

Panetta urged troops, "I need every one of you, and all of your fellow service members, to always display the strongest character, the greatest discipline, and the utmost integrity in everything you do... I know that you are proud to wear the uniform of your country, and that you strive to live up to the high standards that we expect of you. "

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