Photo via Special Operations Command - Philippines Army
In late October, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) declared victory over the ISIS-inspired Maute group after a five-month pitched battle left more than 1,000 dead in the sprawling city of Marawi. The siege, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law and the Pentagon to deploy an unidentified detachment of special operations forces, finally culminated with the deaths of two top terror leaders. Now, more than a month later, the AFP’s own elite forces are taking a victory lap.
On Nov. 28, the AFP’s Special Operations Command published an eight-minute sizzle reel detailing the rise of the ISIS-inspired groups and AFP special forces’ months-long struggle to expel them from the city:
We’ve had to sit through plenty of disconcerting (if informative) ISIS propaganda videos as the terror group made its last gasps in its former Iraqi and Syrian and strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, so the AFP clip is pretty sweet, even if it’s a highly produced state public relations product.
At the same time, there’s one thing worth noticing in this video: the non-presence of the many U.S. special operations forces deployed to the Philippines — ostensibly to provide “technical support” against Islamist groups. It’s possible that American commandos are present in the footage and simply dressed out like their Philippine counterparts rather than in distinctive U.S. uniforms; they’ve done that before, with the black kit worn by the Iraqi military’s elite Counter Terrorism Service’s “Golden Division,” which the American operators assisted during the battle for Mosul last March.
There’s no footage of the deployed U.S. SOCOM forces in DVIDs, the military’s public affairs imagery database … nor would you expect there to be; perhaps American special operators remained quiet professionals while deployed in the Philippines, even in someone else’s touchdown dance.
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
Rebekah "Moani" Daniel and her husband Walter Daniel. (Walter Daniel/Luvera Law Firm)
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear a wrongful death case involving the controversial Feres Doctrine — a major blow to advocates seeking to undo the 69-year-old legal rule that bars U.S. service members and their families from suing the government for injury or death deemed to have been brought on by military service.
FORT IRWIN, California -- Anyone who's been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army's National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It's known as Painted Rocks.