MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - Pentagon leaders have saluted the United Service Organization Inc. (USO) and the US troops for their service and commitment at the 2014 USO Gala held in Washington Saturday.
"I want to thank the enlisted men and women who are being honored tonight," the US Department of Defense quoted US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as saying.
Army General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin E. Dempsey said he was proud to serve with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and stressed that there were a lot of challenges to the US Army nowadays.
"So [to] the USO -- I hope you didn't think we were going to put you out of work," Gen. Dempsey said.
"You're going to have some work to do, and we're proud to be partners with you in doing it," he added.
"We have a lot going on in case you haven't noticed," Gen. Dempsey said. "If I'd had this conversation with you … four months ago, we wouldn't be talking about insecurity in Europe, we wouldn't be talking about this thing -- [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], and we wouldn't be talking about Ebola -- and here we are," Gen. Dempsey continued.
The US Army is currently leading the coalition against the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State (IS) of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq, seizing vast areas in both countries and announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.
In September US President Barack Obama announced his decision to form an international anti-IS coalition. Washington extended its airstrikes against the militants into Syria, while continuing airstrikes against the group's targets in Iraq.