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Arlington National Cemetery Is Running Out Of Room
Arlington National Cemetery is perhaps the most hallowed, and sought-after, space to bury American service members. But after 150 years in operation, it’s running out of room.
The Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing Mar. 29 to discuss current issues and future proposals to honor the lives and deaths of those who served. Space to bury these veterans and their family members, it turns out, will be one of the panel’s greatest challenges in coming years.
By the year 2041, “Arlington National Cemetery will not be a burial option for those service members who served in the Gulf War and any conflict afterwards,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of the Army National Military Cemeteries, said in her testimony before the panel, adding that the cemetery will either require changes to its current footprint or eligibility policies in order to remain open.
More than 400,000 people have been interred in Arlington National Cemetery since its opening, and 4 million Americans are estimated to visit the grounds every year. But the cemetery is already nearing total capacity. 7,140 veterans and eligible family members were buried there in 2016 alone, reported Military Times. As part of the Millennium Project, 28,000 new grave sites are supposed to be available in 2017. But it’s a stop-gap measure at best.
In order to stay open, some cemeteries recycle graves, like the City of London cemetery, which recently began reusing graves that are more than 75 years old. However, disturbing the graves of those long-buried in Arlington National Cemetery could be viewed as desecration.
But there are options outside Arlington National Cemetery.
“Veterans deemed eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery are more than likely also eligible for burial in any of VA’s 135 national cemeteries across the country,” Jessica Schiefer, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, told Task & Purpose. Forty states and Puerto Rico boast VA cemeteries, in addition to various state-level interment options for veterans, all of which are searchable on the VA’s website.
Still, Arlington is Arlington. “Arlington National Cemetery is a unique and iconic place,” Durham-Aguilera told the Senate panel. Given that the nation’s supply of war veterans — and their demand for a stately resting place — is unlikely to shrink soon, Arlington’s future iconic status may depend on outside-the-box thinking very soon.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.