Service & Sacrifice: Saving Lives in Maui

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

A U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook fills a bucket with seawater to drop around the perimeter of the area impacted by the wildfires at Lahaina in Maui, Hawaii, on August 16, 2023.

By Tom Sileo Published on August 18, 2023


The U.S. military is on the ground in Hawaii to help victims of the tragic Maui wildfires.

More than 550 members of the Hawaii National Guard were participating in search, rescue and relief efforts as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Guard. The Military Times reported earlier this week that 140 Coast Guardsmen were also in Hawaii to help those in need.

Additionally, “the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is removing debris and restoring power in the area,” according to the Department of Defense.

Having been to Maui, which is one of the world’s most beautiful places, the shocking images of damage and devastation are hard to stomach. During our 2005 honeymoon, my wife and I had a chance to visit the town of Lahaina, which was all but destroyed by wildfires in a matter of hours.

It’s even more difficult to comprehend the human suffering these wildfires have caused, with more than 100 confirmed deaths and many still missing. Our hearts go out to everyone enduring such unimaginable pain and loss.

Thank you to all the military heroes and courageous first responders who are helping save and rebuild so many shattered lives in Maui. We pray for the victims and humbly ask God to guide the rescuers to those who are still missing.

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U.S. troops serving in Germany have been hard at work training “hundreds” of Ukrainian soldiers on Abrams tanks, according to Stars and Stripes.

While the current “crash course” was originally supposed to last 12 weeks, the newspaper reports that additional tank training is now taking place at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Bavaria.

“The U.S. is set to deliver 31 refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine this fall to help in the fight against invading Russian forces,” writes Phillip Walter Wellman, who also notes that the U.S.-led training in Germany “will last until a time closer to the arrival of the tanks in Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, ABC News reports that the U.S. and Czech Republic signed a defense treaty this week. The agreement “deepens military cooperation and makes it easier to deploy U.S. troops in Czech territory.”

“The document sets a legal framework for possible deployment of U.S. troops in the country at a time of Russian aggression against Ukraine,” ABC’s report adds.

Please say a prayer for the safety of all American military personnel stationed in Europe.

Middle East

The recent arrest of a Philadelphia teenager on terrorism-related charges underscores the importance of the U.S. military’s ongoing fight against al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups.

A United Nations report released this week said approximately 5,000 to 7,000 ISIS terrorists are still operating in Syria and Iraq, where about 3,400 combined U.S. troops are stationed. A group of soldiers serving with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division arrived in Iraq this week.

ISIS has been stepping up attacks in Syria, according to Voice of America, including bombing a bus earlier this month and killing more than 20 Syrian soldiers.

In Afghanistan, ISIS has gotten even stronger after the Biden administration chose to pull all U.S. military personnel out of the country two years ago this week.

“[ISIS] has reportedly increased its operational capabilities and now has an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 fighters and family members in Afghanistan,” a Fox News article about the new U.N. report said.

Please pray for the safety of all of our nation’s valiant military warriors as they continue to fight terrorism in the Middle East and around the world.

Coming Home

The brave men and women serving aboard the U.S. Navy attack submarine USS Delaware came home to Connecticut this week after a six-month overseas deployment.

Military Homecoming

A U.S. Navy sailors gives a rose to his daughter upon returning from a six-month deployment aboard the USS Delaware to Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, on August 14, 2023.

Welcome home, sailors! Thanks to you and your families for your sacrifices on behalf of our great country.


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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