Weekly Rundown: October 26 – November 1, 2019
A quick review of the major military related headlines from the last week:
Conan, the US military working dog lightly inured in the operation that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Image originally tweeted by President Donald Trump.
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS, committed suicide via explosive vest after he was cornered during a raid by American Delta Force operators and Army Rangers. The hunted terrorist leader was found, in part, due to Kurdish spy stealing and turning over a pair of underwear for DNA testing to conclude al-Baghdadi’s identity. The self-declared caliph of the Islamic State killed two children (initially reported as three) he was using as human shields when he detonated his vest, but only one US soldier was injured in the operation: Conan, a military working dog hurt by exposed electrical wires. The heroic canine has since recovered and returned to full duty.
- A day after al-Baghdadi’s death was announced, his likely successor was also confirmed dead. Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, long term spokesperson for ISIS, was killed in a drone strike in northern Syria. The little-known Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi was named the new leader of the terrorist group several days later.
- Soldiers and Bradley armored vehicles of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, a South Carolina unit of the Army National Guard, arrived in Syria to defend oil wells in northern Syria against ISIS. The deployment of these units stands in juxtaposition to the continuing withdrawal of US troops who were previously supporting and fighting alongside Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS.
Soldiers of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team unload Bradleys in eastern Syria.
Photo Credit: US Army Reserve, Spc DeAndre Pierce.
- A new round of Syrian peace talks, backed by the United Nations, began in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.
- North Korea launched three projectiles, which they claim were launched from a new, large mobile multiple rocket system, into the Sea of Japan over several days. These are the country’s first missile tests since the most recent round of talks with the United States fell apart in just over eight hours.
- Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindam, decorated combat veteran and member of the National Security Council, testified in front of the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday after being subpoenaed by Congress. LtCol Vindam’s decision to answer that subpoena and express his concerns regarding President Trump’s controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was criticized by some, but defended by many others, including the US Army.
- A Navy audit uncovered a warehouse containing $126 million worth of aircraft parts it didn’t even know existed.
- Army Master Sergeant Matthew O. Williams of 3rd Special Forces Group received the Medal of Honor from President Donald Trump for his heroic actions in Afghanistan on April 6th, 2008.
MSgt Williams’ Medal of Honor ceremony.
Photo Credit: US Army, Sgt Keisha Brown.
In Case You Missed It
- Joe Stanek shared with us his thoughtful review of the debut novel, Cherry, by (currently incarcerated) fellow Army veteran Nico Walker.
- This Week in Military History: The Hughes H-4 Hercules, better known as the Spruce Goose, may never have been a particularly useful airplane, but it sure was an interesting one. Although it wasn’t actually made out of spruce.