US conducts 73 airstrikes during first weekend with Mattis as Sec. Def.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Mattis.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis started off his first weekend at work with a resounding bang, complete with reports of over 73 successful coalition strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq on Saturday and Sunday.

Entering the Pentagon with a grin on his face over the weekend, Mattis was greeted with news from both fronts of the war against ISIS.

DoD reports indicate that a slew of attacks were carried out against ISIS targets over the weekend, with 31 strikes on Saturday and 42 strikes on Sunday, collectively carried out in Syria and Iraq.

On the Syrian front, coalition units took out ISIS tactical units, destroying artillery, fighting positions, IED factories, oil facilities, tanks, a UAV tower and more. Sunday’s attack near Raqqa wiped out four artillery units, including a decoy.

In Iraq, the strikes took out 10 boats, several tankers, construction equipment, a menagerie of tactical vehicles, a car-bomb factory, one tank and a command and control node, as well as a variety of other targets.

Reports indicate that all aircraft returned to base safely on both days.

“The destruction of [ISIS] targets in Syria and Iraq further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct operations,” the report said. “Coalition nations which have conducted strikes in Iraq include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Coalition nations which have conducted strikes in Syria include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

The aircraft in the strikes consisted of a variety of fighters, bombers and unmanned drones, which carried out missions in a wide area over both Iraq and Syria, with extensive action in the ISIS strongholds of Mosul and Raqqa, respectively.

During his campaign, President Donald Trump promised that he would destroy ISIS as quickly as possible, going so far as to suggest a plan within his first month in office to eradicate the Islamic State once and for all.

As the new Defense Secretary, Mattis will likely be front and center in the development of a plan to rid the world of ISIS, at least on the tactical and strategic level.

Although he required a waiver to serve as SecDef due to his still too-recent military service, Mattis was given the green light by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, with President Trump’s first signed executive orders sealing the deal on Friday.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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