U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DECEMBER 22, 2023) - Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks yesterday and today spoke with service members from each branch of the armed forces to wish them happy holidays.
The Secretary and Deputy Secretary thanked them for their service in defense of the nation and in support of America's allies and partners. They acknowledged with gratitude the immense sacrifice these service members and their families are making throughout the holiday season as they work to ensure our country is safe and secure.
Secretary Austin spoke with service members from the following units:
- U.S. Air Force's 494th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron. Airmen from this unit are maintenance professionals responsible for all flight level launches, recoveries, and sustained operations wherever the Strike Eagle is tasked to deploy.
- U.S. Navy's USS BOXER. The USS BOXER is the flagship of Amphibious Squadron 5 and is currently underway for amphibious and marine integrated exercises in the Pacific.
Deputy Secretary Hicks spoke with service members from the following units:
- U.S. Marine Corps 'V22', 2d Battalion, 2d Marine Division. Marines from this infantry battalion are forward-deployed to serve as the Ground Combat Element in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Global Force Management requirements.
- U.S. Space Force's 5th Space Warning Squadron, Detachment 5. Guardians from this unit provide strategic and theater missile warning to the U.S. and our international partners.
- U.S. Army's Task Force Marne, 3rd Infantry Division. Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division are deployed in Poland to work alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces to V Corps.