Iraqi Refugee Turned US Marine Joins The Fight Against ISIS

Ali J. Mohammed was 16 years old when he came to the United States as a refugee.
Marine Corps photo

In 2009, Ali J. Mohammed’s sister was working as translator for the U.S. military in Baghdad, Iraq. He was just 16 when his family began receiving threats from extremists, forcing them to flee their home and seek asylum in the United States.

Four years later, he graduated from high school and enlisted in the Marine Corps, inspired by the work of his sister.

“Seeing her work so closely with these Americans, how much she trusted them and seeing how much they wanted to help us made me idealize them as a child,” Mohammed told the Marine Corps. “It is part of the reason I decided to join.”

Now, 23, he has returned to Iraq, this time as a corporal deployed in the fight against the Islamic State. Though his MOS is in supply, he primarily serves as an Arabic translator.

“America is my home, but Iraq is my homeland,” Mohammed added. “My biggest motivation right now is to help drive these extremist groups out of my home land, and being able to do that as a United States Marine is the most rewarding thing I could have asked for.”

The Marine Corps published his story just as President Donald Trump moved forward with a ban on visas issued to people living in a number of countries with Muslim citizens, including Mohammed’s native Iraq. Some news outlets, as a result, are speculating that the Pentagon meant this as a jab at Trump’s decision.

“The fact that the Department of Defense decided to highlight the story of Cpl. Ali Mohammed hours after reports that President Trump is expected to ink a temporary ban on most refugees did not go without notice,” NBC reported.

Task & Purpose reached out to the public affairs office at 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines to ascertain Mohammed's citizen status but an officer was unavailable for comment.

According to Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis. there are roughly 5,000 non-U.S. citizens who enlist annually, with an average of 18,700 serving on active duty. It’s unclear how many are from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen — the seven countries affected by Trump's ban.

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article’s headline implied Ali J. Mohammed may be unable to re-enter the country at the end of his deployment. The headline was changed because the details of his immigration status are unknown as well as how the executive order would impact him. (Updated Jan. 30, 2017 at 4:39 p.m. EST)

U.S. Air Force airmen from the 405th Expeditionary Support Squadron work together to clear debris inside the passenger terminal the day after a Taliban-led attack at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Brandon Cribelar)

Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.

The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

The Hurt Locker will be getting the high-def treatment on Feb. 4, when Lionsgate releases it on demand in "Digital 4K Ultra HD."

And you know we just can't wait.

Read More Show Less
(Glow Images via Associated Press_

Average pay, housing and subsistence allowances will increase for members of the military in 2020, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Retired Navy Seal Floyd McLendon. (Business Insider)

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

A retired Navy SEAL running for Congress wore a U.S. Navy dress white uniform at a recent campaign event, Business Insider has learned.

Republican candidate Floyd McLendon of Texas spoke to an audience at his campaign kick-off event in November, wearing the Navy uniform adorned with numerous medals — including what appeared to be the Navy SEAL Trident, the insignia reserved for members of the elite community like McLendon.

The inaugural event in Dallas was held in the 30th congressional district, a different district than the one McLendon is running in. Political strategists in Texas described the venue's location as highly unusual for a House candidate.

Read More Show Less
Zachary Johnston (Photo via Doña Ana County Jail)

A former Fort Bliss solider stood bruised and badly injured in court Thursday as he pleaded guilty to cutting the throat of another soldier during a 2017 drug robbery.

Zachary Johnston, who appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles around his ankles, pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser count of murder as part of a plea agreement with state prosecutors.

He also appeared in court with two black eyes, bruises and cuts all over his face after he was involved in a jailhouse fight.

Johnston was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in connection with the brutal slaying of Tyler Kaden Croke, 23, on May 7, 2017, during a drug robbery at the Cantera Apartments in East El Paso. Croke, 23, was in the U.S. Army and served a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Read More Show Less