Brandon Holveck - Delaware Online
Delaware troops overseas are operating as usual the day after Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at U.S. troops and coalition forces at two bases in Iraq.
The missile strike came in response to a U.S. drone strike days earlier that killed one of Tehran's most powerful officials, Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
Nearly 300 Delaware Army National Guardsmen were deployed to Southwest Asia in August. According to Delaware National Guard Public Affairs Officer Bernie Kale, "everybody's fine" and continuing with their previously assigned missions. Kale did not say where the troops are located, citing security concerns.
"There's nothing different about what we're doing now than what we were doing at the beginning of last week," Kale said.
The soldiers deployed in August are from the 198th Expeditionary Signal Battalion and are providing command, control and supervision for other groups in combat. That entails anything from IT services to more sensitive communication, Kale said.
The Delaware National Guard has not learned of any new deployments since tensions began rising last week, Kale said. Deployments are typically planned years in advance.
On Friday, after President Donald Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani, the U.S. announced it will send about 3,000 more soldiers to the Middle East. Those soldiers will come from the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and will be sent to Kuwait.
According to the Associated Press, 14,000 U.S. troops have been deployed to the Middle East since May.
Officials at the Dover Air Force Base, the Department of Defense's largest aerial port, said the base is prepared to respond to any orders. Sgt. Chuck "Dragline" Broadway declined to comment when asked if the base is building up its forces in response to the conflict.
"We're not giving out specific information," he said. "Dover Air Force Base continues to support global operations and global airlift. We are always ready and prepared to support whatever is asked."
The damage caused by the missile attack was not immediately clear. In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump said he would make a statement on the attack Wednesday. Both Trump and Iranian officials have threatened further action if either side attacks.
Iran's strike on the Iraqi base is the latest event in a rapidly escalating conflict between the two countries. Delaware politicians criticized the president's course of action Tuesday, which began in large part when Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear pact in 2018 and imposed sanctions against the country.
Sen. Chris Coons said he is supporting Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine's resolution to require a "real" Senate debate on strategy in the Middle East.
"Whether he likes it or not, President Trump does not have the authority to wage war without consulting Congress," Coons said in a tweet.
Sen. Tom Carper offered his thoughts and prayers to the troops overseas, adding, "It is hard to understand how Americans are safer tonight."
Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted Tuesday night he would not comment on the news until he knows more.
In the early evening he shared a video with the text, "Donald Trump says he wants to end endless wars in the Middle East, yet he is bringing us dangerously close to starting a new one."