U.S. Pacific Command has dispatched 36 service members from Okinawa to Thailand to assist with efforts to rescue 12 boys from a Thai soccer team and their coach, who have been trapped in a cave complex since June 23, a Pentagon spokesman told Task & Purpose.
The troops include a search and rescue team, a survival expert, and support personnel who were deployed after the Royal Thai government requested U.S. assistance on June 26, said Army Lt. Col. David Eastburn.
U.S. military assets in Thailand responded to the scene immediately, but they did not have the right gear for the mission, prompting PACOM to send the search and rescue team, which arrived on Thailand on June 28, Eastburn told Task & Purpose.
Two MC-130s from Okinawa transported the search and rescue personnel to Thailand, Eastburn said on Tuesday. The planes and support personnel initially remained in U-Tapao, Thailand after dropping off the search and rescue team. It was not clear on Tuesday if they had returned to Okinawa.
Airmen with the 353rd Special Operations Group and the 31st Rescue Squadron, both stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, are among the U.S. troops helping with the rescue efforts, according to the 18th Wing.
"The American people join Thais in celebrating the dramatic discovery of the soccer team and their coach in Tham Luang Cave," said U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies in a statement. "We will continue to support Thai authorities in their relentless efforts to bring the 12 players and their coach safely out of the cave and reunite them with their families."
Several members of the Marine Corps' famous Silent Drill Platoon were kicked out of the service or punished by their command after someone reported witnessing them using a training rifle to strike someone.
Three Marines have been discharged in the last 60 days and two others lost a rank after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began looking into hazing allegations inside the revered unit that performs at public events around the world.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.
When an Air Force major called J.J. completed a solo flight in the U-2 in late August 2016 — 60 years after the high-flying aircraft was introduced — he became the 1,000th pilot to do so.
J.J., whose name was withheld by the U.S. Air Force for security reasons, earned his solo patch a few days after pilots No. 998 and No. 999. Those three pilots are in distinguished company, two fellow pilots said this month.
"We have a pretty small, elite team of folks. We're between about 60 and 70 active-duty pilots at any given time," Maj. Matt "Top" Nauman said during an Air Force event at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City.
"We're about 1,050 [pilots] right now. So to put that in context, there are more people with Super Bowl rings than there are people with U-2 patches," Nauman added. "It's a pretty small group of people that we've hired over the last 60 to 65 years."