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U.S. drops ‘MOAB’ bomb on Afghanistan

U.S. forces in Afghanistan have dropped a GBU-43B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB, on an ISIS tunnel complex in the Nangarhar province in Afghanistan,the U.S. Central Command confirmed and CNN first reported.

>> Read more trending news

The bomb, which was first used in combat in Thursday’s bombing, was dropped from an MC-130 flown by Air Force Special Operations Command, military sources told CNN.. 

The bomb weighs more than 21,000 pounds, CNN reported.

CENTCOM said U.S. military forces “took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties” and will continue offensive operations until ISIS is defeated. 

>>Read: What is the ‘mother of all bombs,' and what does it do?

A U.S. special forces soldier was killed Saturday in the area. Staff Sgt. Mark DeAlencar was with his unit when it came under fire in Nangarhar Province, Army Times reported.

There is no direct connection between DeAlencar’s death and Thursday’s attack, CNN reported.

Earlier this year President Donald Trump gave more authority to U.S. military commanders to order air and ground attacks, The Washington Examiner reported

When asked about Thursday’s use of the most powerful non-nuclear bomb, President Trump did not say whether he gave the approval, CNN reported.

“Everybody knows exactly what happens. So, what I do is I authorize our military,” Trump said.

“We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing.”

CNN reported that Gen. John Nicholson is the person who gave the okay to use the MOAB. The administration was told before the bomb was released.

Sunday marks 75th anniversary of Bataan surrender

Survivors of the Bataan Death march are marking a milestone anniversary this weekend.

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Sunday is the 75th anniversary of the U.S. surrender of the Bataan peninsula in the Philippines during World War II, which led to the infamous six-day, 65-mile march.

“When we heard the word, ‘surrender,’ a lot of us were crying. I was crying,” 96-year-old Atilano Bernardo David told KRQE.

With no food or water, U.S. and Filipino soldiers were forced to march to prison camps.

“I was already like lethargic, almost hallucinating because I was hungry. I was tired. I was thirsty,” said David, who had been fighting with the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East. “When the death march started, we found out we should not have surrendered because the Japanese brutality, brutality against humanity, you cannot imagine because they were bayoneting and beheading at will.”

David credits others for his survival of the Bataan Death March.

“My buddies decided that I was too weak to last,” he told KRQE. “That I was really going to die on the way.”

So, he said, they pushed him into a nearby ditch to hide. He said people living in the area had dug roadside ditches for that purpose of helping prisoners escape.

“They pushed me into the gap, and I fell down and sort of lost consciousness,” David told KRQE.

He estimates he had marched for about 20 miles at that point.

Someone took David into their home for three days, nursing him back to health before he said he joined a guerrilla unit until the war’s end.

“There are still ghosts roaming the road to the concentration camp,” David told KRQE.

U.S. strike on Syria: What we know now 

On Thursday, the United States attacked a government-controlled air base in Syria, responding to a chemical weapons attack that U.S. officials blamed on Syria President Bashar al-Assad. Six people were killed in the airstrike, according to a televised statement by the Syrian's Armed Forces General Command. Talal Barazi, the governor of Homs province, told The Associated Press that seven others were wounded.

>> US fires more than 50 cruise missiles into Syria

>> Read more trending news

A Syrian opposition monitor said the attack killed four soldiers, including a general. The head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than a dozen hangars, a fuel depot and an air defense base were damaged.

The strike took place at 8:40 p.m. ET (3:40 a.m. local time), CNN reported. It targeted aircraft, aircraft shelters, petroleum and logistical storage, ammunition supply bunkers, air defense systems, and "the things that make the airfield operate," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters. The missiles were launched from warships in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Russia reacts: The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that the U.S. strike is an "aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.” Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Friday's statement carried by Russian news agencies that Putin believes that the U.S. has dealt the strikes under "far-fetched pretext.” Earlier, Konstantin Kosachev, the head of Russia’s foreign affairs committee in the Kremlin-controlled upper house of parliament, said on his Facebook page that a U.S.-Russian anti-terror coalition has been “put to rest without even being born.” 

Trump addresses nation: President Donald Trump said that “it is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. The president said that Assad’s attack on Tuesday “choked out the lives of innocent men, women and children,” causing them to suffer “a slow and brutal death.” “Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in ending the bloodshed in Syria,” Trump said. Read the full transcript of Trump’s speech here.

