425th Air Base Squadron: Unique mission, unique location

Tech. Sgt. Justin Weger, 425th Air Base Squadron airlift services, spots an aircraft cargo loader into position to upload equipment Dec. 9, 2015, at Çigli Air Base, Turkey. Çigli AB is a military airport near Çigli, a metropolitan district of the city of Izmir in Izmir province, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Cofer)

Tech. Sgt. Justin Weger, 425th Air Base Squadron airlift services, spots an aircraft cargo loader into position to upload equipment Dec. 9, 2015, at Çigli Air Base, Turkey. Çigli AB is a military airport near Çigli, a metropolitan district of the city of Izmir in Izmir province, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Charles Cofer)

Tech. Sgt. Justin Weger, 425th Air Base Squadron Logistics airlift services NCO in charge, and Gökhan Yavas, 425th ABS logistics airlift services cargo checker, check the oil level of an aircraft cargo loader to make sure it is mission ready and capable June 30, 2015, at Çigli 2nd Main Jet Base, Turkey. Airmen and local Turkish nationals of the 425th Air Base Squadron work together to support U.S. and Turkish military operations in Izmir . The U.S. and Turkey are long-time NATO Allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlikli)

Tech. Sgt. Justin Weger, 425th Air Base Squadron Logistics airlift services NCO in charge, and Gökhan Yavas, 425th ABS logistics airlift services cargo checker, check the oil level of an aircraft cargo loader to make sure it is mission ready and capable June 30, 2015, at Çigli 2nd Main Jet Base, Turkey. Airmen and local Turkish nationals of the 425th Air Base Squadron work together to support U.S. and Turkish military operations in Izmir . The U.S. and Turkey are long-time NATO Allies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlikli)

Tech. Sgt. Justin Weger, 425th Air Base Squadron Logistics airlift services NCO in charge, and Gökhan Yavas, 425th ABS Logistics airlift services cargo checker, inspect cargo nets to ensure they are free from tears, rips, cuts and serviceable for mission use June 30, 2015, at Çigli 2nd Main Jet Base, Turkey. Çigli AB is a military airport near Çigli, a metropolitan district of the city of Izmir in Izmir province, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlikli

Tech. Sgt. Justin Weger, 425th Air Base Squadron Logistics airlift services NCO in charge, and Gökhan Yavas, 425th ABS Logistics airlift services cargo checker, inspect cargo nets to ensure they are free from tears, rips, cuts and serviceable for mission use June 30, 2015, at Çigli 2nd Main Jet Base, Turkey. Çigli AB is a military airport near Çigli, a metropolitan district of the city of Izmir in Izmir province, Turkey. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlikli

Tech. Sgt. Nancy Rouse, 425th Air Base Squadron commander’s support staff, issues
a ration card to Jim Kutrubis, 425th Air Base Squadron services director, Dec. 14, 2015, at Izmir Air Station, Turkey.  Ration cards are required to purchase liquor and tobacco at military exchanges, commissaries and shoppettes at overseas bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlıklı)

Tech. Sgt. Nancy Rouse, 425th Air Base Squadron commander’s support staff, issues a ration card to Jim Kutrubis, 425th Air Base Squadron services director, Dec. 14, 2015, at Izmir Air Station, Turkey. Ration cards are required to purchase liquor and tobacco at military exchanges, commissaries and shoppettes at overseas bases. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlıklı)

Harun Osman Isik, 425th Air Base Squadron fitness aid and library technician, shelves newly received items for the Izmir library Dec. 14, 2015, at Izmir Air Station, Turkey. Izmir is located on the western coast of Turkey and is home of the 425th Air Base Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlikli)

Harun Osman Isik, 425th Air Base Squadron fitness aid and library technician, shelves newly received items for the Izmir library Dec. 14, 2015, at Izmir Air Station, Turkey. Izmir is located on the western coast of Turkey and is home of the 425th Air Base Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tanju Varlikli)

IZMIR AIR STATION, Turkey -- In the western coast of a wonderful country, Türkiye, referred to in many books as the cradle of civilizations, lays the pearl of the Aegean, Izmir.  Izmir plays host to Izmir Air Station, which is home to a unique geographically separated unit - the 425th Air Base Squadron.

