STUTTGART, Germany – U.S. personnel and equipment began arriving at Incirlik Air Base today to support NATO’s Patriot battery deployment to Turkey.
Approximately 400 U.S. personnel and equipment from the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Air Defense Artillery (3-2 ADA) based at Fort Sill, Okla., will continue to flow into Turkey over the next several days by U.S. military airlift. The troops will man two Patriot batteries supporting NATO’s mission there. Additional equipment will be moved by sea, arriving later this month.
The deployment of six Patriot batteries, including two each from Germany and the Netherlands, is in response to Turkey's request to NATO. The forces will augment Turkey’s air defense capabilities and contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the Alliance's border.
“Turkey is an important NATO ally and we welcome the opportunity to support the Turkish government’s request in accordance with the NATO standing defense plan,” said Navy Vice Adm. Charles Martoglio, U.S. European Command deputy commander.
Martoglio said the Patriot batteries will fall under NATO command when set up is complete and the systems are operational in the next several weeks. The deployment will be defensive only and will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.
“It’s good to be in Turkey. We believe the measure of deterrence that we can add makes our Soldiers’ time away from friends and families back home worthwhile. Protecting our allies is what this alliance is all about,” said U.S. Army Major Brian Carlin, there to support the mission.
The duration of the deployment will be determined by the contributing nations in coordination with Turkey and NATO.
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