Archive for October 2017

U.S. Sailor Escort

October 25, 2017


Yellow Ribbon America News Desk: 

U.S. Sailors escort a patient on the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship in the Caribbean Sea, Oct. 22, 2017, to an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter for transport to a hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Troops are providing humanitarian relief following Hurricane Maria.
U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ernest R. Scott

Dunford: Chiefs of Defense Counter-ISIS Meeting ‘Historic’

October 25, 2017


Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

By Jim Garamone

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

FORT BELVOIR, Va., Oct. 25, 2017 — U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford said the meeting here of more than 70 chiefs of defense at the Counter-Violent Extremist Organization Conference was a historic occasion.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff hosted the meeting so the chiefs could chart the progress in the struggle against violent extremists and look at ways to improve the strategies in the long war against the terrorists.

Dunford; Brett McGurk, the president’s special envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS; and Australian Army Col. David Kelly, an exchange officer on assignment to the Joint Staff, spoke to the press following the conference.

During the meeting, the senior leaders from every part of the globe looked at the threats posed by extremist groups and examined strategies and tactics to combat them, the chairman said. The chiefs concluded “that we are dealing with a transregional threat and it is going to require more effective collective action by nations that are affected,” Dunford said.

Wide-Ranging Threat

He noted that in Iraq and Syria the coalition saw more than 40,000 foreign fighters from 120 different countries. The chairman added that figure describes the range of the threat in a nutshell.

The chiefs spoke mostly about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Dunford said, because they regard ISIS as the most virulent example of violent extremism in the world today. Still, he added, they envision the military network that has been built to combat ISIS will also deal with other transregional extremist threats as they arise.

The key takeaway from the conference is that “the most effective action against these groups is local action, but local action has to be informed by the nature of the trans-regional aspect and so cooperation globally is important,” the chairman said. But, he noted, global actions must be informed by local actions.


Violent extremists are connected by three things that Dunford calls the “connective tissue” of terrorism: foreign fighters, finances and the narrative. Cutting the connectivity between these groups is key to defeating them, the general said. Doing this will enable local forces to deal with the challenges posed by these groups, he said.

One example is the five-month battle for Marawi in the Philippines, which the chiefs were briefed about yesterday, Dunford said. About 30 foreign fighters returned to the Mindanao region after fighting with ISIS and persuaded local extremist groups to pledge to ISIS and launch attacks in the city. “Small numbers of ISIS leaders are attempting to leverage local insurgencies,” the chairman said.

The coalition is seeing something similar in Africa, he said, where a number of local insurgencies rebranded themselves and pledged allegiance to ISIS.

The chiefs discussed the movement of these individuals and the need for intelligence- and information-sharing within the coalition to stop them, Dunford said.

Global Effort, Global Approach

McGurk helps coordinate the whole-of-government approach to the campaign against violent extremism. He said the chiefs spoke a great deal during the meeting about all the efforts against ISIS, including the stabilization and humanitarian programs that are included in every military campaign. He also said foreign fighters trying to get into or out of Iraq and Syria has come to a near halt. “We believe we’ve cut their revenue down to the lowest level ever,” he said.

“Most interestingly today, we did a little walk around the globe, because it is not just about Iraq and Syria,” McGurk said. “We had very detailed presentations of operations against ISIS in Marawi, in the Sahel, we talked about how we are tracking foreign fighters around the world … and we had a very good presentation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia about the leading efforts that they have taken on to counter the narrative and leading the counter-messaging campaign in that part of the world.”

The chairman said the campaign against ISIS is at an “inflection point” and that all the chiefs discussed what’s next. “One of the points that was made several times today is the need for the coalition to stay focused on Iraq and Syria for an enduring period of time,” Dunford said.


