On May 1, 2011, members of an elite Navy squad called SEAL Team 6 shot and killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was the founder of al-Qaeda, a militant Islamist group responsible for many attacks against military—and civilian—targets around the world, including the infamous September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The extraordinary bravery displayed by members of SEAL Team 6 is an outstanding example of the dedication to our nation shown by the many men and women on active duty in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Currently, U.S. forces gradually are being pulled out of both Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama made a recent announcement that almost all troops would be pulled from Iraq by the end of December. This would meet the terms of a security pact the U.S. and Iraq signed in 2008. Currently, 11,000 troops are in Iraq helping the nation’s leaders maintain security. That number is down from the 50,000 troops just three months earlier.
Plans are also in place for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. By the end of 2012, there will be 33,000 fewer U.S. troops there. That is nearly a third less than the 101,000 who were there in June 2011.
Our armed forces are important in times of peace, too. Last year, the government of Haiti asked President Obama to send 1,000 troops to the island nation to help after a huge earthquake struck in January. U.S. troops quickly repaired Haiti’s damaged airport so relief supplies could be flown in. They gave out food and medicine, and helped bring some calm to the hundreds of thousands of shocked, injured or homeless citizens.
For helping 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 2011 Person of the Year.