LITTLE ROCK, Ark – According to Pentagon officials, additional U.S. military are preparing to deploy into the Middle East after over a dozen attacks on U.S. facilities in Syria and Iraq this past week.
Pentagon officials have been giving daily press briefings since they confirmed drone and missile attacks on U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq. They say Iranian-backed groups are trying to escalate the conflict in the region.
“No one wants a broader regional conflict,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a Tuesday press briefing.
Ryder said forces already in Iraq and Syria are there “to defeat ISIS.” The attacks and threats limit their mission and can give ISIS room to regroup.
The U.S. Secretary of Defense placed 2,000 service men and women under prepare-to-deploy orders on October 17. An additional number of forces were added on October 21 as part of contingency planning.
“We are posturing additional forces in the region for two reasons: One, again, to bolster our broader regional deterrence efforts, and, two, to send a clear message that we will protect our forces,” Ryder stated. “We will always maintain the inherent right of self-defense, and if there is a response, should we choose to have one, we would do that at a time and place of our choosing.”
Commanders have been figuring out which units fit U.S. needs best, and some in central Arkansas are asking if troops at Little Rock Air Force Base could be deployed soon.
FOX 16 News contacted the Little Rock Air Force Base to inquire about the possibility of troops from the base being deployed, and 19th Airlift Wing Chief of Public Affairs Lt. Hannah Canales shared a statement about the possibility.
“The 19th Airlift Wing’s Rapid Global Mobility mission to provide Tactical Airlift Support requires us to always be ready to respond to worldwide requirements, as required and tasked through U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command,” the statement said. “However, we cannot speculate on any future potential taskings.”
Late Tuesday, Pentagon officials shared a statement about the impact a possible deployment may have on families of military members.
“We recognize the service and sacrifice of our military and their families, and dedicate resources, services, policies and programs to support the more than 2 million uniformed service members and 2.6 million family members across the globe. The Department of Defense is absolutely committed to Taking Care of our People – and we are deeply grateful for the many sacrifices families make that allow our service members to perform their demanding missions – to include the times when they’re required to be away from home.”
Sources tell FOX 16 News that orders to deploy could give families just a couple of days to prepare, and there is no word on how long they may be gone.
Being ready to go anywhere with little notice is something the military has done for generations.
Retired Army veteran Justin Works said he left his parents, wife and stepchildren between three different year-long tours.
“You’re leaving your family back here. You don’t know when you’re coming back,” he said. “Mail from back home, emails, letters, care packages, that stuff is like priceless. It’s like gold.”
Works is now employed with the nonprofit We Are the 22, which serves veterans in need. The veteran has advice for any family affected by a potential deployment.
“Having family members that are deploying, it’s tough, but you have a support group here to help,” Works said. “And then for the service members that are deploying-stay safe.”