Published: Friday, 29 May 2009 15:49
29 May 2009
Secretary Gates arrived in Singapore after a 35 hour flight from Kansas. The aircraft landed several times along the way due to a technical issue that precluded in-flight refueling. But he got here. And so tonight, during an off the record conversation (except for this part), Secretary Gates said he read my site this morning where I reported that he had canceled a visit with some troops. He pointed out to me -- very clearly and kindly -- that he doesn't cancel on troops. And to be sure, I saw Secretary Gates spend a lot of time with troops on the last trip; it's clear that he was looking forward to getting out among the troops. Secretary Gates likes to talk with young soldiers -- so if you are a young soldier and have any questions, get them ready. He will stop and answer your questions. Have seen him do it many times on the last trip. (Some of those questions could not possibly have been popular with their commanders.)
When Secretary Gates saw me he paused to say hello and chat for a bit, but then later it was not fun for me when I got corrected by Secretary Gates in front of a bunch of high-horsepower people. But I did get reliable word from downrange that some troops thought he had canceled. Secretary Gates wanted the record straight. Nothing is canceled.
I respected him even more for calling me out on that. My information was accurate (soldiers think he canceled), but his information is also accurate. Despite the aircraft problems, he's on the way.
Record corrected. I return to duty.