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Obama visiting Fort Bliss on Friday, the 2nd anniversary of last post visit

President Barack Obama will visit Fort Bliss on the two year anniversary of his visit to the post when he marked the end of combat operations in Iraq.

El Paso Mayor John Cook and the White House confirmed Obama will visit Fort Bliss on Friday.

Cook said he received a call from Fort Bliss commanding general Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard about the president’s upcoming visit but he had no other details on the visit.

Obama visited El Paso in May 2011 to give a speech on immigration at the Chamizal National Memorial.

Fort Bliss has been central to the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan with thousands of troops stationed at Fort Bliss deployed to those wars over the last decade.

On Saturday it was announced that roughly 4,000 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division personnel from Fort Bliss would deploy to Afghanistan this winter in a scheduled rotation.

The post has suffered its losses, including when the Bulldog Brigade lost 12 soldiers during its deployment in Afghanistan. Six of the soldiers were killed on July 8 in a single roadside bombing in Eastern Afghanistan.

Obama told the Fort Bliss troops on Aug. 31, 2010 that the end of combat operations in Iraq was “not going to be a victory lap,” not a cause for celebration.

“There’s still a lot of work that we’ve got to do to make sure that Iraq is an effective partner with us,” he said just hours before addressing the nation on the end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq.

During his 2010 visit, Obama spoke with troops at a Fort Bliss dining hall. Fort Bliss had been central to the Iraq war effort. The soldiers were among those combat troops who recently returned from Iraq.

“Welcome home,” Obama said to shouts of “hooh-uh.”

Obama flew to the post to thank the troops for their sacrifice in the long and unpopular war, one he had opposed.

“Congratulations on a job well done. The country appreciates you,” Obama said.

“Iraq has an opportunity to create a better future for itself and the U.S. is more secure” because of that mission, Obama said.

Obama noted during his speech that there remained “a tough fight ahead in Afghanistan…a tough slog.”

Following his remarks, Obama shook hands with each of the soldiers and family members gathered in the post dining hall, asking where they or their loved ones had served.

As he exited the room, Obama said, “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this time with you and see all of you face to face. Just know that we’re all thinking about you and all praying for your families.”

To those who will face future missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama said, “We will be relentless in making sure you have what you need to come home safely.”

ABC-7 Reporter Darren Hunt contributed to this report

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