Archive for March 2016

Inherent Resolve Update

March 31, 2016


“Brussels Attacks Heighten Need to Defeat ISIL”

By Terri Moon Cronk

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2016 — The cowardly terror attacks the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claims it leveled on Brussels, Belgium, earlier this month highlight the critical need to defeat the extremists, the strategy and sustainment deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said today.

In a weekly update on counter-ISIL operations in Iraq and Syria, British Army Maj. Gen. Doug Chalmers told Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad that the mission remains steadfast in the coalition’s resolve to defeat ISIL.

“[ISIL’s] violent, extremist ideology and ambition to expand must be stopped,” he said.

The U.S.-led coalition will prevail in the tough fight, the deputy commander said, adding that achievements are visible every day as the coalition helps ground forces weaken ISIL.

Coalition Offers Diverse Capabilities

As coalition partners enhance their efforts to train, equip and advise Iraqi security forces, Iraqi police forces are training to enable the Iraqi government to hold ground as security forces liberate areas from ISIL control.

 “Leveraging the unique capabilities of the different nations of the coalition that are directly contributing to the military campaign gives us real strength as a mission of many nations in achieving these tasks,” Chalmers said.

As the Iraqi security forces prepare to isolate and retake the key Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIL control, coalition airstrikes are putting pressure on all facets of ISIL operations inside the city, including the group’s headquarters, finances, weapons manufacturing sites and propaganda sites, Chalmers said.

“We are working closely with the Iraqi security forces to identify opportunities,” he said, citing specialized training, river crossings with mobile bridges, police training, logistics support and the provision of fire support as examples of that cooperation.

ISIL Movement Restricted

Synchronized ground operations in Iraq and Syria make it harder for ISIL to move freely and resupply its reinforcements, the deputy commander said.

“We firmly believe the momentum is now on our side, and we will do all that we can to enhance counter-[ISIL] operations where we can,” Chalmers added. “The resolve of the coalition continues to grow as we all share the same objective of defeating [ISIL] in Iraq and Syria.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)

Happy Easter!

March 23, 2016


History of Easter

Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a moveable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.

The exact origins of this religious feast day’s name are unknown. Some sources claim the word Easter is derived from Eostre, a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility. Other accounts trace Easter to the Latin term hebdomada alba, or white week, an ancient reference to Easter week and the white clothing donned by people who were baptized during that time. Through a translation error, the term later appeared as esostarum in Old High German, which eventually became Easter in English. In Spanish, Easter is known as Pascua; in French, Paques. These words are derived from the Greek and Latin Pascha or Pasch, for Passover. Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection occurred after he went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew), the Jewish festival commemorating the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Pascha eventually came to mean Easter.

Easter is really an entire season of the Christian church year, as opposed to a single-day observance. Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday, is a time of reflection and penance and represents the 40 days that Jesus spent alone in the wilderness before starting his ministry, a time in which Christians believe he survived various temptations by the devil. The day before Lent, known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is a last hurrah of food and fun before the fasting begins. The week preceding Easter is called Holy Week and includes Maundy Thursday, which commemorates Jesus’ last supper with his disciples; Good Friday, which honors the day of his crucifixion; and Holy Saturday, which focuses on the transition between the crucifixion and resurrection. The 50-day period following Easter Sunday is called Eastertide and includes a celebration of Jesus’ ascension into Heaven.

In addition to Easter’s religious significance, it also has a commercial side, as evidenced by the mounds of jelly beans and marshmallow chicks that appear in stores each spring. As with Christmas, over the centuries various folk customs and pagan traditions, including Easter eggs, bunnies, baskets and candy, have become a standard part of this holy holiday.


March 21, 2016


Iwo Jima Honor

Former Army Air Corps Capt. Jerry Yellin, left, Navy Seabee Jack Lazere, center left, and Marine Carl DeHaven, veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima, accept a wreath from a member of the Young Marines group during the 71st Reunion of Honor Ceremony at Iwo To, Japan, March 19, 2016. The ceremony gathers surviving veterans, their families and active duty service members of both nations to reflect on 71 years of peace and prosperity between the U.S. and Japan alliance.

Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Williams Jr.

On This Day In American History…

March 17, 2016

March 17, 1776: British forces under the command of Gen. Sir William Howe begin evacuating Boston after Howe reluctantly concludes that the American artillery positions atop Boston’s commanding Dorchester Heights are “impregnable.”