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Russia responds to Syria airstrike, warns of 'consequences' 

Russia warned of “consequences” in the aftermath of the airstrikes launched by the United States and its allies on Syria, CNN reported Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

The U.S., United Kingdom and France launched strikes aimed at three locations in Syria -- a scientific research facility in Damascus and a production facility and storage facility in Homs, said Gen. Joseph Dunford, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the attacks as an "act of aggression against a sovereign state," CNN reported. On Twitter, the Russian embassy in the United States criticized the missile strikes, with Ambassador Anatoly Antonov tweeting that “The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard."

>> Trump announces strike on Syria

"A pre-designed scenario is being implemented," Antonov said. "Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences."

Syria's Foreign Ministry called the attacks a "flagrant violation of the international law," CNN reported.

The Syrian Armed Forces said in a statement Saturday that 110 missiles were fired on Syrian targets and that the country's defense systems "intercepted most of the missiles, but some hit targets including the Research Center in Barzeh."

Russia's news agency TASS reported that none of the missiles fired by the three western nations struck areas near its naval and air bases in Syria. Those bases come under the protection of Russian air defense units.

What is a Tomahawk cruise missile and what does it do?

Tomahawk missiles are highly accurate weapons. The modern version was first used by the United States in the 1991 Gulf War.

>> Read more trending news

Here’s what you need to know about Tomahawk missiles:

What are they?

Tomahawk missiles are subsonic, jet engine-powered missiles. They fly low, about 100 feet off the ground.

Where are they launched from?

Tomahawks can be launched from many surfaces, but the U.S. generally uses ships or submarines to launch the missiles. 

How much do they cost?

Each missile cost $1.41 million.

Who makes them?

Raytheon Systems Company makes the Tomahawk Block IV.

How fast can they fly?

The missiles travel at 550 miles per hour.

How big are they?

The Tomahawk is a 20-foot-long missile, and weighs 2,900 pounds. It has a wingspan of eight feet,  nine inches. It carries a 1,000-pound-class warhead.

How accurate are they?

According to the Navy, they hit their target about 85 percent of the time. How do they find their target?

The missile uses a system called "Terrain Contour Matching." An altimeter along with an inertia detector direct the Tomahawk along a flight path against a pre-loaded map of the terrain. They are unlike drones as they are not guided by pilots on the ground. According to Raytheon, “The latest variant (Tomahawk Block IV) includes a two-way satellite data-link that enables the missile to be retargeted in flight to preprogrammed, alternate targets. The Block IV design was initiated as both a cost savings and a capability improvement effort.”

Is the United States the only country with cruise missiles?

No. More than 70 nations have cruise missiles.

Sources: The U.S. Navy; Popular Science; Raytheon

Man, 20, wants to interview every surviving WWII veteran

A California man is trying to capture history before it fades away.

>> Read more trending news

Rishi Sharma wants to interview as many living World War II combat veterans as he can to document their stories. Since beginning his quest four years ago, Sharma, 20, has traveled to 45 states and Canada and has interviewed 870 veterans, CNN reported.

"They've given us the world that we have," the Agoura resident told CNN. "It's truly amazing."

Sharma is facing a daunting task. According to the the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 558,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were still alive in 2017. The youngest of them are in their late eighties, and some are more than 100 years old. The VA estimates an average of 362 of them die each day, CNN reported.

Sharma was a sophomore in high school when he began his project. He first interviewed a decorated veteran, Lyle Bouck, whose outmanned unit had held off a German battalion during the Battle of the Bulge, CNN reported.

Sharma then began biking to retirement homes to visit veterans in his hometown.

He records the interviews on video and burns them to DVDs, which he gives to the veterans, CNN reported. He also has begun posting the interviews to his YouTube channel.

In 2016, Sharma founded Heroes of the Second World War, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving interviews with WWII combat veterans for future generations. He also set up a GoFundMe account to pay his expenses. CNN reported. So far,he has raised more than $182,000, which helps pay for his travel expenses and video equipment.

His age prevents Sharma from renting cars or checking into many motels.

"I live out of the car when I'm on the road," he told CNN. "(It) makes my job a lot harder."

