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Desert Shield Part II: Pentagon sending US troops to Saudi Arabia
The U.S. military is sending an unspecified number of troops to Saudi Arabia following an attack on Saudi oil refineries that the U.S. government has blamed on Iran, top defense officials announced on Friday.
Saudi Arabia had requested international help to help protect the country's infrastructure following the Sept. 14 attacks by Iranian drones and cruise missiles, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a Pentagon news briefing. The United Arab Emirates has also required help.
"In response to the kingdom's request, the president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature, and primarily focused on air and missile defense," Esper said. "We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves."
Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would not say how many service members are headed to Saudi Arabia, but he characterized the deployment as involving a "moderate" number of troops. He told a reporter it would be "fair to say" it wouldn't be in the thousands.
"Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo just came back this morning and the Saudis asked for enhanced defensive capabilities, so what we'll do now is take the president's decision; I'll talk with CENTCOM over the weekend ; we'll talk to our Saudi partners; and we'll work the details of the deployment. We'll be able to share that with you next week," Dunford said at Friday's briefing.
The United States is looking for other countries to also contribute Saudi Arabia's defense, Dunford said. Esper said the deployment of U.S. forces is meant to support the United States' partners in the Middle East, to ensure the free flow of commerce, and to show the United States' commitment to international rules.
The U.S. forces being sent to Saudi Arabia should be sufficient for now, "But that doesn't mean there could be additional deployments as needed, based on the changing situation," Esper said.
When asked if President Trump's decision to send U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia indicated he had decided not to launch retaliatory military strikes against Iran for the oil refinery attacks, Esper did not answer directly.
"This is the first step that we're taking with regard to responding to these attacks," Esper said. "The United States has a robust presence in the [Persian] Gulf already. We bolstered it further in May. So, we feel quite confident in terms of our own defensive posture and our ability to do anything else as necessary."
"But that's not where we are right now," he continued. "Right now, we're focused on helping the Saudis improve their defenses of that infrastructure."
In 1990, then President George H.W. Bush deployed troops to Saudi Arabia in response to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. The move ultimately enraged Osama bin Laden and became one of the justifications for Al Qaeda attacks on the United States.
A 26-year-old man died after he failed to surface from waters off Molokai while participating in a scuba diving tour over the weekend.
He has been identified as Duane Harold Parsley II and was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, according to the Maui Police Department.
LOS ANGELES — For decades, Japanese American activists have marked Feb. 19 as a day to reflect on one of the darkest chapters in this nation's history.
On that date in 1942, during World War II, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt authorized the forced removal of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent from their homes and businesses.
On Thursday, the California Assembly will do more than just remember.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.