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The US Sent B-52 Bombers Tearing Through The South China Sea Twice This Week
The U.S. Air Force sent B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers through the South China Sea twice this week, sending a message, intentional or not, to challengers in the region.
A single B-52 bomber assigned to the 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron conducted training in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean on Sunday, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs told Business Insider on Wednesday. Two days later, another B-52 bomber conducted a training mission in the South China Sea.
"U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's Continuous Bomber Presence (CBP) operations have been ongoing since March 2004," PACAF told BI, adding that these recent missions are "consistent with international law and United States's long-standing and well-known freedom of navigation policies."
"The United States military will continue to fly sail and operate wherever international law allows at a times and places of our choosing," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn told Business Insider on Tuesday.
While Beijing has yet to criticize the bomber flights, Secretary of Defense James Mattis stressed Wednesday that if China has a problem with these flights, it will be because China made it a problem through its activities in contested waters.
"If it was 20 years ago and had they not militarized those features there it would have been just another bomber on its way to Diego Garcia or wherever," the secretary explained. "There's nothing out of the ordinary about it."
Last month, the U.S. sent B-52s through the East and South China Sea four times, twice in each waterway. The U.S. also sent B-52s through the South China Sea in April and June, prompting the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to accuse the U.S. of "running amok" in the region.
The latest flights come at a time of rising tension between Washington and Beijing.
Not only are the U.S. and China locked in an escalating and intensifying trade war involving tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in goods, but tensions are also causing military-to-military relations to deteriorate.
Last week, the U.S. sanctioned a procurement division of the Chinese military for purchasing Russian weapons systems in violation of sanctions, namely the advanced Su-35 fighter jet and the S-400 surface-to-air missile system. China then suddenly canceled a meeting between Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong and his U.S. counterpart, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. Beijing also rejected a request by the U.S. Navy to permit a port call by the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in Hong Kong.
Analysts and experts suspect that it will be a long time before military ties recover.
Read more from Business Insider:
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- U.S. aircraft carriers are spending less time deployed for war — which could become a problem as the Navy prepares to take on China and Russia
- The Army's 'essentially parasitic' body armor is making soldiers' jobs harder
- Mattis says every American should read this one book
- Trump accuses China of attempting to meddle in the 2018 midterms
Editor's note: A combat wounded veteran, Ryan served in the U.S. Army as an armor officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment. While deployed to Iraq in 2005, his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He works as the Wounded Warrior Project's national Combat Stress Recovery Program director.
On Nov. 29, 2005, my life changed forever. I was a 24-year-old U.S. Army armor captain deployed to Taji, Iraq, when my vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device. On that day, I lost two of my soldiers, Sgts. Jerry Mills and Donald Hasse, and I lost my right arm and left leg.
Fatal training accidents are on the rise. Now the families of the fallen are pushing lawmakers to do something about it
CAMP PENDLETON — Susan and Michael McDowell attended a memorial in June for their son, 1st Lt. Conor McDowell. Kathleen Isabel Bourque, the love of Conor's life, joined them. None of them had anticipated what they would be going through.
Conor, the McDowells' only child, was killed during a vehicle rollover accident in the Las Pulgas area of Camp Pendleton during routine Marine training on May 9. He was 24.
Just weeks before that emotional ceremony, Alexandrina Braica, her husband and five children attended a similar memorial at the same military base, this to honor Staff Sgt. Joshua Braica, a member of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion who also was killed in a rollover accident, April 13, at age 29.
Braica, of Sacramento, was married and had a 4 1/2-month-old son.
"To see the love they had for Josh and to see the respect and appreciation was very emotional," Alexandrina Braica said of the battalion. "They spoke very highly of him and what a great leader he was. One of his commanders said, 'He was already the man he was because of the way he was raised.' As parents, we were given some credit."
While the tributes helped the McDowells and Braicas process their grief, the families remain unclear about what caused the training fatalities. They expected their sons eventually would deploy and put their lives at risk, but they didn't expect either would die while training on base.
"We're all still in denial, 'Did this really happen? Is he really gone?' Braica said. "When I got the phone call, Josh was not on my mind. That's why we were at peace. He was always in training and I never felt that it would happen at Camp Pendleton."
North Korea threatens to resume nuclear weapons and ICBM tests if US-South Korea military exercises proceed
SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States looks set to break a promise not to hold military exercises with South Korea, putting talks aimed at getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons at risk, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The United States' pattern of "unilaterally reneging on its commitments" is leading Pyongyang to reconsider its own commitments to discontinue tests of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the ministry said in a pair of statements released through state news agency KCNA.
Customs and Border Patrol denied a Marine vet entry into the US for his a scheduled citizenship interview
A deported Marine Corps veteran who has been unable to come back to the U.S. for more than a decade was denied entry to the country Monday morning when he asked to be let in for a scheduled citizenship interview.
Roman Sabal, 58, originally from Belize, came to the San Ysidro Port of Entry around 7:30 on Monday morning with an attorney to ask for "parole" to attend his naturalization interview scheduled for a little before noon in downtown San Diego. Border officials have the authority to temporarily allow people into the country on parole for "humanitarian or significant public benefit" reasons.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer took the reins at the Pentagon on Monday, becoming the third acting defense secretary since January.
Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.