Defense Secretary Robert Gates is visiting troops in southern Afghanistan today. One stop he made was a remote outpost near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The Associated Press reports that he spent time there with a 800-member unit based in Fort Lewis, Washington. Twenty two soldiers from the unit have died fighting in Kandahar since last summer.
"You all have had a very tough time," Gibbs told the 800-soldier unit, according to The AP. "You came into an area totally controlled by the Taliban. You fought for a critical battle space, you bled for it and now you own it."
Gates flew to Kandahar early this morning to meet the unit, as well as U.S. and British generals overseeing the Marja offensive. Before arriving in Kandahar, Gates gave two Army aviators Silver Stars for valor for their work in Southern Afghanistan.