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West Point Creates Soldiers Who Are Best When Times Are Worst, Mattis Tells Graduating Class
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis spoke Saturday at the U.S. Military Academy graduation and commissioning, telling the West Point graduating class of 2017 that it was a great honor to be present at one of the nation’s foundational keystones.
Nearly 1,200 students were admitted to the USMA class of 2017, according to the class profile. Of the total, 1,002 cadets were men, 188 women.
“By the time this class was in first-grade classrooms in every state across our union,” Mattis said, “our country had been thrust into a war by maniacs who thought that by hurting us they could scare us. Well, we don’t scare, and nothing better represents America’s awesome determination to defend herself than this graduating class.”
Watch his full graduation speech below.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed that a nightmare scenario has come to pass: Captured ISIS fighters are escaping as a result of Turkey's invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria.
Turkey's incursion has led to "the release of many dangerous ISIS detainees," Esper said in a statement on Monday.
Video footage of a purported "bombing of Kurd civilians" by Turkish military forces shown on ABC News appeared to be a nighttime firing of tracer rounds at a Kentucky gun range.
The U.S. military's seemingly never-ending mission supporting civil authorities along the southwestern border will last at least another year.
On Sept. 3, Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved a request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide a total of up to 5,500 troops along the border until Sept. 30, 2020, Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North, said on Monday.