This Week at War: ‘I Love This Community’
From civil unrest to coronavirus to terrorism, the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are risking their lives to keep us safe.
While this weekly feature’s title has long been “This Week at War,” let’s make something clear: U.S. troops are not at war with their fellow citizens.
So far this week, tens of thousands of National Guard troops have been called upon to protect Americans from violence, rioting, looting and vandalism. They are also defending the Constitutional rights of protesters to peacefully assemble.
“As members of the Joint Force – comprised of all races, colors and creeds – you embody the ideals of our Constitution,” U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in a Tuesday statement. “Please remind all of our troops and leaders that we will uphold the values of our nation and operate consistent with national laws and our own high standards of conduct at all times.”
New: @CBSDavidMartin obtained this memo from General Mark Milley to the armed forces, which includes a hand written note that reads:
“We all committed our lives to the idea that is America—We will stay true to that oath and the American people.” pic.twitter.com/L9Z3KrKFN6
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) June 3, 2020
As Gen. Milley made clear, the National Guard and military as a whole is no monolith. It is comprised of real people, including more than 32,400 currently devoted to keeping the peace in cities across America.
“I joined the National Guard because I love this community,” a Washington, D.C. National Guard airman said at the beginning of the below video. “I’m a part of this community. I value this community and I think it’s super important that our people – that their voice is heard.”
As of this morning, more than 75,000 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are activated for domestic operations across the United States, including more than 32,400 assisting law enforcement authorities to protect life, and to preserve property, peace, and public safety. https://t.co/Yo98oxpbAx
— National Guard (@USNationalGuard) June 4, 2020
Please join The Stream in praying for the safety of these 32,400 National Guard citizen-warriors.
Approximately 40,000 U.S. troops are also risking their safety in the ongoing war against COVID-19. Combined with the response to civil unrest, the number of National Guard personnel assigned to domestic operations has surpassed the historic Hurricane Katrina response level in 2005.
“We have issued masks and we continue to issue masks to our soldiers and airmen, but we know we are taking a risk here,” Minnesota National Guard Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen said. “But we have a mission that our community and our state are counting on us to perform.”
After last week’s tragic death of Sgt. Simon Zamudio, the third American service member known to die from coronavirus complications, another U.S. Army soldier has been infected. Stars and Stripes reports that the service member tested positive for the virus after reporting for duty in South Korea.
“The latest was a soldier who was tested, according to procedure, after arriving at Osan Air Base on Saturday aboard the Patriot Express, a government-chartered flight, U.S. Forces Korea said in a press release,” Stars and Stripes reported.
Please keep this brave soldier in your constant prayers. We ask God to heal and shield all of our country’s heroes.
Courageous U.S. troops are still fighting terrorism around the world. Just before Memorial Day, a group of brave American warriors finally returned to their families after spending the previous nine months at war in the Middle East during a deadly pandemic.
Welcome home, warriors! Thank you for your service, God bless you and we hope you enjoy some well-deserved time off with your families.
Tom Sileo is a contributing senior editor of The Stream. He is co-author of 8 Seconds of Courage, Brothers Forever, Fire in My Eyes and the forthcoming Three Wise Men. Follow Tom on Twitter @TSileo and The Stream at @Streamdotorg.