Pet peeve no more: Incirlik OKs dogs, cats, fish for US troops at base in Turkey
Stars and Stripes December 11, 2023
A tiny Yorkshire terrier named Archer is the first pooch in years to set paw on Incirlik Air Base, where a longtime ban on pets has been lifted, to the delight of U.S. personnel stationed at the base in southeastern Turkey.
Archer belongs to Chief Master Sgt. Melissa Robbins, the senior enlisted leader of the 39th Mission Support Group. His presence on base has been a morale booster, Robbins said.
“Archer is not just my companion. He represents the beginning of a new era for Incirlik,” she said.
The pet policy revision allows for service members in single-occupancy homes — for one resident or a married couple — to have up to two dogs or cats, the 39th Air Base Wing said in a statement Monday.
The policy, instituted in October, also authorizes all troops to have an aquarium of up to 25 gallons. But no reptiles allowed; the aquarium can house only fish, the wing said.
“The significance of this cannot be overstated,” the wing statement said. “It marks a shift towards recognizing the importance of pets in the lives of military families.”
Archer is the first dog to take up residence at the base since 2016, when deteriorating security conditions in Turkey prompted U.S. military leaders to order hundreds of family members out of the country.
The move brought an end to accompanied tours at the base, where previously either standard tours with dependents or two-year assignments were the norm.
Concerns at the time about terrorist threats and the intense fighting against the Islamic State group across the border in Syria prompted the change.
The lifting of the restrictions on pets is the latest sign of things getting back to normal at Incirlik.
In August, a U.S. Air Forces Europe and Africa task force hosted a meeting focused on the feasibility of reinstating standard tours at the base that allow for children. The task force’s report is expected sometime this winter.