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Army recruiters signed off on hundreds of recruits who hadn't passed a required fitness test
Over 300 soldiers were found to have enlisted after either failing a required fitness test, or never taking it at all, according to documents obtained by Army Times.
In 2017, the Army was straining to meet its goal of 476,000 active-duty soldiers, meaning the service had to bring in 68,000 recruits. The Occupational Physical Assessment Test was new, and Army Times reports that recruiters implicated in the investigation — 297 of them — "figured the recruits would sort out their fitness levels at basic."
According to the report obtained by Army Times, recruiters "perceived that they were under pressure by the mission increase and the requirement to fill training seats during a historically low period of accessions into the Army to ship recruits as quickly as possible."
The investigators who looked into the issue also wrote in their report that many of the recruiters "did not fully grasp how to administer the OPAT or the significance of the testing requirements."
The investigation involved 38 of the Army's recruiting battalions, excluding only New York City and Richmond, Virginia. Per Army Times, the worst offender was Dallas, Texas, passing through 38 untested recruits who never took the fitness test.
Overall there were 318 soldiers who said they either never took the test, or that they failed it; 228 allegations were substantiated, and U.S. Army Recruiting Command spokeswoman Lisa Ferguson told Army Times that "appropriate action was taken in each case."
In response to the investigation in 2017, USAREC put new requirements in place. Army recruits must sign their OPAT score cards, those score cards must be reviewed by someone designated by the recruiting center, and both the recruit's and recruiter's signatures have to be validated by a guidance counselor, per Army Times.
The recruits at the center of the investigation were ultimately allowed to stay and continue training.
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Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.
When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.
Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.
"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."
That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.