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Soldiers More Than Understand Full-Spectrum Operations

By C. Todd Lopez

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2008) -- The Army's new operations manual, FM 3-0, defines full- spectrum operations and includes stability operations as part of the Army's core mission.

During a session at the Association of the United States Army's Institute of Land Warfare Winter Symposium and Exposition here, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Richard A. Cody said Soldiers are already applying in theater what is contained in that field manual.

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From development of the Stryker Brigade Combat Teams -- to the development, application and refinement of counterinsurgency operations -- the Army is a leader in full-spectrum operations, the general said.

"The Army has lead the joint force into the 21st century, and wields full-spectrum operations against traditional and irregular threats in complex environments," Cody said.

"If you read FM 3-0, the operational lessons learned will leap off the page to you. But they are not lessons learned unless they are applied," he said. "Having just returned from theater, I can say unequivocally, our Soldiers and our leaders don't just get full-spectrum operations, they are damn good at it."

During his visit to Iraq and Afghanistan, the general said he had the opportunity to re-enlist some 300 Soldiers, hand out hundreds of coins; and to pin on silver stars, combat infantryman badges, combat action badges and combat medical badges. Above all, he said, he was impressed with Soldiers' selflessness.

"These Soldiers told me their stories," he said. "And every Soldier's story was deeply impressive. But if I could paraphrase them, they talked about their buddies more than they talked about themselves. They talked about the heroics of their partners and how much they trusted each other."

The general visited Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, to inspire Soldiers and to boost morale. It was he, however, that was inspired by the Soldiers, he said.

"These young Soldiers will never know not just how proud I was of them, but how much I wanted to join them," he said. "I went to Iraq and Afghanistan to check on the troops and to inspire them, but it was they that inspired me.

"They bear this difficult mission for all of us, make incredible personal sacrifices, and witness friends and buddies getting wounded. They do it because they love this nation. They do it because they believe in this mission -- they see the big picture -- and they know the importance of victory for this nation and for this world."

The general said he asks himself daily if he is doing all he can to support Soldiers and their families, and if he is showing the same moral courage that he saw daily in the eyes of Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The answer to those questions must be yes," he said. "Then I ask myself am I living my life as an American that is worthy of the sacrifices of our young Soldiers."

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