Sharma realizes he cannot interview every surviving veteran, so he doesn’t mind a little help. He told CNN that anyone who is interested in his work can contact WWII vets in their communities and record their stories.

"We don't need to use iPhones to take selfies," Sharma said. "We can actually document history with them."

Baby’s first photos have connection to fallen soldier father

She never will be able to meet her father, but he will always be part of her life. 

Christian Michelle Harris was born after her father gave his life for his country.

Army Spc. Chris Harris was killed on Aug. 2 by a suicide bomber, six weeks after Christian’s mother, Brittany Harris, found out she was pregnant. 

>> Read more trending news 

She was born March 17, the “Today” show reported and was named after her father: Christopher Michael Harris.

Despite his death, Chris Harris and the Army have been part of little Christian’s life from even before she was born. 

Brittany Harris called in her husband’s platoon to help reveal the baby’s gender. She sent his fellow soldiers, the men that he considered his brothers, confetti poppers to help announce whether she was having a boy or a girl. 

>>Read: Soldiers help with gender reveal for the baby of one of their fallen

One of the servicemen, Joel Crunk, posted with the gender reveal video, “Chris Harris laid down his life for our country. His newly wed wife was expecting their first child. The reveal is in Afghanistan with the men who fought by his side. We are happy to welcome the new member of our company.”

Now Harris is memorializing the connection between father and daughter with a series of newborn photos that will break your heart,  “Today” reported.

Christian was photographed next to a photo of her father and his empty boots sitting nearby. 

A second photo shows the little girl sleeping next to the flag that was given to her mother at their Fayetteville, North Carolina home, after her father died.

In the third photo, the newborn is wrapped in his camouflage shirt, the arm of the uniform wrapped around Chris Harris’ little girl. 

“As soon as I saw the very first preview of the photos, I cried,” Brittany Harris told “Today. “The picture of Christian wrapped with Chris’ uniform is my favorite. It makes me feel like he’s holding her.”

Brittany Harris wants to make sure Christian never forgets the hero her father was.

“I want her to light up and smile when she talks about him instead of feeling sad that he’s not here. I want her to always brag about who her father was and the sacrifice he made,” Brittany Harris told “Today.”

 

LOOK: Thief steals donation jar filled with money meant for veteran

A tip jar with almost $900 for a veteran in need was stolen right off the front counter of an auto body shop this week.

>> Watch the video here

Erving Severino, the owner of Independent Import Specialist in Lawrence, Massachusetts, said the money was being raised for a veteran in his 70s, in Puerto Rico, who lost everything during Hurricane Irma. The money was supposed to buy the man's plane ticket to the United States and pay for his health benefits. 

>> Read more trending news 

However, the jar was snatched off the counter in a matter of seconds.

Security footage shows a crystal-clear image of the suspect's face, so Severino is begging the public to identify the thief, saying he will not press charges if the money is returned. 

The veteran is expected to land in the U.S. on April 14.

Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact the Lawrence Police Department at 978-794-5900.

Army, Air Force, Navy: Student receives appointments from 3 academies; which did she choose?

A senior at Glynn Academy High School, in Brunswick, Georgia, has received appointments for three military academies.

The mother of 18-year-old Bliss Hutchings tells Action News Jax, she received appointments to the Naval Academy, Air Force Academy and U.S. Military Academy.

>> Read more trending news 

Admissions into all three branches are extremely competitive, according to Prep Scholar. The acceptance rates for the U.S. Military Academy and Naval Academy is nine percent, meaning nine of every 100 applicants are accepted. Acceptance rate of the Air Force is 14 percent.

"This is largely unheard of," mother Shayna Hutchings-Dragotta said.

Hutchings has chosen the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Travis AFB: Driver dead after gaining 'unauthorized access' to base's main gate, crashing

Officials at Travis Air Force Base in California say a car gained “unauthorized access” to the base’s main gate and later crashed.

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Wreckage of WWII warship the 5 Sullivan brothers served on discovered

The wreckage of a World War II warship, whose crew fatalities included five brothers, was found in the South Pacific Ocean, KWWL reported.

>> Read more trending news

The USS Juneau was torpedoed by the Japanese and sank near the Solomon Islands on Nov. 13, 1942, with nearly 700 sailors killed.

The Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa -- George, Francis, Joseph, Madison and Albert -- enlisted together after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and requested to serve on the same ship, KWWL reported.

The ship was discovered Saturday night, nearly 3 miles below the ocean’s surface, by a team privately funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, KWWL reported. It was the third ship Allen’s company has found within a year

"It is a remarkable discovery. It is a ship people have been looking for for a long time," said Sam LaGrone, the editor of the U.S. Naval Institute News. 

"The fact that you were able to find this ship and the fact that you found the USS Lexington and the USS Indianapolis; all of these historic ships, found by just one crew in a short amount of time is revelatory," LaGrone said "It is a banner day for oceanography and for people just getting up and doing it themselves because these ships have been missing for almost 80 years."

The discovery team will notify the U.S. Navy with the exact location of the ship, KWWL reported.

Albert Sullivan’s granddaughter, Kelly Ann Sullivan Loughren, released a statement Monday, noting that the Sullivan family “is thinking and praying for all of the families of all who lost loved ones” on the USS Juneau.

“It's poignant that they discovered it on the 75th anniversary year of the loss of the ship and also on St. Patrick's Day,” she said. “The luck of the Irish was with their crew on discovery day.”

A Navy destroyer, USS The Sullivans, was named for the brothers.

2 Florida airmen among 7 killed in Iraq helicopter crash

Two Florida airmen were among seven killed in a helicopter crash Thursday in Iraq.

Master Sgt. William R. Posch, 36, of Indialantic, Florida, and Staff Sgt. Carl P. Enis, 31, of Tallahassee belonged to the 308th Rescue Squadron out of Patrick Air Force Base.

They were on a HH-60 Pave Hawk with five other airmen when it crashed Thursday in western Iraq.

>> Read more trending news 

Enis and Posch were serving in combat roles, as they had before on multiple overseas deployments during their Air Force careers, according to a release from the 920th Rescue Wing.

Posch was an 18-year Air Force veteran who was recently part of a rescue mission at sea to save two German sailors whose sailboat caught fire last July.

He deployed for multiple rescue missions in Texas during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Posch's family and friends shared photos of him on social media, saying he was a father.

Four airmen assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at the Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, New York, were also killed:

  • Capt. Andreas B. O'Keeffe, 37, of Center Moriches, New York.
  • Capt. Christopher T. Zanetis, 37, of Long Island City, New York.
  • Master Sgt. Christopher J. Raguso, 39, of Commack, New York.
  • Staff Sgt. Dashan J. Briggs, 30, of Port Jefferson Station, New York.

Capt. Mark K. Weber, 29, of Colorado Springs, was also killed in the crash. He was assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.

The Pave Hawk went down at 6:45 p.m. Thursday near the town of Qaim in Anbar Province near the Syrian border.

The helicopter was on a routine flight between two towns, according to officials quoted by The Associated Press and Stars and Stripes.

Gov. Rick Scott released a statement about the airmen's deaths on Sunday: 

"The loss of Master Sgt. William R. Posch, Staff Sgt. Carl Enis and their fellow armed service members is devastating. The deaths of these brave men serve as a solemn reminder of the sacrifice and commitment made by our nation’s military to secure and protect the freedom we all cherish as Americans. Ann and I know Staff Sgt. Enis’ family personally, and we grieve with them today. I ask that every Floridian pause to remember Master Sgt. William R. Posch and Staff Sgt. Enis and all of those lost in this tragedy.”

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Airmen’s small talk, jokes during air refueling goes viral

You’re flying at hundreds of miles an hour, thousands of feet above the Earth. What would you be doing while two planes are tethered during a refueling run?

You’d be totally serious, during the maneuvers. Or you could take the lead from Senior Airman Jordan Smith, who has a tendency to lighten the mood when he’s filling up fighters from his flying gas station in the sky, according to the Defense Department.

>> Read more trending news 

Smith is a member of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing and is a crew member on a KC-10. He’s also known as the crew’s chef or the pizza guy who cooks for his crew while they’re in the air.

He will crack jokes or have riddles for the pilots of F-22s as they wait to top off their fuel tanks, according to the Defense Department.

They also talk about what they miss while on deployment, like Chick-fil-A.

Click here to listen to some of the other banter between crew members aboard the two planes.

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