The 425th ABS is a geographically separated unit of the 39th Air Base Wing at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.  It operates in multiple locations throughout Izmir.  The squadron is comprised of a diverse mix of Airmen, civilians, local nationals, and contractors.  Its unique mission is conducted by a small, but highly professional team, scattered throughout the city, providing superior services to U.S. military personnel and families assigned in and around Izmir and Istanbul.

The 425th ABS welcomed Maj Timothy J. Cook as the new commander October 20 and he said he's excited to lead his new team for the next year.

"Our mission here is to provide support to NATO Allied Land Command Headquarters and other associate units operating in Izmir and to administer the Çigli AB Loan Agreement between the United States and Turkey," said Maj Cook. "My most rewarding career experiences have come while working with NATO partners; I am excited to be supporting NATO LANDCOM, and I am very fortunate to be doing so in Izmir.  I really like the Turkish hospitality and culture. I think it's one of the best assignments the Air Force has to offer."

"We're postured to provide that world-class support to NATO Allied Land Command Headquarters, as well as six other associate units operating in Izmir, Turkey," said Master Sgt. Shawn Tolar, 425th ABS first sergeant. "With a small amount of people, the Airmen and civilian workers who have multiple roles get the mission done exceeding every expectation. We are definitely doing more with less here, but we are doing it right."

In downtown Izmir, Airmen and Family Readiness Center, Izmir Chapel, Izmir Club, education center, medical aid station, services office, base defense operations center, library, cyber café, and several other offices are just a few of the many services available for NATO customers.

"As anyone who has used the Airmen and Family Readiness Center at Izmir during a tour knows, the center can help in a myriad of ways to ease the transition of living overseas and working overseas in the military," said Audrey Altamirano, Airmen and Family Readiness Center director. "The AFRC also prepares sponsorship packages for newcomers, so the sponsor will have standardized package. Without AFRC, newcomers would fumble in the labyrinth of Turkish culture and utilities for months after arrival."

The 425th ABS does everything normally accomplished by a wing, with the exception of combat operations. Airmen and civilian workers of the squadron play multiple roles in their day-to-day business. The two independent duty medical technicians act as health-care providers, public health and bioenvironmental technicians. They pretty much do everything needed to run a small clinic on base.

"My duty as commander is to lead my team and manage my resources effectively so that we successfully execute our mission," Maj Cook said.  "My goal is to improve the squadron, develop my Airmen, and preserve the high morale of members and families assigned in the Izmir community."

The Communications flight handles client system support, network maintenance and troubleshooting, and network administration duties of the Air Force NIPRNET and SIPRNET networks.

"We maintain and support cell phones, telephones, land mobile radios, and COMSEC equipment," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Rice, 425th ABS Communications flight chief. "The Communications flight manages a postal office as well which handles incoming and outgoing mail for NATO and 425th ABS personnel."

There are always challenges when working at GSUs but each member of the squadron plays a pivotal role getting the job done.

"There are times that our location here at Çiğli Air Base can present challenges in terms of commuting but for the most part it is awesome. As part of the logistics section, working alongside the Turkish Air Force has been a great experience, not only am I able to teach them what I know about air transportation, but it also gives me the opportunity to learn more about their culture," said Tech. Sgt. Justin Weger, 425th ABS airlift services NCOIC. "I, definitely recommend, if you ever have the opportunity to work side-by-side with members of another country, to take it. I wouldn't trade this experience to anything. We are in a great location and I love the Turkish hospitality as well as the culture."

The U.S. and Turkey are long-time NATO allies and the U.S. Air Force has a long history of working alongside its Turkish allies. This relationship will only grow more in Izmir as the men and women of the 425th ABS continue to support its Turkish partners and build upon its mission to improve upcoming operations.

"Since my arrival, the people of the 425th ABS have proven to be dedicated, motivated, and professional.  They have been executing the mission effectively, and I am confident that they will continue to do so in the future," Maj Cook said.