Tagged: combat

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3ID soldiers deploy to Korean Peninsula for first time since the war

3ID soldiers deploy to Korean Peninsula for first time since the war

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The 3rd Infantry Division is back on the Korean Peninsula for the first time since the Korean War.

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Stewart, Ga., began a nine-month rotation Friday by unfurling its unit colors at Eighth Army’s new headquarters south of Seoul.

The “Raider Brigade” replaces soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas.

“This is the first time soldiers wearing the 3ID patch have served [on the peninsula] since fighting in the Korean War,” Raider Brigade commander Col. Mike Adams said at the ceremony.

The soldiers will continue the division’s commitment to defense of a country that’s technically still fighting the Korean War, Adams said. Hostilities ended in 1953 with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

“We will fulfill the requirement for [the armored brigade combat team] to support 2nd Infantry Division in deterring North Korean aggression and maintaining peace,” he said.

The new arrivals make up the fifth rotational brigade to come to South Korea since 2ID’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team – known as the “Iron Brigade” – inactivated in July 2015. The unit was the last permanently stationed brigade combat team on the peninsula.

2ID commander Maj. Gen. Scott McKean told the Raider Brigade that “the armored brigade combat team is the most lethal formation in our Army,” and that their unit was “ready to take the mantle of responsibility.”

The brigade arrives during a period of relative calm as North and South Korea and the U.S. compete in the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang. However, tensions are expected to rise once U.S. and South Korean forces resume peninsula-wide exercises that were postponed by the games.

Next Wednesday, another rotational unit — 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment — will arrive in South Korea to replace 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery regiment. Both units hail from Fort Sill, Okla., Eighth Army officials said in an email.

[email protected]
Twitter: @marcusfichtl[2][1]

Col. Steven Adams, left to right, Maj. Gen. Scott McKean and Col. Mike Adams salute the colors at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
PAK CHIN U/U.S. ARMY

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References

  1. ^ [email protected] (www.stripes.com)
  2. ^ @marcusfichtl (twitter.com)
0

3ID soldiers deploy to Korean Peninsula for first time since the war

3ID soldiers deploy to Korean Peninsula for first time since the war

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The 3rd Infantry Division is back on the Korean Peninsula for the first time since the Korean War.

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Stewart, Ga., began a nine-month rotation Friday by unfurling its unit colors at Eighth Army’s new headquarters south of Seoul.

The “Raider Brigade” replaces soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas.

“This is the first time soldiers wearing the 3ID patch have served [on the peninsula] since fighting in the Korean War,” Raider Brigade commander Col. Mike Adams said at the ceremony.

The soldiers will continue the division’s commitment to defense of a country that’s technically still fighting the Korean War, Adams said. Hostilities ended in 1953 with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

“We will fulfill the requirement for [the armored brigade combat team] to support 2nd Infantry Division in deterring North Korean aggression and maintaining peace,” he said.

The new arrivals make up the fifth rotational brigade to come to South Korea since 2ID’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team – known as the “Iron Brigade” – inactivated in July 2015. The unit was the last permanently stationed brigade combat team on the peninsula.

2ID commander Maj. Gen. Scott McKean told the Raider Brigade that “the armored brigade combat team is the most lethal formation in our Army,” and that their unit was “ready to take the mantle of responsibility.”

The brigade arrives during a period of relative calm as North and South Korea and the U.S. compete in the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang. However, tensions are expected to rise once U.S. and South Korean forces resume peninsula-wide exercises that were postponed by the games.

Next Wednesday, another rotational unit — 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment — will arrive in South Korea to replace 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery regiment. Both units hail from Fort Sill, Okla., Eighth Army officials said in an email.

[email protected]
Twitter: @marcusfichtl[2][1]

Col. Steven Adams, left to right, Maj. Gen. Scott McKean and Col. Mike Adams salute the colors at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
PAK CHIN U/U.S. ARMY

References

  1. ^ [email protected] (www.stripes.com)
  2. ^ @marcusfichtl (twitter.com)
0

3ID soldiers deploy to Korean Peninsula for first time since the war

3ID soldiers deploy to Korean Peninsula for 1st time since the war

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The 3rd Infantry Division is back on the Korean Peninsula for the first time since the Korean War.

