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The armed forces of the United States, in conjunction with its allies, continuously have been involved in combat and humanitarian operations in various countries around the world for nearly the last two decades.

And based on their proud history, it should come as no surprise that they back down from no challenge, regardless of the potential consequences. The men and women who wear the uniform of the U.S. armed forces do whatever is necessary to protect freedom and fight tyranny, wherever and whenever the call to arms occurs.

Currently, U.S. troops are part of a coalition of more than 60 countries squaring off against ISIS, the radical jihadist group that burst onto the international scene in 2014. The faction, which has attracted support elsewhere in the Muslim world, has become notorious for its brutality, including mass killings, abductions and beheadings.

Aside from the United States, other nations – including the United Kingdom, Australia, France and a handful of regional powers – are also in the fight. They have helped coordinate and launch air strikes against the enemy in Iraq and Syria. Still other powers have cracked down on the flow of funds and foreign fighters to ISIS, contributed humanitarian aid, taken in refugees and provided weapons and training to fighters on the ground.

Defense officials now are reporting that for the first time since ISIS’ rise in 2014 real progress is being made toward its eventual demise. Coalition forces registered a huge victory in mid-July when the ISIS stronghold in Mosul, Iraq, fell. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we can once again look forward to welcoming our brave men and women home.

Because our troops are so efficient and reliable, some potentially may think of them as being machinelike or mechanical. But, we in the MTD recognize that these people are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts. We also know many of them as Union Members.

We proudly note that among those who most actively support the troops and their allies are members of MTD affiliates, who continue their time-honored tradition of “delivering the goods.” As they did at the height of the fighting during previous military operations in the Middle East, our ships still carry materiel and, at times, military personnel to the required destinations. They do so with complete patriotism, efficiency and reliability. It is no exaggeration to say that their on-time deliveries could still mean the difference between life and death.

However, our support for those who have worn the nation’s uniform does not end when they are discharged. Some veterans of these recent conflicts continue to fight their own personal battles – with unemployment, poverty, mental and physical health, homelessness and other issues. We stand with our affiliate, the American Federation of Government Employees, to improve and upgrade conditions at the Veterans Administration and its network of hospitals and clinics.

The MTD is proud to be a member of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council and its fight for good jobs for those who have served. We are proud to work with our Port Maritime Councils who support the American Maritime Partnership’s “Military2Maritime” initiative that affords veterans the opportunity to maximize their professional strengths by meeting with representatives for maritime companies, training schools, unions and others to learn about careers in the maritime industry.

The MTD has a rich tradition of supporting the men and women in uniform—both active duty and retired—and their families. That tradition remains very much alive and applicable today. We recognize and commend the courage of the brave men and women in the United States armed forces – both while they are on active duty and when they resume civilian life – who are engaged in this war on terrorism. We pledge our continuing gratitude and full support to them.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils reaffirm our complete support of the brave members of America’s armed forces. We have utmost confidence that they will continue performing their jobs at a very high level, and we look forward to their returning home safely to those who love and miss them the most; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils offer our sincere and respectful thanks to every man and woman in uniform today and those who served before them. We are proud to back them as America’s fourth arm of defense.

Passed 2017 MTD Convention