At the President's request, I have prepared the following thank you letter.
To the sailors and Marines of the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group:The Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group is currently deployed to Central Command in support of the Global War on Terror. It includes:
This Fourth of July weekend, Americans all over the world will celebrate our liberty. We are able to celebrate that freedom because of the sacrifices borne by others. Most people remember the sacrifices of the founding fathers, who risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to give birth to a great nation. Their tradition lives on today in you. You risk yourselves every day, whether in the heat of the Persian Gulf in summer or the frigid waters of Onslow Bay in the dead of winter. Thank you!
Usually, only your families visibly notice your absence; sometimes the local news will run a 30-second piece on your comings and goings. The fact that the major media does not notice your deployments is a testament to your skill and devotion to duty. You are always ready to answer bells when your country needs you. Thank you!
In his speech to the American people on June 28th, President Bush asked that we, as Americans, "find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom." Your unique capability to project American power from the sea is critical to the nation's defense. I can think of no more appropriate group to thank than an Expeditionary Strike Group. I am proud of you, and can't thank you enough for the freedom that we Americans enjoy.
Commander, Amphibious Squadron Eight
USS Kearsarge (LHD-3)
USS Normandy (CG 60)
USS Ashland (LSD 48)
USS Gonzalez (DDG 66)
USS Ponce (LPD 15)
USS Kaufman (FFG 59)
USS Scranton (SSN 756)
26 Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)
Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines
Marine Medium Helicopter (HMM) Squadron 162 (Reinforced)
MEU Service Support Group 26
If all goes well, my message will be distributed to the group, along with a link to this site. Add a comment to this post to express your thanks to them as well.