US fighter aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft continued airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant militants threatening fleeing Iraq?i Yazidis stranded on a mountain in northern Iraq, the Defense Department announced Aug. 10. The aircraft conducted four air strikes on Aug. 9, destroying “one of two ISIL armored personnel carriers firing on Yezidi civilians near Sinjar,” states the release. “After the strike, US forces monitored movement of the second vehicle and subsequently located two ISIL armored personnel carriers and an armed truck nearby. US aircraft struck the vehicles, and all indications are that they were destroyed.” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said on Aug. 8 that militants were using captured Iraqi army artillery to shell Kurdish forces around Irbil, where the US has a presence of military advisers at an ISR operations center. Irbil also is the home base for many US diplomats. The US military also has conducted at least three humanitarian airdrop operations in support of Iraqi citizens threatened by the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, the Defense Department announced. In an Aug. 7 statement, President Barack Obama announced he was authorizing strikes on militants who threaten US personnel and facilities in Iraq, as well as a humanitarian airdrop to fleeing Iraqi Yazidis, mostly Kurdish speaking people based in northern Iraq, many of whom are now stranded on a mountain in Sinjar, near Mosul. In the most recent drop, a C-17 and two C-130s airdrop, supported by US fighter aircraft, airdropped 72 bundles of supplies. As of Aug. 10, DOD had dropped more than 52,000 meals and more than 10,600 gallons of water to displaced Yezidis, according to a release.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.