A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Veterans React to Airstrike on Syria

Hernandez Coke
F/A-18 jets prepare to launch off the flight deck of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) for training missions in the South Pacific Ocean during summer deployment in 2005. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/Sac.Media

On Friday, April 13, President Donald Trump addressed the nation and said that U.S. Navy ships and aircraft along with the United Kingdom and France have began precision airstrikes against Syrian regime. The decision to conduct military strikes against Syria is because of its violation in adhering to the Geneva Protocol according to website. The Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons, which were used last weekend in Syria against rebel held town of Douma.

Trump called out Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad and his regime for the chemical attacks.

“These are not the actions of a man,” Trump said. “They are crimes of a monster instead.”

Trump also addressed Russia and Iran for supporting al-Assad murderous regime.

In the Pentagon briefing, three key locations were discussed for targeted joint airstrike in Syria. The locations included a scientific research center in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility located west of Homs, Syria, and a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and command post near Homs.

Pentagon officials also stated that Syria launched missiles to encounter incoming airstrikes by the U.S., U.K., and France. For operational security reasons, Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, will not disclose the location of military forces that are currently conducting military action against Syria.

During the Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary James Mattis answered questions pertaining to what type of chemical weapons were used on Syrians by al-Assad.

“One chemical agent was used,” Mattis said. “But more could have been used.”

The U.S. and its allies will continue airstrikes in Syria if al-Assad continues to use chemical weapons. As of now, these airstrikes were a one time deal.

For Mt. SAC veterans and reservists, the initial U.S. lead airstrike against specific targets in Syria raises concerns and questions about being recalled to active duty.

Jessica Palominos, 23, communication major, agreed with the airstrikes against Syria. Palominos  a Marine, served overseas with VMFA-242.

“I think the attack on the science center sent a very definitive message,” Palominos said.

When asked about being recalled for duty because of the airstrikes on Syria, Palomunos said, “The possibility is certainly there.”

Army reservist Ricardo Gonzalez, 24, exercise physiology major who deployed to Africa with 10th Special Forces Group, agreed with the airstrike, but only if there is proof that chemical weapons were used by al-Assad’s regime.

“Without a reasonable doubt that there is or was equipment for chemical weapons,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said he believes that after the targeted airstrikes in Syria, al-Assad would reconsider using chemical weapons.

Gonzalez doesn’t have an issue with being recalled to serve.

“As a reservist, I’m ready to fulfill my obligations for what I signed up for,” Gonzalez said. “If I go, I will go with no objection.”

Navy veteran Marelyn Barrios, 25, nursing major, served on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). She doesn’t have much to say about the airstrike, because she needs to read up on it.

“It’s crazy that Mr. America launched them,” Barrios said, referring to Trump’s decision to have U.S and Allied Forces conduct airstrikes in Syria. With only one week of intel to determine if al-Asad actually ordered the use of chemical weapons, Barrios does not agree in how it was handled.

Barrios’s concern about going to war as a student is “me being brought back in for active duty since my four years inactive isn’t over yet,” Barrios said.

Although Syria is 7,296 miles from California, Trump’s decision to have U.S. forces conduct airstrikes against dictator al-Assad  called attention to what’s going on in the Middle East.

Trump’s call for an initial airstrike hits close to home for Mt. SAC students who are veterans and reservists, not only having to worry about putting their academic studies on hold, but having to deploy and leaving their loved ones behind to serve again.

Brett Hernandez is a Mt. SAC journalism, film major, and photo editor of SAC.Media. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who served for almost nine years. He has been deployed seven times on two aircraft carriers in support of maintaining peace and stability throughout South East Asia.

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