Weekly Rundown: March 7th – 13th, 2020
Military News Recap
A quick recap of the major US military news stories from the last week:
War in Iraq
A rocket attack at Camp Taji in Iraq killed three coalition military personnel: US Army Specialist Juan Miguel Mendez, US Air Force Staff Sergeant Marshal D. Roberts, and Lance Corporal Brodie Gillon of the British Army. The attack also wounded an additional fourteen service members. The US responded with airstrikes on five sites belonging to the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, who are believed to be responsible.
Also, two Marine Raiders were killed in action early in the week while clearing an ISIS tunnel complex. Gunnery Sgt. Diego D. Pongo and Captain Moises A. Navas were both members of Marine Forces Special Operations Command’s 2nd Marine Raider Battalion.
North Korea Tensions
The North Korean military conducted the latest of four major test firings of guided artillery. The country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, personally attended all the tests.
The DoD has enacted widespread measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including a number of travel restrictions for military personnel and families. Many major events, like boot camp and training course graduations have been canceled. Several states’ have already activated National Guard units to deal with the emergency. And several high-ranking officers including Admiral Craig Faller, head of U.S. Southern Command, and Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli, head European Command’s Army forces, may have already been exposed to the disease.
War in Afghanistan
American troops have begun the initial withdrawal specified in the peace deal between the Taliban and the US last week. And the Afghan government has begun the process of releasing thousands of imprisoned Taliban fighters as a precursor to starting their own negotiations with the Taliban. The first 1,500 are expected to be released this weekend. The Afghan government plans to release additional groups of 500 every two weeks until the full 5,000 currently imprisoned are freed.
And Marine General Kenneth Frank McKenzie, head of Central Command, testified to the House Armed Services Committee that the US military has provided limited support to Taliban forces combating ISIS. The support included things like airstrikes and intelligence sharing. This prime example of that old enemy-of-my-enemy adage highlights the deep complexities of the conflict in Afghanistan.
In Case You Missed It
- There’s a lot of great free stuff available for the military community. Learn all about The Best and Biggest Freebies for Veterans in 2020.
- Looking for your first post-service career? Check out our 6 Tips to Get a Great Job After the Military.
- This Week in Military History: When the first ironclad ships slugged it out in 1862, the result did little to alter the outcome of the Civil War. But the battle of Hampton Roads, featuring the Monitor vs the Merrimack, changed naval warfare forever.