This Week at War: ‘We Have All Volunteered’

From battling coronavirus to fighting the war on terrorism, the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are risking their lives to keep us safe.

A U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jet conducts a show of force exercise near Al-Tanf Garrison in Syria on June 17, 2020.

By Tom Sileo Published on July 24, 2020

Middle East

We don’t talk about it enough as a country, but the brave men and women of the U.S. military are still at war.

This week, our nation lost an “incredible paratrooper” in Syria, where valiant American troops are still risking their lives to fight terrorism. According to the Department of Defense, U.S. Army Sgt. Bryan Cooper Mount died on Tuesday in a “vehicle rollover accident while conducting reconnaissance operations” in the war-torn country’s eastern region.

The fallen soldier from St. George, Utah, was just 25 years old.

“It was his second time serving in combat and we relied on his experience,” U.S. Army Capt. Reid Jacobson said in a statement quoted by Military.com. “Bryan was just one of those dependable paratroopers everyone looked up to and relied upon. He had an easy smile and contagious personality.”

Military.com’s Matthew Cox writes that “so far this year, ten service members have died while deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.” All ten of those fallen heroes have families, friends and fellow troops who will forever mourn their loss.

Please pray for the wife, parents and fellow 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers of Sgt. Bryan Cooper Mount. We ask God to comfort them during this time of unimaginable confusion, pain and grief.

Coronavirus

The military is also fighting a unprecedented war on COVID-19.

As of Thursday, there were 22,769 coronavirus cases inside military ranks, with 453 hospitalizations and three tragic deaths. Thankfully, 9,333 American service members are listed by the Pentagon as “recovered.” We thank God for shielding these heroes from harm.

Across the nation in every U.S. state and territory, courageous men and women of the National Guard are stepping forward to help detect and eradicate the virus. The above tweet shows a COVID-19 testing site in Arizona, while the below image shows service members trying to slow the spread at a Colorado prison.

In Washington State, National Guardsmen are still building makeshift hospitals, particularly in rural areas. In California, compassionate troops are helping deliver food to those in need. In Ohio, the state’s first female Ohio National Guard infantry officer, 2nd Lt. Colleen O’Callaghan, is helping lead the battle against the pandemic.

“We genuinely want to be here. We have all volunteered and we are all serving relatively close to our homes whenever possible,” 2nd Lt. O’Callaghan said. “Everybody wants to help because there are so many people (who are) out of work and need assistance, and we have the ability to do it.”

“We have all volunteered” is the quote that really stood out to me. Sometimes, we forget that every single member of the modern military is a volunteer warrior who raised his or her right hand and swore to defend our great country during a time of war. These selfless heroes are the very best America has to offer.

All of us at The Stream thank 2nd Lt. Colleen O’Callaghan, Sgt. Bryan Cooper Mount and each and every U.S. military service member; past and present. America is blessed to be defended by extraordinary patriots like you.

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Coming Home

A group of brave airmen is home from the war in Afghanistan after recently returning to their base in Alaska.

Home from War

Alaska Air National Guardsmen walk through Ted Stevens-Anchorage International Airport upon returning from an 8-month deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan on June 23, 2020.

Welcome home, heroes! Thank you for defending our nation – and our freedom – overseas.

 

Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of 8 Seconds of CourageBrothers ForeverFire in My Eyes and the forthcoming Three Wise Men. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.

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