Thousands of troops overseas won't know if their votes were counted on election day - We Are The Mighty
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Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
Service member fills out an absentee ballot during the 2008 presidential race. (Photo: DVIDS)


One of the presidential candidates has been on the campaign trail making claims about how the election is “a rigged deal.” And while Donald Trump tries to make a linkage between perceived media bias against him and his declining poll numbers as evidence of this so-called “rigging,” history shows that the American voting process is not as much rigged as it is flawed in some ways.

And nowhere is this truer than with military absentee ballots.

Absentee ballots started during the Civil War when Union soldiers complained that they couldn’t exercise their right to vote because they were stationed along battle lines far away from their home states. President Lincoln, knowing it was going to be a close election and sensing he enjoyed the support of the troops because he was commander-in-chief, pushed to make absentee voting possible. States responded along party lines; Republicans passed laws allowing soldiers to mail ballots home from the war, and Democrats resisted such laws.

The idea died after the war but came back to the attention of lawmakers some 85 years later during World War II. Both Democrats and Republicans figured GIs would support President Roosevelt, which is why Democrats liked the idea and Republicans did not. Most states passed a law allowing absentee ballots, and as a result, nearly 2.6 million service members voted during the 1944 election, according to Donald S. Inbody of The Washington Post.

Demand grew in the decades that followed and processes for absentee ballots, including those used by the military, varied from state to state. Finally, Congress passed overarching guidance in the form of the Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986.

That guidance was imperfect, however. States often mailed ballots out too close to the election to be returned from overseas in time to be counted. As a result, service members grew disenfranchised and often chose not to participate fearing that to do so would be a waste of time.

This sense came to a head during the controversial presidential election of 2000 between Bush and Gore. Gore, the Democratic candidate, conceded only to take it back after discovering that he was actually winning the popular vote and the count in the crucial state of Florida was only separated by several hundred votes. The Democrats demanded a recount, and lawyers sprang into action across polling places statewide. Suddenly words like “hanging chads” (referring to stuck cut-outs on punch cards used to tally votes on antiquated machines) were part of the national lexicon.

Several thousand military absentee ballots came into play in this winner-take-all scenario. Once again lawmakers came down along party lines. Democrats — fearing the military voters were mostly Republican — tried to have the ballots thrown out because they had arrived past the deadline or weren’t postmarked. The Bush campaign ultimately got the ballots counted, which allowed W. to win the election and become the 43rd president.

Because of that chaos, Congress created the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to better provide information about elections and passed the Military and Overseas Voting Empowerment Act of 2009, which forced states to overhaul election laws to allow troops to request ballots and register to vote electronically. States were also required to have ballots ready to mail 45 days before an election to ensure enough time for the service member to get it back to be counted.

But these actions have far from fixed the problem. As Eric Eversole wrote in The Washington Times, during the 2010 election cycle many local officials missed the 45-day-prior deadline by more than two weeks. The result was upwards of 40,000 military absentee ballots sent only 25 days before election day, not enough time to make it out to ships at sea or forward operating bases and then back to the U.S.

And that’s not the only problem. Military absentee ballots are supposed to be tallied by home states and sent to the EAC, which is charged with reporting the results to Congress, but an independent study of EAC data conducted by the Walter Cronkite School’s News21 national reporting project found that 1 in 8 jurisdictions reported receiving more ballots than they sent, counting more ballots than they received, or rejecting more ballots than they received.

According to News21, some local voting officials think the EAC’s forms for recording military overseas participation are confusing.

“How am I supposed to account for ballots that are sent to domestic addresses but are returned from overseas?” asked Paul Lux, the supervisor of elections in a Florida county with a large population of active duty Air Force personnel. “There are just too many potential anomalies in the way we have to provide service to these voters.”

The process is also complicated on the service member’s side, mostly because of the inherent challenges of the mail systems at the far reaches of America’s military presence around the world but also because the availability of voting information varies between commands.

Matt Boehmer, the director of DoD’s Federal Voting Assistance Program, told News21 that service member confusion “is exacerbated by the fact that military voters never receive confirmation that their ballots were counted.” FVAP has recommended that state election officials notify troops when their ballots are counted.

But in spite of all of the issues challenging the military absentee ballot process, military leaders urge their subordinates to participate in the voting process.

“It’s what you raise your hand to do, support and defend the Constitution,” Capt. Yikalo Gebrehiwet, a company commander at Ft. Bragg, told News21. “The best way to do that is by voting.”

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This is what ‘Battle Comics’ think about when performing for troops in war zones

For any comedian out there who has the chance to go off and perform for American forces deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere, filmmaker and comedian Jordan Brady has some advice for you.


Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

“Don’t be a pu**y,” he says. “Count your blessings that you can bring a piece of home to these Americans. Don’t overpack and leave your politics at home.”

Brady put his money where his mouth is, taking off for the CENTCOM area of responsibility – including stops in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan – with comedians Jeff Capri, Slade Ham, Don Barnhart, and Bob Kubota. Their experiences are captured in Brady’s latest documentary “I Am Battle Comic.”

“I think it starts for some as a way to travel, and bragging rights that you did it,” he continues. “But man, that palpable feeling of being of service, supporting those protecting our freedom, and from enemy threats we civilians may never know about, it is so addictive.”

The group gets a taste of military life, from Marine Corps infantry to the Air Force flightline. They’re there to carry on the tradition of Bob Hope and other comics who came before them: To make America’s fighting men and women forget where they are for a few hours.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
Slade Ham, Jeff Capri, Bob Kubota, and Don Barnhart in a Film Still from

The film is about more than just having fun performing for troops. The Battle Comics come face-to-face with the reality of modern American warfare: Real people are fighting over there and not all of them make it home – whether the American public realizes that or not.

“You never know if the guy you’re performing for, shaking your hand, snapping the picture with, that’s your Facebook buddy today is gonna be there tomorrow,” says comedian Slade Ham, who has performed for troops in at least 39 countries. “Afghanistan and Iraq are real and if I get to take that kid of of that situation for that long … how many chances do you get to do something that cool?”

“I Am Battle Comic” also includes moving and – at times – tearful testimonials from standup comedy greats like Dave Attell, George Lopez, and the legendary George Wallace. Each attest to being personally moved and changed by their experiences performing for U.S. troops.

“From Bob Hope’s USO shows to Robin Williams, it’s really the best way comedians can support the troops,” Brady says. “So I set out to document that niche of working comedians. Once I met the individual men and women of the military, and felt their gratitude towards us for just telling jokes and visiting, I saw a bigger story.”

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

The film is now a call to action for civilians to recognize what sacrifices the troops and their families make when deployed, it’s also a peek behind the wire of doing comedy on base.

Once Brady finished editing the film, he skipped the Film Festival circuit and instead screened the film in seven cities, following the screenings with a QA session with the comics. Brady and his production company, Superlounge, then donated the admissions to military charities.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

“The QAs evolved into discussions about how we need to recognize those that serve, now and when they return home,” Brady recalls. “We had a few Vietnam Vets that spoke up and crowds applauded them – maybe it was the first time they’ve heard that. These were some of the most magical nights.”

“I am Battle Comic” is now available on DVD and Digital Download via iTunes, Amazon, Vimeo, and more.

All of the proceeds from theater screenings went to the National Military Family Association, Operation Gratitude, For Veterans’ Sake and the Semper Fi Fund. A portion of the sale price of DVD and digital downloads or rentals will benefit the National Military Family Association.

You can read more about Brady and his dedication to U.S. troops in his own words on LinkedIn. To set up a fundraising screening of your own, contact Jordan Brady.

Articles

These two ironclad ships almost allowed the South to win the Civil War

Birkenhead, England, is an odd place for a discussion of the U.S. Civil War, but two ships built in the Laird and Sons Shipyard there nearly provided the seapower necessary for the South to break the blockade, get recognized as a sovereign nation, and win their war for independence.


Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
The HMS Wivern was originally commissioned by the Confederate Navy and was expected to tip the Civil War for the Confederacy. (Photo: U.S. Naval Historical Center)

All that stood in the South’s way was a group of dedicated diplomats and spies who managed to get the ships seized, guaranteeing Union naval superiority and helping end the war.

The Laird shipyards had a strong preference for Confederates during the war and had constructed a number of ships ordered through Confederate Comdr. James D. Bulloch, an uncle to future-President Theodore Roosevelt.

The most famous Laird ship ordered by Bulloch for the Confederacy was the CSS Alabama. The Alabama was technically ordered as a British merchant ship but was outfitted with a Confederate crew and weapons after launch. It went on to destroy 67 Union vessels — mostly merchant ships — before it was sunk.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
Confederate officers aboard the CSS Alabama, 1863.

But Bulloch and the Laird company had plans for two even more ambitious and imposing ships. The “El Tousson” and “El Monassir” were, on paper, destined for Egypt but were actually commissioned by Bulloch for the Confederacy.

The two ships are often described as the most powerful in the world at that time and they were custom-built for breaking the Union blockade of the South and with it the Union’s grand “Anaconda Plan” for the war. The Anaconda Plan rested entirely upon Union control of the seas and rivers.

The “Laird Rams” — as they were known — were nearly identical copies of one another. Each ship was 242 feet long and equipped with a seven-foot ram at the front that would allow them to punch holes in enemy ships below the waterline. Each ship also boasted iron armor and two turrets carrying 220-pounder Armstrong cannons.

For those unfamiliar with naval armaments, “220-pounder” doesn’t refer to the weight of the gun, it refers to the weight of each shell. And each gun was “rapidly firing” for the time.

And that iron armor was a game changer in the Civil War. Sufficient iron armor made a ship nearly invulnerable, as the navies learned after the first battle between ironclads took place in 1862. The three-hour battle on March 9, 1862, ended as a tie because neither ship could sufficiently damage the other.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
(Painting: J.O. Davidson)

The “Laird Rams” were so imposing that Assistant Secretary of the Navy G. V. Fox wrote to John M. Forbes, an American sent to England to either get the rams for the Union or else stop the delivery to the Confederates:

You must stop them at all hazards, as we have no defense against them … As to guns, we have not one in the whole country fit to fire at an ironclad…it is a question of life and death.

Early indications were that the British would allow the rams to launch and eventually join the Confederate cause, but diplomats pressuring Great Britain to follow its neutrality obligations slowly made headway.

At the start of the war, the British position was that it couldn’t allow its shipbuilders to sell any warships to a belligerent in war, but that they could sell unarmed merchant ships to anyone without concern as to whether the ship would be later outfitted with weapons.

This was how the Confederacy received many of its early ships. But the Union State Department pressured the English government to start blocking the launches of ships that were destined for wartime duty by basically threatening war if they didn’t.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
The HMS Scorpion was originally ordered by the Confederate Navy. (Engraving: U.S. Naval Historical Center)

But the British required a high threshold of proof that a ship was destined for the war before they would seize it from the shipyards. American consuls and spies in England gathered information on every ship as fast as they could.

Their first major target, the CSS Florida, was still able to reach the water because the evidence against the ship was improperly collected and documented and therefore inadmissible. The consuls and spies tried again with the Alabama and were successful, but not in time. The Alabama launched just before British forces could arrive to seize her.

When it came to the two Laird rams, though, the U.S. pulled out all the stops. They bribed dock officials, recruited spies and informants, and even promised a young mechanic help getting a job in America if he first worked in the Laird shipyards and collected information for them.

The mechanic agreed but was just a boy. When the child’s mother learned of the plan, she threatened to expose the spy operation and the U.S. backed off.

The first ram, the El Tousson, was launched into the water and was being equipped for sea while its sister ship was receiving final touches in the shipyard in October 1863. The U.S. made its final, last-ditch case to the British that the ships were destined for the Confederate war effort.

To add to the pressure, the U.S. ambassador promised war if the ships were allowed to launch, and the English government gave in.

The British Royal Navy deployed two warships, the HMS Liverpool and the HMS Goshawk, to prevent the rams leaving the docks. British sailors were deployed aboard each ship to ensure that no Confederate or allied crew could steal them from the docks. The ships were eventually purchased by the British as the HMS Scorpion and HMS Wivern.

