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Congressman Matt Gaetz

Representing the 1st District of Florida


April 13, 2017
Press Release


Today, President Donald Trump ordered a bomb to be dropped on a dangerous ISIS tunnels and cave network in the Nangarhar province of northeastern Afghanistan. This location has been an ongoing source of terrorist activity, and is where Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar was killed by ISIS fighters on Saturday, April 8th.

SSG De Alencar, a member of the Green Berets, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, based at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

The bomb, dropped at 7 P.M. local time, was a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, colloquially known as the “MOAB” or “Mother of all Bombs.” This 21,000-pound bomb is the largest non-nuclear weapon in the arsenal of the United States, and was tested at Eglin AFB.

General John W. Nicholson, Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, explained the decision to drop the bomb: “As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” he said. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.” ISIS-K is the designation for Islamic State fighters in the nations of Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.

Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, stated that the United States “took all precautions necessary” to minimize civilian casualties.

President Trump’s decision to drop the GBU-43 shows his deep commitment to eradicating ISIS worldwide. This message was part of his campaign, and eliminating ISIS is critical to the long-term security of the United States. The President’s actions also send a clear message that we will no longer tolerate attacks on our troops — and that those who do so can expect a swift and strong response.

Though it was developed in 2003, this is the first time the GBU-43 has been used in combat. As foes of the United States become more sophisticated, so must the weaponry we use to fight them. The use of the GBU-43 bomb shows the clear need to maintain and enhance our military readiness.

As Northwest Floridians, we are proud to train the most lethal warfighters and to test the most advanced weaponry in the world. The President’s decision highlights our military’s need for expanded testing facilities — in particular, the Gulf Test Range south of Eglin AFB.