Incirlik's Littlest Chief: A Pawsitive Step Forward for Air Base Policy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Madison Sylvester
  • 39 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

In the heart of Incirlik Air Base, nestled among the expansive landscapes and the dedicated rhythm of mission operations, a tiny but historic change has occurred—one that has warmed the hearts of many service members. Incirlik's Littlest Chief, a Yorkshire Terrier named Archer, has become the face of a positive shift in policy that recognizes the importance of our four-legged family members.

For the last 7 years, the restrictions on bringing dependents and pets on standard 12-month tours have been a source of frustration and concern for military personnel. Recent developments mark a milestone in the base's history, symbolizing a significant leap toward acknowledging the vital role pets play in the lives of service members and the dedication wing leadership has to improving the quality of Airmen’s lives.

Chief Master Sgt. Melissa Robbins, the 39th Mission Support Group Senior Enlisted Leader, stands at the forefront of this historic moment. Archer is the first pet to set paw on Incirlik since 2016. The significance of this cannot be overstated—it marks a shift towards recognizing the importance of pets in the lives of military families, enhancing the overall quality of life for those serving at the 39th Air Base Wing.

As of October 17, 2023, in accordance with Air Force Directive 11009008-012 and Incirlik Air Base Instruction 44-101, all members residing on Incirlik are now authorized one aquarium, not to exceed 25 gallons, to house only fish. Furthermore, individuals in single occupancy homes (homes assigned to one resident or a married couple) are now allowed no more than two pets (dogs or cats unless otherwise specified).

It is the responsibility of the member to pre-coordinate the eligibility of single-occupancy homes prior to arrival at Incirlik, to notify the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron Housing Management office of pet occupancy before its arrival, and to ensure all required documents and quarantines are completed to import and export their pet as needed.

These adjustments reflect a proactive approach to ensuring the smooth implementation of the new policy and the well-being of all involved.

This move not only marks a triumph for Robbins and Archer but also symbolizes positive policy changes and progress within the military community.

"The inclusion of pets in our living spaces isn't just a policy change; it's a recognition of the integral role they play in the 4 pillars of resiliency, getting after QoL policies directly affects readiness,” said Robbins. "Archer’s arrival represents a comprehensive effort by Wing leadership to care for our Airmen in tangible, meaningful ways."

As Archer joyfully explores the base, his tiny paws leave a big imprint on the hearts of those who witness this historic moment. The wagging tail and the joyful barks echo the sentiments of countless military families who can now look forward to a more complete and fulfilling experience while stationed at Incirlik.

Seeing Archer around base is more than simply noting a highlight in the day, it's a celebration of positive change, a recognition of the importance of family—both two-legged and four-legged—and a testament to the resilience and adaptability of military communities. As Archer continues to charm the base with his playful antics, he embodies the spirit of progress and the bright future that lies ahead for Incirlik.

"In embracing these changes, we're not only enriching our own lives but also fostering a stronger, more supportive community,” Robbins said. “Archer is not just my companion; he represents the beginning of a new era for Incirlik."