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    Secretary of defense visits troops in Iraq

    Secretary of defense visits troops in Iraq

    Photo By Sgt. Nelson Rodriguez | U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made an unannounced stop in Erbil, Iraq, to meet...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. William Reinier  

    82nd Airborne Division

    BAGHDAD – During his five-day trip to the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made an unannounced stop in Baghdad July 23 and Erbil July 24.

    The visit, Carter’s first visit to Iraq since becoming the 25th secretary of defense, allowed him to meet with senior leaders and the service members assigned to Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

    Carter spent his visit meeting with U.S. commanders, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Minister of Defense Khaled al-Obaidi, and Sunni Leaders to discuss the Iraqi-led mission to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the importance of having capable and motivated Iraqi forces.

    “We hope that they can deliver that,” Carter said. “And if they do, we will support them.”

    Carter also toured the Combined Joint Operations Center and Counter Terrorism Service Training Center, both in Baghdad, where he gained a better understanding of air strike capabilities and procedures and the Iraqi Counter Terrorism training program.

    The final event of both days was a gathering with U.S. service members and coalition partners where he thanked each of them and their families for their service and sacrifice; and expressed gratitude on behalf of the Department of Defense and the citizens of the United States.

    “I don’t take it for granted that you’re here,” Carter said. “I don’t take for granted that you put yourself in harm’s way, that you’re doing that for your fellow citizens of the United States.”

    Carter also reiterated the importance of the mission in Iraq.

    “If all there was to it, was to beat them (ISIL) once – you could do it,” he said to the more than 200 service members in attendance. “The defeat we need to give to Daesh is a lasting defeat. And that can only be done if we’re supporting the people that live here.”

    During the troop visits in Baghdad and Erbil, service members asked Carter about the defense budget, force protection at recruiting stations and future operations in Iraq.

    “Whether and when we do more here, is going to depend on what the Iraqis are able to do,” Carter said. “We can’t substitute for capable and motivated Iraqi security forces. We can help them, but we can’t substitute them.”

    Carter ended the visits by shaking hands and taking an individual picture with every service member in attendance.



    Date Taken: 07.24.2015
    Date Posted: 07.25.2015 09:32
    Story ID: 171098
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ 

    Web Views: 258
    Downloads: 0