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Stewart, Ga., began a nine-month rotation Friday by unfurling its unit colors at Eighth Army’s new headquarters south of Seoul.

The “Raider Brigade” replaces soldiers from the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Hood, Texas.

“This is the first time soldiers wearing the 3ID patch have served [on the peninsula] since fighting in the Korean War,” Raider Brigade commander Col. Mike Adams said at the ceremony.

The soldiers will continue the division’s commitment to defense of a country that’s technically still fighting the Korean War, Adams said. Hostilities ended in 1953 with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

“We will fulfill the requirement for [the armored brigade combat team] to support 2nd Infantry Division in deterring North Korean aggression and maintaining peace,” he said.

The new arrivals make up the fifth rotational brigade to come to South Korea since 2ID’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team – known as the “Iron Brigade” – inactivated in July 2015. The unit was the last permanently stationed brigade combat team on the peninsula.

2ID commander Maj. Gen. Scott McKean told the Raider Brigade that “the armored brigade combat team is the most lethal formation in our Army,” and that their unit was “ready to take the mantle of responsibility.”

The brigade arrives during a period of relative calm as North and South Korea and the U.S. compete in the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang. However, tensions are expected to rise once U.S. and South Korean forces resume peninsula-wide exercises that were postponed by the games.

Next Wednesday, another rotational unit — 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment — will arrive in South Korea to replace 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery regiment. Both units hail from Fort Sill, Okla., Eighth Army officials said in an email.

[email protected]
Twitter: @marcusfichtl[2][1]

Col. Steven Adams, left to right, Maj. Gen. Scott McKean and Col. Mike Adams salute the colors at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
PAK CHIN U/U.S. ARMY

References

  1. ^ [email protected] (www.stripes.com)
  2. ^ @marcusfichtl (twitter.com)
0

EU to double funding for military force in West Africa's Sahel

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – International donors have raised half a billion dollars for a multi-national military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region, the EU’s top diplomat said on Friday, as Europe seeks to stop migrants and militants reaching its shores.

At a conference of about 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway, countries pledged 414 million euros ($509 million) for the G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The European Union, which believes training local forces will avoid risking the lives of its own combat troops, was one of the biggest donors, doubling its contribution to 116 million euros. It paves the way to make the force fully operational later this year.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stressed that promises had to be followed through on quickly to reach troops, while African leaders said the money so far would only cover the first year of operations.

France, the region’s former colonial power with more than 4,000 soldiers in the region, welcomed the donations after several years of struggling to raise sufficient financing.

The change in sentiment reflected concern that the Sahel could be a springboard for attacks on the West, diplomats said.

“We will continue our offensive alongside the G5 Sahel force to eradicate jihadi terrorist violence across the region,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron said, standing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Militants took over northern Mali in 2012 before French forces pushed them back in 2013 in an intervention that alerted Washington and others to the growing threat in the region.

The United States has some 800 troops in Niger, where four U.S. soldiers died in October, but global awareness of the security importance of the vast, desert region remains low.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy struggled to name the five countries of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania as he arrived at the conference.

(First row L-R) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades take part in a group photo during a High Level Conference on the Sahel in Brussels, Belgium February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Olivier Hoslet/Pool

But Germany’s Merkel said the pledges showed the European Union’s commitment to stabilize the arid region: “We cannot only start to fight illegal migration in Libya. We have to start in Mali, Niger, Chad. All of Europe is involved,” she said.

The G5 Sahel operation, whose command base is in central Mali, is to swell to 5,000 personnel from seven battalions and will also engage in humanitarian and development work.

About 350,000 people traveled through Niger alone in 2017, mostly hoping to reach Europe but some trying to return home, according to the Red Cross.

Slideshow (13 Images)

TWO OPTIONS: MIGRATE OR DIE

Evoking the desperation young people feel in the impoverished Sahel, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said many had just two options in life: to die in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe or to die at the hands of militants.

“We have to act resolutely to change the face of the Sahel region or risk seeing this region of the world fall irreversibly into chaos and violence,” Issoufou told the conference after asking leaders and ministers to stand for a moment of silence for two French soldiers killed this week in Mali.

But Issoufou said the force would still need future financing on an annual basis of around 115 million euros and urged the West to take the fight against militants as seriously as it has taken the threat in Iraq and Syria.

As well as the European Union, pledges have come from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

France is set to spend 1.2 billion euros to fund development in the region over the next five years, a 40 percent increase over current levels, while other countries are expected to provide more aid for farmers, schools and water projects.

The European Union is investing 8 billion euros in development aid in the region, according to EU data.

($1 = 0.8132 euros)

Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; and Jean-Baptiste Vey

References

  1. ^ The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. (thomsonreuters.com)
0

EU to double funding for military force in West Africa's Sahel

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – International donors have raised half a billion dollars for a multi-national military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region, the EU’s top diplomat said on Friday, as Europe seeks to stop migrants and militants reaching its shores.

At a conference of about 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway, countries pledged 414 million euros ($509 million) for the G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The European Union, which believes training local forces will avoid risking the lives of its own combat troops, was one of the biggest donors, doubling its contribution to 116 million euros. It paves the way to make the force fully operational later this year.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stressed that promises had to be followed through on quickly to reach troops, while African leaders said the money so far would only cover the first year of operations.

France, the region’s former colonial power with more than 4,000 soldiers in the region, welcomed the donations after several years of struggling to raise sufficient financing.

The change in sentiment reflected concern that the Sahel could be a springboard for attacks on the West, diplomats said.

“We will continue our offensive alongside the G5 Sahel force to eradicate jihadi terrorist violence across the region,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron said, standing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Militants took over northern Mali in 2012 before French forces pushed them back in 2013 in an intervention that alerted Washington and others to the growing threat in the region.

The United States has some 800 troops in Niger, where four U.S. soldiers died in October, but global awareness of the security importance of the vast, desert region remains low.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy struggled to name the five countries of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania as he arrived at the conference.

(First row L-R) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades take part in a group photo during a High Level Conference on the Sahel in Brussels, Belgium February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Olivier Hoslet/Pool

But Germany’s Merkel said the pledges showed the European Union’s commitment to stabilize the arid region: “We cannot only start to fight illegal migration in Libya. We have to start in Mali, Niger, Chad. All of Europe is involved,” she said.

The G5 Sahel operation, whose command base is in central Mali, is to swell to 5,000 personnel from seven battalions and will also engage in humanitarian and development work.

About 350,000 people traveled through Niger alone in 2017, mostly hoping to reach Europe but some trying to return home, according to the Red Cross.

Slideshow (13 Images)

TWO OPTIONS: MIGRATE OR DIE

Evoking the desperation young people feel in the impoverished Sahel, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said many had just two options in life: to die in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe or to die at the hands of militants.

“We have to act resolutely to change the face of the Sahel region or risk seeing this region of the world fall irreversibly into chaos and violence,” Issoufou told the conference after asking leaders and ministers to stand for a moment of silence for two French soldiers killed this week in Mali.

But Issoufou said the force would still need future financing on an annual basis of around 115 million euros and urged the West to take the fight against militants as seriously as it has taken the threat in Iraq and Syria.

As well as the European Union, pledges have come from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

France is set to spend 1.2 billion euros to fund development in the region over the next five years, a 40 percent increase over current levels, while other countries are expected to provide more aid for farmers, schools and water projects.

The European Union is investing 8 billion euros in development aid in the region, according to EU data.

($1 = 0.8132 euros)

Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; and Jean-Baptiste Vey

References

  1. ^ The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. (thomsonreuters.com)
0

EU to double funding for military force in West Africa's Sahel region

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will double its funding for a multi-national military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region to counter Islamist insurgencies, the EU’s top diplomat said on Friday, part of a broader effort to stop migrants and militants.

