Posts filed under ‘Syria’
(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Amy M. Ressler.)
Two Navy air crewmen share close quarters aboard an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter during a live fire exercise over the South China Sea, on February 21, 2017.
These crewman are assigned to the USS Coronado, a fast agile littoral combat ship.
Ranger In, Ranger Out.
Four star Army General Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), has taken over as commander of U.S. Central Command (CENCOM), which oversees U.S. operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Both men are Army Rangers and both are former commanders of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) — a SOCOM component which oversees the hunt for terrorists among other tasks. Thomas has also served in the 1st Special Operations Forcers Operational Deteachment — Delta, the highly secretive Army commando unit known as Delta Force.
Both Thomas and Votel are also 1980 graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point New York.
At a brief press conference before the change of command ceremonies in Tampa, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said “accelerating the defeat” of the terrorist group that calls itself Islamic State is President Obama’s top priority. Carter added that the United States and its allies would be successful in Iraq and Syria in defeating Islamic State (also known as ISIS and ISIL), but the group has spread around the world and the United States may be fighting the terror group on U.S. soil. “It’s going to require effort around the world, and yes, it’s going to require protection against the homeland,” Carter added.
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corey Hook
U.S Air Force Major Steve Briones (left) and 1st Lieutenant Andrew Kim fly a an aerial refueling KC-135 Stratotanker over Turkey on January 6. Looks easy, doesn’t it?
Coalition forces fly daily missions to support Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. led air campaign against the so-called Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
Expeditionary Targeting Force.
The Obama administration is sending more Special Operations Forces (SOF) to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional hearing Tuesday (December 1) that the Pentagon was deploying “a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist” Iraqi and Kurdish forces and put “even more pressure” on the leadership of the so-called Islamic State — also known as ISIS and ISIL (for Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).
Eventually, Carter said, special operators will be able to “conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.”
Carter did not detail how many SOF troops would be sent to the region or where they would be deployed. But Pentagon officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to several news organizations, said this new force was expected to be based in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq. The number of SOF operators could be between 150 and 200, it was reported by USA Today, the Washington Post and Reuters.
President Obama has already sent 3,500 troops to Iraq and the surrounding region to advise and support — but not fight alongside — Iraqis, Kurds and moderate Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime. In October Obama authorized the deployment of 50 special ops troops to advise and train Arab and Kurdish anti-ISIS fighters in Syria.
Before that, Obama was — and remains — reluctant to commit U.S. ground forces to fight ISIS, preferring to rely on U.S. led airstrikes on ISIS targets in support of Kurds, Iraqis and Syrians fighting the Islamist terror organization, which has captured chunks of Iraq and Syria.
Carter told the House Armed Services Committee the the air campaign has intensified against ISIS’s main revenue stream: oil exports. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also at the hearing, said the air attacks had disrupted 43 percent of ISIS oil production. But under sometimes testy questioning, Dunford conceded that “we have not contained” ISIS.
“We are at war,” Carter told the hearing, adding that he meant “this is a serious business … it has that kind of gravity.” ISIS has claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian jetliner over Egypt, killing all 224 people on board, and a string of attacks in Paris last month that left 130 dead.
Carter said the new SOF presence in Iraq will raise uncertainty among ISIS leaders. “It puts everybody on notice in Syria. You don’t know at night who’s coming through the window,” he added.
Up Close and Very Personal.
As you might suspect from the logo on the refueling drogue, this Stratotanker is assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the U.S. military’s only permanently assigned air refueling operation in the European theater. The Strike Eagle is assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing.
Both air wings while deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, will be supporting Operation Inherent Resolve , the U.S. led air campaign over Iraq and Syria to degrade and defeat the self-proclaimed Islamic State — also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh.