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December 28, 2014

US, NATO Mark End of Mission in Afghanistan Gen. John Campbell

The United States and NATO formally ended their war in Afghanistan on Sunday with a ceremony at their military headquarters in Kabul as the insurgency they fought for 13 years remains as ferocious as at any time since the 2001 invasion that unseated the Taliban regime following the Sept. 11 attacks.

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December 26, 2014

Army Data Shows Rarity of Desertion Prosecutions Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

Tens of thousands of soldiers have deserted since 2001 but the Army has prosecuted only about 1,900 troops.

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December 24, 2014  

Christmas 1914: The Day Even World War I Showed Humanity

German and British soldiers fighting against each other in World War I stand together on the battlefield near Ploegsteert, Belgium during Dec. 1914. (AP photo)This marks the 100th anniversary of the temporary Christmas truce called on the battlefield between British and German forces.Full Story 

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This marks the 100th anniversary of the temporary Christmas truce called on the battlefield between British and German forces.

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 Air Force Leaders Admit Nuclear Problems, But Will Fixes Work? On a tour of nuclear facilities with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, media received a tour of the nuclear launch control simulator that F.E. Warren Air Force Base uses to train missile officers. (Stars and Stripes photo)

December 21, 2014  | 

The Air Force has taken the first step by admitting, after years of denial, that its nuclear problems run deep and wide.

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Marine Veteran Wanted in 6 Killings is Found Dead This photo provided by the Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney in Norristown, Pa., shows Bradley William Stone, 35, of Pennsburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Montgomery County Office of the District Attorney)

December 16, 2014  | 

An Iraq War veteran suspected of killing his ex-wife and five of her relatives was found dead in the woods near his suburban Philadelphia home Tuesday after a day-and-a-half manhunt that closed schools and left people on edge.

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Vietnam-Agent Orange Rapid Assessment

It’s not just because you’re getting older — there are five common health conditions that are the result of Agent Orange exposure.Answer three questions to learn how your Vietnam-era service and your health issues today are compensable and service-connected.
The five common health conditions that Vietnam veterans have today:
• Type 2 diabetes
• Ischemic heart disease
• Cardiovascular disease
• Coronary bypass surgery
• Angina
All of them are linked to Agent Orange exposure decades ago.
You may have been exposed to Agent Orange and may be eligible for benefits even if you never served in the Republic of Vietnam.There are 96 locations outside of Vietnam and 330 shipboard conditions that exposed service members to Agent Orange.

 Solemn tributes to the fallen at Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Stars & Stripes)
Some are messages from schoolchildren to men who died many years before the students were born. Others are something whose significance will only be known to the person who placed it and the one it honors. Still others show just how deeply losses suffered a half-century ago are still felt by the families and friends they left behind. Every day, tributes are left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Sometimes there are only a handful; on special occasions there are dozens. But they are always poignant. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is storing these tributes, and many will be displayed at the planned Education Center at the Wall. Click the headline link to view

Steel horses replace reindeer on Santa’s ride for veterans (WIS-Columbia, S.C.)
When Christmas comes to the patients at Dorn VA Medical Center Sunday, it won’t come with the sound of sleigh bells, but with the roar of thunder. Hundreds of motorcycles will roll through Columbia Sunday afternoon to deliver gifts to veterans at Dorn. “They don’t get Christmas if we don’t bring it,” said veteran and businessman Jim Wertman, who organized the event 14 years ago. What started with 100 bikes and 100 presents back then has turned into one of the largest motorcycle rides in the state. “It really makes a difference,” he said. “The motorcycles, we’re like the reindeer and the sleigh. We bring the presents. One of the things we wanted to do was to make sure that every veteran has Christmas. And there’s a segment of our society that’s in Dorn VA Medical Center that are in the VA Hospital that never get Christmas.”

Nation’s oldest veteran, 108, gets an honorary degree (KTBC-Austin)
You’ll usually find the nation’s oldest veteran, Richard Overton sitting on the porch of the East Austin home he bought in 1945 for a steep $4,000. But on Thursday night, he took the stage in front of thousands at the Erwin Center to be given an honorary associates degree from Austin Community College. “I enjoyed it. I hope they keep it up, get some more, not only me, get somebody else too. Can’t find nobody as old as I am,” Overton joked. Overton spent several years in the Army during World War II, stopping in Hawaii before serving in the South Pacific. At 108, Overton is thought to be the oldest living veteran in the U.S. Having this distinction means the past couple of years have been pretty eventful for him. Texas Governor Rick Perry stopped by for a chat on the porch and on Veterans Day last year, President Obama honored him in front of thousands in D.C. “Yeah but I enjoyed it. He wants me back up there. But I haven’t been back yet. I’m just tired of going up there,” Overton said with a laugh. When asked about his longevity, Overton usually gives the same answer. “Ain’t got nothing to do with that…God got that business,” he said.

Cemetery honors vets with Christmas wreaths (Reno Gazette-Journal)
Each year, the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery participates in “Wreaths Across America,” a nationwide day of recognition for past veterans through the placement of Christmas wreaths at gravesites. Wreaths Across America was developed on the idea to “remember, honor, teach” by coordinating wreath laying ceremonies on a day in December in all 50 states and in other countries. For the first time, NNVMC will receive enough wreaths to cover each headstone throughout the cemetery through the donations and sponsorships of individuals and organizations. “These wreaths are entirely funded through private donations in honor of veterans and family members who are placed at the Fernley cemetery,” said Kat Miller, director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. “We’re honored with this outpouring of support from the community and family who want to continue to remember those who have served and are no longer with us during the holiday season.”

VA helps paralyzed Alabama veteran travel to U.S. Marine Corps Ball (WBRC-Birmingham)
Imagine coming home safely after serving multiple tours of duty overseas with the U.S. Marine Corps, only to get into a car accident that leaves you paralyzed. That’s the reality for one veteran in Tuscaloosa. But thanks to an excellent support system, Sgt. Shane Strickland will not face this fight alone. At times Strickland admits he felt “forgotten” as he now communicates on his tablet. However, he is certainly not forgotten as his fellow Marines and the Tuscaloosa Veterans Affairs helped him attend the 2014 U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball on November 10 to celebrate the corps’ 239th birthday. Words like “outstanding, fantastic and not forgotten” are now used to describe the highly decorated soldier and his friends couldn’t have been happier to make this day possible. And Strickland looked outstanding thanks to the detail of the VA staff. “Found his shoes….found all his medals. We got some white gloves also for him to wear and we had a dress rehearsal the Thursday before the ball to make sure everything fit,” Joanne Davis, a VA nurse, said.

‘Faces of the Wall’ reaches 20,000 photos as education center gains momentum (Stars & Stripes)
Nearly a decade ago, Jim Reece and his brother Tom were talking about a high school friend who had been killed in Vietnam, and they decided to look online to see if there was any information about him on a memorial site. Jim Reece couldn’t find a page for his friend, so he decided to create one. Then he began building memorial pages for everyone from his high school who was killed in Vietnam. When he finished that, he built a page for everyone from his hometown of Wilmington, N.C. Then, for everyone from that county. Since 2005, Jim and Tom Reece and their friend Rosa King have found photos of and built memorial pages for more than 1,700 people with connections to North Carolina who were killed in Vietnam. The Reeces and King are among the volunteers scattered across the country who have been working to gather photos of every one of the 58,300 dead American servicemembers whose names are listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The photos will be a key part of an education center adjacent to the Wall in Washington, D.C. The center will include the history of the Wall, the Wall of Faces, stories recorded by veterans and an exhibit of some of the objects left by families and others since the Wall was built in 1982 (a virtual Wall of Faces is online). Organizers are raising funds for the center, hoping to hit a 2017 deadline and 2019 opening.

To fight PTSD, this veteran cross-stitches (NationSwell)
With treatments for PTSD ranging from equine therapy and scuba diving to a nudist lifestyle, it’s clear that what works to ease one veteran’s PTSD symptoms might not work for another. Regardless of method, anything that relaxes someone suffering is beneficial. Veteran David Jurado couldn’t shake the troubled thoughts that serving in Iraq left him with. About his time serving overseas, he tells the Greenville Online, “We definitely saw our fair share of battle. I lost really good friends through IED (improvised explosive device) explosions.” A few years after Jurado returned home from Iraq to Greenville, S.C., he began to seek help for his PTSD. Companions for Heroes helped him train a service dog from the Greenville Humane Society. “With the resources that Companions for Heroes had to offer, I was able to able to raise my own service dog in about a year’s time,” Jurado says. “The service dog really broke my anti-social shell. I was ready to take on whatever the world had to throw at me.” While the dog helped, Jurado kept seeking other activities to ease his PTSD — including cross stitching, a craft that his mom taught him when he was eight-years-old. “My wife gave me a pattern, and I jumped right back into it for a reason. It’s something that keeps my mind from wandering into places I don’t want to go or remember,” he says. “Life is pretty simple when all you’ve got to worry about is needle and thread.”

Tradition and History Wrapped into 115th Army-Navy Game The Cadets and Midshipmen march onto the field in the annual tradition ahead of the Army-Navy game. (DoD photo)December 12, 2014  | 

Army hopes to end Navy’s 12-game winning streak in the annual Army-Navy game that will be held this Saturday in Baltimore at 3 p.m. EST.

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Soldier Missing From Korean WSoldier Missing From Korean War Accounted For</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On Dec 4th, 2014, the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced that the remains of Army Cpl. Leland F. Smith, 18, of Angola, Ind., missing from the Korean War, were recently identified and was returned to his family for burial with full military honors on Dec. 8th, in Angola, Ind. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On the night of Nov. 27, 1950, elements of the 25th Infantry Division (ID) and 35th Infantry Regiment (IR) were engaged in fighting when Chinese forces attacked their position near the Ch’ongch’on River, North Korea. Due to extensive losses and casualties, Smith’s unit began a fighting withdrawal south. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On Nov. 28, 1950, Smith was reported missing in action.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>In late 1953, as part of a prisoner of war exchange, known as “Operation Big Switch,” a returning U.S. service member told debriefers that Smith was captured by enemy forces and later died of malnutrition in February 1951 at prisoner of war Camp 5, in Pyokdong. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>In 1954, a military review board changed his status from missing in action to presumed dead.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain more than 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war. </p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Smith was believed to have died.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>On Oct. 6, 2000, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC)/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.) team excavated a purported burial site near the Kujang, North Korea, recovering remains.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>In identifying of Smith’s remains, scientists from the JPAC and<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Armed Forces DNA Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
forensic identification tools, including two forms of DNA analysis: mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister, half-sister, nieces and nephew, and autosomal Short Tandem Report DNA (auSTR), which matched his sisters.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Today, 7,868 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.ar Accounted ForOn Dec 4th, 2014, the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced that the remains of Army Cpl. Leland F. Smith, 18, of Angola, Ind., missing from the Korean War, were recently identified and was returned to his family for burial with full military honors on Dec. 8th, in Angola, Ind.

On the night of Nov. 27, 1950, elements of the 25th Infantry Division (ID) and 35th Infantry Regiment (IR) were engaged in fighting when Chinese forces attacked their position near the Ch’ongch’on River, North Korea. Due to extensive losses and casualties, Smith’s unit began a fighting withdrawal south.

On Nov. 28, 1950, Smith was reported missing in action.

In late 1953, as part of a prisoner of war exchange, known as “Operation Big Switch,” a returning U.S. service member told debriefers that Smith was captured by enemy forces and later died of malnutrition in February 1951 at prisoner of war Camp 5, in Pyokdong.

In 1954, a military review board changed his status from missing in action to presumed dead.

Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea turned over to the U.S. 208 boxes of human remains believed to contain more than 400 U.S. servicemen who fought during the war.

North Korean documents, turned over with some of the boxes, indicated that some of the remains were recovered from the vicinity where Smith was believed to have died.

On Oct. 6, 2000, a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC)/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.) team excavated a purported burial site near the Kujang, North Korea, recovering remains.

In identifying of Smith’s remains, scientists from the JPAC and
Armed Forces DNA Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and
forensic identification tools, including two forms of DNA analysis: mitochondrial DNA, which matched his sister, half-sister, nieces and nephew, and autosomal Short Tandem Report DNA (auSTR), which matched his sisters.

Today, 7,868 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War. Using modern technology, identifications continue to be made from remains that were previously turned over by North Korean officials or recovered by American teams.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPMO web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.

Senate’s Torture Report Details CIA’s Brutal Methods, Blasts Cover-Up

CIA seal 600x400December 09, 2014  | 

The Senate Intelligence Committee released its report that outlined the brutal techniques the CIA used such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation and then lied about the extent of the program.

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US Hostage in Yemen Killed During Rescue Attempt This image made from video posted online by militants on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, shows Luke Somers, an American photojournalist born in Britain and held hostage by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen. AP Photo/Militant Video

December 06, 2014  | 

A U.S. photojournalist who had been held hostage in Yemen was killed by his captors as elite American troops tried to rescue him, the U.S. military said Saturday. The al-Qaida affiliate that was holding Luke Somers, 33, had threatened to kill him if unspecified demands were not met by the Obama administration. Full Story

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Female Sailors Secretly Videotaped Showering on Submarines

The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) approaches Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia. (U.S. Navy photo)

December 03, 2014  | 

Some of the Navy’s first female submariners were secretly videotaped while undressing and showering on board the USS Wyoming, a ballistic missile submarine, service officials confirmed Wednesday.

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 Military News 11/29/2014

Military Life

Ranger School PT Test May Be Top Obstacle for Females

Ranger School PT TestNovember 28, 2014

Female soldiers who attend the first-ever, co-ed class of Ranger School have a better chance of graduating if they prepare for what faces them in the first week.Full Story

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