The U.S. military has launched about 60 missiles at the al-Shayrat military airbase south-east of Homs in Syria, NBC News reported on Thursday. The attack represents the first major deployment of American military force by President Donald Trump since he first assumed office.
The Tomahawk cruise missiles were launched from two U.S. Navy ships in the eastern Mediterranean sea, the USS Ross and USS Porter, Pentagon officials told reporters Thursday evening. The strikes reportedly damaged both aircraft and infrastructure.
In a statement Thursday evening, Trump declared that it is in the U.S.'s "vital national security interests ... to prevent the spread and use of chemical weapons," calling on "civilized nations" to " the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria," Reuters reported.
Al-Shayrat military airbase south east of Homs in SyriaPhoto via DoD
Officials from the Pentagon and White House, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, had met Thursday to discuss options for a military intervention in the war-torn country in the aftermath of chemical weapons attacks purportedly carried out by the President Bashar al-Assad.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, confirmed that the target airbase was where the fixed-wing aircraft involved in the Tuesday chemical attack against Syrian rebels in the village of Khan Shaykhun in the country’s northern Idlib governorate.
The strikes represent a stark change in the government’s stance towards the Assad regime. In a press conference Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that “Assad’s role in the future is uncertain clearly, and with the acts that he has taken it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people.”
Reports suggest that the images of children affected by toxic gas that crisscrossed the globe in the aftermath of the Tuesday chemical attacks appeared to have a dramatic impact on the president.
“That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me—big impact,” Trump said during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday. “It crossed a lot of lines for me. When you kill innocent children, innocent babies… that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. Many, many lines.”
Syrian state TV responded to the strikes by stating that "American aggression targets Syrian military targets with a number of missiles."
The strike came as Trump was hosting President Xi Jinping for discussions on North Korea's nuclear program, the Associated Press reported.
Appearing on MSNBC, Retired Adm. James Stavridis called the volley of cruise missiles a “fairly correct response” to the use of chemical weapons by forces loyal to the Assad government. A White House official characterized the strikes as a "necessary but proportionate ... warning shot to Assad."
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."