Enterprise steaming toward final homecoming on Sunday

WASHINGTON – The 51-year-old USS Enterprise is scheduled to return to Norfolk, Va., on Sunday — the final arrival in port of the Navy’s oldest operational warship, which has participated in every major conflict since the Cuban missile crisis.

More than 5,500 sailors of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group are coming off a 238-day deployment supporting operations in the Mediterranean and Arabian seas. During its 25th and final deployment since being commissioned on Nov. 25, 1961, the Enterprise steamed more than 80,000 miles, while the attached Carrier Air Wing One flew more than 8,000 sorties in support of the war in Afghanistan as well as several exercises.

The Old Guard keeps guard, no matter the weather

WASHINGTON -- The Sentinel's Creed says "Through the years of diligence and praise and the discomfort of the elements, I will walk my tour in humble reverence to the best of my ability."

As Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast on Monday, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment kept that creed in mind.

4 Army Rangers honored for valor

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno presents the Presidential Unit Citation to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and dons a streamer on the unit’s flag during a ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., on Oct. 26, 2012.<br>Teddy Wade/U.S. Army
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno presents the Presidential Unit Citation to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and dons a streamer on the unit’s flag during a ceremony at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga., on Oct. 26, 2012.

HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. — On a day when the Army’s top general was on hand to recognize an entire battalion for gallantry in Afghanistan, four soldiers stood out.

Sgt. Craig Warfle was pinned with the Distinguished Service Cross, marking him as the first Army Ranger in the post-9/11 era to earn the nation’s second highest honor for valor in combat.

Military preparing for 'Frankenstorm'

WASHINGTON -- All U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads, Va., are being sent out to sea and out of harm’s way as Hurricane Sandy churns up the East Coast.

Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, directed the ships to leave by early Saturday morning. The ships will move to safer waters to weather the storm.

Report blasts Army Engineers for paying contractor despite lingering problems

WASHINGTON -- The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction has found that despite a 2010 report warning of structural failures and other serious issues at an Afghan National Army base in Kunduz province, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers settled with the contractor that did the work but did not fix the problems.

The Corps “did not address the soil instability issues recommended in our prior report, and we observed additional structural failures, improper site grading and new sink holes,” John Sopko wrote in his report to top commanders in Afghanistan and the Corps.

Spatial disorientation led to Djibouti crash, Air Force says

WASHINGTON – An investigation has concluded that four airmen killed when their U-28A aircraft crashed earlier this year in Djibouti had become confused about their aircraft’s proximity to the ground, the Air Force announced Wednesday.

The Feb. 18 accident occurred near Camp Lemonnier in the small East African nation of Djibouti. The crew, based at Hurlburt Field, Fla., was flying an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in support of the war in Afghanistan when they fell victim to spatial disorientation, an Air Force Special Operations Command investigation found.

Army will soon decide if Gen. Ward must pay back travel funds

WASHINGTON – Army Secretary John McHugh said Monday he will soon decide whether Gen. William “Kip” Ward, accused of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel funds, should repay the money.

Whether Ward and another general recently accused of bullying staff — Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, former head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency — get to retire at their final ranks will be the decision of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

Army scales back its presence at AUSA showcase

WASHINGTON – There’s less Army this year at the big Army-themed shindig in D.C.

The exhibition hall this week at 2012 AUSA, a professional development conference and trade show sponsored by the Association of the United States Army, features only a few official Army display booths wedged in among defense contractors’ tracked robots, machine guns and tactical vehicles.

Army court orders Fort Hood suspect to shave

WASHINGTON — The Army psychiatrist accused of the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood must shave his beard, an Army court ruled Thursday.

The accused, Maj. Nidal Hasan, started growing the beard in confinement and has refused to shave in defiance of Army grooming regulations. The judge in his case, Col. Gregory Gross, ordered him forcibly shaved if he wouldn’t do so voluntarily.


Video: Victims of Fort Hood shooting share their experiences

Victims of the Fort Hood shooting talk about their experiences and why it shoud be called a terrorist attack.

Fort Hood shooting victims want attack called terror

WASHINGTON — Victims of the Fort Hood shooting are rallying in a grassroots effort to get the rampage classified as an act of terrorism.

