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Some Soldiers Hope Rumsfeld's Resignation Will Help Troops

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation has generated mixed reactions among soldiers at Fort Bragg.

Rumsfeld has visited the Army post three times since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He last paid a visit to the post in May 2005, speaking to the troops about Fort Bragg's importance in the war on terror and specifically its role in Iraq.

Thousands of soldiers from Fort Bragg have rotated through Iraq and Afghanistan. Some soldiers with whom WRAL spoke expressed disappointment at seeing Rumsfeld go, but said they're not surprised -- especially, they said, in light of Tuesday's elections and the waning support for the war in Iraq.

"I hope it works out for the guys over there," said Pvt. Matt DeAtley. "If anything, I'm hoping a change in defense secretary will make things easier for them."

"I just think that (President George W. Bush) is exercising a great deal of wisdom in his judgment right now," said Lt. Col. Marshall Peterson. "I think he properly assesses what the political scenario is here, and he wants to do the best for the country."

Staff Sgt. Hans Hurd said he doesn't expect to see a change in soldier routine, despite this change at the top.

"They're more involved in the longer-range ideas," he said. "With Rumsfeld, it's been the push for a transformation of the military to face 21st-century challenges, which really isn't something that affects you on an immediate level."

Top officials at Fort Bragg declined to comment about Rumsfeld's resignation, saying their job is to execute policy regardless of who is in charge.


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