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Chad Garland

African militaries are working to bolster their 'backbone,' the NCOs

High-ranking enlisted troops in Africa aren’t always proud of their rank, one senior noncommissioned officer confessed to a roomful of his peers from nearly 30 African countries and the U.S.

‘LaDavid fought like a hero:’ Family of soldier killed in Niger attack receives posthumous medal

The family of a U.S. soldier killed during an October 2017 ambush in West Africa was presented the country’s third-highest valor award Friday in Florida, the fourth posthumous medal for valor in that incident presented in the past week.


AMRDEC file transfer site is shuttered as Pentagon launches DOD-wide solution

Users will be unable to download material from a popular military file exchange service after Thursday, as the Defense Department transitions to a new site with larger capacity and better security.


Families receive posthumous awards on behalf of soldiers killed in 2017 Niger ambush

Showing “total disregard for his personal safety or life,” Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright crossed open terrain under intense enemy fire to protect and recover two fallen comrades, his medal citation says. The medal was one of three posthumous awards presented in recent days to families of those slain in the attack.


Marine Corps Exchanges to end DVD, Blu-ray disc sales

Marine Corps Exchanges are selling off their stocks of DVDs and Blu-ray discs and will end sales of the media in the next few months, an official said.


2018 blast in Syria that killed US, UK soldiers accidental detonation, not enemy action

U.S. Special Operations Command on Monday confirmed that a 2018 blast in Syria that killed two special operations soldiers from the U.S. and the U.K. was caused by coalition explosives, not a roadside bomb.


gallery

‘Without trust, there’s no partnership’: Civil affairs soldiers strengthen US ties to Djibouti

Civil affairs soldiers serve as cultural and governance experts who form a key part of the U.S. mission as it competes with other world powers making inroads in East Africa.


USS Boxer pulls into Bahrain a week after Iranian drone incident

The USS Boxer pulled into Bahrain’s Khalifa bin Salman Port on Thursday for a visit, days after the amphibious assault ship made headlines for downing at least one Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.


Navy SEAL platoon ordered out of Iraq for drinking alcohol while deployed, report says

The apparent breakdown in discipline among the elite Navy team comes at a time of increased scrutiny of the special operations communities that have borne the strain of a high operational tempo over more than 17 years of war in the Middle East.


Navy identifies missing sailor who went overboard from carrier in Arabian Sea

The search for Petty Officer 2nd Class Slayton Saldana was called off Friday after “extensive attempts to locate the sailor” involving three ships and aircraft from two patrol squadrons, 5th Fleet said.


Navy halts search for sailor missing in Arabian Sea

A sailor who was reported overboard from a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea earlier this week remains missing after the Navy ended its search-and-rescue efforts, officials said Saturday.


Pentagon IDs soldier who died in noncombat incident in Kuwait

Sgt. William Edward Friese, 30, a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic in the West Virginia Army National Guard, died Thursday at Camp Buehring, the military said. Details of the incident were not released, and a Pentagon statement said it remained under investigation.


Tehran denies USS Boxer destroyed Iranian drone after US says it threatened ship’s safety

Senior Iranian officials said that none of the country’s drones in the region had been destroyed, although a top military spokesman in the country suggested that one had approached the USS Boxer.


Navy ship shoots down Iranian drone over Strait of Hormuz, Pentagon says

The USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, was in international waters traveling into the Strait of Hormuz when a drone “closed within a threatening range," U.S. officials said. Iran denied that it had lost a drone.


More US troops to head to Mideast amid rising tensions with Iran, reports say

About 500 servicemembers are expected to be sent to Prince Sultan Air Base in the desert east of the Saudi capital of Riyadh, unnamed Defense Department officials said Wednesday.


Wahlburgers, Arby’s and more: These new restaurants are opening at military exchanges in Europe

Wahlburgers, a fast-casual burger chain founded by a trio of brothers from Boston, is among the eateries slated to open at military exchanges in Europe in the coming months, along with pizza, barbecue and chicken stands.


No, the Pentagon isn’t planning a war on pizza

Word that the Pentagon was set to mandate a low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet for servicemembers spread like spilled avocado oil across the internet last week, with some respected outlets repeating the claim. These reports, sources said, were not true.


Army wraps up Mosul Dam mission, the 'construction project that never ends'

Last week, Iraqi, U.S. and Italian officials celebrated the completion of a $530-million project to shore-up Iraq's largest dam. But while the work has stabilized the dam, construction flaws that have posed a threat since its completion in 1984 have yet to be permanently fixed, a research paper says.


Iran attack marks first known successful strike on high-flying Global Hawk drone

The RQ-4A Global Hawk maritime surveillance drone was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz when it was downed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, U.S. Central Command said in a statement, though Tehran has claimed it was flying in Iranian airspace.


