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USS Boxer shoots down Iranian drone as the US and Iran edge closer to conflict
The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer shot down an Iranian drone Thursday in the Strait of Hormuz, President Donald Trump announced.
"The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone which had closed into a very, very near distance – approximately 1,000 yards – ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew," Trump said during a White House ceremony. "The drone was immediately destroyed."
"This is the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran against vessels operating in international waters," he continued. "The United States reserves the right to defend our personnel, our facilities, our interests and calls upon all nations to condemn Iran's attempts to disrupt freedom of navigation and global commerce. I also call on other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait and to work with us in the future."
A Pentagon spokesman issued a brief statement on Thursday saying a "fixed wing unmanned aerial system" flew dangerously close to the Boxer around 10 a.m. local time while she ship was in international waters transiting the Strait of Hormuz.
"The ship took defensive action against the UAS [unmanned aerial system] to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew," said spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.
Roughly 4,500 Marines and sailors with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Group is embarked aboard the Boxer and the two other ships in its amphibious ready group: the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS John P. Murtha and the landing ship dock USS Harpers Ferry, according to Reuters.
Thursday's incident comes nearly a month after the Iranians shot down a Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk drone over the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. government claims the $110 million drone was in international airspace when it was attacked.
Prior to that, Houthi rebels in Yemen shot down an MQ-9 Reaper on June 6 with Iranian help, according to U.S. Central Command. The Iranians fired a missile at another Reaper over the Gulf of Oman a week later, but the drone was not hit.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have been building since May, when National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton announced the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and bombers were being rushed to the Middle East.
Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., head of CENTCOM, had asked for reinforcements in response to indications that Iran and its proxy forces were preparing to attack U.S. troops in the region, such as intelligence that Iranian Revolutionary Guards were loading missiles onto dhows.
The U.S. government has accused Iran of being responsible for sabotage of foreign tankers and a rocket attack on the U.S. embassy on Baghdad. Iran's Revolutionary Guards announced on Thursday that they recently seized a foreign tanker in the Persian Gulf, which they claim was trying to smuggle oil.
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Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.
Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.
The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.
Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."
Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.
A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.
The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.