At a donor conference of about 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway, former colonial power France looked set to win enough backing to allow the new regional force to be fully operational later this year.

“This is not about charity, this is a partnership,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters, promising a doubling of EU funding to 100 million euros for the G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The G5 Sahel force needs more than 400 million euros ($494 million) to be able to meet the demands of its Western backers, up from the 250 million euros it has now.

Evoking the desperation young people feel in the impoverished Sahel, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said many had just two options in life: to die in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe or to die at the hands of militants.

“We have to act resolutely to change the face of the Sahel region or risk seeing this region of the world fall irreversibly into chaos and violence,” Issoufou told the conference after asking leaders and ministers to stand for a moment of silence for two French soldiers killed this week in Mali.

Fears that violence in the arid zone could fuel already high levels of migration toward Europe and become a springboard for attacks on the West have made military and development aid there a priority for European nations and Washington.

While the deaths of four U.S. soldiers in October in Niger have highlighted the security threat, public awareness is low. Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy struggled to name the five countries of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania as he arrived at the conference.

(First row L-R) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades take part in a group photo during a High Level Conference on the Sahel in Brussels, Belgium February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Olivier Hoslet/Pool

France, which has more than 4,000 troops in the region, hopes to reach at least 300 million euros in military aid on Friday to overcome financing problems for the force that was first proposed in 2014, while militants have scored military victories in West Africa.

So far, the United States has pledged 60 million euros to support it. Another 100 million euros has been pledged by Saudi Arabia, 30 million from the United Arab Emirates and 40 million on a bilateral basis by EU member states, separate from the EU.

The G5 Sahel operation, whose command base is in central Mali, is to swell to 5,000 personnel from seven battalions and will also engage in humanitarian and development work.

Slideshow (13 Images)

“PRICE OF PEACE”

France is also set to pledge 1.2 billion euros to fund development in the region over the next five years, a 40 percent increase over current levels, while other countries are expected to provide more aid for farmers, schools and water projects.

Mogherini said the European Union was spending 8 billion euros in development aid in the region over eight years.

“Peace has no price, peace is made with financial support” Mogherini said.

French President Emmanuel Macron will call for more to be done to support a separate EU train-and-advise mission in Mali, an EU diplomat said, and is seeking 50 more EU troops after Belgian soldiers ended their tour in the mission.

France has been frustrated that it is the only EU member with combat troops on the ground, although others have contributed trainers. By training African forces, Paris sees an eventual exit strategy for what is its biggest foreign deployment, diplomats said.

Tuaregs and jihadists took over northern Mali in 2012 before French forces pushed them back in 2013 in an intervention that alerted Washington to the growing threat in the region.

Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Janet Lawrence

References

  1. ^ The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. (thomsonreuters.com)
0

EU to double funding for military force in West Africa's Sahel region

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – International donors have raised half a billion dollars for a multi-national military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region, the EU’s top diplomat said on Friday, as Europe seeks to stop migrants and militants reaching its shores.

At a conference of about 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway, countries pledged 414 million euros ($509 million) for the G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The European Union, which believes training local forces will avoid risking the lives of its own combat troops, was one of the biggest donors, doubling its contribution to 116 million euros. It paves the way to make the force fully operational later this year.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stressed that promises had to be followed through on quickly to reach troops, while African leaders said the money so far would only cover the first year of operations.

France, the region’s former colonial power with more than 4,000 soldiers in the region, welcomed the donations after several years of struggling to raise sufficient financing.

The change in sentiment reflected concern that the Sahel could be a springboard for attacks on the West, diplomats said.

“We will continue our offensive alongside the G5 Sahel force to eradicate jihadi terrorist violence across the region,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron said, standing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Militants took over northern Mali in 2012 before French forces pushed them back in 2013 in an intervention that alerted Washington and others to the growing threat in the region.

The United States has some 800 troops in Niger, where four U.S. soldiers died in October, but global awareness of the security importance of the vast, desert region remains low.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy struggled to name the five countries of Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania as he arrived at the conference.

