Service & Sacrifice: Hard at Work

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

Ukrainian tank operators go through a condensed 30-day training course run by US and NATO allies on Leopard tanks in Poland.

By Tom Sileo Published on April 21, 2023

Europe

U.S. and allied NATO military forces are hard at work training thousands of Ukrainian soldiers in Europe.

In addition to efforts already underway, a U.S. defense official confirmed to the Military Times on Friday that American forces will soon start training their Ukrainian counterparts on M1 Abrams tanks that will be delivered to Germany by the end of May. The tanks are slated to be on the battlefield in Ukraine by the end of the year.

“Instruction will come from American soldiers with the 7th Army Training Command, the official said,” senior Air Force Times reporter Rachel S. Cohen wrote. “It’s unclear whether tank training will require the Army to bring additional instructors to Grafenwoehr (in Germany).”

On Wednesday, the Biden administration also announced a new $325 million military aid package for Ukraine ahead of anticipated heavy spring fighting in the ongoing Russian-Ukraine war. Reuters reports that the military assistance includes “additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), advanced missiles and anti-tank mines.”

“It is the 36th security package for Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022, and brings total U.S. military assistance for the Kyiv government to more than $35.4 billion in that time,” the Reuters article added.

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Last week, The Stream reported on the revelation that a small number of American special forces troops are on the ground at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine. The news immediately spurred criticism by some politicians in Washington.

This week, Task & Purpose cited a U.S. official while reporting that “the troops at the embassy provide security for American diplomats on the ground and to make sure the weapons sent by the United States to Ukraine go where they are intended to.”

If there is one thing all Americans can agree on, it’s that we want all deployed U.S. military forces to remain safe. Please continue to pray for all U.S. troops inside Ukraine and stationed around Europe, where a massive set of additional training exercises will kick off this weekend.

Africa

U.S. troops in the Horn of Africa are being pre-positioned amid heavy fighting in Sudan that’s already claimed the life of one American citizen, according to CBS News.

“The Pentagon is ‘moving forward to pre-position some military forces and capabilities nearby just for contingency purposes in case they would be needed for any kind of evacuation,’ National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby confirmed Thursday during the White House press briefing,” CBS reported while noting that President Biden has yet to make a decision about whether to evacuate the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.

The CBS report adds that U.S. Special Forces troops have been moved into nearby Djibouti. Please pray for their safety.

Middle East

Brave American troops killed a senior ISIS terrorist leader this week in Syria.

According to U.S. Central Command, Abd-al-Hadi Mahmud al-Haji Ali was killed in an early Monday morning helicopter raid in the northern part of Syria. The U.S. military said al-Haji Ali was “responsible for planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe.” Two additional ISIS terrorists were also killed.

“This operation was launched after intelligence revealed an ISIS plot to kidnap officials abroad as leverage for ISIS initiatives,” the CENTCOM press release added. Thankfully, no U.S. troops or Syrian civilians are believed to have been injured during the mission.

While the ongoing fight against terrorism doesn’t generate nearly as many media headlines as it did in years past, we owe it to our valiant men and women in uniform to keep paying attention to their heroism. Please say prayers for all U.S. troops in harm’s way in Syria, neighboring Iraq and other hotspots across the Middle East.

Coming Home

A Nebraska National Guard military police company recently came home from a deployment to the Middle East. Upon doing so, one returning hero had an emotional experience that he will never forget. That day on the tarmac, the soldier met his newborn daughter for the first time.

Military Homecoming Nebraska

A Nebraska National Guard military police officer reunites with his wife and meets his daughter for the first time on April 13, 2023, at the Western Nebraska–Scottsbluff Regional Airport.

Welcome home to this new dad and to all the Nebraska National Guard troops who recently served our country overseas. America appreciates the enormous sacrifices made by you and your loved ones.

 

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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