WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Ash Carter thanked troops Wednesday at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for all they do in supporting security efforts at home and around the world.

As part of a multi-state trip highlighting Force of the Future initiatives, Carter toured Fort Leonard Wood and spoke with troops afterward.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to Army chemical, engineer and military police regiments, the Army's Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, an Army basic combat training location, as well as Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force detachments.


Training provided at the fort supports the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Carter pointed out.

"Right now, as we stand here today, evening is coming in Iraq," he said in the afternoon talk. "Forces that your units trained here ... are now deployed and are enabling the Iraqi security forces and others to destroy ISIL, which we will surely do."

In the current battle to liberate the key northern Iraqi city of Mosul, both Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have been trained and equipped by the U.S., the secretary said.

U.S. advisers to the Iraqi forces include combat engineers who trained at Fort Leonard Wood, and the troops at Fort Leonard Wood should be very proud of these accomplishments, Carter said.

Engineering training supports challenges in complex battlespaces, he said. For example, earlier this year Iraqi military engineers installed a bridge over the Tigris River as part of the counter-ISIL fight. U.S. Army combat engineers observed that project.


Carter thanked the troops for all they do for the nation and the world and for the values they uphold. U.S. military members are respected around the world, he said, noting the United States has many allies because of the values the nation and its military members uphold.

"We stand for the things that other people want also -- they want a better future for their children; they want the security that allows them to live their lives and do the things that make life meaningful," he said, adding, "You make that possible."

The defense chief expressed deep pride for the troops, not only for what they do but also for how they do it.

"What you do with your lives ... right here is the noblest thing a person can do with their life," he said. "Know that you're what I wake up to every morning. You're what I think about evening before I go to bed, and I'm so incredibly proud of you."