Service & Sacrifice: ‘Prepared to Launch’

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

An American fighter jet takes off from the USS Dwight Eisenhower in the Red Sea to strike Iran-backed Houthi terrorists on January 22, 2024.

By Tom Sileo Published on January 26, 2024

Middle East

The U.S. military continued to pound Iran-backed Houthi terrorist targets in Yemen this week.

On Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said airstrikes took out “two Houthi anti-ship missiles that were aimed into the southern Red Sea and were prepared to launch.” The military also said the missiles, which were inside Yemen, were an “imminent threat” to U.S. Navy and merchant ships.

Later that same day, Houthi terrorists attacked the American-operated container ship M/V Maersk Detroit in the Gulf of Aden. The U.S. military said “one missile impacted in the sea and “the two other missiles were successfully engaged and shot down by the USS Gravely.” Thankfully, nobody was injured.

The Associated Press reported that the U.S.-flagged Maersk Chesapeake also came under attack, and that both ships were “carrying cargo for the U.S. Defense and State departments ”

As underscored by the recent deaths of two hero U.S. Navy SEALs, the situation in the Middle East is spinning in an extremely dangerous direction. We must continue praying for all of our nation’s brave men and women in uniform serving throughout the region.

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About 3,400 of those deployed American service members remain in Iraq and Syria, where U.S. military bases been attacked well over 100 times since mid-October by Iran-backed terrorist groups.

As U.S. officials deny reports that a full military withdrawal from Syria is imminent, the Pentagon confirmed on Thursday that discussions are underway about a possible “transition” in Iraq, where U.S. troops have been busy fighting the remnants of ISIS.

American and Iraqi officials will “discuss how the coalition’s mission to defeat ISIS will transition on a timeline that considers three key factors: the threat from ISIS, operational and environmental requirements, and the Iraqi security forces’ capability levels,” according to the Pentagon.

Retired senior CIA officer Marc Polymeropoulos, who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting on multiple occasions, is criticizing the planned talks.

“Seemingly terrible time to be discussing this,” Polymeropoulos posted Thursday on X. “Does this not look like a victory for Iran, who goal is to get us out of the region?”

Whatever the Biden administration ultimately decides will be hotly debated. Until then, all Americans should be able to agree on one thing: we support our troops and pray for the safe return of every military warrior risking his or her life overseas.

Europe

A massive NATO military training exercise is kicking off in Europe.

This week, the dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall was among the U.S. Navy ships that began heading overseas this week for the training event, according to the Navy. The NATO military exercise, which is called Steadfast Defender, “will involve approximately 90,000 forces from 31 allies and Sweden.”

Steadfast Defender, which will last approximately four months, is clearly a show of strength directed at Russia as it continues to barrage Ukraine.

“Working with our allies and partners, Gunston Hall will embark Swedish and Finnish forces who will conduct amphibious landings throughout Norway,” U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Doug Perry said in a statement. “These efforts clearly demonstrate North America’s commitment to NATO.”

Coming Home

As the USS Gunston Hall departed, the command and crew of the USS Normandy returned to Virginia after successfully serving an eight-month overseas deployment.

Military Homecoming Navy

A U.S. Navy sailors embraces his family following the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy‘s return to Naval Station Norfolk on January 20, 2024.

Welcome home, sailors! Thanks to you and your families for helping keep our country safe.

 

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 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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