CENTCOM confirms Yemen rebels shot down US drone

The CENTCOM statement confirmed earlier reports of the incident, which took place earlier this month, and comes as the U.S. has accused Iran of attacking merchant ships in the region amid rising tensions in a standoff between Washington and Tehran.


Obituary

Quiet professional remembered: Bill Dean had lasting impact on ISIS fight

A memorial Monday at an Alaska National Guard armory will celebrate a Special Forces veteran whose role in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria was relatively unknown before he died in a climbing accident last month.


New commander takes over Horn of Africa mission ahead of proposed US shift

Army Maj. Gen. Michael D. Turello assumed command of U.S. military efforts in East Africa, where a proposal may shift the mission focus from multinational training and counterterrorism to a permanent presence that seeks to strengthen American influence on the continent.


Taji NCO infantry school to be Iraqi-run as US coalition partners draw down

A new urban training range located about 25 miles north of Baghdad at the Taji Military Complex has the capacity to train up to a battalion of Iraqi troops at a time in urban operations, the Australian and New Zealand-led Task Group Taji said in a statement Thursday.


AFRICOM commander sees recent signs of progress in Somalia

In high-level talks in Mogadishu on Tuesday, U.S. Africa Command’s Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser and U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto discussed how to keep momentum “moving forward” in the Horn of Africa country, which has been in disarray for more than 20 years.


ROTC cadet admits to operating pro-Nazi Twitter account, Army officials say

During an investigation into “online behavior that is not consistent with Army values,” Cadet Martha Gerdes of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte admitted to posting anti-Semitic, racist and anti-gay statements on Twitter, Maj. Dean Carter, a command spokesman, said Monday in an emailed statement.


'Failure is not an option': Infantry officer becomes first woman in her division with EIB

Despite the desert heat, dozens of soldiers in Kuwait last week earned the prestigious Expert Infantry Badge, including one of the first women to receive the decoration since women began making inroads into combat arms fields previously closed to them.


Most Americans say US right to fight WWII while 1 out of 5 don’t know

Most Americans believe the United States was right to participate in World War II but many are either skeptical or don’t know, according to a poll released ahead of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that kicked off the liberation of Europe.


Supporters raise funds after Army major, two daughters die in Kentucky crash

An online fundraiser for the family of Army Ranger Maj. Agustin “Augie” Gonzalez had raised more than $140,000 as of Friday, after news that he and his daughters Noelle, 6, and Gwen, 2, died in a car crash over Memorial Day weekend.


‘Saving Private Ryan’ coming to AAFES theaters in EUCOM, CENTCOM for D-Day 75

The film is scheduled to run on June 6 in more than 20 base theaters overseas in Europe and the Middle East.


Vietnam vet presents his medals to slain ROTC cadet

A Vietnam War veteran presented two of his medals posthumously to a University of North Carolina-Charlotte ROTC cadet who was killed when he tackled a gunman who opened fire inside a classroom.


Cadet who tackled UNC shooter is posthumously honored with ROTC Medal for Heroism

Riley Howell, a University of North Carolina Charlotte student and ROTC cadet who died after charging and tackling a gunman who opened fire in a university classroom, was posthumously awarded the ROTC Medal of Heroism earlier this month.


Bob Dole, former senator wounded in WWII, is promoted to Army colonel

Former Sen. Bob Dole was officially promoted from Army captain to the honorary rank of colonel during a ceremony Thursday at the World War II Memorial in Washington, becoming the third and only living recipient of such an honor in the service’s 244-year history.


State Department orders evacuation of non-emergency US government employees from Iraq

The State Department has ordered all non-emergency U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in Erbil to leave the country, according to a statement posted on the embassy’s website Wednesday.


Bomber task force completes first CENTCOM mission as Iran warns US forces to leave region

The mission was the first for the unit since it was deployed to the Persian Gulf last week, in response to what U.S. officials have described as indications of Iranian threats against U.S. forces in Iraq, Syria and at sea.


A soldier’s award for tossing an enemy grenade back is upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross

Nicholas Eslinger's quick action that night in October 2008 saved six soldiers from potential injury or death, earning him a Silver Star Medal in 2009. Last week, he received an upgraded award — a Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second-highest award for combat valor.


Want to know how many websites the Pentagon runs? So does the Pentagon

The Pentagon could be responsible for 5,000 publicly accessible websites. Or it could be less than half that. Nobody appears to know for sure.


No, Australian soldiers aren’t banned from using slang around US Marines

“We have lost-in-translation moments more than you would realize,” Australian Air Force Group Capt. Stewart Dowrie told the country’s 10 Daily last week. “The time to figure that out is not on the battlefield when the bullets are flying.”


Air Force carries out airstrike with F-35 for first time in combat

The service's first combat use of the F-35A Lightning II was an airstrike conducted deep in Iraq’s Hamrin Mountains, according to U.S. Air Forces Central Command.


Pentagon IDs soldier who died in noncombat incident in northern Syria

Pfc. Michael A. Thomason, 28, of Lincoln Park, Mich., died of “wounds sustained from a non-combat incident” in Kobani, Syria, according to a statement issued late Monday by the Pentagon.


‘A culture of fear’: A look at the California National Guard allegations spurring lawmakers to consider new legislation

The proposed legislation comes amid fresh scrutiny on the state’s military department after allegations of misconduct and claims of reprisal forced the removal of three top officers from their posts in the California Air National Guard earlier this month.


Merit over seniority: Army revamping 50-year-old centralized promotion board

The Army will revamp its centralized promotion board processes over the next few years to focus on advancing senior noncommissioned officers on merit, not time served.


'I just did what instinct told me to do': Soldiers awarded Silver Star medals for rescue mission

Two soldiers have been awarded Silver Star medals for a July mission where they said they barely noticed the enemy gunfire peppering their Black Hawk helicopter in Afghanistan.


How one veteran’s struggle to adjust to life after the Army led to the birth of ‘Shazam!’

The hit Warner Bros. superhero film “Shazam!” is based on a character whose origins begin with an Army veteran’s little-known struggle a century ago to adjust to life after war.


Marines killed in Afghanistan blast died only days before they were to come home

Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines and Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman were all assigned to 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, and were in Afghanistan as a part of Operation Resolute Support.


Three Americans slain in Bagram blast identified as Marines, one a decorated NYC fireman

All three American servicemembers killed in a bombing outside Bagram Air Field were Marines, it was announced Tuesday, while the military said an Afghan contractor initially reported dead has been found alive.


Marines raise money to spread ‘Mayhem’ in tribute to former commander

Marines are raising money to donate a service dog to another Marine in need in honor of retired Col. Mark A. Smith, who died late last month and was known for his personal leadership style.


Marine colonel known for heartfelt Iraq War letters laid to rest

Retired Col. Mark A. Smith, who wrote dozens of letters praised for their compassion and eloquence to the families of his Marine Reserve battalion during a deployment early in the Iraq War, was remembered this week as a “Marine’s Marine.”


Defense Department identifies two soldiers killed in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense on Saturday identified the two soldiers who died Friday in Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations.


Alabama lawmakers, family of slain CIA officer angered by 'American Taliban' John Walker Lindh's release

John Walker Lindh is currently being held at the Federal Correctional Institution Terre Haute and is set to be released May 23, based on the full term of his sentence minus time for good behavior.


USAF Academy welcomes 9-year-old with cancer as ‘youngest cadet’

Decked out in a kid-sized flight suit, Je’Moni Ford, 9, became the U.S. Air Force Academy’s “youngest cadet” this month, quickly advancing from the fourth grade straight into college — at least for a day.


Calling Captain Marvel: Meet the real-life servicemembers who share the superhero name

Photos with strangers. A kid who insists on calling you "Daddy Captain Marvel." And a little twinge of regret that you won't get to keep the moniker when you get promoted. Those are just a few of the experiences of the actual Capt. Marvels.


Age is no obstacle: Soldiers complete Army’s toughest schools after 40

Here's a look at two soldiers who recently completed physically grueling courses at a time in their lives when some soldiers might be tempted to coast into retirement.


Military file-sharing site brought back online after fixing security concerns

A Defense Department website used to transfer large files containing sensitive unclassified information was brought back online earlier this month after being shuttered over security concerns last year.


Special Operations airmen begin 830-mile memorial ruck march

Before dawn, 20 special tactics airmen began on Friday an 830-mile ruck march honoring Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, a special tactics combat controller from Hookstown, Pa., killed in Afghanistan in late November, and 19 other special tactics airmen killed in the line of duty since 9/11.


Navy linguist killed in Syria to be honored on memorial to code-makers and code-breakers

Next week, Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent will become the third woman and 177th entry on the National Cryptologic Memorial, which honors code-makers and code-breakers who’ve been killed in the line of duty since World War II.


After surviving the Taliban, Afghan translator killed by wrong-way driver in California

Waheed Etimad, 40, immigrated to the U.S. four years ago with his family on a special immigrant visa to “make a good life for his children."


'I like this guy': Trump expected to visit soldier wounded in deadly Syria blast

Capt. Jon Turnbull, 32, of Gaylord, Mich., was wounded in a Jan. 16 blast in the town of Manbij that left four Americans and dozens of others dead.


