Undersecretary of the Army Patrick Murphy drove a Stryker vehicle and checked out a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System Wednesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
That was after he presented a local Vietnam War veteran with the Silver Star.
And Thursday (Sept. 1), he’ll be on the base again to take part in physical training before he meets with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and learns about local companies helping to employ veterans.
After his Stryker ride, Murphy answered questions from reporters Wednesday.
Q: Are you looking forward to PT?
A: I can’t wait, I can’t wait.
Q: What should we expect for the future of JBLM when it comes to Stryker units, the possibility of downsizing and the potential for base realignment? Anything that South Sound locals should be aware of?
A: We fight our wars in a joint capability. I come from a joint family. My dad was in the Navy, my brother has done two deployments after 9/11 in the Air Force. I’ve done two deployments in the Army. And I’ll tell you, that’s how we fight these fights, and that’s how we win. And this is best in class when you talk about the joint environment here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Q: You got to see the HIMARS today. How is it being used in wars, and is there anything locals should know about it?
A: It’s an incredible platform. We’re very proud of it, and we need to make sure that we have, not a fair fight for our soldiers, they need to have the technical and tactical advantage over our enemy. And that’s what you’re seeing with these platforms, and that’s what we need to be investing in in the future.
Q: When it comes to North Korea, JBLM has units that train for potential conflict on the Korean Peninsula. With the recent missile launches there, is there anything that South Sounders should be aware of?
A: Folks should be very grateful that we have these young men and women here in places like Joint Base Lewis-McChord and across the world that are willing to wear the cloth of our our country, willing to stand in front of the American people and in front of folks in places like North Korea, to let them know we will take care of our allies. We will take care of our friends, including the millions of folks that live in South Korea, under constant fear of what’s going on just north of them.
Q: Anything else that you’d like people to know about your time here?
A: We had a great day. We were able to give the Silver Star to a Vietnam veteran earlier today. … And his generation of Vietnam veterans made sure that our generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans felt welcomed home and thanked for our service. And I’m really looking forward to go and meet with Sen. Murray tomorrow. … At the Department of Defense, the last five years, we have spent $4.6 billion on unemployment. We have to make sure our soldiers, once they serve, that the American people and businesses know they are civic assets to be harnessed.