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U.S. Military Continues Focus on Supporting Israel, Ukraine

U.S. efforts in the Middle East remain focused on supporting Israel's defense needs as the nation battles Hamas terrorists in Gaza, deterring other actors who seek to use the Hamas war on Israel as a pretext to expand the conflict and to ensure force protection for U.S. forces serving in the region, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said today. 

Approximately 900 U.S. troops are in the process of deploying to the U.S. Central Command area of operations, Ryder said. 

The silhouette of an airman climbing into an aircraft is shown.
Centcom Arrival
The New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrives within U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, bolstering U.S. posture to defend U.S. forces and deter further aggression in the region.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Megan Floyd
VIRIN: 231024-Z-VD276-1003R

These include forces that had previously been put on prepare-to-deploy status and they are deploying from the continental United States.  

Deployed and deploying units include a terminal high-altitude area defense battery from Fort Bliss, Texas; Patriot batteries from Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Patriot and Avenger batteries from Fort Liberty, North Carolina and associated air defense headquarters elements from Fort Bliss and Fort Cavazos, Texas.  

"I won't talk specific deployment locations for these forces, I can confirm that they are not going to Israel," Ryder said. The units and personnel are intended to support regional deterrence efforts and further bolster U.S. force protection capabilities. 

Aircraft are parked in a row on a flight line.
Stratotankers in Centcom
Three U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., arrive at an undisclosed location in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, Oct. 23, 2023. The aircraft provide aerial refueling, as well as rapid and reliable passenger and cargo airlift and aero-medical evacuations. The KC-135 is deployed within the Centcom area of responsibility to help defend U.S. interests, promote regional security, and deter aggression in the region.
Photo By: Air Force courtesy
VIRIN: 231023-F-F3301-1194R
Three sailors in military uniform perform flight operations. A helicopter is behind them.
Flight Line Trio
Sailors dock landing ship USS Carter Hall remove chocks and chains off a Marine UH-IY Venom helicopter during flight operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, Oct. 23. Components of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) are deployed to help ensure maritime security and stability in the Middle East region.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Moises Sandoval
VIRIN: 231023-N-ED646-1089R

Ryder said that between October 17 and 26, U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 12 separate times in Iraq and four separate times in Syria, by a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets. The general would not provide specific groups that have claimed responsibility for these attacks. All he would say is "we know that these groups are affiliated with Iran." 

Ryder said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III continued his near-daily calls to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. He received updates on Israeli operations and Israeli military needs. "During the discussion, Secretary Austin reiterated the importance of ensuring humanitarian aid can be delivered into Gaza and repeated our calls for Israel to ensure the protection of civilians," the general said.  


Ryder confirmed that the United States is sending two U.S. Iron Dome systems to Israel to help further bolster air defense capabilities and protect citizens from rocket attacks.  

Israel is not the only hotspot in the world, and Ryder said the United States is sending a $150 million package of military aid to support Ukraine's urgent security needs. "This marks the 49th provision of equipment from DOD inventories to Ukraine since August 2021," he said. "This crucial security assistance includes air defense capabilities, artillery, ammunition, anti-tank weapons and other important aid to help Ukraine counter Russia's ongoing aggression and continue its fight for independence and freedom." 

The general reiterated U.S. leaders' pledges to Ukraine that the United States will stand with Ukraine "and we will continue to have their backs."

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