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After the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah mistakenly shipped live anthrax to hundreds other labs for more than a decade, a report made available to USA Today reveals that a “culture of complacency” among the facility’s leadership was to blame.
The brigadier general who oversaw the bio-defense lab is among a dozen others facing disciplinary action.
This report is the most recent examination into the accidental shipment of live anthrax from Dugway to nearly 200 private, academic, and federal labs. The live anthrax was shipped to all 50 states and nine foreign countries.
According to USA Today, the Army's accountability investigation report found that “top officials” at the facility had “multiple warning signs of scientific and safety problems,” yet failed to take action despite incidents between 2007 and 2011 involving anthrax, VX chemical nerve agent, and poisonous botulinum neurotoxin A.
This is not the first time that Dugway Proving Grounds has been embroiled in scandal over procedural missteps regarding dangerous materials. The Daily Beast explored the installation’s history of “f-ing around” with explosives in a July 2015 report.
The most recent review singled out Brig. Gen. William E. King IV, who was in command at Dugway from July 2009 to 2011, according to USA Today. King was promoted to his current rank after leaving Dugway and now oversees the Army’s 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
According to USA Today, the report notes that “Colonel King repeatedly deflected blame and minimized the severity of incidents,” and that “even now, Brigadier General King lacks introspection and fails to recognize the scope and severity of the incidents that occurred during his command at (Dugway).”
In a statement to USA TODAY, King said he couldn't comment on the ongoing investigation, but that the safety of soldiers, families and the local community are of "utmost importance" and he supports efforts to address scientific and technical gaps associated with the safe handling of dangerous materials.
While the U.S. military wants to keep roughly 8,600 troops in Afghanistan, the Taliban's deputy leader has just made clear that his group wants all U.S. service members to leave the country as part of any peace agreement.
"The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand," Sirajuddin Haqqani wrote in a story for the New York Times on Thursday.
In the wee hours of Jan. 8, Tehran retaliated over the U.S. killing of Iran's most powerful general by bombarding the al-Asad air base in Iraq.
Among the 2,000 troops stationed there was U.S. Army Specialist Kimo Keltz, who recalls hearing a missile whistling through the sky as he lay on the deck of a guard tower. The explosion lifted his body - in full armor - an inch or two off the floor.
Keltz says he thought he had escaped with little more than a mild headache. Initial assessments around the base found no serious injuries or deaths from the attack. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, "All is well!"
The next day was different.
"My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck," Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq's western Anbar desert. "My stomach was grinding."
A video has emerged showing a U.S. military vehicle running a Russian armored truck off the road in Syria after it tried to pass an American convoy.
Questions still remain about the incident, to include when it occurred, though it appears to have taken place on a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli, according to The War Zone.
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.
We are women veterans who have served in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. Our service – as aviators, ship drivers, intelligence analysts, engineers, professors, and diplomats — spans decades. We have served in times of peace and war, separated from our families and loved ones. We are proud of our accomplishments, particularly as many were earned while immersed in a military culture that often ignores and demeans women's contributions. We are veterans.
Yet we recognize that as we grew as leaders over time, we often failed to challenge or even question this culture. It took decades for us to recognize that our individual successes came despite this culture and the damage it caused us and the women who follow in our footsteps. The easier course has always been to tolerate insulting, discriminatory, and harmful behavior toward women veterans and service members and to cling to the idea that 'a few bad apples' do not reflect the attitudes of the whole.
Recent allegations that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie allegedly sought to intentionally discredit a female veteran who reported a sexual assault at a VA medical center allow no such pretense.
Survival expert and former Special Air Service commando Edward "Bear" Grylls made meme history for drinking his own urine to survive his TV show, Man vs. Wild. But the United States Air Force did Bear one better recently, when an Alaska-based airman peed in an office coffee maker.
While the circumstances of the bladder-based brew remain a mystery, the incident was written up in a newsletter written by the legal office of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on February 13, a base spokesman confirmed to Task & Purpose.