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 News Article

In Iraq, Hagel Praises Troops’ Commitment, Service, Sacrifice

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jake Richmond
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanked service members in Baghdad yesterday and told them they are “doing something very, very special that very few people in life ever can do.”

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel addresses service members during a visit to Baghdad, Dec. 9, 2014. DoD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Hagel said the world is going through an incredible time of redefinition, but that the one constant that always determines outcomes of everything is service, sacrifice, leadership and commitment.

“Your commitment and your service and your sacrifice to what you believe is something that should be recognized [and] acknowledged,” he said.

Being separated from family is another part of the sacrifice made by service members, Hagel said, which is especially difficult during the holidays. He asked the troops to thank their family members on his behalf.

‘Defined by the End Game’

The secretary told the troops in attendance –- who included Americans and Australians -- that he knows they believe they’re just doing their jobs. But he reminded them that their service will make a “such a difference” in the future.

“I think when you look out over the long sweep of history -– and certainly we’ve had an interesting last 13 years in the world -- it’s always determined by not just the day-to-day developments or battles, but it’s always determined by the will and commitment of the people,” the secretary said. “And we, being the United States and our coalition partners, including Australia, are countries that have played important roles in history to help other countries and help other people.”

Hagel said such efforts are “always defined by the end game,” which he described as the determination of whether a country can be free to defend itself, support itself, and provide its people peace, prosperity and opportunity. However, the inclusiveness of an Iraqi government that its people can join and trust is essential, Hagel said.

“It is their country,” Hagel said. “They have to lead. They are the ones that are going to have to be responsible for end results. We can help, we can train, we can assist, we can advise, and we’re doing that.”

(Follow Tech. Sgt. Jake Richmond on Twitter: @RichmondDoDNews)


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