U.S. TROOPS IN ISRAEL
About 100 Marines, soldiers and airmen from U.S. European Command are deployed to Israel to help set up an early warning radar system, according to a EuCom news release.
The team had reported no close encounters with air strikes or retaliatory attacks along the Gaza Strip in the wake of hostile actions between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Israel began launching attacks Dec. 27 in an effort to eliminate Hamas' ability to fire rockets into Israeli territory, according to a EuCom spokesman.
Air Force Lt. Col. John Dorrian said the team is operating on an Israeli air base far removed from the targeted areas.
The troops are deployed to Israel to help set up an Army/Navy Transportable Radar Surveillance system, Dorrian said. The Israeli government requested the system to help defend against a potential missile attack from Iran.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed off on the deployment order in mid-September, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell confirmed during a Sept. 30 news conference.
Once fully operational, the system will be capable of tracking and identifying small objects at long distances and at very high altitudes, including space, according to U.S. Missile Defense Agency officials. It also will integrate Israel's missile defenses with the U.S. global missile detection network.
DELIVERING THE GOODS
The high-speed vessel Swift arrived in Panama Dec. 15 to begin the first of two instructional evolutions as part of Southern Partnership Station.
Training teams from Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group, Navy Expeditionary Training Command and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began training Panamanian National Air and Maritime Service sailors and Panamanian National Police members. The courses provide instruction in a variety of fields such as port security, small-boat operations, leadership and lifesaving techniques.
U.S. Ambassador to Panama...