Service & Sacrifice: Ready to Fight

A snapshot of the burdens brave U.S. troops and military families around the world are shouldering.

U.S. Army soldiers conduct a live-fire exercise with a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System​​ in Ustka, Poland, on May 10, 2024.

By Tom Sileo Published on May 17, 2024


As the Russian military advances deeper inside Ukraine, tens of thousands of American troops are staying ready in case a wider war breaks out.

In the Czech Republic, U.S. Army and National Guard infantry from Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia are conducting battlefield exercises. In Romania, U.S. Army paratroopers are practicing a swift response to a potential crisis alongside German and Romanian military personnel.

In Poland, where more than 10,000 American troops are stationed, exercises like the artillery live-fire event pictured above are taking place on an almost daily basis. The ramped-up training comes as 4,500 newly deployed soldiers from the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division fan out across Eastern Europe. That includes Poland, where a change of command ceremony with the 3rd Infantry Division took place over the weekend in Bolesławiec.

“To the 1st Cavalry Division team, you have an enormous and very important task ahead of you and a lot of work to do in a very short period of time,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Charles Costanza. “Your task is first to be ready to fight. Along with that, strengthening the relationships with our NATO partners that the 3rd Infantry Division has built and find new and innovative ways to train and build greatness here in Europe.”

The above video, which is a heartfelt message from U.S. Army Maj. Dumars Franklin to his family back in Chicago, is a reminder that the 100,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines deployed to Europe aren’t just statistics. They are real people with real families.

“I just want to give a shout-out to my mother and my wife: Happy Mother’s Day,” Maj. Franklin said from his base in Poznan, Poland. “I love you guys, and see you guys soon.”

Thank you, Maj. Franklin, for your service to our country. We also appreciate the sacrifices of your loved ones and all military families. Stay safe and come home soon!

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Now to a troubling story that has not been adequately covered by the national media. According to the Marine Corps Times, two people tried to break into Marine Corps Base Quantico earlier this month in Virginia while posing as Amazon-affiliated delivery workers before being “stopped by military sentries.”

The unidentified suspects were turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Potomac Local News, however, cites unnamed sources in reporting that “one of the individuals inside the truck is a Jordanian foreign national who recently crossed the southern border into the U.S., and that one of the occupants is on the U.S. terrorist watch list.”

Writing this week in the New York Post, Todd Bensman argues that a potential national security incident on a major military base should be a much bigger story. We agree.

Middle East

Brave American forces have destroyed five enemy drones so far this week in Yemen.

The weapons belonged to the Iran-backed Houthi terrorist group, which has been attacking U.S. military and commercial ships in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and elsewhere for months, as The Stream has been reporting. As of this writing, the latest U.S. military strike on the Houthis took place on Thursday, according to U.S. Central Command.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops officially completed anchoring a temporary pier for humanitarian relief to a beach in Gaza this week. According to CENTCOM, “no U.S. troops entered Gaza” during construction and “trucks carrying humanitarian assistance are expected to begin moving ashore in the coming days.”

As you might have read in this column space on The Stream last week, it remains to be seen whether delivering aid through the pier will prove to be effective amid Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas terrorists. Either way, we thank the 1,000 valiant men and women of the U.S. military who completed their challenging mission with such speed and skill.

A Personal Note

This will be my last Service & Sacrifice column until June 21. After two years spent researching and writing about the life of fallen U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, I’m about to hit the road to promote my new book I Have Your Back: How an American Soldier Became an International Hero, which comes out on June 4. In the meantime, please make sure to stay with The Stream for the best coverage of our military and other pressing national issues.

Coming Home

After nine long months apart from their families while deployed to Europe, a group of soldiers returned to Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia during a joyous military homecoming ceremony.

Military Homecoming Georgia

Soldiers with the Georgia Army National Guard return to their home state from Europe on May 9, 2024.

Welcome home, heroes! Thanks to you and your families for your dedicated defense of our freedom.


Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is the author of the soon-to-be published 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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