Defeating the narrative of the terror groups is one of the toughest nuts to crack, he said, but progress is being made. “I’m not complacent, but I am encouraged by how the success on the ground in translated into undermining the credibility of the narrative,” the chairman said. “There have been some studies of young people who are radicalized and those numbers seem to go down. There are certainly indicators that fewer young people are being radicalized, and that’s as a result of us being able to demonstrate what ISIS is. They can only behead so many people and treat people they way they did in Mosul and Raqqa before those stories came out.”

The Saudi counter-ISIS messaging effort now has 41 nations involved. “Clearly, credible Islamic voices are going to be the ones that matter most in countering the narrative of ISIS, and countering it and discrediting it for what it is,” he said.

With 75 nations and entities such as NATO and the African Union Mission in Somalia, there are some who think the coalition is too big, Kelly said. But the coalition thrives on the diversity of views the coalition offers, he noted.

“What I bring to the Joint Staff, I feel, is a diversity of perspective,” the colonel said. “It’s that diversity of perspective that we are looking for in our planning. Can [the coalition] become too big? I don’t think so. I think the price of admission is wanting to be a part of solving the problem.”

The coalition is not a formal alliance, nor does any nation want it to be one, Dunford said. It all comes down to helping local and regional forces handle their security problems, and sharing information and intelligence to sever the connective tissue and defeat the narrative. “The bigger the coalition is, the better,” the chairman said.

Picture: U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivers remarks to open the 2017 Chiefs of Defense Conference at Fort Belvoir, Va., Oct. 24, 2017. The conference brought together defense chiefs from more than 70 nations to focus on countering violent-extremist organizations across the globe.

U.S. DoD photo by Army Sgt. James K. McCann

Medal of Honor Recipient Capt. Mike Rose Inducted into Hall of Heroes

October 25, 2017


Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

By Devon L. Suits

U.S. Army News Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 — Medal of Honor recipient retired Army Capt. Mike Rose’s military service number, RA18846904, was one of the many things on his mind yesterday as he prepared for his induction into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon.

Issued to him by an Army noncommissioned officer back in April 1967, Rose said he remembers the sergeant telling him then “by the time you get off this bus … that number, beginning with RA, will be embedded in the back of your eyeballs.”

Receiving that military service number, he said, was the moment when he transitioned from being “just another kid on the block,” into a soldier. Rose said also that he never believed the things he might do as a soldier would one day warrant him receiving the nation’s highest military honor.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Rose, who served as a medic in the Army Special Forces, received the Medal of Honor Oct. 23 in a ceremony at the White House for his actions in Laos from Sept. 11-14, 1970, as part of Operation Tailwind.

Yesterday, Rose attended a second ceremony at the Pentagon, where his name was placed on a wall within the Hall of Heroes there — alongside the names of every other Medal of Honor recipient. Rose said the recognition for his actions as a soldier exceeded the expectations he had for what would come of his time in uniform.

“I have always considered it to be a great privilege to be a member of the U.S. Army,” Rose said. “To be a part of Special Forces is a privilege. If I walked away at the end of my three to four years with my National Defense Ribbon and Good Conduct Medal, I would have been the proudest young man that could be.”

Extraordinary Valor

Rose is the 3,500th Medal of Honor recipient, said Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville. He is also the 174th soldier to receive the medal for extraordinary heroism during the Vietnam War. Furthermore, the 5th Special Forces Group, the unit to which Rose was assigned, was the most decorated unit of its size during the Vietnam conflict.

“Today we honor Captain Mike Rose for his extraordinary valor,” McConville said. “By honoring him, we honor the heroes … that fought by his side. And [we honor] those that sacrificed for this nation. The Green Berets, and every soldier, Marine and airman that was there, that raised their hand to defend the Constitution and all that it stands for.”

In attendance during the Hall of Heroes ceremony were Rose’s wife, Margaret; their children, Michael, Cynthia and Sarah; and several grandchildren. Also present were some of his battle buddies from Operation Tailwind and others from the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group, or MACV-SOG.

“It’s no surprise that Mike considers his Medal of Honor to be an award for all of his comrades in MACV-SOG,” said Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy.

