UPDATE, 9:57p ET: The Marine Corps has clarified what Marines did under State Department orders in Yemen following the evacuation of the U.S. embassy.
Crew served weapons were destroyed at the embassy, while Marines’ personal weapons were “rendered inoperable” at the airport, and their destroyed components were left behind.
The Marine Corps does not dispute the reporting that CENTCOM is outraged over weapons being rendered inoperable.
Read the full statement below:
The Marine Security Force left the American embassy in Yemen for the movement to the airfield as part of the "ordered departure" with only personal weapons. All crew served weapons were destroyed at the embassy prior to movement. None of them were 'handed over' in any way to anyone. The destruction of weapons at the embassy and the airport was carried out in accordance with an approved destruction plan.
Upon arrival at the airfield, all personal weapons were rendered inoperable in accordance with advance planning. Specifically, each bolt was removed from its weapons body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers. The weapons bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers. All of these destroyed components were left at the airport -- and components were scattered; no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sana'a airport.
To be clear: No Marine handed a weapon to a Houthi, or had one taken from him.
Read the original story below:
A senior defense official told Fox News that Marines were directed to turn over their weapons after leaving the U.S. embassy in Yemen.
Veteran and Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth was on “The Kelly File” to sound off on the order, which reportedly came from the U.S. State Department.
“So, we’re surrendering around the world, we’re surrendering our embassy, and now we’re asking U.S. Marines to surrender their dignity, give up oaths that they made, creeds that they live by, and surrender their rifle,” Hegseth said.
Hegseth wondered who thought it was right to have Marines hand over their weapons to Yemeni officials before evacuating the country.
“Someone botched the plan,” he said.
Hegseth said this is about the signals and optics presented to the world.
“It is maddening how naive this administration is,” he said.