By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, November 6, 2015 — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter praised the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its 3,000-member crew during a troop talk while aboard the Navy aircraft carrier in the South China Sea yesterday.
Carter also provided an update on the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The defense secretary is on an eight-day trip in the Asia-Pacific region to get a personal view of the U.S. military’s rebalance efforts.
“ISIL is an evil thing and it will be defeated, because we are the good and they are the evil,” Carter said. “We're the many and they are the few. I don't have any doubt that we are going to beat ISIL.”
Achieving victory over ISIL will take time, Carter said.
He added, “If it were just a matter of us beating them, it would be over quickly. ... As we learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, [the point] isn't just getting them beaten; it's keeping them beaten [to] have this victory stick.”
ISIL and Iran each present challenges to U.S. security interests in the Middle East, Carter said.
Turning to the Asia-Pacific, Carter said the U.S. military has helped to maintain peace and stability in the region for 70 years. The USS Theodore Roosevelt and its crew greatly contribute to that endeavor, he added.
Secretary Salutes USS Theodore Roosevelt’s Crew
Carter told the crew members to tell their families of his and the nation’s pride in them.
The USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew members “do the noblest thing a person can do, which is to be part of securing our country and allowing all other Americans to live in peace, live their lives, and dream their dreams,” he said.
Carter also told the crew they should also let their families know that their service aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt is at “the hinge of everything happening in the strategic history in this era through this cruise. You have seen it all; you have been part of it all.”