The Pentagon is developing a proposal for deploying conventional U.S. ground troops to northern Syria to accelerate the fight against the Islamic State, CNN reports. There are currently about 500 special operations soldiers working as combat advisers in the country, which is embroiled in a bloody civil war that has raged unabated since the summer of 2011.
“It’s possible that you may see conventional forces hit the ground in Syria for some period of time,” a defense official told CNN.
Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told Military Times: “We are in the process of conducting our 30-day review of the strategy to defeat ISIS as directed by the president. We are considering a number of measures to accelerate the campaign as part of that review, but no decisions have been made.”
The Department of Defense has not yet specified the exact number of troops being considered for the proposed surge, but CNN notes that a deployment of conventional forces would likely result in a significantly increased military footprint in northern Syria, a region largely controlled by Kurdish forces.
The U.S. commandos currently operating in Syria are mostly working in small teams embedded with anti-ISIS groups. A less-agile contingent of conventional troops would probably require the construction of large forward operating bases, as well as an increase in ground and air support that would give the American military a much more visible presence on the battlefield.
Of course, the Pentagon’s proposal would need to be approved by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly vowed to ramp up the fight against ISIS. Under the Obama administration, U.S. military involvement in Syria was limited to a combination of air strikes, missions to train and advise, and the occasional direct action raid. So far, one American service member has been killed in action in Syria.
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command told Military Times that no deployment announcements are imminent; however, the publication also reports that multiple Army sources “indicated that about two thousand soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team soon may bolster other Army elements already in the region.” Whether that means Syria or Iraq, where about 5,000 U.S. troops are currently deployed, remains to be seen.
CNN also notes that while Defense Secretary James Mattis was not asked about putting more troops in Syria during his confirmation hearing, he was asked how U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Syria would change under his watch. His response: “I think it’s getting there as rapidly as possible, where it would be a more accelerated campaign.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor July 18, 2016, for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to the 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967. (U.S. Army/Spc. Tammy Nooner)
by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.
YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.
His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.
But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.
The M160 Robotic Mine Flail at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Photo: Maj. Dan Marchik/U.S. Army
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.
A Chinese tank rolls at the training ground "Tsugol", about 250 kilometers (156 miles ) south-east of the city of Chita during the military exercises Vostok 2018 in Eastern Siberia, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 (Associated Press/Sergei Grits)
China is developing a lot of new and advanced weaponry, but a recent state media report suggests the Chinese military may not be entirely sure what to do with these new combat systems.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."