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Esper: Pentagon not 'discussing or considering' sending 14,000 new troops to Middle East

The Pentagon will not send 14,000 new U.S. troops to the Middle East, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday, a day after a senior Defense Department official told lawmakers that more military forces could deploy to the region to counter Iran.

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Air Force instructor, student pilot killed in T-38 crash at Vance Air Force Base

Lt. Col. John “Matt” Kincade and 2nd Lt. Travis B. Wilkie were piloting the supersonic T-38C Talon training aircraft that crashed in an incident that involved a second T-38 during a routine formation Thursday.


Two airmen killed in T-38 crash during training mission at Vance Air Force Base

Video shot by Oklahoma City’s KOCO News shows one T-38 flipped over a few hundred feet off of a runway with markings in the ground that indicate its path from the runway. A second T-38 was resting upright several hundred feet from the flipped jet.


The agency that recovers and IDs remains of missing troops needs more money, partner organizations say

“Land of the free, home of the brave, yet 81,864 missing Americans are buried in unmarked graves,” said the chief executive officer of an organization that works hand-in-hand with Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency to recover missing remains of Americans.


House Democrats call for DOD IG probe into border deployment, charging racist motivation

House Democrats on Friday charged President Donald Trump’s decision last year to send thousands of American troops to the U.S. southern border was politically motivated and rooted in racism as they renewed a call for the Pentagon inspector general to probe its legality.


Police offer $10,000 reward in search for Marine deserter wanted for killing mom’s boyfriend

Officials said Thursday that they believe Cpl. Michael Alexander Brown was near Roanoke, Va., and closed area schools, urging residents to remain indoors following a report the wanted Marine was spotted in the city.


More than four million additional people will get access to DOD commissaries in 2020

The expansion grants veterans with a documented service-related disability, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and certain veteran caregivers access to commissaries, military exchanges, and some morale, welfare and recreation services on bases within the United States.


AWOL Marine is wanted in the killing of his mother’s boyfriend

Marine Cpl. Michael Alexander Brown, 22, is wanted on charges of second degree murder and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony for his alleged role in the death of 54-year-old Rodney Brown.


Military retirees, survivors to see 1.6% COLA boost in 2020

Military retirees and eligible survivors will receive a 1.6% boost in their monthly pay beginning in January based on the Pentagon’s annual cost of living adjustment, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.


Military’s top court will look at Bergdahl conviction, consider Trump's and McCain's influence

The court’s decision to review the case comes about two years after former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty in late October 2017 to the charges and he was sentenced to a reduction in rank to E-1 private, the forfeiture of about $10,000 in pay and a dishonorable discharge after a weeklong trial.


National Guard beefing up cyber security teams ahead of 2020 election

Twenty-seven states activated National Guard cyber security cells in November 2018 to help ensure critical network infrastructure remained unobstructed during the mid-term elections, the Guard’s top general said Tuesday, predicting more states would deploy such teams in 2020.


Navy’s top submariner is confirmed as next STRATCOM commander

Vice Adm. Charles Richard will be promoted to four-star admiral when he takes the helm of STRATCOM at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Richard has most recently been serving as the Navy’s submarine forces commander since August 2018.


Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher seeks Trump pardon, family says

Family members of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who beat murder charges this year but was convicted of posing for a photograph with an enemy corpse, are asking President Donald Trump for a pardon, they wrote Thursday on social media.


Carolina Army Guard troops move into eastern Syria with Bradley Fighting Vehicles

The 4-118th Infantry Regiment is part of the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, which includes about 4,200 soldiers from Army National Guard units from North and South Carolina and West Virginia.


Former Air Force Academy ethics instructor pleads guilty to exploiting child for sex

Air Force Capt. Paul Sikkema will register as a sex offender and spend 10 years under intensive supervised probation after pleading guilty this week to charges that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old online for sex.


Trump presents Medal of Honor to second Green Beret for actions in Battle of Shok Valley

Master Sgt. Matthew O. Williams described the honor as “humbling” and unexpected. He never considered the possibility of receiving the Medal of Honor, an upgrade of the Silver Star that he received in the months after that fight.


Green Beret becomes second Medal of Honor recipient for actions in Battle of Shok Valley

Army Green Beret Master Sgt. Matthew O. Williams' actions, according to Pentagon records, allowed a team of 12 Green Berets and some 100 Afghan commandos to escape the savage, six-hour gun battle.


Pentagon purchases hundreds more F-35s as military misses its combat readiness goal for the jets

Top Pentagon officials announced Tuesday that the military would buy another 478 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in a $34 billion deal that will reduce the average cost of the aircraft about 12.7% in three installments of aircraft deliveries.


Two prisoners were captured in Delta Force’s al-Baghdadi raid

Defense Secretary Mark Esper credited President Donald Trump with ordering the operation some seven months after the United States announced the Syrian Democratic Forces had liberated the last of ISIS-controlled territory in Syria.


US troops won't physically monitor Turkey-Kurd ceasefire, but drone flights will continue in NE Syria

American troops will not physically monitor the temporary ceasefire in northeastern Syria between NATO ally Turkey and the Kurdish-dominated militia that the United States has backed in recent years to fight the Islamic State in that country, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday.


Pentagon won’t comply with Trump impeachment probe, DOD official tells House Democrats

Robert R. Hood, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, cites several “legal and practical concerns" in declining to participate in the impeachment probe aimed at President Donald Trump.


Pentagon says it will send 2,000 troops to Middle East to deter Iran

The new deployment largely consists of fighter jets and air defense capabilities and follows the deployment of other troops last month to bolster Saudi defenses after September attacks that devastated two key Saudi oil facilities.


Air Force special operator killed in fall during Idaho mountain rescue training

Tech. Sgt. Peter Kraines was practicing mountain rescue techniques near Boise when he was killed Tuesday. He was assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing based at Fort Bragg.


Trump to award Medal of Honor to Green Beret for heroics in 2008 Afghanistan fight

Through a six-hour firefight in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province on April 6, 2008, Army Master Sgt. Matthew O. Williams continuously braved insurgent rocket-propelled-grenade, sniper and machine gun fire, allowing his fellow soldiers to escape alive.


Pentagon warns Turkey not to invade Syria as Trump blasted for abandoning Kurdish partners

The Pentagon warned Turkey against a military incursion in northeastern Syrian land controlled by Kurdish forces that the United States has backed for five years in their fight against the Islamic State, the Defense Department said Monday in a statement.


Top US commander in Europe endorses more Javelin missiles to Ukraine

The United States should provide more Javelin missiles to Ukraine’s military as it battles pro-Russian forces in the eastern region of the country, said Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, the top American military commander for U.S. and NATO forces in Europe.


Army's maligned UCP uniforms quietly retired years after new camo design became the norm

Originally meant for urban, desert and wooded battlefields, the green-blue-gray Universal Camouflage Pattern was ultimately scorned as virtually useless in most environments and had largely disappeared in recent years from major Army posts.


Analysis

Gen. Dunford, steady force at the Pentagon, gives way to Gen. Milley as new Joint Chiefs chairman

Since October 2015, when he was sworn in as the 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford provided unfiltered and often unheralded military advice and options to former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump, a trio of defense secretaries and two acting Pentagon chiefs.


Initial standards for the coming Army Combat Fitness Test are unveiled

After conducting testing at more than 60 battalions in recent months, Army leaders grouped military occupational specialties, or MOS, into three levels with different scoring requirements based on the typical physical demands of those jobs.


Pentagon to send Patriot battery to Saudi Arabia to help protect against further attacks

The Defense Department announced the deployment Thursday, about one week after the Pentagon announced more troops would be sent to the Middle East as a direct result of the Sept. 14 drone and cruise missile attack on Saudi Arabia.


Fort Carson-based soldier dies during medic training in South Korea

Staff Sgt. Kelly L. Richards, 32, died during the training at Camp Casey, where he had been sent temporarily to participate in the EFMB testing while his unit was deployed to Kuwait, according to the Army.


Four Marine officers fired in wake of deadly 2018 collision during in-air refueling

Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 suffered from “inadequate oversight of training and operations” and an “unprofessional command climate” when the Hornet fighter jet crashed Dec. 6 into the rear of the KC-130 Super Hercules while conducting air-to-air refueling off Japan’s coast.


Three US troops wounded in apparent insider attack in Afghanistan

A statement from NATO’s Kabul-based Resolute Support mission said the servicemembers suffered “non-life-threatening injuries,” and the attacker, an Afghan Civil Order police officer, was killed in the incident.


GALLERY

Pentagon marks POW/MIA day with joint U.S.-British parachute jump

The Pentagon’s annual National POW/MIA Recognition Day honors the more than 140,000 American servicemembers who have served in POW camps and the tens of thousands more who have gone missing in wars fought in foreign lands.


Pentagon to send more troops to Middle East amid ‘significant escalation’ from Iran

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the announcement of President Donald Trump’s decision to deploy new forces to the Middle East late Friday in a rare briefing at the Pentagon.


WWII 'Hero of Cologne' receives valor award nearly 75 years after famous tank battle

Clarence Smoyer earned the moniker the “Hero of Cologne” as a 21-year-old tank gunner credited with destroying a German Panther IV tank blocking the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division’s march to the Rhine River during WWII.


Army meets recruiting goal for 2019 after revamping how it attracts prospective soldiers

The Army has met its fiscal year 2019 recruiting goal, service officials said Tuesday, crediting a retooled effort focused largely on attracting young men and women through internet applications and in large cities the military had long ignored.


Chemical cleanup at bases could cost more than $2 billion, new task force determines

The costs to clean up chemical contaminates suspected at more than 400 current and former military sites could eclipse the $2 billion estimate that the Pentagon projected in March, defense officials said Thursday.


Another setback: Air Force restricts cargo, passengers on KC-46 tanker flights

The Air Force has banned cargo and passengers aboard its KC-46A Pegasus tanker jets after floor cargo restraints unlocked during recent test flights, according to the service’s Air Mobility Command.


Combat controller will receive Air Force Cross for actions in Afghanistan ISIS fight

Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel P. Keller had already been fighting for 15 hours when a house rigged with improvised explosives just feet away from the combat controller blew up, forcing him to the ground, injured and dazed. But he kept fighting.


Trump pledges to hit Taliban harder as he marks 18th anniversary of 9/11 at Pentagon

The ceremony at the Pentagon was held in its memorial grove, where 184 trees and benches inscribed with the victims’ names face the facility’s southwest wall, where an airliner was crashed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001.


House Democrats want Pentagon to ban servicemembers from staying at Trump properties on taxpayers’ dime

Reps. Elijah Cummings and Jamie Raskin, both Maryland Democrats, threatened to subpoena Pentagon records related trips in which crews have stayed at Trump’s Turnberry resort during flights from the Middle East to the United States.


Pentagon says 1,200 troops have been mobilized to assist Dorian-ravaged Bahamas

The troops — some of whom arrived in the Bahamas over the weekend — have begun a variety of missions, including search and rescue operations and assessing air fields to ensure they could safely receive aircraft.


SEAL Team 7 leaders fired as Navy looks to shake up commando culture

Cmdr. Edward Mason, SEAL Team 7's commander; Lt. Cmdr. Luke Im, its executive officer; and Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler, the unit’s senior enlisted leader were dismissed over problems with leadership in the team’s ranks, according to a Navy statement.


Report: Army officials did not understand their powers to oversee failing private military housing

The Inspector General probe was launched as news reports beginning late last year highlighted prevalent problems across private military housing, which are owned and run by private companies but sit on military installations.


DOD lists projects defunded by moving of billions of dollars to build border wall

The Pentagon is confident that Congress will backfill the $3.6 billion for the 127 planned construction projects in 23 states, three U.S. territories and at bases in 20 other countries. Meanwhile, lawmakers in affected states largely expressed dismay at the decision.


Esper approves use of $3.6 billion in Pentagon construction funds for US-Mexico border wall

The $3.6 billion includes two roughly equal pools of funds – overseas construction projects and projects planned for bases inside the United States and its territories.


Soldiers and Marines evacuate the coast as Dorian crawls toward shore

Hurricane Dorian continued its slow crawl Tuesday toward the U.S. East Coast, prompting military bases from Florida to North Carolina to move personnel and equipment before the Category 2 storm brought significant rain, flooding and winds up to 120 mph.


Green Beret killed in combat in Afghanistan leaves behind daughter, pregnant wife

Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Ard, 31, of Idaho Falls, became the 15th U.S. combat casualty in that country this year.


Pentagon establishes Space Command, lobbies for Space Force with eyes on Russia, China

President Donald Trump officially ordered the establishment of SPACECOM in December, a move long-embraced by top Pentagon officials who have pushed for more focus on protecting American space assets.


Trump: More than 8,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan after peace deal with Taliban

President Donald Trump said Thursday that the United States would pull more than 5,000 troops out of Afghanistan once it reaches an accord with the Taliban, though he seemed to rule out a complete withdrawal of American forces from the country’s 18-year war.


Dunford indicates drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan is not imminent

Reports that the United States could soon begin removing at least some of its roughly 14,000 troops from Afghanistan as a result of the State Department-led dialogues with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, were “premature,” according to Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford.


Green Beret killed in Afghanistan last week was veteran of seven deployments

Army Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez was killed with Army Master Sgt. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa during a raid alongside Afghan special forces in Faryab province, according to U.S. and Afghan officials. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the soldiers’ deaths.


Navy’s top SEAL orders adoption of grooming and uniform standards, blames leadership for ‘ethically misaligned’ troops

The new guidance is the result of a command-wide review of ethics and culture that Rear Adm. Collin Green ordered last month as the SEAL community has dealt with several high-profile issues in recent years.


'One of the toughest kids I’ve ever met': Families mourn Green Berets killed in Afghanistan

The family of Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, of La Puente, Calif., requested that the Army not release further information about him, U.S. Army Special Operations Command said. But the family of Master Sgt. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa, 31, publicly grieved his death in numerous social media posts.


Pentagon identifies two Green Beret soldiers killed in Afghanistan

Master Sgt. Luis F. Deleon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, were assigned to 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the Pentagon said in a statement Thursday.


