Dunford, Troxell Thank Incirlik Airmen for Professionalism, Flexibility
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff began the annual USO Tour here by saying thanks to the airmen who have been through so much over the past year.
This is Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford’s seventh trip to the base since assuming duty as chairman in October 2015. Just this year, he and Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman, have been to the base four times.
Incirlik is a hub in the campaign to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Dunford said, noting American, German, Spanish and Turkish airmen regularly fly missions against ISIL from the base.
Thanking Service Members
This is an opportunity to thank the airmen for “what they have gone through this year,” said Dunford, who praised the flexibility, professionalism and commitment of the airmen.
He thanked the service members for working with Turkey, calling it one of the most important strategic allies the United States has in the world.
“You couldn’t have done a better job of working through the challenges of the past year,” the chairman said.
Crossroads of Counter-ISIL Campaign
Dunford said Ircirlik is the crossroads in the campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria, and the work of the rotational units at the base is making a big difference in Iraq and Syria.
He noted when he was first in Turkey as chairman in October 2015, there was some pessimism about the counter-ISIL strategy.
“Ramadi hadn’t fallen and folks thought the campaign was off the rails,” he said. “But because of the commitment and professionalism of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines -- many of them operating right here -- today we’re pretty busy.”
Dunford added, “Today, when you talk to the folks who are flying the wings off airplanes, they are doing so, because the operational tempo is high because the enemy is on the run in Mosul, in Raqqa, and we’re making a huge difference.”
At the end of the day, he said, “This Christmas, back home, is safer than last Christmas, in large part [due to] what’s happening here.”
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