The Navy just seized a bunch of Iranian missiles from a boat in the Arabian Sea

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The crew of the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), in accordance with international law, seized an illicit shipment of advanced weapons and weapon components intended for the Houthis in Yemen on Sunday Feb. 9, 2020 (Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman)

A Navy guided missile cruiser uncovered a huge stockpile of heavy weaponry on Sunday when it boarded a stateless dhow (a traditional Arab sailing vessel) in the Arabian Sea that was chock full of surface-to-air-missiles and anti-tank missiles intended for Houthi rebels in Yemen.

According to a statement released by U.S. Central Command on Thursday, the weapons discovered by the USS Normandy included 150 'Dehlavieh' anti-tank guided missiles, which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs.

There were also three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, Iranian thermal imaging weapon scopes, Iranian components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels, and other munitions and advanced weapons parts.


CENTCOM said the haul was similar to a seizure of advanced weapons made in November by the guided missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman, which also occurred in the Arabian Sea. Those weapons were also Iranian and bound for the Houthis, a Yemeni Shiite group that is fighting Saudi Arabia in what many see as a proxy war with Iran.

An image of the dhow boarded by U.S. sailors on Sunday (Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman)

Supplying the Houthis with weapons is illegal according to a United Nations Security Resolution, CENTCOM said. The seized weapons are now in U.S. custody, awaiting final disposition by interagency and international partners, the command said.

At the time of the boarding, the Normandy had been conducing routine maritime security patrols in the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations, CENTCOM said.

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Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.

Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.

Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.

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