Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perry Praises Soldiers for Spirit, 'True Grit' despite Problems, They Get Credit as Professionals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perry Praises Soldiers for Spirit, 'True Grit' despite Problems, They Get Credit as Professionals

Article excerpt

U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry walked through the mist, mud and murk of Bosnia on Wednesday - and praised the spirit of the GIs who are enduring it.

"They see problems as challenges," Perry said at a press conference at the U.S. headquarters in Tuzla. "The American soldier has true grit."

Maybe. But on the morning of Perry's arrival, the Stars & Stripes - the semiofficial newspaper for Americans in uniform overseas - ran a Page One story about the rats that roam a warehouse being used as an American barracks in Croatia for soldiers waiting to cross into Bosnia.

The paper quoted GIs - most of them anonymously - as describing the conditions as worse than anything they had seen in Rwanda or Somalia.

Perry conceded that, so far, the American experience in Bosnia had been one problem after another: mines, flooding and so on. But overall, he said, "Our troops have been true professionals. They've shown competence, skill and amazing energy. I was most surprised by their high spirit and good humor."

His day took him from Sarajevo through Tuzla, where he got off a McDonnell Douglas C-17 and boarded an Army helicopter to view the Army's pontoon bridge across the Sava, about 50 miles north of Tuzla. He walked across the bridge. Apache attack helicopters escorted Perry's helicopter to the river site and circled overhead during his walk across.

Perry visited soldiers of the 1st Armored Division at checkpoints and base camps before returning to Tuzla for the press conference.

He singled out for praise the C-17, a new airlifter that has become the workhorse of the Bosnian buildup. The planes fly for the Air Mobility Command, which has its headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.

Ready To Fight

For his visit to Tuzla, Perry shunned his customary suit and tie and instead wore camouflage fatigues, complete with floppy cap. The uniform gave the mild-mannered Perry the look of an obscure staff major, albeit one flanked by a gaggle of half a dozen generals.

Among the generals were two wearing four stars apiece: John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and George Joulwan, NATO's supreme commander.

The three men enjoyed the privileges of rank. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.