This likely saved the war for the Union. While other Confederate ships made their names sailing the high seas and attacking Union merchant ships, the rams were designed to break the back of the Union ships enforcing the blockade.

Two nearly indestructible ships capable of sinking almost any ship in the blockade would have allowed the Confederacy to sweep it away, re-opening the smuggling trade that helped finance the land war early on. The Union Army would have been hard pressed to win with the two rams erasing the Union’s naval dominance.

Articles

Air Force declares the F-35A ‘ready for war’

The largest buyer of America’s most expensive weapons program just declared it ready for war.


“I am proud to announce this powerful new weapons system has achieved initial combat capability,” US Air Force Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, said on a call with reporters.

“The F-35A will be the most dominant aircraft in our inventory because it can go where our legacy aircraft cannot and provide the capabilities our commanders need on the modern battlefield,” Carlisle said.

Of the sister-service branches, the Air Force has been the most bullish on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II’s combat capabilities.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
Fun Fact: The F-35 actually runs on a money-based fuel.

The 15 Air Force F-35A jets, and 21 combat-mission-ready pilots from Hill Air Force Base’s 34th Fighter Squadron, represent a significant breakthrough for the weapons program, which began development 15 years ago and has been offset by design flaws, cost overruns, and technical challenges.

Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the F-35 program’s executive officer, said that the Air Force’s decision to declare the F-35A’s initial operational capability (IOC) “sends a simple and powerful message to America’s friends and foes alike, the F-35 can do its mission.”

“The roads leading to IOC for both services were not easy and these accomplishments are tangible testaments to the positive change happening in the F-35 program,” Bogdan said.

As the Air Force is buying nearly 70% of the fifth-generation jets being made domestically — 1,763 of 2,443 aircraft — the Air Force sets the economies of scale for the tri-service fighter, with each plane costing a cool $100 million.

Lockheed Martin, considered a bellwether for the US defense sector, is expected to generate nearly a fifth of its $50 billion in 2016 sales solely from the F-35 program.

In the company’s latest quarter, the defense giant posted net sales in its aeronautics business up 6%, or $244 million — compared to the same period in 2015.

The Pentagon’s top weapons supplier is also building the “jack of all trades” aircraft for the UK, Turkey, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
Behold, the F-35. | Lockheed Martin

Even though the Air Force is operating the oldest fleet in its history, it’s not the first of the sister-service branches to declare its variant combat-ready.

Last summer, the US Marine Corps was the first of the military branches to declare initial operational capability for 10 F-35B jets.

“There were a lot of people out here in the press that said, ‘Hey, the Marines are just going to declare IOC because it would be politically untenable not to do that,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for aviation, said during a discussion at the American Enterprise Institute on the readiness and future trajectory of Marine aviation.

“IOC in the Marine Corps means we will deploy that airplane in combat. That’s not a decision I was gonna take lightly, nor Gen. Dunford,” Davis said, referring to Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

The US Navy variant, the F-35C, is scheduled to reach IOC by February 2019.

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Here are 8 of the American-est things you can do to celebrate the 4th of July

Every July 4th, we celebrate our independence by displaying our patriotic spirit and pride in all things American. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate America and all its glory the right way!


1. Recite the Pledge of Allegiance

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

Find an American flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance. (And listen to the words as you say them.)

2. Attend a Naturalization ceremony

One of the most patriotic things you can do is support our nation’s newest citizens by attending a naturalization ceremony. Each year, cities and some overseas military installations host these ceremonies on the 4th of July. Many of these individuals have been waiting years to become citizens and some have even served in the military. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, more than 7,000 new citizens will be welcomed this year. To see if there is a ceremony in your town, please check out this link: https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/celebrating-independence-day-naturalization-ceremonies-0

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
Spc. Samuel Diaz and 155 other service memembers take the Oath of Citizenship during a naturalization ceremony July 4 2010 in the Al Faw Palace rotunda at Camp Victory, Iraq U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, administered the Oath of Citizenship. (DoD Photo by Lee Craker)

3. Head to the ballpark

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

They don’t call it America’s pastime for nothing. Baseball was born right here in the good ole USA. Have some peanuts and cracker jacks and enjoy the ball game. And don’t forget to stick around for the seventh inning stretch.

4. Watch Nathan’s Famous 4th of July Hot Dog eating contest

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog eating contest is an American staple held each year on America’s birthday. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Nathan’s Famous. There is something very American about watching men and women chow down processed meat to earn the title of hot dog eating champion and a shiny championship belt.

5. Grill out and have a cold one

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

Watching grown men and women scarf down as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes can make you hungry. So do what Americans do best and fire up the grill. Cook yourself a massive steak, have a mountain of potato salad, and enjoy a nice cold beverage in the company of friends and family.

6. Eat a slice of Apple pie

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

After stuffing your face with BBQ food, grab yourself a slice of apple pie. Adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream will only make it taste better.

7. Watch the Fireworks

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

Fireworks have been a part of Fourth of July festivities since the first anniversary of the nation’s independence. Thousands of public firework displays will be held from coast-to-coast for the public to check out. If you chose to do your own fireworks, please be careful. Safety first!

8. Thank a veteran or current service member

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

This one is pretty easy and will make our forefathers proud!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Let us know what other great American things to do on the 4th of July in the comments.

Follow Alex Licea on Twitter at @alexlicea82

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This former SEAL Team 6 officer just called the VA chief a ‘fellow veteran’ — which he’s not

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke incorrectly identified Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin as a “fellow veteran” in a photo Zinke tweeted from Air Force One.


Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, tweeted a photo of himself with Shulkin, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on the way to Youngstown, Ohio, July 25 with President Donald Trump.

 

Perry is an Air Force veteran. Shulkin, a medical doctor, was appointed by President Barack Obama as the VA’s undersecretary for health in 2015 and became secretary this year. He did not serve in the military. He’s the first VA secretary who is not a veteran.

Representatives for Zinke and Shulkin did not respond to requests for comment.

