Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Navy’s mission to escort US ships in the Strait of Hormuz sounds more intense than it really is
The Navy wants to assure you that is not dispatching an entire fleet to the Strait of Hormuz a part of efforts to escort American commercial ships and has no plans on initiating a sequel to World War II's Battle of the Atlantic with its Iranian adversaries.
"We will escort our ships as they come along, but we won't be there in great numbers, Vice Adm. Michael Gilday testified on Wednesday during his Senate confirmation hearing to become chief of naval operations. "The idea is for the regional partners to bear the lion's share of the burden."
In response to Iranian provocations against commercial shipping vessels in the region over the last several months, the U.S. military is working with partners in the Middle East to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Oman.
The nascent mission is called Operation Sentinel.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper had previously told reporters on July 24 that the U.S. military "will be available" to escort U.S. merchant ships in the Strait of Hormuz.
"In some cases, that may be strictly an overhead capability," Esper said at a media availability. "It may mean that there is a U.S. Naval warship within proximity to deter that. I don't necessarily mean that's every U.S.-flagged ship going through the strait has a destroyer right behind it."
On Wednesday, Gilday said that not many U.S.-flagged or U.S.-owned ships transit the Strait of Hormuz.
"The coalition that we're building in the Arabian Gulf and specifically in the Strait of Hormuz is going to be a 80- or 90-percent coalition effort," Gilday said. "A much smaller U.S. effort is primarily focused on providing intelligence support to the rest of the coalition."
Since May, the Pentagon has sent additional ships, aircraft, and troops to the Middle East in response to intelligence that Iran had launched a coordinated campaign against U.S. forces and allies in the region.
The U.S. military has "taken great care not to be provocative against Iran" in light of attacks on foreign ships and the shooting down of U.S. drones by Iran and its proxies, Gilday said.
The additional U.S. forces that have been sent to the Middle East are meant to help de-escalate tensions with Iran so the State Department can succeed in bringing Iran back to negotiations about its nuclear program, he said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Gilday would replace Adm. John Richardson, who is expected to retire in September after serving as CNO for four tumultuous years that have included two deadly ship collisions, U.S. sailors captured by Iran, the continuing fallout of the Fat Leonard Scandal, and a growing number of scandals in the Navy's special warfare community, including a SEAL platoon being sent home from Iraq amid investigations into drinking and an alleged sexual assault.
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) asked Gilday how he would help Naval Special Warfare Command fix "what appears to be a troubling culture that may need attention."
Gilday said ethics are extremely important to him and it is important for sailors to live up to the Navy's values, especially in combat.
"I commit, senator, to getting a better understanding of those issues; to holding people accountable, if and where they need to be held accountable; to getting after the root causes and ensure if there is a problem with the culture or the community that that is addressed very quickly and very firmly," Gilday said.
‘I made promises to the people that I lost’— How the Iraq war forged a Navy SEAL’s path to Harvard Medical School and NASA
Navy Lt. Jonny Kim went viral last week when NASA announced that he and 10 other candidates (including six other service members) became the newest members of the agency's hallowed astronaut corps. A decorated Navy SEAL and graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim in particular seems to have a penchant for achieving people's childhood dreams.
However, Kim shared with Task & Purpose that his motivation for living life the way he has stems not so much from starry-eyed ambition, but from the pain and loss he suffered both on the battlefields of Iraq and from childhood instability while growing up in Los Angeles. Kim tells his story in the following Q&A, which was lightly edited for length and clarity:
You can almost smell the gunpowder in the scene captured by a Marine photographer over the weekend, showing a Marine grunt firing a shotgun during non-lethal weapons training.
A Marine grunt stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina is being considered for an award after he saved the lives of three people earlier this month from a fiery car crash.
Cpl. Scott McDonell, an infantry assaultman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, was driving down Market Street in Wilmington in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 when he saw a car on fire after it had crashed into a tree. Inside were three victims aged 17, 20, and 20.
"It was a pretty mangled wreck," McDonell told ABC 15. "The passenger was hanging out of the window."
New Vietnam War movie 'The Last Full Measure' takes some well-deserved shots at the military’s award process
Todd Robinson's upcoming Vietnam War drama, The Last Full Measure, is a story of two battles: One takes place during an ambush in the jungles of Vietnam in 1966, while the other unfolds more than three decades later as the survivors fight to see one pararescueman's valor posthumously recognized.
With ISIS trying to reorganize itself into an insurgency, most attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq are being carried out by Shiite militias, said Air Force Maj. Gen. Alex Grynkewich, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria.
"In the time that I have been in Iraq, we've taken a couple of casualties from ISIS fighting on the ground, but most of the attacks have come from those Shia militia groups, who are launching rockets at our bases and frankly just trying to kill someone to make a point," Grynkewich said Wednesday at an event hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.