Dedicated to Incirlik: 39 years, counting

  • Published
  • By Airman Cory W. Bush
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
It's hard to come by anyone who can say they've held the same job for 30 years, let alone someone who has held the same job for more than 39 years. However, at Incirlik it is not uncommon to work alongside individuals such as these.

Eight Individuals make up what is known as the 39 Club here. It's a recognition program comprised of local nationals who have been supporting the NATO alliance in Turkey and have worked at Incirlik Air Base for more than 39 years.

The U.S. partnership between the Turkish Air Force and coalition forces stationed at Incirlik AB have played a vital role in enhancing regional stability since the Turkish General Staff and the U.S. Air Force signed a joint use agreement in 1954. Members of the 39 Club have all contributed to strengthening this relationship as well as helped to maintain continuity in their respective areas of expertise.

"Throughout my 48 years spent at Incirlik, I have translated over 40,000 separate documents, meetings, NATO agreements, Status of Forces Agreements and miscellaneous events that have taken place here," said Muhtar Gucum, 39th Security Forces Squadron interpreter. "This base would not be where it is today without the joint effort between the U.S. and Turkish Air Forces."

Not only does working for 39 years or more here provide support for the mission, it also helps build cross-cultural and long lasting relationships between personnel and Airmen stationed here.

"After working here at the 728th Air Mobility Squadron for more than 46 years, I have made a lot of great relationships," said Necdet Uslu, 728th AMS lead operator. "Although the Airmen stationed here leave shortly after arriving I have a lot of respect for the men and women who work here and have kept in touch with many of them after they have left."

As with any career, there are going to be some bumps along the road, times lost with the family and sacrifices made to get the job done. For Cemil Filiz, 728th AMS lavatory technician, who has been servicing Turkish Air Force aircraft for the past 44 years and has no plans to throw in the towel anytime soon; the sacrifices are well worth it.

"I had to give up a lot of family time because of my job here at Incirlik," said Filiz "Working ten hours every day for the past 44 years, I have spent more time at work than I have with my family, but the Air Force has treated me and my family very well. Everything I own is because of those sacrifices and I would never give that up."

With all eight members of this selective group having worked more than 39 years each, their combined effort, dedication, and devotion provide our joint base with more than 353 years of service, for which we will never be able to show our true appreciation. 

Thank you to all of the 39 Club members.

Mehmet Birbiri, 39th Air Base Wing, 39 years of service
Nedim Cira, 39th Force Support Squadron, 40 years of service
Sedat Deryalar, Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, 41 years of service
Cemil Filiz, 728th Air Mobility Squadron, 43 years of service
Ismail Gulhan, 39th Security Forces Squadron, 44 years of service
Necdet Uslu, 728th Air Mobility Squadron, 46 years of service
Muhtar Gucum, 39th Security Forces Squadron, 48 years of service
Tuncer Gokkan, 39th Security Forces Squadron, 52 years of service