Friday, October 31, 2014

DoD Authorizes War on Terror Award for Inherent Response Ops

By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

FORT MEADE, Md., Oct. 31, 2014 – Service members overseas serving in support of Operation Inherent Resolve are eligible for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Pentagon officials announced today.

The award is retroactive to June 15, when President Barack Obama ordered U.S. forces to the region in response to offensives by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq.

At the invitation of the Iraqi government, American troops went to the country to assess Iraqi forces and the ISIL threat.

Jessica Wright, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, signed a memorandum authorizing the award today.

Immediate Recognition

The award provides immediate recognition to U.S. service members supporting efforts to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat it poses to Iraq, the region and the wider international community, Pentagon officials said.

In addition to Iraq, service members deployed to Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are eligible. Those serving in the Mediterranean Sea east of the 25th meridian and in the Persian Gulf also can receive the award.

Service members who already have received the award for prior service do not receive another award or a battle star, officials said. About 8,400 service members are in the qualifying Operation Inherent Support area today.

Hagel Thanks Albanian Counterpart for Support in ISIL Fight

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked Albanian Defense Minister Mimi Kodheli during a Pentagon meeting yesterday for her leadership in Albania's support to the Iraqi government in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In a statement summarizing the meeting, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby noted that Albania has played a leading role in the international effort underway to resupply Iraq's Kurdish forces with ammunition and equipment.

“The leaders [also] discussed Albania's defense reform efforts, including the Albanian officers who recently graduated from the New Jersey National Guard Officer Candidate School,” Kirby added. “They agreed to continue to work together on building Albanian capacity for training and education.”

Kodheli highlighted the Albanian Defense Ministry's efforts to modernize the country’s armed forces with NATO-standard weapons, and she encouraged U.S. defense investment in Albania, the press secretary said.

Hagel noted Albania's support to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, the admiral said, and thanked Albania for its commitment to the post-2014 Resolute Support mission there.

Airstrikes Continue Against ISIL in Syria, Iraq

From a U.S. Central Command News Release

TAMPA, Fla., Oct. 31, 2014 – U.S. military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria yesterday and today, using fighter and bomber aircraft to conduct four airstrikes, U.S. Central Command officials reported.

Separately, officials said, U.S. and partner-nation military forces conducted four airstrikes in Iraq yesterday and today, using fighter and remotely piloted aircraft against ISIL terrorists.

In Syria, four airstrikes near Kobani damaged four ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL building. In Iraq, airstrikes near Fallujah and Bayji struck small ISIL units. An airstrike near Qaim destroyed an ISIL checkpoint and an ISIL vehicle, and an airstrike north of Tikrit struck a large ISIL unit and destroyed three ISIL-occupied buildings.

All aircraft left the strike areas safely, Centcom officials said, noting that airstrike assessments are based on initial reports.

The strikes were conducted as part of Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community.

The destruction of ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the terrorist group’s ability to project power and conduct operations, officials said.

Among the coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Iraq are the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. Coalition nations conducting airstrikes in Syria include the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain.