Chad Garland

'Star Wars' producer, former Marine Gary Kurtz dead at 78

Gary Kurtz, “Star Wars” producer and Vietnam-era veteran, died Sunday in North London, England, after battling cancer.

Marines roll out lightweight jungle uniform

A new tropical uniform, which has been described as “like pajamas,” is being field tested. It's based on the same design as the current Marine Corps combat utilities, but made of a lighter material designed to dry faster and keep Marines cooler.

NATO base in Kabul is building more amid open-ended US commitment

Nearly 17 years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, the international coalition in Kabul is putting down new roots with hardened permanent structures to replace temporary ones at its headquarters in the increasingly violent capital.

Douglas Riney died in Afghanistan when his son was 2. Now 4, the boy builds memorials to his father

When James Riney’s mother took him shopping for new bedding to outfit his room in their new house, the 4-year-old considered a few options: first sharks, then dinosaurs, then comic book superheroes. He passed on all three.

US strikes prepare ground for Syrian Democratic Forces in anti-ISIS operation

Syrian Democratic Forces launched the third phase of ground operations to clear Islamic State fighters from northeastern Syria on Monday, following cross-border air and artillery strikes from the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

US soldier who survived Afghan insider attack to reunite with family soon

Army Staff Sgt. Bryan McQueen has a minor brain injury following an attack in Afghanistan, but he will head home to his high school sweetheart wife and newborn son in a few days — a fate his mother said is an answer to her prayers.


What does the pizza MRE taste like? Troops try the long-awaited ‘holy grail’ of military rations

In anticipation of the long-awaited rollout of the Meal, Ready to Eat pepperoni pizza, Stars and Stripes flew several of the military ration’s main pizza entrees into Afghanistan for taste tests with the troops. Here's what they had to say.

Army infantryman died in noncombat incident in Afghanistan

The Pentagon has identified the soldier who died Tuesday from a noncombat injury at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, as Staff Sgt. Diobanjo S. Sanagustin, 32, from National City, Calif.

Soldier killed in Afghanistan insider attack was on seventh deployment

Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Bolyard died of wounds sustained in the attack at at Camp Maiwand in Logar province.

Female Marine recruits get new high-collar blues coats

One week after the Marine Corps celebrated a century of women in its ranks, some of its newest female recruits will be issued blues dress coats designed to look more like those of their male counterparts.

Top leaders step down at former Blackwater firm

The top leaders of the U.S. security services firm that former Navy SEAL Erik Prince founded as Blackwater in 1997 have resigned, and a new chief executive has been named, the company announced.

Soldier killed in Iraq helicopter crash identified

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Taylor J. Galvin died in Baghdad from injuries sustained when the helicopter in which he was traveling crashed early Monday in Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh province.

American servicemember killed in Iraq helicopter crash after raid on ISIS

An American servicemember was killed and several other troops were injured late Sunday in Iraq when their helicopter crashed after participating in a raid against an Islamic State target, military officials said Monday.


Afghanistan’s tank battalion is melting away

Many of Afghanistan's remaining Soviet-made T-55s and T-62s are gradually succumbing to the ravages of time. Maintainers can barely keep the beasts running, and those they can’t are being cannibalized for parts or sold off as scrap.

PT belt — much like the kind mocked in the military — sold for $30 at Urban Outfitters

The U.S. military has made its mark on the fashion world many times — consider the leather bomber jacket, khaki pants or the wool peacoat — but few soldiers likely would have pegged the infamous “glow” belt to crossover into world of civilian style.

US soldier convicted of attempted rape in Denmark

A U.S. soldier assigned to a special operations unit in Europe was convicted of attempted rape in Denmark last week, officials said.

Army’s XM25 program officially goes kaput

The Army has formally terminated its effort to develop a 25 mm airburst weapon, the largest of nearly three dozen ways a Pentagon watchdog has said the military could save $2.3 billion in defense spending.

Air Force releases Battle of Roberts Ridge footage of airman slated to receive Medal of Honor

In the newly released 1.5-minute Air Force video, Tech Sgt. John Chapman can be seen charging up a steep slope toward enemy positions to recover a fellow servicemember who had fallen from the back after the team came under heavy enemy fire from al-Qaida.

Reported Syrian rebel shooting of US Marine hasn’t undermined partnership, coalition says

“We continue to work by, with and through our partners to achieve the lasting defeat of ISIS in designated parts of Iraq and Syria,” Operation Inherent Resolve officials said in a statement.

Wahlburgers to open its first military base location, but it'll be a while

Troops tired of Anthony’s pizza, Charleys' subs and Auntie Anne’s pretzels will have a new food option named after someone they may actually recognize when Wahlburgers opens on a Washington base.

Marine Purple Heart recipient’s ‘warrior instincts’ kicked in after mortar blast

Lance Cpl. Dillon Bennett suffered a traumatic brain injury, shrapnel to his knee and other cuts and bruises as a result of a mortar round explosion last month. He was awarded a Purple Heart during a ceremony at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Army cooperating in investigation of Ranger linked to grisly killing near Seattle

The Army’s Special Operations Command is cooperating with Washington state investigators after police say a Ranger brutally killed a woman in her hotel room, then opened fire at two occupied cars before fatally shooting himself late last month.

Army doesn’t know what it got in return for $78 million in maintenance fees

Awarded to AC First LLC in August 2016 and valued at $429 million, the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract was intended to provide maintenance services on armored vehicles and weapons throughout Afghanistan, including on Bagram and Kandahar air fields. As of May, the Army had paid out close to $78 million on the contract.

Special Forces leader cites 'stupid' shooting, adultery, alcohol in team’s disciplinary breakdown

A Green Beret who fired on a civilian truck in Afghanistan showed “horribly poor judgment” during a deployment in which officers let soldiers drink alcohol and have sex in violation of military rules, the team’s enlisted leader stated in an Army investigation report.

Arrest is made in vandalism of monument honoring MOH recipient Michael Murphy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Csaid in a statement he was “appalled and disgusted” by the vandalism, promising the state would fully fund the replacement. The new stone is expected to be nearly impossible to shatter.

Semper Gumby: Ukrainian troops observe how Marine NCOs make missions work

More than 40 U.S. Marines sent to southeastern Ukraine to train with the local marines as part of the 19-country Sea Breeze exercise, which U.S. officials hope will encourage the country’s military to emulate western armed forces to meet NATO standards.

Marines do fast trade in MREs, knives and dip for Ukrainian goods at Sea Breeze exercise

Under normal Marine field conditions, scarcity might make Skittles or jalapeno cheese spread from a Meals, Ready to Eat pouch worth trading. But on a base outside Mykolaiv, where Marines trained with their Ukrainian marine counterparts as part of the 19-nation Sea Breeze naval exercise this month, the American staples can net more unusual goods.

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Ukrainian troops keep Russia on their minds as they train with US Marines

Exercise Sea Breeze is a lot like many other annual drills at the operational level. But in this case, Ukrainians are going to use what they learn to fight separatists backed by Russia.


US Marines train with Ukrainian troops near Crimean Peninsula

The purpose of Thursday’s exercise was to increase combat effectiveness and demonstrate resolve among the 17 allied and partner nations participating in the training known as Exercise Sea Breeze, now in its 18th iteration.

Insider attack kills 1 American, wounds 2 more in southern Afghanistan

One U.S. servicemember was killed and two others were wounded in an apparent insider attack in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, according to a news release from Resolute Support.


Troops at Bagram take break to celebrate belated Independence Day

Armed guards stood watch outside a tent at Bagram Air Field on Friday as a group of soldiers danced the Electric Slide in an atmosphere something like a summer block party.

IG: Marine general used aide as servant during Iraq deployment

A Marine general violated ethics rules on a recent deployment to Iraq when he asked or allowed his aide to loan him money and run his personal errands, the Pentagon’s inspector general said Thursday.

Marines award BAE $200 million to build new amphibious combat vehicle

Fleet Marines are set to get a more reliable, faster and better protected amphibious fighting vehicle starting in late 2020 as the Corps begins replacing its decades-old amphibious assault vehicle.

Coalition troops in Afghanistan get training on spicy new weapons

Nearly three dozen troops have been trained on a new weapon that looks and feels like a standard-issue carbine but fires nonlethal rounds that explode on impact and release a cloud of irritating pepper powder, military officials said Tuesday.

Peace marchers arrive in Kabul as Taliban restarts anti-government offensives

Dozens of men who marched hundreds of miles across Afghanistan arrived in Kabul with demands for an end to decades of conflict on Monday, shortly after the Taliban ended its brief cease-fire.

Taliban sends fighters back to trenches in Afghanistan after 3-day cease-fire

The Taliban ordered their fighters back to the trenches Sunday hours after a suicide car bombing spoiled a holiday cease-fire.

Afghan president orders cease-fire extension even as suicide attack mars holiday truce

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered an indefinite extension to a government cease-fire with the Taliban late Saturday, even as a blast in eastern Afghanistan cast a pall over a countrywide celebration of the Eid al-Fitr holiday and historic dual cease-fires.

