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Dempsey takes to Facebook for 'town hall' meeting

Dec. 3, 2013 - 04:13PM   |  
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Song requests? New tattoos? The future of military life?

The Pentagon’s top four-star officer will have a lot to talk about on Thursday at his first-ever Facebook “town hall” meeting.

So far, more than 150 people have posed questions or comments for Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to respond to during the 30-minute online chat scheduled for 1:45 to 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 5.

Dempsey released a video on his Facebook page urging troops and others to post questions “or ‘like’ someone else’s question.”

Among the most popular questions on Tuesday was: “Sir, will you be taking song requests?”

Dempsey is known to be a enthusiastic crooner. As a battle commander in Iraq, he once sponsored “combat karaoke night” at a Baghdad military base, at which he performed Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.”

Others have posted more detailed questions about military life today. For example, Valarie Walker, an Army wife and mother of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005, wants to hear about proposals to shutter some military commissaries.

“Please advise on what can be done to preserve this most valued program that allows us to buy food and basic necessities at cost. Also, if this benefit goes away, will pay be increased to cover the savings we will lose by shopping at ‘for-profit’ stores?” Walker wrote on Dempsey’s Facebook page.

Former soldier Kevin Storm wants Dempsey to help the Army find and field a replacement for the M16 rifle.

Retired soldier David Niles wants to know how the military, after the war in Afghanistan winds down, can help troops stay ”engaged but not tied up with the silly Cold War inspections that I grew up with.”

One soldier wants to ask Dempsey’s advice about tattoos. “Sir, I am seriously thinking about getting some tattoos on my lower arms. I have heard of the … possible changes in the regulations. Your guidance on this is very appreciated,” wrote David Janis.

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