One of the most challenging exercises military pilots must perform is refueling their aircraft from a tanker jet midair. It takes years of training to become proficient at this task, and it requires intense sustained focus every time to perform successfully.
President Trump is expected to announce a withdrawal of almost half of all US Service Members currently deployed to Afghanistan over the coming months. This decision has drawn sharp criticism from the Pentagon and Capitol Hill both.
US Military Commanders and Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle agree the Afghan Military needs years of additional training and support until it will be able to successfully defend its territory. Even today, the Taliban still controls parts of the country.
President Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, resigned in protest partially over this decision, in addition to other differing viewpoints. His interim acting replacement is slated to be a former Boeing executive with no military or diplomatic experience prior to his appointment to Deputy Secretary of Defense by the President in 2017.
There are also concerns over whether allies and US troops on the ground were notified of the force reduction prior to the President’s tweet.
U.S. Service members unload a U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from a U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft at Bagram Airfield, in Parwan province, Afghanistan, Feb. 2, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Henry Chan/Released)
Spc. Felix Guerrero, a U.S. Army Reserve Soldier from the 346th Military Police Company, waits in a Humvee turret for his crew’s turn to qualify on an M2 .50-Caliber Machine Gun during night fire at Fort Riley, Kansas, May 18, 2018. The 346th MP Company hosted and conducted a 3-week gunnery training and range for approximately 30 vehicle crews to qualify day and night on crew serve weapons that included the M2 .50-Caliber Machine Gun, the M240B Machine Gun, the MK19 Grenade Launcher and the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) at Fort Riley, Kansas, May 3-22, 2018. Soldiers from the 603rd MP Company also participated in the training and qualification lanes. Each crew was assigned to one specific weapon system and a vehicle for qualification. Vehicles included both the up-armored Humvee and the Armored Security Vehicle (ASV), which was equipped with both the M2 and the MK19. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret)
A 4th Fighter Wing F-15E Strike Eagle heritage paint scheme aircraft sits on the flightline, Nov. 8, 2017, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina. Members of the 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron fabrication flight worked for more than one month to complete the paint scheme in honor of the 4 FW’s 75th anniversary. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Miranda A. Loera)
An Airman assigned to the 14th Weapons Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida, stands outside of a CV-22 Osprey before a night mission for the United States Air Force Weapons School advanced integration at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Dec. 10, 2017. The CV-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that possesses the vertical takeoff, hover and vertical landing qualities of a helicopter to conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for special operations forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kevin Tanenbaum/Released)