(First row L-R) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades take part in a group photo during a High Level Conference on the Sahel in Brussels, Belgium February 23, 2018. REUTERS/Olivier Hoslet/Pool

But Germany’s Merkel said the pledges showed the European Union’s commitment to stabilize the arid region: “We cannot only start to fight illegal migration in Libya. We have to start in Mali, Niger, Chad. All of Europe is involved,” she said.

The G5 Sahel operation, whose command base is in central Mali, is to swell to 5,000 personnel from seven battalions and will also engage in humanitarian and development work.

About 350,000 people traveled through Niger alone in 2017, mostly hoping to reach Europe but some trying to return home, according to the Red Cross.

Slideshow (13 Images)

TWO OPTIONS: MIGRATE OR DIE

Evoking the desperation young people feel in the impoverished Sahel, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said many had just two options in life: to die in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe or to die at the hands of militants.

“We have to act resolutely to change the face of the Sahel region or risk seeing this region of the world fall irreversibly into chaos and violence,” Issoufou told the conference after asking leaders and ministers to stand for a moment of silence for two French soldiers killed this week in Mali.

But Issoufou said the force would still need future financing on an annual basis of around 115 million euros and urged the West to take the fight against militants as seriously as it has taken the threat in Iraq and Syria.

As well as the European Union, pledges have come from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

France is set to spend 1.2 billion euros to fund development in the region over the next five years, a 40 percent increase over current levels, while other countries are expected to provide more aid for farmers, schools and water projects.

The European Union is investing 8 billion euros in development aid in the region, according to EU data.

($1 = 0.8132 euros)

Additional reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; and Jean-Baptiste Vey

References

  1. ^ The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. (thomsonreuters.com)
0

EU to double funding for military force in West Africa's Sahel region

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is set to double its funding for a multi-national military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region to counter Islamist insurgencies on Friday, EU diplomats said, part of a broader effort to fight militants and people traffickers.

At a donor conference of some 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway, military power France hopes to win enough backing to allow a regional force first proposed four years ago to be fully operational later this year.

“There is a direct European interest in restoring stability to the region,” a senior EU diplomat said. “There is a general awareness now that the future of the European Union is also the future of Africa.”

Fears that violence in the arid zone could fuel already high levels of migration towards Europe and become a springboard for attacks on the West have made military and development aid there a priority for European nations and Washington.

The G5 Sahel force, made up of troops from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, needs more than 400 million euros ($494 million) to be able to meet the demands of its Western backers, up from the 250 million euros it has now.

France, which has more than 4,000 troops in the region, hopes to reach at least 300 million on Friday, as the European Union pledges another 50 million euros to take its contribution to 100 million for the force that has struggled to meet expectations while militants have scored military victories in West Africa.

So far, the United States has pledged 60 million euros to support it. Another 100 million euros has been pledged by Saudi Arabia, 30 million from the United Arab Emirates and 40 million on a bilateral basis by EU member states, separate from the EU’s joint effort.

Separately, France is set to pledge 1.2 billion euros to fund development in the region over the next five years, a 40 percent increase over current levels, an EU diplomat said.

“MORE WEAPONS, MORE SUFFERING”

The deaths of two French soldiers this week in Mali and four U.S. soldiers in October in Niger, where most Americans did not know the United States had forces, has highlighted the security threat in the vast scrublands spanning from Mauritania to Chad.

French President Emmanuel Macron will call for more to be done to support a separate EU train-and-advise mission in Mali, a second EU diplomat said, and is seeking some 50 more EU troops after Belgian soldiers ended their tour in the mission.

France has been frustrated that it is the only EU member with combat troops on the ground, although others have contributed trainers. By training African forces, Paris sees an eventual exit strategy for what is its biggest foreign deployment, diplomats said.

“There’s a lack of EU training troops that we must fill,” a EU diplomat said.

Macron will also call to redouble efforts to broker peace through talks with Tuareg rebels in the desert north.

Tuaregs and jihadists took over northern Mali in 2012 before French forces pushed them back in 2013 in an intervention that alerted Washington to the growing threat in the region.

