U.S. Forces Demonstrate Global Reach, Effectiveness

WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 — The U.S. mil­i­tary demon­strat­ed its glob­al reach and effec­tive­ness in the past month of crises, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said today.
The U.S. mil­i­tary is prob­a­bly the only orga­ni­za­tion in the world that could have han­dled the demands of pro­vid­ing assis­tance to the peo­ple of Japan in the wake of the earth­quake and tsuna­mi while also pre­vent­ing a mas­sacre in Beng­hazi, Libya.

The earth­quake struck off Japan’s north­ern coast on March 11. The tsuna­mi fol­lowed soon after. “From the moment the earth­quake struck … Amer­i­can mil­i­tary forces were ready to respond with what­ev­er assis­tance was need­ed by Japan, our close friend and stal­wart ally,” Mor­rell told reporters at the Pentagon. 

So far, more than 20,000 U.S. mil­i­tary per­son­nel, about 140 air­craft and more than 20 U.S. ships have pro­vid­ed human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance, and sup­port­ed dis­as­ter relief and con­se­quence man­age­ment efforts in Japan. 

A week lat­er, U.S. ser­vice mem­bers joined an inter­na­tion­al coali­tion to pre­vent a human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis in Libya that could have desta­bi­lized nascent demo­c­ra­t­ic move­ments in neigh­bor­ing Egypt and Tunisia. Oper­a­tion Odyssey Dawn began with an Amer­i­can-led strike on Libyan strong­man Moam­mar Gadhafi’s mil­i­tary, designed to pre­vent him from killing large num­bers of Libyan civil­ians in Beng­hazi and spark­ing a refugee crisis. 

“All told, since oper­a­tions began on March the 19th, the U.S. has flown approx­i­mate­ly 1,600 sor­ties, which includes more than 600 strike mis­sions,” Mor­rell said of U.S. mil­i­tary efforts in Libya. “The U.S. strike mis­sion end­ed yes­ter­day evening …, but we will con­tin­ue fly­ing sup­port mis­sions under NATO lead­er­ship, and we will remain on alert for emer­gency strike mis­sions, if request­ed by NATO.” 

Mean­while, about 100,000 Amer­i­can troops are fight­ing a war against extrem­ism in Afghanistan. Anoth­er 46,000 are deployed to Iraq, train­ing Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces. 

“That we have been able to respond to these crises with­out miss­ing a beat in either of those efforts is a tes­ta­ment to the strength and ver­sa­til­i­ty of our forces and, most of all, to the men and women in uni­form who are pre­pared to take on any mis­sion assigned to them,” Mor­rell said. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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