Paul Szoldra is the editor-in-chief of Task & Purpose. A former Marine infantryman, his past bylines include Business Insider and We Are The Mighty. He is also the founder of Duffel Blog.
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Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
A former senior Coast Guard official has been accused of shoplifting from a Philadelphia sex shop.
Rear Adm. Francis "Stash" Pelkowski (Ret.) was accused of stealing a tester item from Kink Shoppe on Oct. 8, according to an Instagram post by the store that appeared online two days later. In the post, which included apparent security camera footage of the incident, a man can be seen looking at products on a counter before picking up an item and placing it in his pocket before turning and walking away.
The Instagram post identified the man as Pelkowski, and said it wished him "all the best in his retirement, a sincere thank you for your service, and extreme and utter disappointment in his personal morals."
Kyle Carpenter earned the Medal of Honor for jumping on a grenade in Afghanistan. He believes you were worth the sacrifice
Kyle Carpenter doesn't remember what he was thinking before he jumped on top of a Taliban grenade to save his friend's life, but he believes that you were worth sacrificing for.
On Nov. 21, 2010, then-Lance Cpl. Carpenter was manning a rooftop security post on his first deployment to the volatile Helmand Province in Afghanistan when a hand grenade landed near him and his friend, Lance Cpl. Nick Eufrazio. Without hesitation, his award citation for the Medal of Honor says, Carpenter jumped on the deadly explosive and took the brunt of the blast, which ripped through his face and arm with white hot shrapnel.
Badly burned and knocked out, Carpenter flat-lined numerous times after his injury, but miraculously, woke up weeks later in a hospital, minus his right eye and with the much of his body mangled. He endured nearly 40 surgeries and spent almost three years in the hospital recovering, where he had to relearn the basics like walking and tying his shoes.
Now 29, Carpenter is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for combat bravery. He's gone on to graduate from college, run a marathon, go sky-diving, and now, he's authored a memoir — released on Tuesday — that he hopes will inspire people to live a good life despite whatever challenges they might face.
Soldiers are smoking a whole lot more weed if they happen to be stationed in or near a state where it's legal, and the Army has definitely noticed.
At nine Army bases in or near marijuana-friendly states, there has been a roughly 18% increase between 2017 and 2018 in positive drug tests for THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive component in cannabis. For comparison, there has been a 5% increase in soldiers testing positive for THC across the entire Army.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"
A new 'Band of Brothers' series will highlight the chaotic and deadly missions of Air Force bomber crews in WWII
Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg are bringing the third series in its Band of Brothers franchise to Apple TV+, which will highlight the American bomber crews who fought the air war over Nazi Germany during World War II, according to Deadline.
Based on the 2007 book Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany, the series will focus on the enlisted men of the Eighth Air Force, according to The Hollywood Reporter.