Aviano route test expected to bring regular space-available flights to Germany, US

The planned route is from Maryland’s Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on to Aviano, and ending at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Return trips follow the route in reverse.


‘Higher, further, faster’: Air Force names first female fighter pilot to command F-16 Viper team

Capt. Zoe “SiS” Kotnik was named pilot and commander of the Air Combat Command’s F-16 Viper Demonstration Team last week after completing a series of certification flights.


Arctic warfare instructors offer advice for weathering polar temperatures

The polar vortex has brought record-shattering Arctic temperatures to the Midwest, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic this week; meanwhile, snowy conditions are impacting U.S. military bases in Europe and Asia. Some are more prepared for the cold than others.


‘Cuddles for Airmen’ and other nonprofits you didn’t know you needed

Just in case it seemed that every conceivable military-charity niche was filled, in comes A Single Plastic Fork for American Admin Clerks and Shampoo for Marines. But don't whip out your checkbooks just yet.


Texan who tried to teach English to ISIS in Mosul has been indicted

Warren C. Clark, a convert to Islam and former substitute teacher from Sugar Land, Texas, previously admitted to seeking a position teaching English at a university in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which ISIS has occupied for more than three years.


American soldier wounded in Manbij attack fighting for his life

Capt. Jonathan Turnbull, 32, a native of Gaylord, Mich., is being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and is in serious condition after being wounded in a deadly bombing in Syria last week.


Green Beret, two language specialists, SEAL-turned-DIA civilian among dead in ISIS-claimed Syria bombing

The ISIS-claimed bombing of a restaurant in Syria on Wednesday killed an Army Green Beret with four children, a former Navy SEAL working for the Pentagon’s intelligence agency and a Navy linguist, the Pentagon announced Friday. An American contractor was also killed.


Two servicemembers among four Americans killed in Syria explosion claimed by ISIS

Three additional American servicemembers were injured in the blast that occurred as U.S. military officials met with local leaders in Manbij.


Two 1st Cavalry soldiers killed in unrelated training incidents

Spc. Andrew S. Ortega was killed Sunday while deployed to Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. On Monday evening, a second 1st Cavalry soldier who has not been identified was killed in a "rollover accident" involving a Bradley Fighting Vehicle at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.


Obituary

Vietnam-era Medal of Honor recipient Joe Jackson dead at 95

Retired Air Force Col. Joe M. Jackson, a recipient of the Medal of Honor, a veteran of three wars and early U-2 pilot, died Saturday at the age of 95.


Army secretary: PT belts aren’t needed in daylight

The change seems to highlight the glaringly obvious — that a belt worn to increase a soldier’s visibility to drivers of cars and other vehicles on predawn or nighttime runs would not normally be needed in broad daylight or where vehicles generally can’t go.


US officials say Syria withdrawal has begun with equipment removal

The United States has begun removing military cargo from Syria, though no American troops have withdrawn yet from the war-torn country, U.S. military officials said Friday, providing few details.


Medevac crew receives valor awards following harrowing rescue mission

Under fire and carrying a badly wounded patient, the Black Hawk helicopter was just lifting off an Afghan battlefield when the crew chief saw an Army Ranger in the landing zone get shot and drop to the ground. The Black Hawk darted back to evacuate the fallen Ranger in the face of enemy fire. There was more danger to come that day.


GALLERY

Servicemembers embrace the freeze at cold weather operations course

Falling through ice into cold water can cause rapid breathing, tunnel vision, confusion and muscle tension, but soldiers at Fort McCoy, Wis., recently learned to overcome the shock.


US pushes back on reports of civilian casualties following strike at ISIS in Syria

Military officials are refuting reports that civilians were harmed in a coalition airstrike on an Islamic State-held village in eastern Syria last week, while observers have warned of diminished transparency in the anti-ISIS campaign.


Syrian Kurds say American teen among 8 captured foreign ISIS fighters

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, said Wednesday they had captured U.S. citizen Soulay Noah Su, 16, who had been going by the alias Abu Souleiman al-Amriki.


Three servicemembers under investigation in death of US contractor in Iraq, reports say

Two Marines and a Navy corpsman deployed to northern Iraq are being investigated in connection with the death of a U.S. contractor last week, according to media reports describing the latest in a series of incidents and allegations of misconduct involving special operations troops.


Kurdish forces: Two American ISIS fighters captured

A Texan named Warren Christopher Clark, 34, was one of two reputed U.S. citizens captured in a counterterrorism raid near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Democratic Forces said in a release Sunday.


Memorials, funerals honor soldiers killed in deadly Afghanistan blast

Sgt. Jason McClary was the driver of a military vehicle in central Afghanistan when he was hit by a roadside bomb last month that fatally wounded him and three special operations troops.