The G5 Sahel operation, whose command base is in central Mali, is set to swell to 5,000 men from seven battalions and will also engage in humanitarian and development work.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned that training soldiers was not the only strategy and called for greater efforts to relieve the roots of the conflict in poverty, poor governance and climate hazards.

“When you add more weapons, you add more suffering,” Patrick Youssef, deputy head of the ICRC’s operations for Africa, told Reuters. “That needs to be accompanied with real measures to alleviate the suffering that is the main reason why this war was created.”

Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Nick Macfie

References

  1. ^ The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. (thomsonreuters.com)
0

“We should act”: former top military officials tweet support for gun reform – Vox

Two of America’s most respected former military leaders tweeted out their support for gun reform on Wednesday. Their voices added to a growing chorus of current and former military service members who want gun laws changed after a shooter killed 17 people[1] at a Florida high school last week.

Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and retired Adm. William McRaven — formerly the nation’s top special operations officer — backed the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Twitter.

“Our next generation of young Americans are calling for inclusion in finding solutions to keep our children safe,” Dempsey, former President Barack Obama’s top military adviser, tweeted[2] on Wednesday. “I’m proud of them. They are right, they should be heard, we should listen, and we should act.”

About four hours later, McRaven put out his own statement on Twitter: “This is exactly what we need the youth of America to do: to stand strong, to stand together, to challenges the laws that have not served them well.”

Those messages are a big deal. These former military officers, especially McRaven, know what it’s like to carry around an assault rifle and kill someone with it. They understand the awesome power and responsibility that comes with wielding a weapon of war. For them to speak out an amplify the message of Parkland’s students could lend more legitimacy to their activism.

And they’re not alone — other military veterans are also increasingly speaking up in favor of gun reform. “We believe in the Second Amendment and the individual right to bear arms,” Joe Plenzler, a retired 20-year Marine combat veteran who forms part of the online #VetsForGunReform movement, told me, “but we also believe that the Second Amendment is not an unlimited right.”

In other words, Plenzer said, civilians shouldn’t necessarily be entitled to own and operate military-grade weaponry. “We don’t allow people to hunt rabbits with rocket-propelled grenades,” added Plenzler, who also served as an aide to current Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Joseph Dunford and current Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

If seeing former military officials campaign for gun law reform feels new, it’s not. It’s happened again and again after mass shootings — and it appears the current iteration is only heating up.

Some of the nation’s most prominent veterans have openly called for changes to gun laws for years.

Here are a few examples: In 2013, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal — who commanded America’s elite troops worldwide as well as troops in Afghanistan — came out in support of gun control. “I think serious action is necessary,” he told[3] MSNBC’s Morning Joe in 2013.

”Sometimes we talk about very limited actions on the edges and I just don’t think that’s enough,” he continued. “The number of people in America killed by firearms is extraordinary compared to other nations. And I don’t think we’re a bloodthirsty culture, and so I think we need to look at everything we can do to safeguard our people.”

Retired Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded troops in Iraq and served as Obama’s CIA director, co-created the gun control advocacy group Veterans Coalition for Common Sense[4] in 2016.

“As service members, each of us swore an oath to protect our Constitution and the homeland,” Petraeus and his co-founder, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, wrote[5] in a statement. “Now we’re asking our leaders to do more to protect our rights and save lives.”

And last November, Dr. Dean Winslow, a former Air Force colonel whom President Donald Trump nominated as the Pentagon’s top health affairs official, openly derided the idea of civilians owning assault rifles.

“I’d also like to, and I may get in trouble with other members of the committee, just say how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic assault rifle like an AR-15,” Winslow said[6] during his own confirmation hearing.

I asked Plenzler why politicians, especially Republicans, who usually support positions of current and former military officials seem to ignore their advice on gun issues. “It’s all about money,” he said, adding that he believes the National Rifle Association’s influence on politicians has blinded American leaders to the risks of civilian ownership of military-grade weapons.

As of now, it seems like the Parkland students have found an audience for their activism. Many who served in uniform want to stand alongside them.

