June 22, 2009
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe Makes Rounds To See Troops Before Deadline in Iraq
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, Multi-National Corps-Iraq command sergeant major, stands atop a rooftop in Samarra over-looking the busy city. Grippe spent time talking to Soldiers here while on a recent battlefield circulation throughout northern Iraq.
A wheeled vehicle mechanic looks up to find Multi-National Corps-Iraq Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe standing beside him recently. The Soldier, from Company B, 589th Brigade Support Battalion, provides direct-level maintenance support to Multi-National Division-South's 41st Fires Brigade of Fort Hood, Texas.
Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe, center, patrols a market in Mosul with Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas. In recent weeks the market has been peaceful, but insurgent attacks continue to place Mosul at the top of the list for insurgency hot-spots in Iraq.
Soldiers Hear Message, Address Important Issues to Senior Leader
by Sgt. Lindsey Bradford
He has flown in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters nearly 400 miles, convoyed more than three times that distance with his protective security detail and trekked countless miles at various contingency and forward operating bases throughout Iraq - all for the sake of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines living throughout Iraq.
Multi-National Corps-Iraq Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe has been a hard man to pin down since his arrival to Baghdad in March of this year. Fulfilling a goal to talk to service members throughout Iraq about the issues they are facing, Grippe is making his rounds.
"I want to feel it, taste it, smell it, breathe it, live it," he tells service members he visits in all four corners of the country.
Grippe visited with Marines in Multi-National Force-West and with Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen in Multi-National Divisions Baghdad, North and South to deliver a few messages; messages, he says, that are the greatest issues facing our men and women serving in the armed forces.
One of the main concerns effecting service members stationed in Iraqi cities is the fast-approaching, June 30, deadline. As cited in Article 24 of the Security Agreement, "All United States combat forces shall withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages and localities ... no later than, June 30." Throughout Iraq, service members asked Grippe what that meant for them.
"We are working against the clock now," he said. "Never before have we been on a timeline, and now you all will continue your hard work with the Iraqis as they take the lead on providing security and safety for their people."
Grippe said that successes of the Iraqi security forces is the direct reflection of coalition forces' efforts to work with, guide and train ISF soldiers since the start of the war six years ago.
In addition, Grippe was quick to note that only the best of the best were standing before him.
"You all represent one percent of the American population that serves in the United States military," he said. "You are the cream of the crop, and you should be very proud of yourself."
For every visit, with his notebook in hand, Grippe opens the floor to answer questions about the Army Direct Ordering system, battlefield promotions, dwell-time and redeployment processes.
"Your job is to tell me what you need, what you see that you think should be changed and to bring up issues I can't see on a daily basis. In turn, I will take those ideas, those issues and bring them to Force to work," said Grippe. "Unless you tell me what is going on, they can't get addressed."
Overall, Soldiers seemed eager to speak with Grippe, and provided him good ideas to take back to higher, he said.
"I was glad that he was able to see one of his brigades from Fort Lewis doing great things," said Fort Lewis' 42nd Military Police Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Edgar Dahl. Dahl and his Soldiers have handled detainee operations at Camp Bucca, located in MND-S, for the past 15 months. "I was pleased he could talk to the troops of the 42nd and pass on his thoughts."
Grippe said he plans to re-visit all the troops throughout the next 10 months of his tour to ensure that Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are getting the answers to their questions and to monitor their quality of life. Those two things, Grippe said, are what he is here to take care of.
Wild Thing's comment........
"One of the main concerns effecting service members stationed in Iraqi cities is the fast-approaching, June 30, deadline."
That is for next year and it is thanks to Obama. Instead of allowing our military to make these decisions of when, where, time etc. Our Military that know hands on right there what is best, the feel of what is happening and the experience of what happens when they ease up etc. nope,.....Obama that has only held a basketball in his hands is making a decision that will effect our troops safety and all the hard work they have done. And we will not forget those that have been injured and killed in this fight as well, paying them respect for what they gave, the highest cost of all.
To Obama this obviously is nothing more then shutting down one of his stop and shops at his corner someplace in thugville where he is from in Chicago.
I do love how Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Grippe is igoing ito all the places to see our troops. There have been a lot of wonderful leaders in our military that really stay close with our troops. I think it makes a huge difference.
Posted by Wild Thing at June 22, 2009 05:49 AM
Grippe is a good SgtMaj. I had a battalion commander like this in Vietnam. Col. Dempsey would show up unannounced and just wander around an area. He would visit with the troops usually one on one and ask what he could do to make things better. He was killed in action on Easter Sunday 1967.
Posted by: TomR at June 22, 2009 02:17 PM
You bet that SgtMaj cares about his troops, I was blessed to have Major General Michael B. Kauffman, show up to see his boys in theater, no airs no frills, no spit and polish BS just a family visit and one on ones with us. He was there to greet us at the home base upon our return, he pulled off his rank insignias and slick sleeved it with a bunch of drunks at the local NCO club. Sorry about your loss TomR, they are such a rarity.
Posted by: Jack at June 22, 2009 03:58 PM
Tom, oh NO I am so sorry. Tom
thank you for sharing about Col.Dempsey.
He made a difference in this world and
truly cared about his men, what a
Posted by: Wild Thing at June 23, 2009 01:24 AM
Jack, thank you too for sharing about
Major General Michael B. Kauffman.
Posted by: Wild Thing at June 23, 2009 01:27 AM
CSM Grippe is the real deal not only a soldier but as a person. I once dated him.
I think that we should all try to remember the sacrafices that our various Armed forces and their families are going through to keep Iraq and the world a safer place.
Obama does not seem to be giving the amount of support one would hope to our troops during this very dangerous draw down time. He seems more into his fight to kick smoking and making the rest of America follow suit than fighting the wars that are needed to keep our world safer. And yes, I didn't vote for the man. I voted McCain/Palin.
Freedom isnt free. It comes at great cost to those who defend it. Maybe we might want to write letters of support to our troops in Iraq or donate money or our time to family support groups that help the soldiers,seamen, airmen and Marines whose family are still back at home praying their loved ones come home soon and safe.
Posted by: Mary at June 24, 2009 02:42 PM