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Readout of Secretary Hagel’s Calls to Service Members on Thanksgiving

Source:  Department of Defense

Secretary Hagel called Service Members taking part in U.S. operations around the world to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.

Secretary Hagel expressed his appreciation for their service in defending the United States, and supporting our allies and partners.  In each of the calls, Secretary HagelDepartment of Defense noted that he knows how difficult it is to be away from home on this holiday and thanked the Service members and their families for their sacrifice for the nation.

Secretary Hagel spoke with representatives from each military service including the following Service members:

Captain Derek Van De Wege, U.S. Air Force, 27, of Federal Way, Washington.  Captain Van De Wege is a C-17 aircraft commander at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.  He has flown airdrop missions in support of INHERENT RESOLVE over Iraq, delivering food, water and supplies.

Sergeant Matthew S. Ohler, U.S. Marine Corps, 24, of Rockwood, Pennsylvania.  Sergeant Ohler is serving in Monrovia, Liberia with the Special-Purpose Marine Air –Ground Task Force Crisis Response Africa as an MV-22B Osprey Airframes Mechanic.  He has maintained the hydraulic and composite systems for the four aircraft assigned to the unit as part of Operation United Assistance.

1st Lieutenant Darrel J. Guthrie II, U.S. Army, 24, of Lubbock, Texas.  Lieutenant Guthrie is a Light Infantry Platoon Leader with the 1st Platoon Bandit Troop in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.  Lieutenant Guthrie helped neutralize an attack on his patrol while providing security for a key leader engagement.

Petty Officer Second Class Ruddana P. Skipper, U.S. Navy, 24, of Riviera Beach, Florida.  Petty Officer Skipper is aboard the U.S.S. O’Kane as part of a 9-month deployment in the Arabian Gulf.  Petty Officer Skipper was selected as the U.S.S. O’Kane’s junior sailor of the year.  Petty Officer Skipper leads 15 sailors in the operation of over 500 pieces of communication and network equipment.

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Nov. 24, in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their vehicle with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device.

Killed were:

Sgt. Maj. Wardell B. Turner, 48, of Nanticoke, Maryland. He was assigned to Headquarters, United States Army Garrison, Fort Drum, New York.

Spc. Joseph W. Riley, 27, of Grove City, Ohio. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

PHOTO(s) OF THE DAY

SOURCE:  Department of Defense /Defense News Lead Photo

Soldiers prepare turkeys for a Thanksgiving Day meal in the dining facility on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 23, 2014.

Soldiers prepare turkeys for a Thanksgiving Day meal in the dining facility on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 23, 2014.

U.S. Marines retrieve their fins and weight belts from the bottom of a 13-foot pool during a diver course on Camp Schwab in Japan, Nov. 18, 2014. This training prepares Marines for the Marine Corps Combatant Diver Course. The Marines are assigned to the 3rd Marine Division's 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

U.S. Marines retrieve their fins and weight belts from the bottom of a 13-foot pool during a diver course on Camp Schwab in Japan, Nov. 18, 2014. This training prepares Marines for the Marine Corps Combatant Diver Course. The Marines are assigned to the 3rd Marine Division’s 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force.

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