While Operation New Dawn signals the official end of combat operations in Iraq, it’s not the end of combat pay for the airmen and other military personnel still operating there. Troops deployed to Iraq are eligible for hostile fire/imminent danger pay, hardship-duty pay, and incidental expenses, according to Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez. Pay for enlisted troops will still be tax exempt, while pay for officers remains tax exempt up to $7,611.30 a month, as was the case during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which ended on Tuesday. “These pays compensate a member for the arduous conditions and additional burdens and dangers associated with being deployed to a combat zone,” said Lainez. Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula were designated combat zones back in January 1991. (AFPS report by Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden)
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.