Archive for July 2017

Freedom Is Not Free…

July 19, 2017


America Asked To Lead Bastille Day Parade!

July 13, 2017

French and U.S. service members rehearse for the Military Parade on Bastille DayYellow Ribbon America Breaking News! 

U.S. European Command News

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2017: A historic first, nearly 200 American service members will lead the military parade on Bastille Day, July 14, the famous Champs-Elysées in Paris in commemoration of the U.S. entry into World War I.

The annual French holiday marks the storming of the Bastille in Paris in 1789, a turning point in the French Revolution.

Bastille Day Parade Tradition

The French government traditionally invites a country of honor to lead the parade, which is linked to a historical event and highlights a symbolic gesture of friendship.

“France stood with us during the American Revolution and that strategic partnership endures today,” said Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command. “On behalf of the 60,000 service members standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the French to ensure Europe is whole, free and at peace, we are honored to lead the Bastille Day Parade and help celebrate the French independence.”

President Donald J. Trump, French President Emmanuel and many more dignitaries are scheduled to attend the event while more than 3,765 people participate in the parade. On July 6, 1880, the French Parliament passed an act declaring July 14 a national holiday to mark the storming of the Bastille. As part of nationwide celebrations, a traditional military parade is held.

Flyovers Slated

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and an F-22 are slated to conduct flyovers. The U.S. served as the country of honor and led the parade for the first time ever, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917.

“During the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, we commemorate America’s sons and daughters who defended peace — many of them descendants of European immigrants who came to America seeking freedom, and a better life,” Scaparrotti said. “Amidst the horrors of war, over 4 million Americans served in World War I and more than 100,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Photo: The U.S. formation marching in the military parade on Bastille Day in Paris, France, July 14, 2017, is reviewed as part of the final rehearsal in Satory, France, July 12, 2017. This year, the U.S. will lead the parade as the country of honor in commemoration of the centennial of U.S. entry into World War I – as well as the long-standing partnership between France and the U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb

Almost 200 U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen assigned to units in Europe and the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kansas, march from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde during a July 12 rehearsal for the military parade on Bastille Day to be held in Paris, July 14, 2017. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officier Michael McNabb

July 12, 2017

Fueling fighters

Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

By Terri Moon Cronk

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2017 — The global coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has offered its congratulations to Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the Iraqi security forces on their historic victory against an evil enemy, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve told Pentagon reporters today.

Iraq declared Mosul’s liberation yesterday, Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend said Townsend, in a teleconferenced briefing from Baghdad.

“The Iraqis prevailed in the most extended and brutal combat I have ever witnessed, while making extraordinary efforts to safeguard civilian lives, even at the cost of their own,” he said. “The list of martyrs is painfully long.”

ISIS Lost Largest ‘Capital’

The OIR commander noted when ISIS lost Mosul, it lost its capital in Iraq and the largest population center they held anywhere in the world.

“Iraqi militia forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and the global coalition also deserve a share of the credit for their sacrifices to achieve this hard-won victory,” Townsend said.

But Iraq’s victory does not eliminate the presence of ISIS, he cautioned, adding that tough fighting against the rogue terrorists remains.

“There are still pockets of resistance in Mosul, hold-outs, and hidden [improvised explosive devices] that will take weeks to clear, as well as remaining ISIS enclaves [in places such as] western Anbar,” Townsend said.

Additionally, humanitarian and stabilization efforts are desperately needed to ease the suffering of Mosul citizens and start the city on the road to recovery, he said. “Though the Moslawis have suffered greatly, the east side is already springing back to life less than six months after its liberation. And Moslawis have already started to return to their neighborhoods in the west.”

But still, he added, the loss of one of ISIS’ twin capitals and a jewel of their so-called caliphate is a decisive blow to ISIS and certainly something for the Iraqis to celebrate.

“They can also celebrate the remarkable turnaround their security forces have made in the course of the past three years,” the general said. 

Raqqa Liberation Closer

Turning to Syria, the Syrian Democratic Force began its assault to liberate Raqqa on June 5, and 37 days later, they have completely surrounded the city and made good progress on both their eastern and western axes of attack, Townsend

The SDF breached into the ancient citadel of Old Raqqa in the central part of the city, he said.

“We should not forget that ISIS has had more than three years to prepare the defense of Raqqa,” Townsend said. “While SDF operations are off to a good start, resistance has been stiffening, and we know this is not going to be an easy fight. We said that about Mosul, but many seem to be surprised when it turned out to be true.” 

ISIS Leader Status Unknown

With varying reports on the whereabouts of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the general said he is confirm or deny where he is or whether he is alive or dead. “Let me just say for the record, my fervent hope is it is the latter,” he added. 

With the battle against ISIS not over, the terrorist group remains a threat, and an evil enemy that will resort to any lengths to maintain its hold on territory it claims as their caliphate, the general said.

“But make no mistake, it is a losing cause,” Townsend said of the organization. “Our partners in the international coalition against ISIS will stand side-by-side against ISIS until they’re defeated in both Iraq and Syria.”

Picture: An U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II receives fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight supporting Operation Inherent Resolve in an undisclosed location, July 6, 2017. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride 

Exercise Red Flag 17-3 Commences in Nevada

July 11, 2017


Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Andrew Sarver, 99th Air Base Wing

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev., July 11, 2017 — Red Flag 17-3, a three-week air-to-air combat joint training exercise, commenced here yesterday, Air Force officials said.

Officials said Red Flag consists of a variety of attack, fighter and bomber aircraft, reconnaissance aircraft, electronic warfare aircraft, airlift support, search-and-rescue aircraft, aerial refueling aircraft and ground-based command and control, space and cyber forces.

The exercise concludes July 28.

Base leadership reminds southern Nevada residents they may notice increased military aircraft activity during the exercise.

Aircraft will depart here twice daily to participate in combat training missions on the Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas in one of the Air Force’s largest joint exercises.

Joint Warfighting Exercise

“For Red Flag, we bring in our joint warfighters with their capabilities and their equipment,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Sadler, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander. “We come together and fight as a team. And, we get to learn from each other as we do that.”

U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighter jets will participate alongside the Air Force’s F-35A’s for the first time in Red Flag history.

 “We get to learn in a realistic training environment as we continue to progress down the road with this platform and other fifth-generation or fourth-generation aircraft,” Sadler said.

Having two F-35 units at Red Flag provides a team-building opportunity, he said.

‘We’re Not Going to War Alone’

“We’re not going to go to war alone,” Sadler said. “The more we can do joint exercises like Red Flag — where we get everybody together and learn from each other — the more we can better use each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures to successfully go after whatever the problem set is.”

More than 2,500 joint warfighters will participate in Red Flag 17-3, officials said.

“Red Flag gives our joint warfighters the opportunity to promote their readiness through innovation,” Sadler said. “They may have to go outside their comfort zone and take risks with their innovation. But at the end of the day if they see positive, successful outcomes toward the objectives, then that’s immediate positive feedback on readiness we’re looking for here at Red Flag.”

Picture: U.S. Marines with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 “Wake Island Avengers,” 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, wait for pilots to walk to three F-35B Lightning IIs on the first day of Exercise Red Flag 17-3 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., July 10, 2017. Red Flag 17-3 is a realistic combat training exercise involving the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. This iteration of the exercise is the first to feature both the Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II and the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lightning II, which is capable of short takeoff vertical landing. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Lillian Stephens