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The 7 Thoughts That Go Through Your Head When You Can’t Find Your Rifle

One minute you set your rifle down against a tree to go take a leak, the next minute you realize it’s nowhere to be found. Your rifle — the one thing you cannot lose during this training exercise — is missing. Here is what goes through your head in that moment:


Oh my God. Oh God. Oh no. I’m doomed. My life is over.

Well, maybe my platoon sergeant won’t notice.

If I just pray enough, it will appear and everything will be just fine.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day

Jones over there isn’t paying attention. Maybe I can steal his.

Crap, that won’t work. My rifle is serialized, so they are going to know it’s a different number.

Ok that’s it. I’ll fake an injury and tell the Lt. I fell down and my rifle was lost in a swamp.

No that’s not going to work. There are no swamps anywhere. Oh my God. Oh God. I’m doomed. My life is over.

Good luck. Hopefully it turns up.

NOW WATCH: ‘Canadian Sniper’ — a hilarious parody version of ‘American Sniper’

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Green on Blue: The allies who attack U.S. troops while their guard is down

A Jordanian police officer shot five people, including two U.S. security trainers, at the King Abdullah Training Center in Amman, Jordan on November 9th. Though not the dictionary definition of a “Green-on-Blue” attack, it does show a rise in these types of insider attacks against U.S. personnel. A Green on Blue attack is how NATO describes attacks on NATO and Coalition forces in Afghanistan by Afghan security forces. It’s important to remember that U.S. and Jordan have a long history of cooperation that predates 1991’s Operation Desert Storm.


Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
U.S. Marines and British airmen with 51st Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment, search a building for threats as part of Exercise Eager Lion at the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center in Amman, Jordan, May 15, 2015. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Sean Searfus)

Green on Blue attacks, by their nature, are difficult to predict. They are damaging to morale, unit cohesion, and international relations. They sap public support for training missions from the people of the United States and cause a loss of credibility for U.S. allies. As the U.S. begins to increase its presence in Iraq to combat ISIS, the shift in Green on Blue tactics is troubling, considering the already-strained U.S. training missions in Iraq.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
A special operations team member with Special Operations Task Force West greets new Afghan Local Police recruits on their first day of training in Farah province (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Chadwick de Bree)

There are 91 incidents of Green on Blue attack in the Afghan War so far, with 148 Coalition troops killed and 186 wounded. 15% of all Coalition casualties in Afghanistan were Green on Blue attacks in 2012. Security measures were put in place to ensure NATO forces have overwatch when these attacks are likely to occur. The Long War Journal blog keeps a tally on Green on Blue attacks.

2015

April 8, 2015

An Afghan soldier kills a U.S. troop and wounds two more at the governor’s compound in Jalalabad. U.S. troops kill the gunman.

January 29, 2015

One Afghan soldier, a Taliban infiltrator working security, kills three U.S. security contractors and wounds one more at Kabul International Airport.

2014

Sept. 15, 2014:

An Afghan soldier shoots at ISAF trainers in Farah province, killing a trainer and wounding another and an interpreter before being killed.

Aug. 5, 2014:

An Afghan fires on US officers at a key leader engagement at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul City. U.S. Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene is killed and 16 ISAF personnel are wounded. The attacker was killed by Afghan soldiers.

Thousands of troops overseas won’t know if their votes were counted on election day
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Chuck Hagel, and the U.S. assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, Heidi Shyu, participate in singing the congregational hymn during a military funeral in honor of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene. Greene is the highest-ranking service member killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Bernardo Fuller)

June 23, 2014:

Two U.S. military advisers are wounded when an Afghan policeman shoots at them as they arrive at the Paktia provincial police headquarters in Gardez. The attacker is killed in return fire. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack.

Feb. 12, 2014:

Two US soldiers are shot and killed with four wounded by two men wearing Afghan National Security Force uniforms in eastern Afghanistan. Several civilians are also wounded by crossfire. The two are killed by Coalition troops.

2013

Oct. 26, 2013:

A member of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) wounds two NATO troops in a firefight at a base on the outskirts of Kabul; the Afghan soldier is shot and killed during the clash. The Taliban denied responsibility for the attack and appears to be a result of a dispute between Australian and Afghan troops.

Oct. 13, 2013:

A member of the Afghan National Security Forces kills a US soldier in Paktika province and wounds another. The Afghan escapes.

Oct. 5, 2013:

A local security guard kills a senior ISAF member in southern Afghanistan; the gunman is killed following the incident.

Sept. 26, 2013:

An Afghan soldier shoots at ISAF troops in Paktia, killing an American soldier and injuring several others. The attacker is then shot and killed. The Taliban claimed the attack.

Sept. 21, 2013:

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier shoots up ISAF special forces in Paktia province, killing three and injuring one. The attacker is shot and killed.

July 9, 2013:

A “rogue” ANA soldier fires at Slovakian troops at Kandahar Airfield, killing one and injuring at least two more. The attacker was captured by Afghan forces. He later escapes from a detention facility and joins the Taliban.

June 8, 2013:

ANA soldiers kill two US soldiers and a civilian adviser in Paktika and wound three other Americans. One of the attackers is killed and another captured.

May 4, 2013:

An ANA soldier kills two ISAF troops in an attack in Western Afghanistan.

April 7, 2013:

An ANA soldier fires on Lithuanian soldiers in an armored vehicle at a post in the village of Kasi, wounding two Lithuanian soldiers. The attacker is captured and handed to the Afghans.

April 7, 2013:

Afghan Local Police fire on a US outpost after US troops attempted to arrest a Taliban commander visiting the ALP. No one is hurt.

March 11, 2013:

An Afghan Local Policeman fires on US Special Forces at a military base in Wardak province, killing two and wounding eight. The attacker and two Afghan policemen are killed.

March 8, 2013:

Three ANSF soldiers in an ANSF vehicle drive onto a US military base in Kapisa province, and fire on US troops and civilians, killing one civilian contractor and wounding four US troops. The three attackers are killed.

