Every day, the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and keep our country safe.
Active-duty soldiers are stationed in 150 countries around the world. There are currently 47,000 U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan alone. (That number was 100,000 in 2010). The troops were supposed to return home by 2014. Unfortunately, there is more work to be done. The plan now is for 12,000 soldiers to stay behind and train Afghanistan’s security force, which is not yet capable of defending the country on its own.
U.S. troops are now being deployed throughout Africa as well. Their mission is to combat a growing threat of terrorism on the continent. As in Afghanistan, the U.S. military’s role will be to teach local forces how to tackle these terrorist threats. This past summer, U.S. soldiers deployed to Niger, in West Africa, to help train troops in firing weapons, patrolling, and medical care. U.S. troops will complete more than 100 missions in Africa over the next year, and will eventually deploy on similar missions worldwide.
This year, women earned an expanded role in the military. Over the past decade, they have fought alongside men in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though women were not technically allowed to serve in combat roles. On January 24 of this year, that rule changed. Military women can now take on jobs—such as in infantry and artillery—that put them face to face with the enemy.
Our armed forces are important in times of peace, too. Soon after a powerful tropical storm called a typhoon left thousands dead in the Philippines, U.S. troops arrived with rescue teams. The U.S. military sent about 50 ships and aircraft to help distribute food, water, and other supplies to the island nation, where many were left homeless.
For working tirelessly to keep our nation safe in times of war and peace, the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are nominees for TFK's 2013 Person of the Year.
Click here to return to the profiles and to vote!