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American Forces Press Service

Work Salutes Contributions of Romanian, Polish Troops

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2016 – The United States will never forget the service and sacrifice of Romanian and Polish troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, including those who paid the ultimate price, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said.

Work, who visited Romania and Poland last week, praised both countries for their contributions to global peace and security. He spoke at ceremonies for Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense sites in Deveselu, Romania, and Redzikowo, Poland.

Troops from Romania and Poland have served alongside U.S. service members in the battlefields, Work said. They patrolled, fought and shared common sacrifice together, he remarked. Both countries have proven they are willing to confront the enemies of freedom wherever they may be, he added.

Romania, with its current deployment of 650 troops, is one of the highest contributors to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, he said. He praised Poland as well, for its nearly 200 troops in that mission.

'Salute' to Warriors, Never Forget Sacrifices

The United States honors the service and sacrifice of the Romanian and Polish troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Work said.

In Deveselu, Work said the United States recognizes the Romanian troops who have served, and mourns the loss of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, including two soldiers who were killed May 7 when gunmen wearing Afghan uniforms opened fire at a military base in Kandahar.

"I'd just like to salute the two great warriors who lost their lives in Afghanistan," he said. "They were the 24th and 25th soldiers who Romania has lost in these wars, along with 132 wounded. They were all sons, or husbands, or fathers."

In Redzikowo, Work said he wanted to publicly recognize and honor the dozens of Polish service members who were killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan and the many hundreds who were wounded.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to each of them and their loves ones," he said. "I pledge to all of you soldiers here today and to the people of Poland, that the United States will never ever forget their sacrifice."

Steadfast Allies

Romania and Poland are steadfast allies to the United States and committed to global security, Work said. He commended Poland for meeting its NATO commitment to spend no less than 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. He complimented Romania for its pledge to spend 2 percent of its GDP on national defense by 2017.

In Romania May 11-12, Work attended high-level talks and took part in a ceremony marking the operational certification of the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site in Deveselu.

He traveled May 13 to Redzikowo, where he met with Polish officials and broke ground for a second Aegis Ashore site. The two sites are meant to protect NATO members against ballistic missile attacks from outside the Euro-Atlantic region, Work said.

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