Advocacy Group Calls On Obama To Pardon Post-9/11 Vets With ‘Bad-Paper’ Discharges

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In this June 9, 2014 file photo is a sculpture portraying a wounded soldier being helped on the grounds of the Minneapolis VA Hospital.
AP Photo/Jim Mone

The veteran service organization, Vietnam Veterans of America, penned an open letter to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump, calling on the former to pardon all post-9/11 veterans who were discharged under less-than-honorable conditions without the due process of a court-martial.


Written by John Rowan, national president of Vietnam Veterans of America, it reads, “Over the last 15 years of continuous warfare, our government has failed to respond appropriately to multiple, comprehensive reports of veterans being inappropriately discharged from the military.”

It goes on to say that because of the underdiagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other service-connected illnesses and injuries, thousands of veterans have been unjustly discharged from the military and denied veterans’ benefits as a result.

Related: Advocacy Group Calls On Obama To Pardon Post-9/11 Vets With ‘Bad-Paper’ Discharges »

“The sole purpose of VVA existing is to ensure that no generation of veterans ever has to face the horrors that Vietnam veterans did when they returned home from overseas in the 60s and 70s,” VVA assistant director for policy and government affairs Kristofer Goldsmith told Task & Purpose.

While post-9/11 veterans have fared better than their Vietnam counterparts, Goldsmith continued, Vietnam Veterans of America found that the rate of veterans denied honorable discharges and left without benefits has increased.

“VVA's core mission, its founding principle, of ‘Never again will one generation of veterans leave behind another’ would not be fulfilled if VVA wasn't fighting for every veteran of the post-9/11 generation,” Goldsmith added.

For the Trump administration, the letter calls the president-elect support the initiative and make this pardoning program’s success a top-priority for his transition team.

Read the letter in full below.

(New Line Cinema)

The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.

Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15 announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.

This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."

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The Marine Corps' dune buggy drone jammer may have downed two Iranian drones in the Strait of Hormuz, U.S. military have officials announced.

The amphibious assault ship USS Boxer was transiting the Strait of Hormuz on July 18 when two Iranian drones came dangerously close, according to U.S. Central Command.

"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."

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On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.

A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.

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The Pentagon is no longer topless. On Tuesday, the Senate voted to confirm Mark Esper as the United States' first permanent defense secretary in more than seven months.

Esper is expected to be sworn in as defense secretary later on Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

"We are grateful for the Senate leadership and the Senate Armed Services Committee's willingness to quickly move through this process," Hoffman said.

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(Paramount Pictures via YouTube)

The new trailer for Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.

But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?

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