Dual cease-fires met with hugs between Taliban and Afghan soldiers

The first day of the Eid holiday in eastern Afghanistan brought a strange sight — presumed Taliban fighters walking up to Afghan soldiers at checkpoints and taking selfies with them.

Soldiers celebrate Army’s birthday with 'All American' feast in Kabul

The dining facility at NATO’s Resolute Support helped celebrate the Army’s 243rd birthday Thursday by dishing up an “all-American lunch” of prime rib, crab legs, baked potatoes, shrimp scampi and a massive sheet cake.

Taliban keep fighting as Kabul government’s cease-fire begins

Despite the eight-day truce announced by the Afghan government, the Taliban has remained on the offensive, mounting attacks in northern Afghanistan a day after the Kabul government’s pause in combat operations against the group began.

Attacks in Afghanistan kill dozens day before cease-fire with Taliban

A suicide bomber on foot detonated his explosives near a van full of government employees on Monday, killing at least 12 people ahead of an anticipated Taliban cease-fire.

Taliban splinter group declares open-ended truce with Kabul

The splinter group, led by Mullah Mohammad Rasul, said late Saturday its stand-down would begin immediately and last until an unspecified future date.

Leaked inquiry: Australian special operators committed war crimes in Afghanistan

Elite Australian troops committed “unsanctioned and illegal” violence in Afghanistan with a “disregard for human life,” special operations soldiers told a secret military inquiry, an Australian newspaper reported Friday.

Not your typical hipster coffee joint: Guardsmen deployed to Iraq open a spot for lattes and more

A group of Oregon National Guard soldiers transformed a second-hand espresso machine at Iraq’s Camp Taji Military Complex into their own coffee shop. Funds collected in a donation jar are used for projects to boost morale and promote unit cohesion.

Afghan president, US forces commit to weeklong unilateral cease-fire with Taliban

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced a weeklong cease-fire with the Taliban beginning next week, lasting through the end of Ramadan and into one of the holiest periods of the year for Muslims.

Kabul approves UAE’s offer of troops for NATO mission

Afghan officials have approved the United Arab Emirates’ offer to contribute troops to NATO’s Resolute Support mission to advise and train Afghanistan’s security forces, a move that could bring an Islamic ally into the fight against extremism.

Kabul’s Emergency Center war hospital busier than it’s been since 2001

The Emergency Surgical Center for War Victims, or Emergency Center, in Kabul reported 421 admissions in May, compared with 384 in the same month last year, when a massive truck bomb went off a few blocks from the medical facility on the last day of the month.


US-style military uniforms like those used in Kabul attack are freely sold in Afghan markets

At the Kabul market known as “Bush Bazaar,” shops sell military goods of suspect origins — everything from what U.S. troops wear on their backs to what they put in their bellies, and more. Many of the goods may have been pilfered from military supply shipments.

Suicide bomber kills 7 at religious meeting that had condemned suicide attacks

The bomber detonated his explosives at about 11:20 a.m., at the entrance of a large hall where a religious body known as the Afghan Ulema Council was meeting.

RV rib shack conceals hidden culinary treasure in Heidelberg

Tempted by online reviews promising “the best ribs in Germany,” two Stars and Stripes reporters recently trekked to Heidelberg to visit Hakim’s Imbiss and Steak House.

Gunmen dressed as US soldiers attack Afghan Interior Ministry

It’s not clear who carried out the attack — one of at least three that occurred in Afghanistan on Wednesday — that targeted the Interior Ministry’s compound a few hundred yards from Kabul’s airport and a coalition air base where Americans and their allies train Afghan forces.

Memorial Day in Afghanistan pays tribute to American war dead

A field of lights and a display of names and photos projected on a blast wall here Monday night paid tribute to the more than 2,400 Americans who’ve died as part of the United States’ nearly 17-year war in Afghanistan.

Fort Bragg-based soldier dies in Kosovo

The staff sergeant died Thursday from a noncombat-related incident at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, the Pentagon said Friday.

Probe: ‘No criminality’ in incident of soldier shooting into Afghan truck caught on video

An American servicemember seen in an online video shooting into a moving truck in Afghanistan acted in accordance with military rules, an investigation has found.

A soldier wants custody of the baby his wife told him died at birth. She tried to give the newborn away, police say.

Sgt. Steven Garcia, who is stationed in South Korea, was told that his wife, Marina Garcia, had given birth to a daughter in Arizona who died during childbirth. But police say she tried to give the newborn away. Though he’s not the baby’s biological father, he plans to fight for custody.

Afghan forces, US airpower repel Taliban attack on provincial capital

The Taliban retreated from the capital of western Farah province Tuesday after launching a pre-dawn assault on the city that killed and wounded several Afghan troops, with U.S. airpower supporting government forces.