Jan. 6, 2013:

An ANA soldier fires on British and Afghan troops at Patrol Base Hazrat. He kills one British soldier and wounds six more. He is shot by Afghan security forces while fleeing. The Taliban take credit.

2012

Dec. 31, 2012:

Two ANA soldiers fire on Spanish troops as they patrol in Herat province; no one was killed or injured in the incident.

Dec. 24, 2012:

An Afghan policewoman kills a US civilian adviser inside the Interior Ministry building. The shooter is captured.

Nov. 11, 2012:

An Afghan soldier fires at British troops in Helmand province. One British soldier is killed and one wounded. The Afghan shooter is wounded.

Nov. 10, 2012:

Two Afghan soldiers fire at Spanish troops from the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Badghis province. The two Afghan soldiers are captured; one wounded. One Spanish soldier is wounded.

Oct. 30, 2012:

An Afghan policeman shoots and kills two British soldiers in Helmand province. The policeman escapes.

Oct. 25, 2012:

A “trusted” Afghan policeman kills two US soldiers at a police headquarters in Uruzgan province. The attacker escapes to join the Taliban.

Oct. 13, 2012:

An employee of the National Security Directorate kills a US soldier and a US State Department employee in a suicide attack in Kandahar province. Also killed in the attack were the deputy NDS chief for Kandahar and three other Afghans.

Sept. 29, 2012:

An Afghan soldier shoots at Coalition forces in Wardak province. One US soldier and a civilian contractor are killed and two US soldiers were wounded. Three other Afghan soldiers are also killed with several others wounded.

Sept. 16, 2012:

An Afghan soldier fires on a vehicle inside Camp Garmser in Helmand province; six NATO troops and a foreign civilian worker are wounded in the attack.

Sept. 16, 2012:

Afghan policemen open fire on a group of Coalition soldiers in Zabul province, killing four and wounding two. The attacker is killed in an exchange with several other Afghan policemen wounded.

Sept. 15, 2012:

A member of the Afghan Local Police fires on a group of British soldiers in Helmand province, killing two and wounding two. The attacker was killed in a firefight.

Aug. 28, 2012:

An Afghan soldier shoots and kills three Australian soldiers in Uruzgan province. Two more Australian soldiers were wounded in the attack.

Aug. 27, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills two ISAF soldiers in Laghman province. The attacker was killed by ISAF soldiers.

Aug. 19, 2012:

A member of the Afghan Uniformed Police turns his weapon on a group of ISAF soldiers in southern Afghanistan, killing one soldier and wounding another.

Aug. 17, 2012:

An Afghan Local Police officer kills a Marine and a Navy Corpsman and wounds an ISAF soldier during a training exercise on an Afghan base in Farah province. He was killed in the ensuing firefight.

Aug. 17, 2012:

An Afghan soldier shoots and wounds two NATO soldiers in Kandahar province; the attacker is killed.

Aug. 13, 2012:

A policeman wounds two US soldiers in Nangarhar province. The attacker flees.

Aug. 10, 2012:

Three US Marines are killed and one wounded in an attack in Helmand province. The attacker was captured.

Aug. 10, 2012:

Three US soldiers are killed and one wounded in an attack by an Afghan Local Police commander and his men in Helmand province. The Afghan police commander flees.

Aug. 9, 2012:

US troops kill an Afghan soldier who was attempting to gun them down at a training center in Methar Lam district in Laghman province; two US soldiers are wounded.

Aug. 7, 2012:

Two Afghan soldiers kill a US soldier and wound three others in Paktia province before defecting to the Taliban.

Aug. 3, 2012:

An Afghan Local Policeman wounds one ISAF soldier at a base in Panjwai district in Kandahar province.

July 23, 2012:

Two ISAF soldiers are wounded in an attack in Faryab province. The attacker is killed by ISAF troops.

July 22, 2012:

A member of the Afghan National Police (ANP) kills three civilian trainers who worked for ISAF in Herat province, wounding another. The attacker is killed.

July 5, 2012:

Five ISAF are wounded by an Afghan soldier in Wardak province.

July 1, 2012:

Three British military advisers are killed and another ISAF member is wounded in an attack by an Afghan Civil Order policeman in Helmand province.

June 18, 2012:

An ISAF soldier is killed by “three individuals in Afghan Police uniforms” in the south.

May 12, 2012:

Members of the Afghan Uniformed Police kill two British soldiers and wound two more in Helmand province.

May 11, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills a US soldier and wounds two others in Kunar province. The attacker flees to the Taliban.

May 6, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills one US Marine and wounds another in the Marjah district of Helmand province. The gunman is killed by return fire.

April 26, 2012:

An Afghan commando kills a US Special Forces soldier and an Afghan interpreter in Kandahar province. The Commando is killed by returned fire.

April 25, 2012:

An Afghan Uniformed Policeman wounds two ISAF soldiers in Kandahar province.

April 16, 2012:

An Afghan soldier attacks ISAF soldiers in Kandahar province; no casualties or injuries.

March 26, 2012:

An ISAF service member dies after a shooting in eastern Afghanistan.  He was shot by an alleged member of the Afghan Local Police. The attacker was killed by return fire.

March 26, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills two British troops and wounds another ISAF service member in Helmand province. The attacker is killed by return fire.

March 14, 2012:

An Afghan interpreter hijacks an SUV, wounds a British soldier, then attempts to run down a group of US Marines. The attacker crashes his truck and sets himself on fire.

March 2, 2012:

An Afghan soldier attacks ISAF soldiers at Camp Morehead in Kabul; no casualties.

March 1, 2012:

An Afghan soldier and a teacher open fire on NATO troops in Kandahar province, killing two and wounding two more, before being killed in returned fire.

Feb. 25, 2012:

An Afghan policeman guns down two US military officers in the Interior Ministry in Kabul before escaping.

Feb. 23, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills two US troops in Nangarhar province.

Feb. 20, 2012:

A member of the Afghan Uniformed Police kills an ISAF soldier in southern Afghanistan and wounds two.

Jan. 31, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills an ISAF soldier in Helmand province; the Afghan commander says it was an accident, but the shooter was detained.

