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  • Oct
  • 2015
Defense Secretary visits U.S. service members in Spain

By Staff Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy, Marine Corps Forces Europe

MORON AIR BASE, Spain -- The U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter met with U.S. Marines, sailors and airmen aboard Morón Air Base, Oct. 6, 2015.

The purpose of Carter’s visit was to learn more about Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa capabilities and strong partnership with the Spanish military.

“You are here, right now in Morón, at the center of our strategic transition,” said Carter, addressing the service members during a town hall. “You are turning the Marine Corps, the Air Force and other services to a wider spectrum of possible conflicts at the cutting edge of that strategic transition.”

Carter thanked the Marines for their hard work in Iraq and Afghanistan, and emphasized that while the future might be uncertain, his administration knows what is out there, which ranges from high end opponents like the Russians, Chinese and North Koreans, to terrorist groups and people threatening Americans. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining strong relationships with our partner nations, such as the Spanish.

“We have wonderful friends like the Spanish, and have had these relationships for decades. We share a way of looking at the world, we share values, principles,” said Carter. “They are great allies and we keep a strong and principle partnership going with them. That’s what America has that no other country has all over the world.”

During the visit, SPMAGTF-CR-AF Marines along with Spanish Marines conducted a demonstration, continuing a close relationship between the forces. U.S. and Spanish Marines flew in on two MV-22B Ospreys and established a combined security perimeter around the landing zone, an example of teamwork and interoperability needed to address changing threats in the global security environment.

“We truly appreciate what you do, we are grateful and exceedingly proud of you, we depend on you and the world depends on you,” said Carter in his closing remarks. “There is no graver responsibility you have, but no nobler thing you can do in your life than what you are doing right now.”

Carter took over as secretary of defense, replacing Chuck Hagel Feb. 12, 2015. He arrived to Madrid Sunday, beginning a five-day trip to Europe to attend the NATO Defense Ministerial Conference in Brussels, Belgium Thursday, and meet with counterparts in Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

The Marines, with SPMAGTF-CR-AF, based out of Morón, Spain, are a self-sustaining crisis response force prepared for the protection of American personnel and facilities on the African continent, when directed by U.S. Africa Command.