Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sen. Hagan: 'I would like to be the Marines' advocate on the Hill." Cool -- which hill?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster

After spending half a day aboard local Marine Corps bases, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) praised the troops for the work they continue to do at home and overseas.
In a trip that coincided with Memorial Day, Hagan, who serves as chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, spent Tuesday morning aboard Camp Lejeune and New River, meeting with top officials and receiving briefings on the state of the forces.
At Camp Lejeune, Hagan met with the commander of Marine Special Operations Command, Maj. Gen. Paul Lefebvre. Later, she was transported via V-22 Osprey to New River for her first visit to the air station, where she met with Col. Jeffrey Hewlett, the air station’s commanding officer, and with leadership from II Marine Expeditionary Force and Wounded Warrior Battalion East.
Hagan refrained from specifically addressing any topic in a brief question-and-answer session with local media but did note that much of her discussions with MarSOC and II MEF leadership focused on her work with the Emerging Threats subcommittee.
“The Emerging Threats subcommittee is really looking at those threats around the world, having to do with trying to figure out how we can keep the (improvised explosive devices) from exploding, looking at nuclear proliferation, looking at weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons; and a lot of what we’ve actually talked about today is how to combat these emerging threats to our Marines and to the other branches,” she said.
Hagan said that she was a visual person, and being able to see firsthand the work of local Marines and the wounded troops at Wounded Warrior Battalion gave her new enthusiasm about supporting the work of the troops. 

While she declined to answer questions about whether she would return to Capitol Hill with specific action points in reference to local Marines, Hagan said she wanted to continue the tradition of support of the armed forces that made North Carolina the most military-friendly state in the country.
“I think our nation is incredibly proud and incredibly supportive of our Marines,” she said. “And I would like to be the Marines’ advocate on the hill. I want to be sure that we continue to equip our Marines with all the equipment and training that they need to get their mission done.”
Hewlett, who addressed the media with Hagan, said the troops appreciated her visit.
“I think MarSOC and the Wounded Warrior Regiment brought up some great points, and Senator Hagan was extremely receptive to that,” he said. “We’re coming up on our 10th year at war in about four months, and it’s been a tough slog for the young Marines and sailors and their families. I just thank God that we have elected representatives like the senator that really are doing everything they can to make that long hard slog as good as it can be.”
Hagan spent Memorial Day in Wilmington at the Battleship North Carolina, honoring veterans and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the ship’s arrival in North Carolina.

Contact military reporter Hope Hodge at 910-219-8453 or hhodge@freedomenc.com.