Life at the 'Lik: Should I bring my family?

  • Published
  • By By 1st Lt. David Liapis
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This article is part of a series designed to provide in-depth information to both current and future members of Team Incirlik about topics specific to Incirlik and Turkey. The goal is to assist Airmen and families in making informed decisions about their move to the area and to provide guidance about local policies, procedures and quality of life matters.

So, you've got orders to Incirlik in one hand and a TV remote control in the other that you're using to flip between news channels. There's likely some back and forth going on in your mind as you debate whether or not you should come accompanied based on the headlines about regional instability, and possible U.S. action in Syria.

Although Incirlik AB has the reputation of being one of the most family-friendly overseas bases, you probably have concerns regarding safety and the availability of jobs and services. So, as you would before moving anywhere, you must look at all the data and come to the conclusion that's best for you and your family.

If you're questioning if it's safe to bring your family to Incirlik AB, the short answer is "yes." No place has zero risk, but many feel the 39th Air Base Wing is as safe as any other location within the U.S. Air Forces in Europe command.

"As long as you follow basic precautions living in Turkey is as safe as anywhere in Europe, and safer than most big cities in the United States," said Col. Craig Wills, 39th Air Base Wing commander. "Turkey is full of historical sites, an array of tourist attractions, and provides easy access to the Mediterranean. The Turkish culture is famous for hospitality, and many Airmen find they miss being here after they've gone."

Master Sgt. Don Walters Jr., 39th ABW anti-terrorism force protection officer, who is currently stationed here for the second time in his career, agrees.

"Turkey sometimes gets a bad rap due to its proximity to other locations in the region," said Walters. "However, the Turkish government is as aggressive as any I've seen in regards to preventative measures and taking action against those who want to harm people as shown with their no tolerance stance."

In addition to Turkey's stance on "bad guys" Incirlik AB has a robust approach to Force Protection.

"The security measures in place here and the local nationals who guard the gate along with our security forces provide adequate, if not more than adequate, security," said Lt. Col. James Turner, 39th Mission Support Group deputy commander.

While there is confidence in the security of personnel and families on and off base, there are also mechanisms in place to move people away from the area if conditions warrant it. The dynamic environment here is constantly monitored and risks are assessed in order to ensure everyone's safety. The wing is prepared to keep people safe in the event of anything from a natural disaster to increased conflict.

"I've never felt threatened here," said Turner. "If things escalated in the region I feel confident we could get [families and non-essential personnel] out in short order."

Maybe the question of safety is not on the forefront of your mind, maybe it's job availability for your spouse. Incirlik AB has a variety of employment opportunities unique to this location.

"For folks who are coming here thinking there are no job opportunities, it's actually exactly the opposite," said Turner. "There are many job opportunities to choose from because of the impacts of not being able to PCS civilians to these positions. So if you're planning to bring your family, I would say your spouse and even some of your older children would have opportunities more so today than ever."

Even with most of the DOD constrained by the civilian hiring freeze, there are options for those who meet the criteria.

"Military spouses, family members and current Air Force employees coming with their spouses have the opportunity to seek employment," said Charlotte Kinser, 39th Air Base Wing human resources officer. "They're not considered external applicants, so they're not subject to the hiring freeze. If there's a job out there and somebody who wants work, we will help them work."

While watching the news to stay current on world events and the job environment is important, it's essential to make an informed decision on whether or not to bring your family to Incirlik AB.

"Don't rush to a conclusion based on the headlines," said Wills. "Talk to your friends who are here now or have been here in the past, check out our Website and Facebook page and talk to your sponsor. If you or your spouse still have questions, feel free to contact me personally to learn more."

Click here for information about jobs at Incirlik AB. You can also find the Incirlik Newcomer's Guide by clicking on the following link: