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If the Department of Veterans Affairs does not initiate a “hiring surge,” the growing number of benefits claims at the department will accumulate to 1 million by 2026, at which point some veterans could wait more than eight years to learn whether they can receive VA health care or other benefits.



Bergdahl trial delayed as his lawyers appeal to highest military court over Trump comments

The court-martial against accused Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was delayed this week as his attorneys asked a third court to dismiss the case over disparaging comments President Donald Trump often repeated on the campaign trail about the former Taliban captive.


Critics say scrapping Mi-17 fleet could undermine Afghan air force

U.S. Air Force Capt. Justin Smith is one of a few Americans trained to fly and work on the Mil Mi-17s. He does so for basically one reason — to pass the knowledge on to Afghans. His work is part of broader NATO efforts to help build a sustainable Afghan air force, which is seen as vital for Kabul to counter the Taliban insurgency.


Top US general in Europe says Russia might be supplying the Taliban

The top U.S. general in Europe told lawmakers Thursday that Russia and the Taliban are growing increasingly close, suggesting that the Kremlin might even be supplying the insurgent group.



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New helicopter destroyer officially joins Japanese fleet

Japan’s newest ship will be positioned for natural-disaster response but can also carry the U.S.-made Osprey and aircraft made for combat contingencies, Japanese officials said Thursday.


Investigator: Military members stole $27.7 million in Afghan rebuilding effort

When the U.S. government spends $117 billion to rebuild a war-torn country, some of it is bound to get stolen or misspent. And that’s what happened in Afghanistan, according to the man responsible for helping find the waste, fraud and abuse.


MILITARY UPDATE

Lejeune vet claims to be approved faster for 8 illnesses

The Marine Corps has begun outreach to hundreds of thousands of veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., at least 30 days from August 1953 to December 1987, inviting them or surviving spouses to file for VA compensation if veterans suffered one of eight ailments linked to water contamination on the base.



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White House, in gamble, demands make-or-break health vote

After seven years of fervent promises to repeal and replace "Obamacare," President Donald Trump and GOP congressional leaders buckled at a moment of truth Thursday, putting off a planned showdown vote in a stinging setback for the young administration.


US-Israeli talks conclude with no agreement on settlements

The White House expressed its "concerns" with settlement construction after talks with senior Israeli officials in Washington ended Thursday night with a joint statement showing the two governments unable to agree on a settlement policy that could pave the way to peace talks resuming.


EUCOM chief wants more troops, ships and planes

U.S. European Command is seeking additional forces and firepower to augment a U.S. military that has dwindled in size while Russia has grown stronger, America’s top general in Europe said Thursday.


UN report: Sanctions disrupt humanitarian aid to North Korea

The report issued this week by the U.N.'s senior resident official in Pyongyang said sanctions are inadvertently hindering legitimate operations on the ground and have indirectly contributed to a "radical decline" in donations it said are badly needed by millions of North Korean women and children.


Al-Shabab claims to kill 17 soldiers in Somalia attack

An organization that monitors extremist groups says al-Shabab has claimed to kill 17 soldiers and wound 22 in an attack in southwestern Somalia.


theaters

White House, in gamble, demands make-or-break health vote

After seven years of fervent promises to repeal and replace "Obamacare," President Donald Trump and GOP congressional leaders buckled at a moment of truth Thursday, putting off a planned showdown vote in a stinging setback for the young administration.


US-Israeli talks conclude with no agreement on settlements

The White House expressed its "concerns" with settlement construction after talks with senior Israeli officials in Washington ended Thursday night with a joint statement showing the two governments unable to agree on a settlement policy that could pave the way to peace talks resuming.


EUCOM chief wants more troops, ships and planes

U.S. European Command is seeking additional forces and firepower to augment a U.S. military that has dwindled in size while Russia has grown stronger, America’s top general in Europe said Thursday.


UN report: Sanctions disrupt humanitarian aid to North Korea

The report issued this week by the U.N.'s senior resident official in Pyongyang said sanctions are inadvertently hindering legitimate operations on the ground and have indirectly contributed to a "radical decline" in donations it said are badly needed by millions of North Korean women and children.


Al-Shabab claims to kill 17 soldiers in Somalia attack

An organization that monitors extremist groups says al-Shabab has claimed to kill 17 soldiers and wound 22 in an attack in southwestern Somalia.



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veterans

San Diego veteran sues to keep support dog with him at recovery center

Mike Roberts said his dog Arthur is trained to wake him during nightmares caused by his PTSD. Roberts served honorably in the Corps from 1996 to 1999 and has a non-combat disability connected to his service, his lawyer said.



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9 more air refueling tankers to be based at Fairchild Air Force Base

Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane has grown a bit.The base on Thursday welcomed nine air refueling tankers and their personnel, who used to be at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.


USS Montgomery one step closer to becoming operational

The USS Montgomery, the fourth Littoral Combat Ship to be constructed by Austal in Mobile, Ala. has completed its Final Contract Trials, according to a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) press release Wednesday.


Cubans still trying to reach US by sea despite rule change

The U.S. Coast Guard said it intercepted 65 Cubans trying to reach Florida or Puerto Rico since Jan. 12. That's when former President Barack Obama ended the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy as part of the normalization of relations with Cuba.


‘Our finest moment:’ Fort Bragg hospital looks back on response to 1994 Green Ramp disaster

Twenty-three years after the Green Ramp disaster, leaders at the Fort Bragg hospital looked back on that response as part of a professional development event titled “Lessons to Never Forget.”


MILITARY UPDATE

Lejeune vet claims to be approved faster for 8 illnesses

The Marine Corps has begun outreach to hundreds of thousands of veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., at least 30 days from August 1953 to December 1987, inviting them or surviving spouses to file for VA compensation if veterans suffered one of eight ailments linked to water contamination on the base.


military branches

9 more air refueling tankers to be based at Fairchild Air Force Base

Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane has grown a bit.The base on Thursday welcomed nine air refueling tankers and their personnel, who used to be at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas.


USS Montgomery one step closer to becoming operational

The USS Montgomery, the fourth Littoral Combat Ship to be constructed by Austal in Mobile, Ala. has completed its Final Contract Trials, according to a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) press release Wednesday.


Cubans still trying to reach US by sea despite rule change

The U.S. Coast Guard said it intercepted 65 Cubans trying to reach Florida or Puerto Rico since Jan. 12. That's when former President Barack Obama ended the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy as part of the normalization of relations with Cuba.


‘Our finest moment:’ Fort Bragg hospital looks back on response to 1994 Green Ramp disaster

Twenty-three years after the Green Ramp disaster, leaders at the Fort Bragg hospital looked back on that response as part of a professional development event titled “Lessons to Never Forget.”


MILITARY UPDATE

Lejeune vet claims to be approved faster for 8 illnesses

The Marine Corps has begun outreach to hundreds of thousands of veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, N.C., at least 30 days from August 1953 to December 1987, inviting them or surviving spouses to file for VA compensation if veterans suffered one of eight ailments linked to water contamination on the base.



sports
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Track preview

Records are running scared in Pacific track

How far can Brianna Hunter throw? Edgren senior broke shot put Far East mark in first meet and is one of handful of athletes with aspirations of re-writing more this season.


Sports

Track preview

Records are running scared in Pacific track

How far can Brianna Hunter throw? Edgren senior broke shot put Far East mark in first meet and is one of handful of athletes with aspirations of re-writing more this season.



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special publications


  • What's Up Rhein Main

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    Whats-Up-RHMN

  • Welcome to the Pacific

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    Welcome-to-Pacific-JO

  • Transition Guide

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    Transition-Guide

  • Best of the Pacific

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    Best-of-Pacific