A coalition of 160 victims and family members released a video Thursday detailing what happened at the Texas military base on Nov. 5, 2009, and why they believe it was a terror attack.

Troops and veterans left on the sideline again in second presidential debate

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney prior to their second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday, October 16, 2012. <br>Wanglei, Xinhua, Zuma Press/MCT
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney prior to their second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday, October 16, 2012.

WASHINGTON -- After two presidential debates, here’s a quick scorecard:

  • Number of times the candidates said “Afghanistan” – 2
  • Number of times the candidates said “veterans” – 2 
  • Number of times the candidates said “soldiers” – 2 
  • Number of times the candidates said “jobs” – 106 
  • Number of times the candidates said “Big Bird” – 2

Unlike last week’s vice presidential debate, where foreign policy and national security were major topics of discussion, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney focused almost exclusively on domestic policy issues in their second debate and have barely mentioned issues surrounding servicemembers and veterans in either of their two debates.

Movie portrays 'crazy vet' seeking redemption


WASHINGTON - There’s a new movie in theaters, featuring a reckless, divorced, alcoholic, suicidal, nightmare-addled veteran in trouble with the law.

Hear that? That sound is veterans all over the country sighing.

VP debate tackles Afghanistan, foreign policy

WASHINGTON – Foreign policy was a focal point of Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate, offering for the first time a closer look at the possible paths ahead in Afghanistan and a preview of what the presidential candidates will say later this month.

Here are a few excerpts from Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., from the event:

New app helps military families chart a 'life path'

The National Military Family Association on Thursday launched a new app to answer questions and help military families find support as they navigate deployments, education, retirement and other major life events.

The app, free and available for iPhone and Android, is called MyMilitaryLife. So far, only three “life paths” are active: spouse education, deployment and separation or retirement. More paths, such as moving and caring for an injured spouse, will be activated in the coming months, said Mary Scott, chairwoman of the National Military Family Association’s board.

Cake, with a side of football, at the Navy's birthday party

The Navy kicked off its birthday week Tuesday morning, not with a buttercream-frosted submarine to rival the Army’s cupcake-covered tank, but with a celebration of the Naval Academy football team’s overtime win Saturday over Air Force.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert also reassured the sailors gathered in the Pentagon’s auditorium that it is “perfectly acceptable” shout “Beat Army,” even in a formal setting.

Upbeat jobs report brings good news for vets, too

WASHINGTON – The nation’s positive jobs report on Friday included good news about veterans, with the unemployment rate for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan era dropping below 10 percent for the sixth month this year.

Bureau of Labor Statistics officials estimate the September unemployment rate for that group at 9.7 percent, more than one percent less than the August rate. For 2012, the monthly average unemployment rate sits at 9.8 percent for those veterans, well below the 12.1 percent rate of 2011 and on pace for the lowest mark since 2009.

House Intel Committee chairman: New cyber threat looming

WASHINGTON – A new threat of cyberattack from an “unusual source” is reigniting congressional interest in hardening U.S. online defenses, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said Thursday.

The House of Representatives passed, with bipartisan support, a bill to promote sharing of information on cyberattacks earlier this year. But the Senate effort to craft cyber legislation is stalled mostly along party lines, and the Obama administration is weighing an executive order to protect the country from attempts to steal secrets online, scramble computer networks or destroy critical infrastructure.

Debate features little talk about military, no mention of veterans

WASHINGTON – Wednesday’s debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney featured plenty of discussion on government spending and looming budget cuts, but only a few passing comments on defense funding and no mention of veterans programs.

That’s not a big surprise, considering that jobs and the economy have dominated the campaign trail. The two men spent the first half of the debate focused mainly on tax rates and the national debt, trading barbs over whose plan was better suited to fix the country’s fiscal challenges.

NSA, ACLU leaders weigh in on cybersecurity, privacy protection

WASHINGTON – Just how involved should the U.S. military be when it comes to protecting civilian government and private computer networks from cybervillains and terrorists?

That was a key question for panelists – who included the heads of the Pentagon’s shadowy  National Security Agency and the American Civil Liberties Union, which has often been at odds with the electronic spying agency – at a discussion Monday at the Woodrow Wilson Center.