>> Read: Full transcript of Trump’s speech on US Syria strike

Syria protests action: Syria criticized the attack, calling it an “aggression” that led to “losses.” Rebel forces welcomed the U.S. attack. The Syrian Coalition said it puts an end to an age of "impunity" and should be just the beginning.

Saudis, Israelis laud move: Saudi Arabia called Trump’s move a “courageous decision.” The state-run Saudi Press said Friday blamed Assad’s government for the attack, saying that the missile launch was the right response to “the crimes of this regime to its people in light of the failure of the international community to stop it.” Danny Danon, Israel's ambassador to the U.N., said the U.S. sent a "significant message" to the region and beyond. He called it “a moral decision that delivered a triple message.”

British support: The British government said it “fully supports” the U.S. action, a Downing Street spokesman told Reuters.

French disconnection: French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says Trump is trying to be the "world's policeman" and is suggesting that it could backfire.  Le Pen has expressed support for Assad in the past, and said on France-2 television Friday that she was "surprised" by Trump's sudden move. Le Pen said that Trump indicated he would not make the U.S. "the world's policeman, and that's exactly what he did yesterday." She warned that past international interventions in Iraq and Libya have led to rising Islamic extremism.

Asian stock market reaction: The price of bonds, the yen and gold rose in Asia on Friday and stocks slipped in the wake of the attack, Reuters reported. The American dollar dropped as much as 0.6 percent, while gold and oil prices rallied. Any early panic was quelled later in the day after a U.S. official called the attack a “one-off,” with no plans for escalation. 

Why they are fighting in Syria: For the past six years, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has fought rebel forces determined to take down his regime. The fighting, which began in March 2011 in Deraa, moved to the Aleppo area in 2012.

Some Trump supporters dismayed by attack on Syria

Some of President Donald Trump’s most fervent campaign supporters were dismayed Thursday after he ordered a missile strike against Syria, the New York Times reported. The supporters, mostly conservatives, charged that the president had broken his promise to keep the United States out of another Middle East conflict.

>> Read more trending news 

Prominent writers and bloggers on the far right attacked Trump, accusing him of turning against his voters by waging an attack that he previously said would be a terrible idea. They also criticized him for launching the strike without first seeking congressional approval — something he said on Twitter in 2013 would be a “big mistake.”

Paul Joseph Watson, an editor at Infowars, said on Twitter that Trump “was just another deep state/neocon puppet.” He added in his tweet, “I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”

Richard Spencer, who coined the term “alt-right,” said he condemned the attack and hinted at supporting another presidential candidate in 2020: Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat. Gabbard met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria in January and on Thursday criticized the missile strike as shortsighted and reckless, the Times reported.

Others, however, praised the president for his quick military decision, which came three days after the Syrian government’s deadly chemical weapons attack on its own people, including children.

Laura Ingraham, a conservative commentator, tweeted that the strike united three critics of the president — Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona, as well as his Democratic opponent last fall, Hillary Clinton.

A few hours before the missile strike, the far-right blogger Mike Cernovich warned his followers in a live video that the United States was going to attack Syria. “Remind Trump who supported him,” he told his viewers. “We got to stop him.”

Overseas, French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen accused Trump of trying to be the "world's policeman" and suggested that it could backfire, The Associated Press reported. Le Pen has expressed support for Assad in the past, and said on France-2 television Friday that she was "surprised" by Trump's sudden move.

Le Pen said that Trump indicated he would not make the U.S. "the world's policeman, and that's exactly what he did yesterday.”

Writing on Twitter, web developer Evan Rose wrote that “on the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI, we celebrate by kicking off WWIII. Congrats all!” While World War I began in 1914, Rose was referring to the centennial of American involvement in the war.

Watch next: What is sarin gas?

What is a Tomahawk cruise missile and what does it do?

The United States launched roughly 60 Tomahawk cruise missiles from two ships in the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday, targeting an air base in Syria following a chemical attack allegedly ordered by Syrian President Bashar Assad that struck civilians in rebel-held areas of his country.

The missiles were launched against an air base some 25 miles south of Homs, Syria. The base is small, and one U.S. official said that 50 Tomahawk missiles would do “significant” damage to the facility.

Tomahawk missiles are highly accurate weapons. The modern version was first used by the United States in the 1991 Gulf War.

Here’s what you need to know about Tomahawk missiles:

What are they?

Tomahawk missiles are subsonic, jet engine-powered missiles. They fly low, about 100 feet off the ground.

