(Stars and Stripes)

Hurricane Ian, conflict on the Korean peninsula, explosive criminal cases out of Fort Bragg: A lot has happened in the last six months, and Military Matters was there to cover it all in its sixth season.

In this Season 6 wrap-up, co-hosts Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy check back in on how these stories, and others, have developed since the episodes first aired. First, Murphy reflected on the previous two episodes with investigative journalist Seth Harp and his ongoing investigation into drugs, sexual assault, murder and other cases at Fort Bragg, addressing criticisms from listeners about unreliable sources.

“There are such thing as sketchy sources, people who are kind of involved in some of these things, or somehow in the periphery of them,” Murphy said. “But they're also a lot of good people who are legitimately trying to blow the whistle because they become aware of something and they're not happy with it. ... But the larger claims that I've made and that I think Seth has — I mean, I can't speak for Seth, but I think the larger claims in his work [are] documented. So it's not just, you know, something a source told me. When I say that there is a Green Beret being charged with the human trafficking of a minor under the age of 16, that is not coming from a source, that's coming from a charge sheet, OK?”

Next, the hosts looked at the two-part episode on the history of the Korean peninsula that featured Korea expert and retired Army Special Forces Col. David Maxwell. But the conversation quickly turned to the Chinese spy balloon that the U.S. military shot down off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4.

“A lot of people panicked, and they were like, oh my God, this just shows you how crappy the Biden administration is, and how dare they not shoot this thing out of the sky?” Rodriguez said. “And, you know, it took interviews and took time for folks to go, hey, wait a minute. You know, there's other things at play here. There's intelligence being collected.”

Topics not covered in previous episodes came up too, including the Army’s decision to rename nine installations to remove ties to the Confederacy. Murphy, an Army Special Forces veteran, called the service’s decision to rename Fort Bragg, home of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, to Fort Liberty a “cop-out.” He suggested a number of Medal of Honor recipients who could have been honored instead, including recent awardee Col. Paris Davis, Col. Ralph Puckett and Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe.

“His story really I think captivated people, his sacrifice and you know, what he did for his soldiers,” Murphy said of Cashe. “I mean, I think [it] really captured people and has this sort of magnetism around it, right? That he sacrificed himself for his troops. So yeah, there's just so many people who they could have named any of these bases after. And yeah, Fort Liberty just feels like a really big cop-out.”

You can find Military Matters on Twitter @stripesmmpod.

Follow Jack Murphy on Twitter @jackmurphyrgr and Rod Rodriguez @rodpodrod.

A transcript of the episode can be found here.

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Brian McElhiney is a digital editor, podcast editor and occasional reporter for Stars and Stripes. He has worked as a music reporter and editor for publications in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Oregon. One of his earliest journalistic inspirations came from reading Stars and Stripes as a kid growing up in Okinawa, Japan.

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