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The state with the most active-duty US troops is also too expensive for veterans to retire, study say
California's high cost of living makes it a difficult place for retired military service members to settle down, according to an annual report by financial services website WalletHub.
California — home to the largest number of active-duty troops in the nation — fares poorly in the survey when it comes to affordable housing, homelessness and the proportion of of businesses in the state that are owned by veterans.
The study broke down all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., in terms of economic environment (including tax friendliness and job opportunities), quality of life (including share of veterans and number of homeless vets), and health care (including the number of VA hospitals).
Though California rated middle of the pack (No. 21) for overall treatment of retired military, it ranked among the worst for economic conditions (No. 46).
The survey found that while California has one of the smallest veteran populations per capita (No. 48), the Golden State is tied with several others for the highest percentage of homeless veterans.
Nearly a quarter of America's homeless veterans live in California, according to a survey conducted in 2012 by the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development.
Some of that can be contributed to the fact that California was found to be worst in the nation, behind all other states and the nation's capital, for housing affordability.
California also has one of the lowest percentages of veteran-owned businesses, ranking at No. 49.
Still, the Golden State didn't do poorly in all categories.
It rated No. 9 for overall quality of life and No. 14 for health care, and California is third in the nation for the number of VA health facilities per number of vets.
So, should retired military members consider California as their forever home?
"In looking at states that tax military retirement, TRICARE eligible facilities, veteran friendly communities and employment opportunities, one must consider all of these in their decision making," said Mike Brown, director of the Office of Veterans and Military Service Members at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, in a statement to WalletHub.
When it comes to choosing a place to retire, retired Lt. Col. Michael C. Wise told WalletHub that, "Cities and states that have large military bases in their communities are often recommended to be the best places to retire as the entire community supports the military."
California has several of the military's largest bases, including the Marines' Camp Pendleton and the complex of Navy ports and air bases in and around San Diego.
About 280,000 military service members and other Defense Department employees are stationed in California, according to the Defense Department. Virginia, with 250,000 troops and Defense Department employees, has the second highest number of military employees among all states.
©2019 The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.