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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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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.
On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.
A new documentary series about Clint Lorance pits the infantry officer convicted of murder against his former soldiers
The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the six-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.
A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).
But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.