Report: Green Berets Are Quietly Waging A New Ground War In Yemen

Bullet Points

As the U.S. looks to extricate itself from the anti-ISIS campaigns in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon is getting bogged down elsewhere: Green Berets have been quietly slipping over the border from Saudi Arabia into Yemen to neutralize "caches of ballistic missiles and launch sites" used by Yemen's Houthi rebels to attack Saudi cities, the New York Times reports.

  • The best defense is a good offense: The Times report comes just over a month after the latest in an ongoing series of bombardments by Yemeni rebels, in which the Saudis’ U.S.-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) kinetic interceptors neutralized several incoming ballistic missiles fired at the capital city of Riyadh.
  • Here's what they're doing: "A half-dozen officials — from the United States military, the Trump administration, and European and Arab nations — said the American commandos are training Saudi ground troops to secure their border," the New York Times reports. "They also are working closely with American intelligence analysts in Najran, a city in southern Saudi Arabia that has been repeatedly attacked with rockets, to help locate Houthi missile sites within Yemen."
  • A tale of two wars: The Pentagon is currently waging two military campaigns in Yemen: 1) providing the Saudi military with precision-guided munitions, refueling operations and targeting intelligence as part of the country's air campaign against the Houthis, and 2) spanking the bejesus out of the Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates that have taken the root there. Kinda sounds like Syria, when you think about it.
  • Boots on the ground: The Times report provides a glimpse at the escalating DoD ground presence in the country: Our sharp-eyed friends at The War Zone note that U.S. Transportation Command posted a recent contract notice in search of "four contractor-operated aircraft to provide casualty and medical evacuation, personnel recovery, and passenger and cargo services" on behalf of CENTCOM — a clear attempt to fix the lack of resources that helped turn the infamous October 2017 Niger raid into a tragedy.
  • But why are we there? That's what some lawmakers are wondering, especially given the questionable legality of U.S military assistance for those Saudi airstrikes that have callously slaughtered thousands of civilians and wrought havoc across the country. In October 2017, a bipartisan trio of lawmakers called on Congress to reclaim its oversight of American military operations abroad in light of the convoluted campaign in Yemen.

While the latest letter from President Donald Trump justifying U.S. military activities abroad, sent to Congress in December 2017, explicitly states that the DoD personnel deployed to Yemen are there "to conduct operations against al-Qa’ida [Al Qaeda] in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS," it only mentioned that the U.S. has "continued to provide logistics and other support to regional forces combatting the Houthi insurgency" there. We'll see how that plays out...

Army Staff Sgt. Ahmed lives in California, and serves with the Active Guard Reserve. But he didn't come into service the same way his colleagues did — he started as a translator in Iraq, for American troops.

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(DoD photo)

A 24-year-old soldier based at Fort Riley has been charged in federal court in Topeka with sending over social media instructions on how to make bombs triggered by cellphones, according to federal prosecutors in Kansas.

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(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

Three U.S. service members received non-life-threatening injuries after being fired on Monday by an Afghan police officer, a U.S. official confirmed.

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Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years as a prisoner of war during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.

Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.

The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty

Marine Maj. Jose Anzaldua's commemorative 1911 pistol

(Sig Sauer)

Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:

Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.

In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.

On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.

Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.

After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.

Sig Sauer presented the commemorative 1911 pistol to Anzaldua in a private ceremony at the gunmaker's headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire. The pistol's unique features include:

  • 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
  • Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
  • Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
  • Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
  • Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.

Walruses rest on an ice floe off Wrangel Island, part of the Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve in the Arctic Ocean (Itas-TASS/Yuri Smityuk via Getty Images)

In a kind of odd man-versus-nature moment, a Russian navy boat was attacked and sunk by a walrus during an expedition in the Arctic, the Barents Observer reported Monday.

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