ROUND ROCK — Two local Congressman visited Fort Hood troops who are taking the fight to ISIS last month.
It was not Congressman John Carter’s first time in Iraq.
“I was over there one week after they pulled Saddam out of the hole. And I got to look down in that hole," said the Republican Representative for the 31st District in Central Texas.
But it’s an important mission each time.
“Got soldiers over there. We’ve got people that as far as I’m concerned, they’re my constituents from my district. They’re willing to go in harm’s way I think I ought to be decent enough to go visit them," said Carter.
He feels the security has certainly improved since his earlier visits. The Congressman visited the Kurdish region in northern Iraq for the first time—he describes it as green.
“I met with Apache pilots and gunners and they were very excited about their mission both in Iraq and also in Syria," he said.
Carter visited with Commanders, soldiers and even Iraqi local leaders during the May trip.
“I think the question on everyone’s mind, including General Funk and his team, was we have this election coming up and what happens in that election is going to have consequences to what happens in Iraq. So everybody had that on the tip of their tongue," he said.
Carter says soldiers told him they are confident they rid much of the region of ISIS, and only a few pockets remain.
“And then felt basically the dominance of ISIS or ISIL, whichever you wanna call it, would be over in Syria hopefully by the end of this fighting season, which is roughly this summer," Carter said.
He does not think there needs to be any more soldiers over there, but cautions against any draw downs of the troops. He said, historically, draw downs have gotten the U.S. in some bad situations.
“We need to keep the strength up. We are the dominant force in the world," he explained to Channel 6.
III Corps’ Lieutenant General Paul Funk II was one of many leaders who met with the Congressman in the Middle East. He said, “His visit afforded him the opportunity to meet with our outstanding Troopers, and see firsthand the tremendous progress the Coalition and our Iraqi and Syrian partners have made in the fight to defeat ISIS. Seeing our Troopers and partners in action is critical to telling the powerful story of this remarkable Coalition."
Carter calls last week’s passage of the National Defense Authorization Act “another step toward rebuilding our military”.