Jan. 20, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills four ISAF soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. According to AFP, the attacker shot and killed four unarmed French soldiers and wounded another 15 at their base in Kapisa.

Jan. 8, 2012:

An Afghan soldier kills an ISAF soldier and wounds three others in southern Afghanistan. The attacker is shot and killed by another US soldier.

2011

Dec. 29, 2011:

An Afghan soldier kills two ISAF soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. The dead are two non-commissioned officers of the French Foreign Legion. The Taliban claimed the attack.

Nov. 9, 2011:

Three Australian soldiers are wounded when an Afghan soldier shoots them at an Australian base in Uruzgan province.

Oct. 29, 2011:

An Afghan army trainee fires at a forward operating base in Kandahar province being used to train ANA troops. He kills three Australian soldiers and one interpreter, wounding at least nine others.

Aug. 4, 2011:

An Afghan soldier kills an ISAF soldier while dressed as a policeman in eastern Afghanistan.

July 16, 2011:

An Afghan soldier kills an ISAF soldier in southern Afghanistan after a joint patrol. The attacker runs away.

May 30, 2011:

An Afghan soldier kills an ISAF soldier in southern Afghanistan. The two were in guard towers. The Afghan flees the scene.

May 13, 2011:

Two NATO soldiers mentoring an Afghan National Civil Order brigade are shot and killed inside a police compound in Helmand province.

April 27, 2011:

A veteran Afghan air force pilot opens fire inside a NATO military base in Kabul, killing eight and a contractor.

April 16, 2011:

A newly recruited Afghan soldier who was a Taliban suicide bomber detonated at Forward Operating Base Gamberi in Laghman, killing five NATO and four Afghan soldiers. Eight other Afghans were wounded, including four interpreters.

April 4, 2011:

An Afghan soldier opens fire on ISAF vehicles in Kandahar province

April 4, 2011:

An Afghan Border Police officer in Maimana, the capital of Faryab province, shoots and kills two US soldiers, then flees. ISAF reports on April 7 the attacker was killed when he displayed hostile intent after being tracked down in Maimana.

March 19, 2011:

An Afghan hired to provide security at Forward Operating Base Frontenac in Kandahar province shot six US soldiers as they were cleaning their weapons, killing two and wounding four more. The attacker was killed by three other US soldiers.

Feb. 18, 2011:

An Afghan soldier fires on German soldiers at a base in Baghlan province, killing three and wounding six others. The attacker was killed.

Jan. 18, 2011:

An Afghan soldier shoots two Italian soldiers at a combat outpost in Badghis province, killing one and wounding the other before escaping.

Jan. 15, 2011:

An Afghan soldier argues with a Marine in Helmand, threatens him, and later returns and aims his weapon at the Marine. When the Afghan soldier fails to put his rifle down, the Marine shoots him.

2010

Nov. 29, 2010:

An individual in an Afghan Border Police uniform kills six ISAF soldiers during a training mission in eastern Afghanistan; the attacker is killed in the incident.

Nov. 6, 2010:

Two US Marines are killed by an Afghan soldier at a military base in Helmand province. The shooter flees to the Taliban.

Aug. 26, 2010:

Two Spanish police officers and their interpreter are shot dead by their Afghan driver on a Spanish base in Badghis province. The shootings set off a riot outside the base; shots were fired at the base and fires were set. Officials say 25 people were wounded. The attacker was shot dead by other Spanish officers.

July 20, 2010:

An Afghan soldier kills two US civilian trainers at a training base in northern Afghanistan. One NATO soldier is wounded. The attacker dies.

July 13, 2010:

An Afghan soldier kills three British troops in Helmand province. The attacker flees to the Taliban.

2009

Dec. 29, 2009:

An Afghan soldier fires on NATO troops preventing them from approaching a helicopter. He kills a US soldier and injures two Italian soldiers before being injured by NATO troops’ return fire.

Nov. 3, 2009:

An Afghan policeman shoots and kills three UK Grenadier Guards and two members of the UK Royal Military Police; six other British troops are severely wounded alongside two Afghans. The incident occurred while the soldiers were resting after a joint patrol.

Oct. 28, 2009:

An Afghan policeman fires on American soldiers during a joint patrol in Wardak province, killing two and injuring two more before fleeing.

Oct. 2, 2009:

An Afghan policeman kills two American soldiers in Wardak province.

March 27, 2009:

An Afghan soldier shoots and kills two US Navy officers in Balkh province. According to theMilitary Times, the attacker also wounded another US Navy officer. The attacker then fatally shot himself.

2008

Oct. 18, 2008:

An Afghan policeman standing on a tower hurls a grenade and fires on a US military foot patrol as it returned to a base in Paktika province, killing one US soldier. The U.S. returns fire, killing the policeman.

Sept. 29, 2008:

An Afghan policeman fires at a police station in Paktia province, killing one US soldier and wounding three others before being shot himself.

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8 facts about Urgent Fury – the US invasion of Grenada

On October 25, 1983, the United States invaded the tiny island nation of Grenada. It was a “no-notice” invasion for the U.S. troops that deployed there. Here are eight facts about this small but potent combat operation.


1. Urgent Fury avenged the death of Grenada’s Marxist Prime Minister.

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Maurice Bishop (center) with Cuban leader Fidel Castro (right).

Maurice Bishop came to power after a coup in 1979. His revolutionary government banned other political parties and was led by a Marxist committee. When Bishop refused to share power four years later, he was arrested and executed.

2. The U.S. was invited to intervene.

The Governor-General of Grenada, Paul Scoon, was also arrested during the coup and held under house arrest. When Bishop was executed, Scoon understandably freaked out a little. As Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s appointed representative, he had little real authority, except for a constitutional provision that allowed him to appeal to other nations for help. He soon asked the U.S. to intervene. When the invasion began, Navy SEALs came to his aid.

3. It was a Coalition invasion force.

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Forces from OECS member countries landing at the Point Salines airfield. (DoD photo)

The invasion was led by the United States, of course, but other Eastern Caribbean countries were also in the invasion force. the Regional Security System was formed from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines all assisted in the takeover of Grenada’s government. Grenada was also a member of the OECS before the 1983 coup.

