Service & Sacrifice: ‘Violence and Chaos’ in Niger
A snapshot of the burdens being shouldered by brave U.S. troops and military families around the world.
Brave U.S. military service members were still protecting the U.S. Embassy in Niger as of Thursday afternoon.
The Marine Corps Times reports that U.S. Marine security guards stationed at the embassy in the west African nation’s capital city of Niamey will stay and work with the Diplomatic Security Service to keep the building secure. The State Department reportedly refused to disclose how many Marines are guarding the embassy.
Niger has been gripped by violence and chaos after a military coup removed the country’s duly elected president last week. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ordered “the temporary departure of non-emergency personnel and eligible family members from Niger” on Wednesday.
Today, we ordered the temporary departure of non-emergency personnel and eligible family members from Niger. The U.S. is committed to our relationship with the people of Niger. The embassy remains open, and our leaders are diplomatically engaged at the highest levels.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 2, 2023
Outside the U.S. Embassy, American troops have been battling terrorism in Niger since 2001, with greater levels of involvement beginning in 2013. Four U.S. military service members were killed fighting ISIS in Niger in 2017, as I extensively wrote about here on The Stream.
Earlier this week, CNN reported that approximately 1,000 U.S. troops serving in Niger had been “restricted to the American military bases and U.S. Embassy in Niger” following the coup. Task & Purpose also noted that the closure of the country’s airspace has shut down a large U.S. military drone base in Niger.
Please pray for all Americans inside Niger as well as the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of this bloody military coup.
Armed U.S. military service members could soon be placed aboard commercial ships in the Strait of Hormuz to stop Iran from seizing them, according to a surprising Associated Press report published on Thursday.
As you’ve been reading about on The Stream, Iran has been seizing oil tankers and harassing U.S. Navy ships for many months. Tehran’s actions have forced Navy and Coast Guard ships to fire warning shots at Iranian ships.
The AP report said that while details of the plan are scarce, “it comes as thousands of Marines and sailors on both the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan and the USS Carter Hall, a landing ship, are on their way to the Persian Gulf.” Marines and sailors serving on those ships could eventually be ordered to protect commercial ships.
North Korea appears to have finally acknowledged that a U.S. military service member crossed its border with South Korea last month.
CBS News reports the Pentagon confirmed that the United Nations received an unspecified response from the communist regime in Pyongyang after “waiting for a response from the North for weeks.”
U.S. Army Pvt. Travis King was originally scheduled to return to Texas after being held in a South Korean detention center on assault charges. King reportedly then skipped his flight back to the United States and joined a civilian tour group. He later broke away from the tour and ran across the North Korean border.
Regardless of the circumstances, we continue to pray for Pvt. Travis King’s safe return to his family and country.
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American troops serving in Ukraine are now eligible to receive combat pay, according to Task & Purpose.
Jeff Schogol reports that the imminent danger pay and hardship duty pay of $325 per month will be retroactive to April 24. The only American military personnel inside Ukraine are serving at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, although “it is unclear exactly how many U.S. troops are currently deployed” there, according to the article.
Please continue to pray for all U.S. troops in Kyiv and the approximately 100,000 American military personnel stationed across Europe amid Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine.
More than 250 Wisconsin National Guard soldiers returned home this week after spending the past nine months deployed to the east Africa nation of Djibouti.
Welcome home, heroes! Thank you for serving our country overseas.
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 Men, Brothers Forever, 8 Seconds of Courage and Fire in My Eyes. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.