Where are they launched from?

Tomahawks can be launched from many surfaces, but the U.S. generally uses ships or submarines to launch the missiles. 

How much do they cost?

Each missile cost $1.41 million.

Who makes them?

Raytheon Systems Company makes the Tomahawk Block IV.

How fast can they fly?

The missiles travel at 550 miles per hour.

How big are they?

The Tomahawk is a 20-foot-long missile, and weighs 2,900 pounds. It has a wingspan of eight feet,  nine inches. It carries a 1,000-pound-class warhead.

How accurate are they?

According to the Navy, they hit their target about 85 percent of the time. How do they find their target?

The missile uses a system called "Terrain Contour Matching." An altimeter along with an inertia detector direct the Tomahawk along a flight path against a pre-loaded map of the terrain. They are unlike drones as they are not guided by pilots on the ground. According to Raytheon, “The latest variant (Tomahawk Block IV) includes a two-way satellite data-link that enables the missile to be retargeted in flight to preprogrammed, alternate targets. The Block IV design was initiated as both a cost savings and a capability improvement effort.”

Is the United States the only country with cruise missiles?

No. More than 70 nations have cruise missiles.

Sources: The U.S. Navy; Popular Science; Raytheon

Military jet crashes near Joint Base Andrews

A military aircraft crashed near Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Wednesday morning, Prince George’s County fire officials said.

>> Read more trending news 

Fire spokesman Mark Brady said one pilot parachuted out of the aircraft when it went down around 9:30 a.m.

Tucker Carlson blasts Drexel professor for tweet slamming act of kindness for soldier

If ever there was a made-for-Fox News topic, this was it. And Tucker Carlson didn’t disappoint in igniting a fiery debate with a professor who was disgusted after a passenger on his flight gave up his first-class seat to a U.S. soldier.

>> Watch the clip here

George Ciccariello-Maher, an associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University, tweeted his thoughts on the impromptu seat exchange, saying: “Some guy gave up his first class seat for a uniformed soldier. People are thanking him. I’m trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul.”

Carlson suggested to the professor that his beef isn’t really with individual soldiers, but rather with U.S. foreign policymakers, so why take out frustration on the soldier?

>> Drexel professor's tweet slamming act of kindness for soldier draws ire

“I think it’s really irresponsible to blindly support, for example, wars that send off young people into combat, risk their lives, kill many others as we’ve just seen in Mosul, 200 people incinerated by U.S. bombs and to not do that in a way that expands anyone’s freedoms, that makes anyone less secure."

“You’re blaming the soldier, you’re not blaming the policymaker,” Carlson interrupted.

“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” Ciccariello-Maher said.

Carlson then asked why it made him "feel like throwing up?”

“I think U.S. troops need real support, they don’t need symbolic gestures,” the professor said. “What they need is not a first-class seat, they need health care support, psychological support, women in uniform need to not be subjected to epidemic of sexual assault, and more than anything, they don’t need to be deployed, have their lives risked, be taken away from their families for wars that do nothing and no good for anyone.”

>> Drexel University responds after professor's 'white genocide' tweet

Carlson agreed that those were fair points, but the perplexed host still pressed Ciccariello-Maher on the issue of what’s so wrong about the passenger giving up his first-class seat and the amenities that come with it to a soldier: “OK, that’s fine, but why is it bad to give him a first-class seat, I’m missing that? Someone’s trying to be nice to the guy who’s going through all these hardships you just described, and that makes you mad. Why?”

>> Read more trending news

Ciccariello-Maher answered: “I’m all for generous gestures devoted toward those who most deserve them in our society and I have the deepest respect for anyone who, particularly for economic reasons, makes difficult decisions, whether it’s joining the military, whether it’s doing other dangerous work that has to take place in our society, whether it’s being an economic immigrant migrant, and I think these people all deserve better, they deserve to not have to join the military if they would rather just get an education."

The professor received plenty of blowback on Twitter, and he later made his account private.

Drexel professor's tweet slamming act of kindness for soldier draws ire

If you think you have heard of George Ciccariello-Maher, you probably have. The Drexel University professor has a habit of stirring controversy on social media.

Last week, Ciccariello-Maher sent out a tweet about an encounter involving a veteran he witnessed on an airplane, and it sparked outrage.

