Subscribe
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his wife Stephanie Carter, who visited Baghdad Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, thanked U.S. troops for their role in combating the Islamic State. Carter met with U.S. troops during his brief visit to the Iraqi capital where he also met with Iraqi leaders.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his wife Stephanie Carter, who visited Baghdad Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, thanked U.S. troops for their role in combating the Islamic State. Carter met with U.S. troops during his brief visit to the Iraqi capital where he also met with Iraqi leaders. (Chris Church/Stars and Stripes)

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his wife Stephanie Carter, who visited Baghdad Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, thanked U.S. troops for their role in combating the Islamic State. Carter met with U.S. troops during his brief visit to the Iraqi capital where he also met with Iraqi leaders.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his wife Stephanie Carter, who visited Baghdad Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, thanked U.S. troops for their role in combating the Islamic State. Carter met with U.S. troops during his brief visit to the Iraqi capital where he also met with Iraqi leaders. (Chris Church/Stars and Stripes)

Defense Secretary Ash Carter talked with U.S. troops during a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport on Wednesday,  Dec. 16, 2015.  Carter visited Iraq during a tour of the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter talked with U.S. troops during a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Carter visited Iraq during a tour of the Middle East. (Chris Church/Stars and Stripes)

Cmdr. Steven Rodriguez asked Defense Secretary Ash Carter about the future of the U.S. involvement in Iraq during a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport on Wednesday,  Dec. 16, 2015.

Cmdr. Steven Rodriguez asked Defense Secretary Ash Carter about the future of the U.S. involvement in Iraq during a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Chris Church/Stars and Stripes)

Defense Secretary Ash Carter answers a question from Spc. Joseph Bernhard during a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport Dec. 16, 2015.  Carter visited Iraq during a tour of the Middle East.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter answers a question from Spc. Joseph Bernhard during a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport Dec. 16, 2015. Carter visited Iraq during a tour of the Middle East. (Chris Church/Stars and Stripes)

Tech Sgt. Paul Mooney, left, meets Defense Secretary Ash Carter after a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport on Wednesday,  Dec. 16, 2015.  Carter took time to meet servicemembers individually and give them challenge coins.  He stopped in Baghdad on a tour of the Middle East.

Tech Sgt. Paul Mooney, left, meets Defense Secretary Ash Carter after a troop engagement at the Baghdad International Airport on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Carter took time to meet servicemembers individually and give them challenge coins. He stopped in Baghdad on a tour of the Middle East. (Chris Church/Stars and Stripes)

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Defense Secretary Ash Carter took time away from meeting with U.S. military and Iraqi government leaders to talk with U.S. servicemembers forward deployed to Baghdad Wednesday.

During the troop engagement, Carter thanked servicemembers for their efforts in supporting Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against the Islamic State and emphasized the importance of their role in keeping American families safe back home.

Carter also answered some questions from servicemembers about the nature of the U.S. engagement in Iraq.

In his meetings with Iraq and U.S. military leaders, Carter talked about U.S. offers to send Apache helicopters and more troops to Iraq. There are currently about 3,500 U.S. troops in Iraq.

church.chris@stripes.com Twitter: @CChurchStripes

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up