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Military Connection: Al-Qaeda Murders Hostages: By Debbie Gregory

Luke Somers

American photojournalist Luke Somers has been killed by Al-Qaeda.

In November, American Special Forces made a failed attempt to liberate Somers, who had been kidnapped by Al-Qaeda in September, 2013. Details on the November attempt to rescue Somers are still classified, but reports are that Special Forces members liberated other hostages, but Somers was not present at that location. It has been reported that Somers and a British hostage were moved to another location shortly before the rescue attempt.

Early on the morning of December 6th, American forces, with the cooperation of the local government, raided a village in Yemen. The Pentagon had intelligence that Somers and other hostages were being held there. The intelligence turned out to be correct. However, the rescue operation did not go according to plan.

When approximately 40 members of the famed SEAL Team 6 converged on the village and the captors became aware of the rescue attempt, they killed Somers and another hostage, Pierre Korkie, a teacher from South Africa. It has been reported, but not confirmed, that a barking dog may have tipped off the captors to the SEAL team’s presence. After the firefight, several Al-Qaeda captors, 11 villagers and the two hostages were dead. None of the SEALS were reported to have serious injuries.

Korkie was scheduled to be ransomed within the next few weeks. The aid organization that he worked for, “The Gift of Givers,” was reportedly close to negotiating the terms and price of Korkie’s release.

Somers has been an American media sensation for some time. The 33 year old photojournalist has dual American and British citizenship. The family told the media that they are angry over Luke’s death, and feel that he would be alive if it hadn’t been for the rescue attempt.

Somers’ family is understandably frustrated following their horrific loss. Our thoughts and our sympathies are with both the Somers family and the Korkie family in their time of loss. The kidnapping and murder of their loved ones at the hand of Al-Qaeda are tragedies that no family should ever have to endure.

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Military Connection: Al-Qaeda Murders Hostages: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: More Troops to Iraq: By Debbie Gregory

The Last U.S. Troop Brigade In Iraq Departs Country After Over Eight Years Of WarThe number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq is set to double, as 1,500 more Americans are being deployed to train Iraq’s forces to combat the Islam State that has seized much of Iraq and Syria.

President Obama has a three-purposed plan to destroy the Islamic State, while keeping Americans from fighting another war, and preventing another insurgent group from surfacing. This plan requires the U.S. military to effectively train the Iraqi forces to liberate and maintain the sovereignty of their own country, without fighting their battles for them.

Along with the additional personnel, the president is requesting an additional $5.6 billion from Congress to augment the Pentagon’s Overseas Contingency Operations account. Around $3.4 billion of that would go to pay for the cost of operations against the Islamic State, and approximately $1.6 billion would directly support the mission of training and equipping Iraq’s security forces.

The additional personnel are expected to be sent in two waves. The first wave will be used to support and expand the mission to advise and assist Iraq’s security force. The second wave will be used to start training Iraqi soldiers at locations around the country.

The bulk of the additional 1,500 personnel being sent to Iraq will come from the Army.

On November 13, 2014, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey, told Congress that he believes Iraq will need around 80,000 well trained, competent fighters to retake and hold the lands currently controlled by the Islamic State. Dempsey recommended that the addition of more American advisors should include training centers to facilitate the training of Iraq’s security force.

It is the hope of President Obama, as well as U.S. military leaders, that once training facilities and programs are in place in Iraq, other coalition members will take over some of the training duties. This would allow the U.S. to decrease its force size in Iraq, even if the war against the Islamic State is still in progress.

Already, Denmark has agreed to send military advisors and F-16’s to Iraq. Norway has also agreed to send 120 troops to serve as advisors in Iraq.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: More Troops to Iraq: By Debbie Gregory