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Immediate Release

Secretary of Defense Makes Holiday Calls to Service Members

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke today over video-teleconference with service members from each branch of the armed forces to thank them and wish them happy holidays.

The Secretary expressed his appreciation for their service in defense of the nation and the support they provide to our Allies and partners around the world. Secretary Austin highlighted the professionalism with which these men and women continue to perform their duties and offered his gratitude for their – and their families’ – service and sacrifice during the holidays.

“I really wanted to connect with you and thank you for what each and every one of you are doing on behalf of our country every day, but especially during this holiday season. We are proud of you and very grateful for what you – and your families – sacrifice to keep us safe,” Secretary Austin said.

Below is a list of the units he spoke with:

USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93).  Sailors aboard USS Chung-Hoon, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, are providing maritime presence in the Western Pacific to reinforce the rules-based international order.  Their mission is to challenge excessive maritime claims of coastal nations, reassure allies and partners, and work with joint, ally, and partner forces to exercise and improve interoperability across all domains of warfare.

46th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron.  Airmen from the 46th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron are forward deployed to an undisclosed location in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to generate and sustain combat air power to rescue isolated personnel, ‘Anywhere, Anytime…That Others May Live.’

13th Marine Expeditionary Unit.  Marines assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are currently embarked on the USS Makin Island (LHD-8) Amphibious Readiness Group in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command area of responsibility to provide a forward deployed, flexible sea-based Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

Task Force 101.  Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 5th Battalion, 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment are deployed to a forward operating station in Poland to secure and operate the Material Aid Contribution Coordination Cell in support of Security Assistance Group – Ukraine.

13th Space Warning Squadron (SWS) and Alaska Air National Guard (AK ANG).  Guardians from the 13th SWS and Airmen from the AK ANG are stationed at Clear Space Force Station (SFS), Alaska, to provide strategic missile warning and space domain awareness.  Clear SFS is strategically located on 11,500 acres of remote subarctic portions of interior Alaska.