Service & Sacrifice: Daring Missions

A snapshot of the burdens being shouldered by brave U.S. troops and military families around the world.

U.S. Marines conduct a flag-folding ceremony while evacuating the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, on April 22, 2023.

By Tom Sileo Published on April 28, 2023


Thousands of American citizens remain trapped in Sudan even after a daring U.S. military rescue mission to close and evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum.

American special forces troops — including members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team Six — rescued approximately 87 Americans from the capital city on Saturday night, according to CBS News. “The forces traveled 800 miles aboard helicopters from Djibouti to Khartoum and back, a 17-hour-long mission,” the report added. Thousands of U.S. troops are on the ground in Djibouti.

CBS also reports that the Biden administration and Pentagon are weighing whether to send U.S. military ships and personnel to Port Sudan “to coordinate the departure of American citizens seeking to leave Sudan.” The Associated Press reports that approximately 16,000 Americans — many with dual Sudanese citizenship — are still inside the war-torn country.

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The AP added that while U.S. Navy ships could be sent to Port Sudan “to ferry Americans to Jeddah or another location where they could get transportation back to the United States. However, officials say this would depend on the security situation and whether it is safe for ships to dock.”

The situation in Sudan is rapidly evolving and — as many experts have noted — deteriorating. Please say a prayer for our nation’s troops and countless innocent American and Sudanese civilians caught in the crossfire.

Middle East

The U.S. military is accusing Iran of seizing an oil tanker on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman.

NBC News reports that the tanker — the Marshall Islands-flagged Advantage Sweet — issued a distress call while heading from Kuwait to Houston, Texas.

“Iran’s actions are contrary to international law and disruptive to regional security and stability,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement embedded below. “The Iranian government should immediately release the oil tanker.”

In Afghanistan, an ISIS terrorist who is believed to have planned the 2021 airport attack that killed 13 American troops and wounded many others at Abbey Gate in Kabul is dead, according to the U.S. government.

Reuters reports that the Taliban killed the ISIS terrorist, who had not been named as of Thursday afternoon.

“He was a key ISIS-K official directly involved in plotting operations like Abbey Gate, and now is no longer able to plot or conduct attacks,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

“The United States was not involved in this operation,” U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder added in a separate statement.

Meanwhile, the approximately 900 U.S. troops fighting ISIS in Syria continued anti-terrorism operations this week. Four ISIS operatives and an assassin were captured in two separate Syrian Democratic Forces-led raids, according to the U.S. military.

The news comes as senior Pentagon and military officials point to signs that ISIS is weakening in Syria and neighboring Iraq, where U.S. troops are also stationed. Voice of America reports that ISIS “appears to be losing the ability to strike effectively in areas that were once part of the terror group’s self-declared caliphate.”

“All aspects of ISIS that we are tracking continues to decline or degrade,” U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane said on Monday, as quoted by VOA.

The article also cites coalition statistics about ISIS attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which purportedly declined 80 percent in Iraq and 37 percent in Syria compared to last year.

Thank you to all brave U.S. military personnel fighting terrorism in the Middle East. Please join all of us at The Stream in praying for their swift and safe return.

Coming Home

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush came home on Sunday after an eight-month overseas deployment. At least one sailor experienced a moment he will never forget upon returning to Norfolk, Virginia.

USS George H.W. Bush

A U.S. Navy sailor serving aboard the USS George H.W. Bush meets his daughter for the first time upon the aircraft carrier’s return to Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia on April 23, 2023.

Welcome home to this brave service member and his fellow sailors. Thank you for your dedicated service and enjoy some well-deserved time with your families!


Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is the author of the recently released Be Bold and co-author of Three Wise MenBrothers Forever8 Seconds of Courage and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.

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