Local News

'Boots on the ground' needed to defeat ISIS, former Fort Bragg commander says

Posted March 24, 2015

— If the United States wants to defeat ISIS, it will require boots on the ground, a former Fort Bragg commander said Tuesday.

Hugh Shelton, a retired four-star general and former chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, was in Fayetteville for a street naming ceremony in his honor. The main street through Park View Condominiums was renamed Hugh Shelton Loop.

Shelton, who as Fort Bragg’s leader led the charge to oust Saddam Hussein, said the United States made one mistake in not listening to its Middle East partners by replacing Hussein with a strong leader.

Fixing America’s current issue in the region, he said, will require fighting ISIS eye-to-eye.

"I don't think that there's any question boots on the ground are going to be required," he said. "Now whether or not it's our boots, or someone else's, but you know people, you lead from the front and people follow the example you set."

Dan McNeill, another retired four-star general and former Fort Bragg commander, agreed.

"Boots on the ground happens to be a part of that, and if they're as bad as everybody says, and it appears that they are, I don't think we ought to hold back anything," said McNeill, who was also at Tuesday’s event.

Defeating ISIS will also take a strong coalition of Islamic leaders to help defeat the terrorist group's ideology, Shelton said.

The group recently released a list targeting members of the U.S. military,

Shelton said those on the list will be protected.

"We take the necessary measures to protect those people that are on the list," he said. "They take necessary measures themselves to make sure they they're as well protected as they can be. But, we will go after them. We will go in on the offense, not on the defense. That's what they would do for us."


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Buford Justice Mar 25, 2015
    user avatar

    Boots on the ground ARE required to crush ISIS. But they need to be Iraqi, Saudi, and Jordanian boots.

  • Joseph Smith Mar 25, 2015
    user avatar

    NO. Crazy. Everything the US has done in the middle east has been a failure. Just look at Yemen today. $500 million of US weapons now in rebel hands. Bring out troops home now. Let the rich Saudis and Europeans deal with it.

  • Larry Price Mar 25, 2015
    user avatar

    Charlie Watkins - "This question should be put to all the 2016 Presidential candidates."
    I agree. And they shouldn't be let off the hook if they answer 'somebody needs to deal with this' or some other non-committal answer. Each candidate should either state that they're for US troops directly involved or not.

  • Charlie Watkins Mar 25, 2015
    user avatar

    This question should be put to all the 2016 Presidential candidates.

    I hope that the US tired of spilling blood in countries where they do not appreciate our effort in the first place.

    Time to let them sort it out for themselves. They have been fighting these same issues for hundreds & hundreds of years and I do not think US politics is the answer.

    Mind our own business! We got more than enough problems of our own to be trying to settle problems that cannot be settled.

    Kill ISIS and a new group is born.Let the middle east deal with it. If they are not concerned then so be it.

  • Phil Larson Mar 24, 2015
    user avatar

    No no no no no no.