References

  1. ^ 17 people (www.vox.com)
  2. ^ tweeted (twitter.com)
  3. ^ told (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ Veterans Coalition for Common Sense (giffords.org)
  5. ^ wrote (www.cnn.com)
  6. ^ said (www.vox.com)
0

“We should act”: former top military officials tweet support for gun reform – Vox

Two of America’s most respected former military leaders tweeted out their support for gun reform on Wednesday. Their voices added to a growing chorus of current and former military service members who want gun laws changed after a shooter killed 17 people[1] at a Florida high school last week.

Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and retired Adm. William McRaven — formerly the nation’s top special operations officer — backed the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Twitter.

“Our next generation of young Americans are calling for inclusion in finding solutions to keep our children safe,” Dempsey, former President Barack Obama’s top military adviser, tweeted[2] on Wednesday. “I’m proud of them. They are right, they should be heard, we should listen, and we should act.”

About four hours later, McRaven put out his own statement on Twitter: “This is exactly what we need the youth of America to do: to stand strong, to stand together, to challenges the laws that have not served them well.”

Those messages are a big deal. These former military officers, especially McRaven, know what it’s like to carry around an assault rifle and kill someone with it. They understand the awesome power and responsibility that comes with wielding a weapon of war. For them to speak out an amplify the message of Parkland’s students could lend more legitimacy to their activism.

And they’re not alone — other military veterans are also increasingly speaking up in favor of gun reform. “We believe in the Second Amendment and the individual right to bear arms,” Joe Plenzler, a retired 20-year Marine combat veteran who forms part of the online #VetsForGunReform movement, told me, “but we also believe that the Second Amendment is not an unlimited right.”

In other words, Plenzer said, civilians shouldn’t necessarily be entitled to own and operate military-grade weaponry. “We don’t allow people to hunt rabbits with rocket-propelled grenades,” added Plenzler, who also served as an aide to current Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Joseph Dunford and current Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

If seeing former military officials campaign for gun law reform feels new, it’s not. It’s happened again and again after mass shootings — and it appears the current iteration is only heating up.

Some of the nation’s most prominent veterans have openly called for changes to gun laws for years.

Here are a few examples: In 2013, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal — who commanded America’s elite troops worldwide as well as troops in Afghanistan — came out in support of gun control. “I think serious action is necessary,” he told[3] MSNBC’s Morning Joe in 2013.

”Sometimes we talk about very limited actions on the edges and I just don’t think that’s enough,” he continued. “The number of people in America killed by firearms is extraordinary compared to other nations. And I don’t think we’re a bloodthirsty culture, and so I think we need to look at everything we can do to safeguard our people.”

Retired Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded troops in Iraq and served as Obama’s CIA director, co-created the gun control advocacy group Veterans Coalition for Common Sense[4] in 2016.

“As service members, each of us swore an oath to protect our Constitution and the homeland,” Petraeus and his co-founder, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, wrote[5] in a statement. “Now we’re asking our leaders to do more to protect our rights and save lives.”

And last November, Dr. Dean Winslow, a former Air Force colonel whom President Donald Trump nominated as the Pentagon’s top health affairs official, openly derided the idea of civilians owning assault rifles.

“I’d also like to, and I may get in trouble with other members of the committee, just say how insane it is that in the United States of America a civilian can go out and buy a semiautomatic assault rifle like an AR-15,” Winslow said[6] during his own confirmation hearing.

I asked Plenzler why politicians, especially Republicans, who usually support positions of current and former military officials seem to ignore their advice on gun issues. “It’s all about money,” he said, adding that he believes the National Rifle Association’s influence on politicians has blinded American leaders to the risks of civilian ownership of military-grade weapons.

As of now, it seems like the Parkland students have found an audience for their activism. Many who served in uniform want to stand alongside them.

References

  1. ^ 17 people (www.vox.com)
  2. ^ tweeted (twitter.com)
  3. ^ told (www.washingtonpost.com)
  4. ^ Veterans Coalition for Common Sense (giffords.org)
  5. ^ wrote (www.cnn.com)
  6. ^ said (www.vox.com)