Two American servicemembers killed in action in Afghanistan, NATO says

The deaths bring the number of American troops killed by hostile enemy action in 2019 to 14, the highest number of U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan since former President Barack Obama formally ended combat operations there at the end of 2014.


Judge allows prospective transgender troops to move forward with lawsuit challenging Pentagon ban

The Pentagon’s transgender policy was implemented in April after the Supreme Court ruled the Defense Department could move forward with the ban nearly two years after President Donald Trump tweeted his intentions to bar all transgender persons from the military.


Army MP falls from tower, dies while serving in Saudi Arabia

Spc. Clayton James Horne, 23, died Saturday in the Saudi capital of Riyadh from wounds that he sustained in a noncombat incident, according to the Army.


Pence’s press secretary to move to the Pentagon, plans 'frequent briefings'

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, will move across the Potomac River next month to take the same title at the Pentagon, saying she plans to "hold frequent briefings."


Nearly 75 percent of grounded Air Force C-130s have returned to the air

The Air Force has resumed flights of almost three-quarters of the transport planes that the service grounded last week after maintainers discovered unusual cracks in the wing joints of an Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft, an Air Mobility Command spokeswoman said Wednesday.


SOCOM chief orders review of military’s special operations culture

Army Gen. Richard Clarke, the SOCOM commander, ordered the comprehensive review in a memorandum sent last week to his entire force. The review was to start immediately and conclude by the fall.


Marine killed in Iraq was once Corps’ top commando; Pentagon probes possible friendly fire

Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer was killed during operations against an Islamic State group in the expansive Ninevah province, where efforts are ongoing to clear the remnants of the terrorist group.


McConville, Grinston sworn in as Army’s top uniformed soldiers

Army Gen. James McConville and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston were sworn in Friday as the top general and noncommissioned officer, respectively, in the U.S. military’s largest service during a ceremony at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.


US, Canadian fighters intercept Russian bombers off Alaskan coast

Two U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets and two Canadian CF-18 Hornet fighters on Thursday morning intercepted the long-range, nuclear-capable Russian bombers north of Alaska over the Beaufort Sea.


Army plans wireless, wearable tokens to access secure platforms quickly in the field

Army Futures Command is working to develop small, wearable tokens that would produce a wireless signal to be used while serving in a war zone or similar location.


New veterans memorial in Florida opens — 40 feet down in the Gulf of Mexico

After 2½ years of planning and building, a dozen 6-foot tall statues of U.S. servicemembers from each of the five military branches now rest on the seabed west of Dunedin Beach, just north of Clearwater.


33-year-old Navy lieutenant killed in Death Valley Super Hornet crash

Lt. Charles Z. Walker, from Strike Fighter Squadron 151 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California, was piloting through a canyon when he crashed into a ravine wall at high speed Wednesday.


Esper announces US withdrawal from INF Treaty, says Pentagon will build new weapons

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday announced the official withdrawal of the United States from a key nuclear missile treaty with Russia, blaming Moscow for violating the terms of the 1987 pact and vowing to build new weapons previously banned under the agreement.


Navy’s top SEAL tells force 'we have a problem' and orders ethics review of Special Warfare Command

Rear Adm. Collin Green, the commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, has ordered an ethics review of the elite force, which has been plagued by allegations of crimes and other misconduct.


Navy declares pilot dead in Hornet crash in California’s Death Valley

The pilot of the F/A-18E Super Hornet, whose identity was not released Thursday, was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 151 based at California’s Naval Air Station Lemoore.


Several senators support Hyten for No. 2 military office, call sexual assault accusations false

Several senators said Tuesday they would support President Donald Trump’s nominee for the No. 2 U.S. military officer, calling sexual misconduct allegations against Air Force Gen. John Hyten by a subordinate false.


Army housing surveys show drop in satisfaction as DOD grapples with subpar conditions for military families

Army families are less satisfied with living conditions in on-post housing than they were last year, according to a pair of surveys that service officials sent out in January as they work to address ongoing problems reported in residences run by private management companies.


Trump, parade honor Esper as new defense secretary

President Donald Trump expressed confidence in his newly installed defense secretary Thursday morning as the commander in chief hosted an honor ceremony just outside the Pentagon for Mark Esper.


Iran, water contamination at bases high on new defense secretary Mark Esper’s priority list

Mark Esper, who was sworn in Tuesday as the 27th defense secretary hours after he was confirmed by the Senate, told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday that he was determined to “get our hands fully around” the problem of contaminated drinking water reported in recent years on or near some 175 military installations.


Air Force withholds millions of dollars in pay to military housing operator after reports of falsified logs

The Air Force has paused incentive fee payments to a company that runs its on-base housing at 21 installations amid allegations Balfour Beatty Communities, LLC employees falsified maintenance work logs delivered to the service.