Amid severe rioting in Baltimore Monday night over the death of 25-year-old black resident Freddie Gray in police custody, one man boldly walked beyond police barriers to tell violent protesters to stop and go home. When CNN reporter Joe Johns approached the individual, standing stoically between police and rioters, he introduced himself as “just a soldier.”
For the first time since 1968, National Guard troops have been called into the city to help quell unrest, amid the injuries of 15 police officers, 200 arrests, and widespread looting and arson, reported CBS News. But this soldier’s uniform consisted of only a meager black coat with “Vietnam Veteran” stitching on the breast.
Speaking on the air, the man identified as Robert Valentine shared his thoughts about the violent response from some protesters from the perspective of a veteran who loves his country:
“I did 30 years, okay, came out a Master Sergeant. I’ve seen more than all this. I’ve been through the riots already. This right here is not relevant. They need to have their butts at home. They need to be in their home units with their families studying and doing something with their life. Not out here protesting about something that is not really about nothing. They do not respect this young man’s death. You know. Now, mama and daddy lost a child. That could be them. So I’m very pissed.”
In a city brimming with racial tension, this veteran stands out not just for standing up to violent protesters, but for how he identifies himself even amid all the chaos. “I’m an American,” Valentine told Johns. “I’m not black, white, red, yellow or nothing. I am American.”
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)
The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."