Incirlik Chapel renews dedication to 9/11 victims, Enduring Freedom

  • Published
  • By Staff Report
  • 39th Air Base Wing

Nearly 50 service members and civilians honored the memory and sacrifice of 9/11 victims as a part of a 21st anniversary memorial service at the base chapel on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Sept. 11, 2022.

The ceremony also commemorated the 20th anniversary of the chapel’s rededication to Operation Enduring Freedom and 60th year of operations within its current building.

“To be where we are now compared to where we were before, I felt it would be great to pay tribute to those who lost their lives,” Lt. Col Dwayne Jones, 39th ABW chaplain. “It’s important to remember, and this memorial is centered around that so we do not forget.”

During the ceremony, readers described a timeline of events in New York City, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The combined Protestant and Catholic band performed renditions of “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful.”

The ceremony highlighted how the chapel suffered structural damages following a 6.3-magnitude earthquake which struck Adana, Turkey, June 27, 1998. The wing soon began a $1.5 million renovation of the building which culminated in the 2002 rededication which coincided with the first anniversary of 9/11.

Event organizers then played a video of the 2002 9/11 ceremony which featured a monument placed outside the building in honor of Operation Enduring Freedom and in memory of 9/11 victims.

This year’s ceremony also included a refurbishment of the monument after years of weathering.

“The younger people need to know why it’s so important to be in a state of readiness,” said Jones said. “When we’re in that state, we need to take exercises, inspections and trainings more seriously, and that gives us purpose in what we do in the military.”

According to the wing’s history, Incirlik Air Base served as a main hub of humanitarian airlift operations to Afghanistan, MC-130 special operations missions, KC-135 refueling missions and sustainment operations for deployed forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The aerial port managed a 600 percent increase in airflow during the early stages of OEF. When U.S. contingency airbases were constructed in Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, Incirlik’s airflow supporting OEF decreased to a baseline sustainment level.