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Defense Secretary Austin Expresses Gratitude in Holiday Calls to Deployed Military

As the holiday season brings Americans together for festive celebrations, thousands of military personnel worldwide continue their dedicated service to the nation. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks took a moment during the Christmas break to personally call military members deployed overseas, expressing gratitude and recognition for their sacrifices.

Acknowledging Sacrifices During Christmas

Austin and Hicks conveyed their appreciation for the “immense sacrifice” made by service members and their families during the Christmas season. The top military leaders underscored the significance of the troops’ domestic and overseas contributions, especially during this time of the year.

Secretary Austin’s Conversations with Deployed Units

Secretary Austin engaged in conversations with military personnel from various units, including the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron of the United States Air Force. This unit, responsible for flight-level launches, recoveries, and sustained operations, plays a crucial role wherever the Strike Eagle is deployed. Additionally, he connected with members aboard the USS BOXER, the flagship of Amphibious Squadron 5, currently involved in integrated amphibious and marine exercises in the Pacific.

Deputy Secretary Hicks’ Dialogues with Key Units

Deputy Secretary Hicks held discussions with military personnel from units such as the United States Marine Corps, 2d Battalion, 2d Marine Division (‘V22’). This infantry battalion, forward-deployed to support U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s global force management needs, serves as the Ground Combat Element. Furthermore, conversations took place with Unit 5 of the 5th Space Warning Squadron, U.S. Space Force, responsible for warning the United States and its foreign allies about strategic and theater missiles. Task Force U.S. Army 3rd Infantry Division, Marne, stationed in Poland to collaborate with NATO members, also engaged in discussions.

Continued Tradition of Presidential Support

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have continued the tradition of reaching out to members of all six branches of the armed forces on significant holidays. The President emphasized the exceptional dedication of the military during Thanksgiving, referring to them as “the best of us.” The Bidens carried on another tradition by visiting Children’s National Hospital for their third yearly visit, where the First Lady read “The Night Before Christmas” before spending time with kids and their parents.

In expressing gratitude and support during the holiday season, military leaders and the President affirm their commitment to recognizing the vital contributions of deployed troops and their families.

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