Service & Sacrifice: Pay Attention

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

Members of the U.S. Air Force cheer as a C-130 Hercules flies by during tactical airfield training at an undisclosed location in the Middle East on June 3, 2024.

By Tom Sileo Published on June 21, 2024

Middle East

You haven’t heard much about this on the Trump-Biden election-obsessed cable news networks, but Houthi terrorists are intensifying their attacks on U.S. military and commercial ships.

This week, the Iran-backed terrorist group celebrated the sinking of the M/V Tutor, which the Houthis attacked with an explosive-laden drone last week in the Red Sea. According to The Associated Press, it’s the second ship to sink since the Houthis started their barrage of drone and missile attacks following the October 7 Hamas massacre in Israel.

While one M/V Tutor crewmember is believed to have been killed in the initial attack, the rest were heroically rescued from the sinking ship by U.S. Navy sailors. According to the Navy Times, sailors aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea airlifted terrified workers aboard the Liberian-flagged, Greek-owned-and-operated merchant vessel to safety. A photo from the dramatic rescue operation is embedded below.

Meanwhile, the valiant men and women of the U.S. military continue to strike back at the Houthis. On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command announced that American forces “destroyed eight Iranian-backed Houthi uncrewed aerial systems in a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen. Additionally, partner forces successfully destroyed one Houthi uncrewed aerial vehicle over the Gulf of Aden.”

Earlier in the week, the U.S. military also took out “four Houthi radars and one uncrewed surface vessel in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen,” according to CENTCOM.

Following the Biden administration’s disastrous decision to remove and later reinstate the terrorist group designation for the Houthis, another murderous Iran-backed network has been added to the terrorism list. The State Department said Harakat Ansar Allah al-Awfiya and its “secretary general” are a front group for terrorists who have “repeatedly attacked Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.”

Those attacks include the drone strike in Jordan that tragically killed three American troops back in January. As The Stream has been reminding readers for years, thousands of U.S. military forces are still risking their lives in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria, where troops now have to deal with Iran-backed terrorists in addition to ISIS.

Speaking of Syria, the U.S. military announced on Wednesday afternoon that it had killed senior ISIS commander Usamah Jamal Muhammad Ibrahim al-Janabi in a June 16 airstrike. We thank the selfless American warriors who successfully carried out this critical mission.

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I have been watching more cable news than usual in hotel rooms while touring the Northeast to promote my new book I Have Your Back. As a former television news producer and copy editor, I am astonished by the near complete blackout of any coverage not related to Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

While some might argue that the daily political soap opera playing out on cable news should be expected in an election year, the latest poll or insult between candidates is not the only news affecting ordinary Americans. I can guarantee you that if a broader war breaks out in the Middle East or Europe, it will alter our lives in ways that are hard for this generation to imagine.

The only reason a World War III-type scenario hasn’t taken hold, and hopefully never will, is because hundreds of thousands of Americans are putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. To thank these heroes, the least we can do is pay more attention to their sacrifices. We at The Stream remain dedicated to doing just that.

Europe and Asia

While Vladimir Putin met with fellow dictator Kim Jong Un earlier this week in North Korea, thousands of U.S. and NATO forces were busy conducting military drills in Russia’s backyard.

Baltic Operations 24 involved “some 9,000 troops from 20 NATO countries,” according to The Associated Press. In the slideshow embedded below, you can see brave U.S. Marines training for a potential ground war in Latvia, which borders Russia to the west.

In addition to Latvia, training exercises were being carried out through Thursday in Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany. Navy drills involving 45 ships also took place in the Baltic Sea, which would be strategically critical in any potential military conflict with Russia.

While visiting North Korea, the Russian president signed a war pact pledging to defend each other if either country is subject to so-called “aggression.” According to the AP, the agreement “could mark the strongest connection between Moscow and Pyongyang since the end of the Cold War.” Putin also visited a shared military and political ally, China, back in May.

On Wednesday, a Russian court sentenced an AWOL American soldier to four years in prison. According to NPR, 34-year-old U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gordon Black, who was stationed in South Korea, “traveled to Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, entering via China, to see his Russian girlfriend with whom he had started a relationship during his posting overseas.” He is accused by Russia of “theft and threatening to murder.”

Regardless of the circumstances, no American soldier should languish in a Russian prison. Please pray for Staff Sgt. Black’s family and the soldier’s safe return to the United States.

As Russia continues to bombard Ukraine and tensions build in Europe and Asia, the approximately 200,000 American service members in the regions face threats on a scale not seen in decades. While nobody wants World War III, we are blessed as a country to have so many warriors willing to risk their lives to preserve freedom and our flag. Please say a prayer for them and their families.

Coming Home

A group of brave U.S. Army soldiers recently returned to Fort Stewart in Georgia after spending the past several months deployed to Europe.

Military Homecoming

A U.S. Army soldier embraces his loved one during a homecoming ceremony at Fort Stewart in Georgia on June 7, 2024.

Welcome home, warriors! Thank you for serving our country overseas.


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

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