“There’s no way of knowing exactly how many American lives Mike Rose and his comrades saved during Operation Tailwind, which tied down and disrupted thousands of North Vietnamese troops,” he said. “But we do know that Mike personally saved many lives over the course of those four days. It is a fact that there are veterans whose names are not inscribed on a black stone wall just across the Potomac because of Captain Rose.”

Himself the son of a Vietnam veteran, McCarthy reflected on how service members returning from that conflict had been “unfairly tarred and libeled with false accusations, [and] misunderstood, overlooked and forgotten by too many of their fellow Americans.”

“This Medal of Honor is a long-overdue vindication of both Rose and the quiet professionals who served in MACV-SOG and similar units,” McCarthy said.

Thank You

“America is looking you straight in the eyes at long last and finally saying: Thank you. You were right. You served bravely, and well. You stood by each other, both during the war and in the decades since. And although you are too humble to say it of yourselves, you are heroes,” he said.

Rose’s honor comes at a critical moment, as the Defense Department recently observed the 50th anniversary of the start Vietnam War, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who spoke on behalf of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

“Captain Rose, you came to the aid of your brothers in arms,” Shanahan said. “Forty-seven years ago, you preserved their lives. Today, you preserved their legacy. You give us a chance to remind our country of the sacrifices and heroism of the whole Vietnam generation, just when we need that reminder the most.”

Having grown up in Southern California, Rose said he had humble beginnings. His teachers, he recalled, instilled in him a love of reading and the English language. And a neighbor, a veteran who had fought in France during World War I, would help develop in Rose an affinity for American history, including the great conflicts the United States had played a part in.

“The more I read [about] and talk to people who participated in places like Guadalcanal, Mundy, Tarawa and Normandy,” Rose said, the more he considers those people to be heroes. “At least they were my heroes.”

These influences, combined with knowledge of his own father’s service with the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, are part of what inspired Rose to join the Army in April 1967.

During his 20-year Army career, Rose served in Thailand, Vietnam and Panama. And while he initially enlisted in the Army, he later sought greater leadership opportunity, and accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in December 1973. He retired from the Army as a captain in May 1987.

“[Rose’s] service offers us powerful lessons,” Shanahan said. “[The Medal of Honor] represents the ideals we try to inspire in America’s warriors: courage, selflessness, love for country and each other. These are virtues upon which our whole enterprise rests. Without them, nothing else matters. Not our gear, gadgets, bombs or budgets.

“The Medal of Honor is a marker of courage — our most precious national resource,” he added. “Captain Rose takes his place in the Hall of Heroes, where his name will become one star in a great consolation of courage. By those stars, we chart our course on land, sea, and air. They burn brightest when the night is darkest.”

Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary M. Rose, a Medal of Honor recipient, is inducted into the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes during a ceremony presided over by Deputy Defense Secretary of Pat Shanahan, Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy, and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville at the Pentagon in Washington, Oct. 24, 2017. Rose received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Tailwind in September 1970, during which he provided medical care to more than 60 service members while under fire.

DoD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr


USNS Comfort Prayer…

October 20, 2017


Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

U.S. Sailors aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort say a prayer for Sara Victoria Llull Rodriguiz in the Caribbean Sea, Oct. 17, 2017.

Little Sara Rodriguiz is the first child born aboard USNS Comfort in more than seven years.

U.S. Navy Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ernest R. Scott


USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) Honors Victims of the Oct. 1, 2017 shooting in Las Vegas.

October 3, 2017

USS Michael Murphy Flies Ensign at Half Mast in Honor of Recent Las Vegas Shooting

Yellow Ribbon America News Desk:

PEARL HARBOR (Oct. 2, 2017) Seaman Recruit Jessika Delagado, left, and Electronics Technician Seaman Mark Hefti post for morning colors detail in front of the ensign, at half-mast, on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112). Michael Murphy is flying the ensign at half-mast to honor the victims of the Oct. 1, 2017 shooting in Las Vegas.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco/Released)