Service & Sacrifice: Tensions Rise
A snapshot of the burdens being shouldered by brave U.S. troops and military families around the world.
More than 100,000 U.S. military personnel stationed across Europe spent much of this week on edge after a major scare in Poland.
As The Stream reported earlier this week, a missile crossed into Poland on Tuesday during an intense bombardment of Ukraine by Russia, killing two people. Military leaders immediately went on high alert as initial reports said the missile might have been fired from Russia. Poland and NATO later announced that the incident was “most likely an accident” caused by Ukraine’s air defense measures.
“Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg added.
While the incident did not result in the worst case scenario – a NATO Article 5 response pulling the United States and much of the western world into a bloody war with Russia – it demonstrated the serious ongoing dangers for U.S. forces stationed in Europe. A military conflict on a scale not seen since World War II could erupt at any moment. Russia subsequently escalated its missile attacks against Ukraine on Thursday, according to Reuters.
👀 @USArmy #Soldiers with @1stCavalryDiv, operationally assigned to @FightingFirst, recently trained with their M109A7 Paladin howitzers during a live-fire exercise in Toruń, Poland
These combat credible forces at @VCorps' disposal make us #StrongerTogether #ArtilleryThursday pic.twitter.com/N4UeyY0rX4
— U.S. Army Europe and Africa (@USArmyEURAF) November 17, 2022
About 10,000 U.S. troops are in Poland, with another 90,000 spread across Europe. A recent article by the USO military charity organization discussed what life is like for American service members stationed on the continent.
“U.S. troops are serving throughout Germany and Eastern Europe, including places like Poland and Romania, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea – providing training, advanced weaponry, cold weather supplies and intelligence to our NATO allies and Ukrainian forces,” Daena Moore wrote.
“Because of the U.S. military’s rapid response to the conflict, not all deployment locations were immediately equipped with the typical resources of a base,” Moore added later in the article. “That is, many of these service members arrived to a clearing of trees in the middle of a forest, just miles away from the Ukrainian border, and those resources and infrastructure had to be gradually built.
A sudden deployment can be a jarring experience, but a sudden deployment to a downrange location with limited support – in the middle of winter – can absolutely take its toll on service members.”
Please keep our valiant troops and military families in your prayers as tensions continue to rise in Europe.
About 2,500 American military personnel are still serving in Iraq to fight against remnants of ISIS and other terrorist groups. Service members also face danger from Iran, which launched new drone and missile attacks on the Kurdistan region earlier this week. The U.S. Consulate General in Erbil, Iraq, was quick to condemn the strikes.
For several years, U.S. troops serving in Erbil and other parts of Iraq have been subjected to similar missile and drone attacks, many of which are believed to have ties to Iran. Despite the ongoing threat, the brave men and women of the U.S. military continue carrying out their daily missions in Iraq and neighboring Syria, where about 900 American troops are stationed.
We reinforce our Soldier skills with great medical evacuation training in Iraq. Our Advisors are supporting @CJTFOIR . Our joint mission in the Middle East improves our ability to mutually operate, learn from one another, and improve overall capabilities and capacity. pic.twitter.com/sy4UB2RHEk
— 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade (@3rdSFAB) November 9, 2022
We thank all U.S. military personnel in the Middle East for confronting evil and helping keep our country and its allies safe from terrorism.
A group of soldiers returned to New Mexico this week after serving the past ten months in the Middle East.
Welcome home, warriors! We hope you enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.
Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is the author of the just-released Be Bold and co-author of Three Wise Men, Brothers Forever, 8 Seconds of Courage and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.