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The Army's new Stryker driver

Under Secretary of the Army visits JBLM

Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy shakes hands with soldiers assigned to 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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For a secretary, he did a pretty good job of driving a Stryker.

"It was awesome!" an enthused Patrick Murphy, the Under Secretary of the Army, said Wednesday afternoon moments after exiting the vehicle.

"This gives us an advantage in combatting our enemies."

During his two-day visit to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Murphy took time to talk to past and current soldiers.

Along with Representative Derek Kilmer, yesterday morning Murphy presented the Silver Star Medal to Sgt. Edward Dvorak for his actions while serving in Vietnam on Nov. 30, 1968.

"It is a great day when one has the honor of presenting a Silver Star," said Murphy.

Yesterday afternoon he visited several base facilities, stopping to talk with soldiers.

As part of his tour, the Under Secretary stopped to look at an M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) assigned to the 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment.

Nearby were three Strykers, and one of them had been set aside for Murphy to climb into and drive.

After a briefing by a couple of Stryker soldiers assigned to the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, Murphy took off.

"I enjoy communicating with these soldiers," said Murphy.  "I was them once."

Murphy served in the 82nd Airborne and deployed to Iraq in 2003-2004.

But it gets better - he does PT (physical training) with the soldiers.

"Looking forward to it," he quipped.

After this morning's PT, Murphy will visit Interstate Distributors, a Tacoma trucking company that is involved with the Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program.

The emphasis of his visit is to learn about the successful partnerships with local companies that help military members find employment after leaving active-duty.

"The TAP is very important; we owe this to our veterans," explained Murphy.

Turning back to the Strykers and HIMARS, Murphy said that the soldiers he had met were an inspiration.

"I am inspired; they stand up for our nation; we owe them a debt of gratitude."

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