10 dead in attack on Afghan government building in Jalalabad

Taliban claims to have downed Afghan military helicopter in other incident, but government says its forces destroyed it after mechanical failure.

At least 6 wounded as blasts targeting 2 police stations rock Afghan capital

At least two police officers were killed and more than six people were wounded in a series of blasts that rocked the capital Wednesday afternoon, including multiple bombings in a neighborhood near the international zone where the U.S. Embassy and NATO mission are located.

Air Force slashes computer-based training requirements

The Air Force is eliminating mandatory computer-based training on all but three courses and giving commanders wide discretion in how they conduct most ancillary training, the service’s top leaders said in a new memo.

UN says Afghan air raid in April killed 30 children

Afghan defense officials initially said the attack targeted about 30 Taliban leaders who were taking part in a military parade. They said the strike was on a Taliban training camp, with foreign fighters from across the border in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan among the dead.

Failed suicide bombing targets Kabul blood drive

Kabul police foiled an attempted attack on civilians gathered for a blood collection drive in a park about a mile from the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters, officials said Monday.

ROTC instructors help rescue motorist pinned in flaming wreck on freeway

“We talk about our deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, but never in a million years would you ever expect to be called upon to do something in Los Angeles,” said Lt. Col. Shannon Stambersky, the head of UCLA’s Army ROTC program.

Airman intervenes after Reddit post, saves life of suicidal Air Force member

An Office of Special Investigations rookie on Reddit noticed a subtle cry for help among Reddit posts. Then he and another airman made 25 calls to get in touch with the supervisor of the airman who made the posting.

Land component command deactivates as counter-ISIS fight in Iraq shifts

The combined joint forces command responsible for land operations in Iraq deactivated Monday in Baghdad, signaling the end of major combat operations against the Islamic State in that country.

National Devil Dog Day celebrates cake, not Corps

Every dog will have its day, and Friday belongs to the Devil Dog.

From bugs to bombs, little-known Seabee unit protects US embassies from threats

As embassies became more fortress-like, the Seabees’ focus expanded from interior walls out to compound perimeters, and from watching construction projects for bug-planting to maintaining systems that monitor for signs of potential violence.


ISIS fighters display less-than-stellar leapfrogging, martial arts skills in seized videos

Islamic State propaganda videos seized by the U.S. appear to show masked militants training inside a mosque in northwestern Afghanistan, doing pushups, playing leapfrog and bunny hopping.

Army leaders cut some mandatory training and other 'burdensome' requirements

The changes were greeted cautiously by soldiers and veterans on the online forum Reddit, where some users identifying themselves as soldiers mentioned forging training certificates in the past.

Army recruiter’s group text that revealed phone numbers leads to mass confusion, warning

The Army has warned recruiters about using texts or social media to contact potential recruits after a mass text sent to high school parents near Indianapolis disclosed hundreds of personal cell phone numbers.

New Marine amphibious vehicle on schedule and under budget

Development costs for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle are now an estimated $60 million below original projections of $810.5 million, a Government Accountability Office report found, though it warned of continued potential for cost overruns or delays.

Chemical weapons incident planned as part of US-Jordan exercise, days after Syria strike

U.S. officials said the eighth annual iteration of the exercise is not directly related to U.S., British and French missile strikes, which targeted Syria in response to a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian city of Douma that killed dozens on April 7.

Report: Army Corps of Engineers mismanaged $60 million Afghan power project

A $60 million power project overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan couldn’t be powered up for fear it would put Afghan lives at risk, and shoddy work could leave the system structurally unstable, a government watchdog found.

Pentagon identifies American soldier killed in Syria explosion

U.S. Army Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar of Austin, Texas and U.K. Sgt. Matt Tonroe died Friday after an improvised explosive device detonated near a patrol in Manbij, Syria.

'Just painful': Pentagon mulls an overhaul of mandatory training policies

Military leaders have said they’re overwhelmed by unnecessary training requirements, but seasoned officers in Afghanistan said they see signs of a turnaround as the Pentagon looks to streamline military policies.

US, Afghan special operations target ISIS foreign fighters in northwest Afghanistan

About one in 10 Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan are foreign fighters, the top U.S. general in the country said Thursday, in a statement touting recent U.S. and Afghan operations targeting the group.

Military doctors busy treating Iraqi forces as ISIS continues fight

A U.S.-led medical task force in Iraq has treated hundreds of patients over the past five months, including about 300 wounded Iraqi security personnel, as coalition forces have shifted from offensive operations to holding ground retaken from the Islamic State.