4. Rangers led the way in Grenada.

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Rangers from C Company, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment during Operation Urgent Fury, Oct. 25, 1983. (DoD photo)

The 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions along with special operations troops and Air Force Combat Controllers captured Point Salines on Oct. 25, 1983 in a large-scale combat jump. By Nov. 3, the invasion was over and hostilities ended.

5. U.S. troops faced Cuban soldiers for the first time.

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1st Platoon, B Co, 1st Ranger Battalion with a flag from Cuban barracks captured during the invasion of Grenada, 1983. (Photo by Bryan Staggs, who captured the flag and is standing in the front row, right)

Cuban-American relations soured after Fidel Castro’s Communist takeover. Events like the 1962 Missile Crisis and Cuban support for Communist ventures abroad only exacerbated the relationship, but the two forces never engaged each other in direct combat – until Grenada. Of the 772 Cuban troops deployed there, Havana suffered 25 killed, 59 wounded, and 638 captured.

6. Only one military movie features Urgent Fury.

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(Warner Bros.)

The story of surrounded U.S. troops on the island who called back to the States to get some artillery support was not only true, it was retold on the silver screen. In “Heartbreak Ridge” it was Gunnery Sgt. Highway’s Marines who called back. The SEALs say it was one of theirs, while others believe it was an Army officer.

7. The UH-60 saw action for the first time.

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Three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters prepare to touch down next to the Point Salines Airport runway during Operation Urgent Fury. (DoD photo)

It was a trial by fire for the UH-60, as the now-iconic Black Hawk helicopter was first introduced by the Army in 1979. Urgent Fury would be the first operation use of the aircraft against an enemy in combat. The new aircraft was “faster and quieter” than previous transports and was found to be a “more reliable platform than the UH-1.”

8. It was the first joint operation since Vietnam.

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(DoD photo)

As the story of a U.S. troop calling for air support with a payphone demonstrates, the “joint” aspect of the operation did not go well. The operation was a success despite the failures of service interoperability. Failures in command and control highlighted the need for changes. The Goldwater-Nichols Act restructured the U.S. military based partly on the Grenada invasion’s “deficiencies in the planning and preparation for employment of U.S. military forces in times of crisis.”

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7 reasons why R. Lee Ermey should voice act every video game

R. Lee Ermey is perhaps the most iconic Marine turned actor, notably for his vile-mouthed, brutal-yet-realistic portrayal of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket.”


If his Drill Instructor stare doesn’t whip you into a hardened killing machine in his live action roles, his voice alone will make you unf-ck yourself and stand at the “Gaht-Dayum” position of attention.

The raw power of his voice has been featured on everything from “The Simpsons” and “SpongeBob” to “Call of Duty” and “Crash Bandicoot.” Nearly everything The Gunny puts his talents into turns to gold.

His voice acting would elevate your gaming experience and make playing them so much better. Here is why.

1. You will get things done

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Hey! Listen here, scumbag! (Via Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D)

There’s hardly any video game character more annoying than Legend of Zelda’s Navi.

The Great Deku Tree senses evil approaching Hyrule. Instead of waking up to the annoying sound of: “The Great Deku Tree asked me to be your partner from now on. Nice to meet you,” imagine if you heard banging on a trash can and The Gunny shouting “On your feet, maggot! Reveille!”

Hyrule would be saved faster than you can say “Ooorah.”

2. You will try much harder

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Do you even praise the Corps? (Via Dark Souls III)

One of the most critically acclaimed video games of recent history is Dark Souls III; and it’s praised for intense level of difficulty.

You rest beside the bonfire before making your way back to fight the Lords of Cinder. You think you’ve finally gotten good enough to make it to the next bonfire. But then you stupidly roll off the cliff.

The sting of hearing “Any f-cking time, sweetheart” would hurt far more than reading “You Died.”

3. You will be over-powered in multiplayer

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You will not die without permission (Via Overwatch)

It’s been proven that psychology can have an effect in online play. If the rumors of Terry Crews voice acting Overwatch’s Doomfist holds weight, the only way you can balance that out would be to make Gunny a playable character.

His ultimate ability would have to be his knife-hands.

4. You will be far more terrified

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You listen to me and you listen to me good. I want that weapon. And I want it now. (Via Resident Evil 7)

What’s more terrifying than realizing that no amount of bullets will work on Resident Evil 7‘s Jack when you fight in the garage? That moment you realize that the Drill Instructor is in your face for something, you know you did wrong.

May God have mercy on your soul, for he will not.

5. You will not make the same mistake twice

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Your princess is in another castle, numbnuts! (Via Super Mario Bros.)

His voice would have worked in classic gaming with Super Mario Bros. as well. You fight your way through until you reach World 1-4. You think you’ve got this. You’ve beaten Goombas, Koopas, and even stopped Bowser.

Guess what? you just wasted everyone’s time by going to the wrong castle! Now get out there and get the right d-mn one!

6. You will learn every aspect of the game

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Outstanding, Private FidgetSwagger420. We finally found something you do well. (Via Counter Strike: Global Offensive)

If you expect to play online, it isn’t your weapon but a hard heart and your skill that kills. If your killer instinct is not clean and strong, you will lag at the moment of truth. You will learn from Gunny. Gunny will teach you to hone your skills and be a true killing machine.

7. Best of all, it will be authentic.

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In all seriousness though, the level of authenticity would rise with the inclusion of R. Lee Ermey into any game that has anything to do with war. Think of how real “Full Metal Jacket was because he took over the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman. This will happen to any game he’s included in.

Watch the video below of R. Lee Ermey getting into the booth for “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” 

(Call of Duty, YouTube)
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11 ways to properly display Old Glory

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued “Proclamation 1335” to officially establish June 14 as Flag Day. The holiday commemorates the 1777 adoption of the U.S. flag.


Related: Teen creates American flag using plastic Army guys

On June 22, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved Resolution 303, which officially outlines the customs and rules governing the display and use of Old Glory by civilians. While the official “Flag Code” explains the flag’s use for all situations, the following list is a quick guide for flying your colors now.

