Service & Sacrifice: On the Brink?

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

U.S. Navy sailors watch a British AW159 Wildcat helicopter transport cargo to the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon in the Gulf of Aden on April 12, 2024.

By Tom Sileo Published on April 26, 2024

Middle East

Is the world on the brink of a military conflict on a scale not seen since World War II?

Last week’s counterattack by Israel against Iran, although “limited” in nature, certainly raised the stakes in the Middle East. With thousands of U.S. troops already stationed in the region, an all-out war between the Jewish state and Islamic Republic would surely endanger millions of lives, from military personnel to innocent civilians.

The Stream‘s Dr. Michael Brown took a hard look inside the tinderbox that is the Middle East earlier this week.

“Is the conflict between Israel and Iran about to explode? Are we on the edge of World War III, if not Armageddon?” he wrote. “The answer to all these questions is the same: not likely.”

While I tend to agree that cooler heads will eventually prevail, the constant military provocations by Iran – as The Stream has been reporting on for many months – do not inspire confidence that we are dealing with rational actors. From the October 7 Hamas terrorist massacre to hundreds of attacks on U.S. and international bases and ships, Tehran’s murderous actions speak louder than the Islamic regime’s rhetorical refrains about not seeking a regional conflict.

As American fighter jets patrol Middle Eastern skies, as seen above, the U.S. military is still being forced to shoot down drones and missiles fired by an Iran-backed terrorist group. On Wednesday, U.S. Central Command said a ballistic missile was launched by the Houthis in Yemen before being blown up over the Gulf of Aden.

The missile “was likely targeting the MV Yorktown, a U.S.-flagged, owned, and operated vessel with 18 U.S. and four Greek crew members,” CENTCOM said.

Four Houthi drones were also shot down in Yemen on Wednesday, according to the U.S. military.

Meanwhile, the American heroes who have been busy shooting down enemy drones and missiles since October are finally getting the recognition they deserve. The Navy Times reports that service members stationed in and around the Red Sea are now eligible for various military awards to commemorate their many remarkable achievements.

The Stream thanks these warriors for their courage and also prays for them and their families. All of us anxiously await your safe return!

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As Dr. Brown ponders the ultimate outcome of the Iran-Israel conflict, The Stream‘s John Zmirak raises the spectre of the Russia-Ukraine war also leading to a World War III-type scenario. He argues that Congress passing a new $1 billion military aid package this week risks inflaming tensions with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who has threatened a conventional and even nuclear response if U.S. troops ever deploy to Ukraine.

“I countered that treating Ukraine — which was part of Russia for longer than Texas has been part of the United States — as a de facto member of NATO, which we would fight to protect, was insanely provocative and risked nuclear war,” he wrote. “That in fact, Vladimir Putin had said so much explicitly.”

No American troops are on the ground in Ukraine other than a handful assigned to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. The Biden administration has repeatedly said it won’t send any members of the U.S. military to fight in Ukraine, although this week’s news that long-range American missiles were shipped to the country strengthens Zmirak’s argument that the White House is playing a dangerous game with the Kremlin.

As you can see above, the U.S. military is busy training and staying ready in countries like Poland, which would likely become the epicenter of an expanded conflict should Putin choose to expand his war outside of Ukraine’s borders. We pray that never happens. We also thank the more than 100,000 American troops serving across Europe and pray for a swift return to their loved ones.

See You Later, Alligator

Airmen at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida were forced to play host to an unexpected visitor earlier this week: an alligator!

According to WFLA-TV in Tampa, the “massive” gator wandered onto the base’s tarmac on Monday morning and curled up under a large military jet. Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officers eventually showed up to remove the thrashing gator, which was relocated to a nearby swamp. See you later, alligator!

Coming Home

A group of military aviators have returned to Minnesota after spending the past nine months deployed to Bogotá, Colombia.

Military Homecoming

Family and friends gather to welcome home aviators of the Minnesota National Guard at the Saint Paul Army Aviation Facility at Holman Field on April 18, 2024.

Welcome home, warriors! Thank you for serving our country overseas, and enjoy this time with your loved ones.


Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is the author of the forthcoming I Have Your Back, the recently released Be Bold, and coauthor of Three Wise MenBrothers Forever8 Seconds of Courage and Fire in My Eyes. Follow him on X @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.

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