The word "veteran" is a fancy way of saying, "Once a soldier, always a soldier." Such is the case with a select group of veterans today whose previous deployment and military service overseas put them in contact with important connections in Israel, Palestine and Egypt. Even as we honor our veterans this year on November 11, there are some who continue to serve our country by putting their lives on the line. So, today I would like to highlight these veterans and tell you about the work they are doing to save the lives of Americans in the Middle East.
Today there are two active crews of veterans which are working to get Americans out of Israel and the Gaza Strip. These veterans work for two separate organizations, the "Special Operations Association of America" and another organization called "Save our Allies". Together these two veteran organizations have sent roughly two dozen people, all former military personnel, into Egypt, Israel and Palestine and charged them with the task of aiding relief efforts and evacuating American citizens out of the war-torn areas.
Each veteran volunteer was specially chosen for the assignment based upon his or her previous military experience working with Egyptians, Israelis and Palestinians. The primary task of these experienced veterans is to shepherd American citizens trapped in the war zones by helping them get on planes to Cyprus which have been chartered by the U.S. State Department; however, their work goes much deeper and gets a lot more complicated than this.
Some of these veterans are on the ground inside the Gaza Strip. At least five of these veterans are women who have moved throughout the Gaza Strip at least five times since the initial attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7. One of the things that complicates their mission is that they seldom ever have cell-phone service in the Gaza Strip and on those rare occasions when they do have cell-phone service, it can take several hours just to send a simple text message. So, they are very much left on their own to find these American citizens and escort them to safety.
Some of these veterans also help in relief efforts to the Palestinians. One of their assignments is to report the whereabouts of aid workers to the U.S. State Department and to the Israeli military in order to avoid strikes in their area. They also help provide food and medical supplies to the Palestinian people.
These veteran organizations are able to stealthily act and fill a gap and perform duties that the American military cannot accommodate. Currently, the policy of the Biden Administration has been not to put American boots on the ground inside the Gaza Strip. Because these veterans are no longer considered active military personnel, they can provide services that the American military cannot provide.
I share this information with you today to help you appreciate the mindset that our veterans share about serving our country. Their level of dedication, devotion and service to our country is unmatched around the world. Again, a veteran is really just a fancy way of saying, "Once a soldier, always a soldier." Remember to thank a veteran for your freedom.