Note: This is not the complete Flag Code. Please visit CRS Report for Congress for a complete list of customs and rules governing the display and use of the U.S. Flag.

1. The union—the blue section with the 50 stars representing the states—should always be north and to the right (the viewer’s left).

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Photo by Mike Mozart, Flikr

2. The same rule applies if it’s hanging vertically.

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WASHINGTON (Sept. 11, 2008) The American Flag drapes over the side of the Pentagon signifying where American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the building, killing 59 people aboard the plane and 125 inside the Pentagon in 2001. The flag was draped for a Memorial Dedication Ceremony hosted by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, for those who lost their lives that day. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Molly A. Burgess)

3. The U.S. flag should always be on the right side (the viewer’s left) of a crossed flag display. Old Glory’s staff must also be in front of the other flag’s staff.

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Photo by FLAG Program, Flikr

4. When the flags of States, cities, or pennants of societies are flown together in the same halyard, the U.S. flag should always be at the peak. No flag or pennant should be above or to the right (the viewer’s left) of the U.S. flag.

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State of Wyoming flag flying under the United States Flag. Photo by David Jolley.

5. If the flags are flying from staffs, the U.S. flag should be at the center and highest peak of the group.

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Jimmy Carter Library flag display. Photo by Mark Goebel, Flikr.

6. When flying it at half-staff, the flag should be hoisted to the peak for a moment and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should also be raised to the peak before it’s lowered for the day. If other flags are present, the U.S. flag is hoisted to the true half-staff position with the other flags slightly below. The U.S. flag must be hoisted first and lowered last.

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The American flag on Fort Hood, Texas, rests at half-staff on Nov. 10, 2009, during a memorial ceremony honoring the victims of the Nov. 5, shooting rampage that left 13 dead and 38 wounded. U.S. Army photo

7. When the U.S. flag is flown horizontally at an angle from a window sill, balcony, or structure, the union should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.

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PEARL HARBOR (April 21, 2013) Quartermaster 3rd Class James Brown III, left, from Minneapolis, and Airman Austin Murphy, from Houston, raise the ensign on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group is returning from an eight-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Marco Villasana)

8. When it is carried in a procession with another flag, the U.S. flag should be on the marching right. If there’s a line of other flags, it should front and center of that line.

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9. When the flags of two or more nations are displayed together, they must be flown on separate staffs of the same height and equal in size. International usage forbids a nation’s flag above another’s during peace time.

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The Allée des Nations in front of the Palace of Nations (United Nations Office at Geneva). Photo by MadGeographer.

10. When the flag is displayed from a vehicle, the staff should be fixed to the right fender.

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2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine.

11. The flag must never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, floor, or water.

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The I Corps flag detail retired our nation’s colors at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Sept. 28, 2012. I Corps returned a few months ago from its Afghanistan deployment and is shifting its focus to the Pacific Rim. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Johnpaul Arnold

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91-year-old twins finally getting medals earned during World War II

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The Barrett brothers before Richard’s medal ceremony. (Screen grab of Fox 4 News broadcast.)


Twin brothers who went to war together are receiving medals 70 years after they took off their combat boots.

Richard and Robert Barrett, 91-year-old veterans of World War II, never knew they supposed to be getting medals nor were they looking for these accolades. A family member happened to discover the oversight after requesting replacement copies of their Army records – the originals had been destroyed.

The crowd gave a standing ovation after Richard received the Silver Star and Bronze Star with additional military honors from Congressman Sam Graves, who had expedited the process for them.

The brothers, who were 18 when they shipped off to war, recalled their time in combat:

“We were just kids when we heard our first machine gun fire and [we said] ‘Oh that’s great, that’s fun, machine gun fire,'” said Richard, “But a little later the Germans started shooting those 88 artillery shells, and things changed after that.”

He was also quick to point out that he is 5 minutes older than his brother Robert, and joked, “Of course, I had to take care of him in combat; he was kind of a puny kid.”

The Barretts showed humility as they talked with Fox 4 News about being honored for their service:  “It’s nice, but we’re both kind of humble about it,” Richard said. “We don’t let it get to be a prestigious deal for us. Awards or no awards, I’d do it again.”

“We saw some rough times,” Robert added. “We slept on some cold ground, but there are other men that did so much more than we did too.”

Robert will receive his medals in a separate ceremony.

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Mattis makes a statement about Marine ‘misconduct’

The purported actions of civilian and military personnel on social media websites, including some associated with the Marines United group and possibly others, represent egregious violations of the fundamental values that are upheld at the Department of Defense, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said today in a statement.


“The chain of command is taking all appropriate action to investigate potential misconduct and to maintain good order and discipline throughout our armed forces,” Mattis said.

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General Mattis.

“Lack of respect for the dignity and humanity of fellow members of the Department of Defense is unacceptable and harmful to the unit cohesion necessary to battlefield victory,” the secretary continued. “We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.”

Related: It’s not a scandal; it’s sexual harassment — Marines investigated after sharing nude photos without consent

Defense press operations director Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters today that Mattis spoke several times during his confirmation process about military service and unit cohesion and how those are predicated on the core values of trust and mutual respect.

All Held Accountable

“Our leaders at all levels of the chain of command will be held accountable to ensure that each member of our military can excel in an environment that maximizes their talents and [will have] no patience for those who would degrade or diminish another service member,” Davis said.

The secretary will meet with uniformed and civilian leaders in the days ahead and ensure that they are taking all appropriate actions to maintain good order and discipline, the captain added.

“The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating…web sites and other services are looking into the matter, as well,” Davis said.

Values

“Our values extend on- and off-duty, and we want personnel experiencing or witnessing online misconduct to promptly report matters to their chain of command,” the captain said.

Also read: Marines’ nude photo scandal is even worse than first realized

Davis said service members who might feel uncomfortable reporting alleged online misconduct to their chain of command have alternative avenues that include family support services, equal opportunity offices, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, the inspector general and law enforcement.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)

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