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Patriotic Article
Troops and Veterans
By Senior Airman Alex Martinez

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Patriot Village Stands Ready To House Servicemembers
(July 8, 2009)

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Senior Airman Kiana Edge (right) briefs an American citizen about the temporary living quarters in Patriot Village during processing at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, on July 21, 2006. The woman was one of 29 Americans who processed into the base after departing Lebanon.
Senior Airman Kiana Edge (right) briefs an American citizen about the temporary living quarters in Patriot Village during processing at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, on July 21, 2006. The woman was one of 29 Americans who processed into the base after departing Lebanon.
 INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey (7/6/2009 - AFNS) -- A fenced-off, seemingly deserted commune here stands lonely and quiet for extended periods of time. The area doesn't continuously bustle with life, but a contingency dormitory area's purpose is to be ready at a moment's notice. A village within a village - Patriot Village - serves a very important purpose by helping servicemembers with a temporary place to call home.

Previously dubbed tent city, Patriot Village has a rich history of serving people. It serves as a comfortable alternative for troops when billeting is full, and has even been used during military support operations.

During Operation Provide Comfort in the 1990s, the village housed Kurdish and other refugees from Northern Iraq after Operation Desert Storm. The Kurds were retreating from lost battles with the Iraqi military.
From 1997 to 2003, Operation Northern Watch brought the next large wave of tenants. It housed people supporting the operation.

The village also housed displaced Americans fleeing Lebanon in 2006.

Nowadays the village is a little quieter, but still used. When servicemembers pass through on the go, the village is the only Incirlik they know.

"Sometimes Patriot Village is the troops' only impression of the base, so it's important to leave them feeling positive about what we do here," said Senior Airman Richard Udy, 39th Force Support Squadron.

Airman Udy is the caretaker of the village. He is usually the first person tenants see when they stay there and the last one when they leave.

"This job is very fulfilling because I'm in charge of the image people have about Incirlik when they leave," Airman Udy said.

The village's potential support is massive. At maximum capacity, the 16 buildings can house 1,920 people. A dorm unit consists of 16 rooms, a dayroom, rest room and laundry room.

The village is outfitted to house people for any length of time.

"We usually have people stay here for one or two days, but we've had people here for six weeks," Airman Udy said.

The usual stay is a result of an overflow at the Hodja Inn. Troops who need to stay here are notified at the base terminal of the alternative lodging and head to the village where Airman Udy is waiting.

"Days when we are expecting people are usually long because I have to get them checked in and I don't leave until everyone is comfortable and situated," Airman Udy said. "[The 728th Air Mobility Squadron] does a good job notifying me ahead of time if I'm expecting people. It gives me time to prepare."

The location of the area will sometimes attract the curious. Runners, bikers or even Arkadas Park goers may be drawn to the seemingly lifeless mystique of the village, but all should know the area is off-limits unless they are staying there.

The small waves of people will continue to come and go, and Airman Udy will continue to be there taking care of the place. And the unbending fact will also remain: Patriot Village stands ready to deliver its support to people at a moment's notice for any operation.

Article by Senior Airman Alex Martinez
U.S Air Force photo by Senior Airman Larry E. Reid Jr.
39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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