The Air Force's highest-paid employee is its football coach. He won't say anything about his players using cocaine

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VIDEO: The Coast Guard offloads approximately 18.5 tons of interdicted cocaine

Air Force Academy football coach Troy Calhoun refused to answer questions about cocaine use by three of his players during a news conference Tuesday.

Calhoun is the Air Force's highest-paid employee, with a salary set at $725,000 per year plus generous bonuses in his 2013 contract, which has since been extended with accompanying pay raises.


Calhoun is required by his contract to foster and uphold conduct for his players by "creating the best possible environment for cadet character development."

Here are questions Calhoun faced Tuesday and his answers.

Question: With Kyler Ehm facing a court martial tomorrow, that makes three players with cocaine charges. Do you have any comment on that?

Troy Calhoun: Standards of the United States Air Force Academy.

When these players are removed from the team, is there counseling provided for them? Do you wash your hands of it? What happens?

We'll talk about our team.

Are they no longer part of your team?

I'll talk about the guys who are on our team.

I've got a couple specific questions from our military reporter, Tom Roeder. He says, 'Why do you think three players have been caught up in this specific type of drug use of late?'

It's about our team.

Is that going to be your response for everything?

We're going to talk about our team. What do you have about our team?

Is that not about your team? As the coach, you brought them in as part of your team.

What do you have about our current team? What do you have about guys on our team?

They were recruits of yours at the Air Force Academy. They were attending with taxpayer money, taking spots from other people, do you not feel any responsibility for that?

Doesn't mean you can't take that. If there's something you guys can get out of it in terms of a story, then do it. But they're not on our team.

It's not about a story, I'm asking about accountability.

I'm asking, are they on our team?

They were, until you removed them for breaking the law.

If you're not on our team then you're not on our team.

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©2019 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) - Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."

Opinion

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

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Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario's seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Sternot was posthumously awarded with a Silver Star for his heroics while leading a machine gun team in the Ardennes Forest. The award, along with Sternot's Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was presented to his only living relative, Sternot's first cousin, 80-year-old Delores Sternot.

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The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

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