>> Drexel University responds after professor's 'white genocide' tweet

“Some guy gave up his first class seat for a uniformed soldier. People are thanking him. I’m trying not to vomit or yell about Mosul,” Ciccariello-Maher wrote on Twitter. His account was later made private, but the tweet was captured in screenshots

Needless to say, people weren’t pleased.

Late last year, Ciccariello-Maher stirred controversy with a tweet about “white genocide,” a term that he claims that many white supremacists use.

"All I want for Christmas is white genocide," he wrote.

The next day, Ciccariello-Maher explained to the Philadelphia Enquirer that he was making a joke about white supremacists who believe a white genocide is underway.

>> Read more trending news

“On Christmas Eve, I sent a satirical tweet about an imaginary concept, ‘white genocide,'" he said. "For those who haven’t bothered to do their research, ‘white genocide’ is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies.”

Ohio stepfather, son deploying overseas on same day

A Huber Heights family with strong military ties will send two members into a combat zone

Ellie Carr said Wednesday her husband and son, both members of the Ohio Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, are preparing to deploy Saturday to Afghanistan and Iraq. 

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Ellie Carr’s husband, 1st Sgt. Robert Carr — expected to be promoted to the rank of sergeant major this week — will head to Afghanistan, while her son, Pfc. Dustin McReynolds, will take off for Iraq. Both will be gone for a year.

“We found out first my husband was deploying to Afghanistan,” Ellie Carr said.

She said her son enlisted in 2016 and completed basic training in January -- this will be his first deployment.

“It worried me a little bit at the time because I really didn’t want … my son being so new in the military, I was worried about him,” Ellie Carr said.

Ellie Carr said some of that worry has since subsided after meeting her son’s chain of command.

“They’re a great group of people; I’m thrilled he’s going with them,” she said.

During the next year, Ellie Carr said she’ll be going through major life changes as well.

She quit her job of 10 years working in logistics to enroll full-time in nursing school. She said it’s been a dream of hers.

“This will definitely keep me busy,” Ellie Carr said. “It’s just going to be me and my dog,” Lexi, a miniature Australian Shepherd.

Robert Carr, who previously deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, and McReynolds are just two of more than 2 million military service members who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001.

“It makes me proud,” Ellie Carr said.

She said her family has a strong military history. Her father, who recently died, retired from the Army after 25 years, she said.

“It was natural,” she said, of her son joining the military. “If you’ve never been around it, it’s different. Military families are unique.”

Ellie Carr said holidays will be the toughest part of her husband and son deploying, especially because her immediate family is out of state.

Come Saturday, “The emotions are going to be running crazy. I’ve been trying to be strong,” Ellie Carr said.

The family plans to Skype and write letters to stay in contact. And Ellie Carr said her son will be getting plenty of deliveries of Airheads and Zebra Cakes.

Military K9 gets final honor as partner drapes remains in American flag

An unsung military hero has received a final honor

Air Force Staff Sgt. Kyle Smith found out that his former partner-turned-pet was going to have to be put down.

Bodza was paired with Smith during a deployment in 2012 to Kyrgyzstan. But while Bodza was a working dog, meant to keep his partner and national interests safe, Smith considered his partner a gentle giant.

"He was trained to bite, but I swear he only did it to make people happy. He had no interest in the world of hurting anyone," Smith told Inside Edition.

>> Read more trending news  

When Bodza was retired from service two years later, Smith's superior had a surprise for him.

"They went out and put a bowl, a brand-new leash and two collars, and they put (Bodza) at the back of my Jeep. I got to take him home the same day he retired," Smith said.

Smith noticed last year that his companion wasn't doing well. 

He thought a case of hip dysplasia prevented the dog from being able to jump into his vehicle. But he eventually realized that Bodza was in pain and wasn't able to easily walk, Inside Edition reported.

Bodza was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. Smith made the decision to put Bodza out of his misery.

That day came last week.

"I just kept holding him, rubbing and kissing his head, telling him, 'I'm going to miss you'," Smith said.

When his bosses found out what was happening at the veterinarian’s office, they went there to give Smith and Bodza their support.

Then asked staff for a special honor: the building’s American flag to drape over Bodza to honor him for his service. 

A soldier drapes an American flag over his former military dog partner's body after he is put down. https://t.co/hw7m0UNQqT pic.twitter.com/VFRw9PU6lq— Inside Edition (@InsideEdition) March 7, 2017

"The worst thing you can do is not to recognize these dogs for what they are. For these guys to do this for a dog they've never even met... he got a good sendoff that day," Smith told Inside Edition.

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