It’s a busy month for U.S. military forces, with dynamic situations in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Korea. But don’t sleep on the Horn of Africa, either.
Dozens of U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division have been deployed to Mogadishu to train Somali and African Union troops who are fighting al-Shabab jihadists there, according to a new report by VOA News.
Al-Shabab, an extremist group aligned with Al-Qaeda, has gained notoriety in recent years for its persecution of Christians, widespread abductions, and large-scale terrorist attacks in East Africa.
The U.S. troops were sent at the request of the Somali government and are tasked with a train-and-equip mission, which is expected to last until the end of September.
"United States Africa Command will conduct various security cooperation and/or security force assistance events in Somalia in order to assist our allies and partners," Patrick Barnes, a spokesman for Africa Command, told VOA on April 13.
Other than a small number of counterterrorism advisers, the arrival of the 101st’s soldiers in Somalia’s capital marks the first time conventional U.S. troops have had a presence there since the aborted United Nations mission that yielded the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. The battle, which claimed the lives of 18 U.S. special operations personnel, was memorialized in reporter Mark Bowden’s nonfiction book “Black Hawk Down” and a movie by the same name.
Following the Battle of Mog — known to most U.S. civilians as "the Black Hawk Down incident" — American involvement in Somalia declined sharply. However, the U.S. military typically keeps a small unit of special operations forces in Somalia to support U.S.-Somali military relations, according to Stars and Stripes., and U.S. strategic interest in the nation has begun picking back up in recent years. "The forward presence of U.S. forces in Somalia coincides with a spike in airstrikes against al-Shabab,” writes Stripes’ John Vandiver, “which was the target of at least 14 strikes or raids in 2016 compared with only a handful a year earlier."
The mission of the 101st Airborne soldiers will be different from that of the current unit operating in Somalia, but there will be some overlap, VOA reports.
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.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested on Jan. 29, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina.)
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Elyse Ping Medvigy conducts a call-for-fire during an artillery shoot south of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. Medvigy, a fire support officer assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is the first female company fire support officer to serve in an infantry brigade combat team supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston (Photo by U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.