April 20th, 2016 12:35 EST
Ash Carter Thanks U.S. Troops During Baghdad Visit
The men and women of the United States military have made enormous progress toward defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told troops in Baghdad yesterday.
Carter thanked the troops for their service during a stop at Baghdad International Airport as part of a visit to the region to discuss accelerating the defeat of ISIL.
"The whole world watches; a proud country watches," he said. "We`re confident that you`re on the path to a lasting defeat of ISIL. We have to do that and we are confident that you will do it."
As part of his trip to the region, Carter was also visiting the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Presentation of OIR Campaign Medals
While in Baghdad, Carter presented the first Operation Inherent Resolve campaign medals. He awarded the medals to five service members who represent the joint force, but noted that everyone serving there will receive the award.
The campaign medal is something that the service members will wear for the rest of their lives, he said. The recipients can know they`ve helped to defeat ISIL, recaptured territory and liberated people from the terrorists.
"Right here, right now, you were part of the culmination of that process. I`m confident of that," he said.
"You`ll look back with great pride upon what you did. I don`t have to look back. I look out right now and I feel that pride in you," he said. "Thanks for what you are doing today."
Carter announced the creation of the Operation Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal last month. The award, retroactive to June 15, 2014, is for service members based in Iraq or Syria, those who flew missions over those countries, and those who served in contiguous waters for 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days, officials said at the time.
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