DoD To Allow Transgender Enlistments As Courts Tear Apart Trump’s Ban

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The Department of Defense announced Dec. 11 that it will again allow transgender applicants to join the military starting Jan. 1, 2018, on the heels of a new court ruling against President Donald Trump’s announced ban on transgender service members.


Pentagon spokesman Maj. David Eastburn told the Associated Press that the service could still turn away candidates with “gender dysphoria,” but not if a physician certifies that the candidate has been “stable in the preferred sex for 18 months and are free of significant distress or impairment” in every respect.

"Due to the complexity of this new medical standard, trained medical officers will perform a medical prescreen of transgender applicants for military service who otherwise meet all applicable applicant standards," Eastburn told AP.

That surprise move the military had previously said it would study the issue and put out recommendations by January came as a federal court dealt another blow to Trump’s demand for a ban on transgender people in the service, which he first handed down in a series of tweets last summer, a move that baffled lawmakers and military brass alike.

On Dec. 11, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for the District of Columbia, who had previously ordered the Pentagon to accept transgender troops by Jan. 1, denied the Trump administration’s request to delay implementation of that order, the Washington Post reports.   

Given that the U.S. government has “had the opportunity to prepare for the accession of transgender individuals into the military for nearly one and a half years,” when then-defense secretary Ash Carter announced a pro-transgender policy shift in 2016, “the Court is not convinced by the vague claims in [the government’s] declaration that a stay is needed,” Kollar-Kotelly wrote in her decision.

A separate federal court in Baltimore had ruled in November that the Trump administration couldn’t withhold funding for already-serving trans servicemembers’ sex-reassignment surgeries, the Post reports.

Those court rulings, and Pentagon’s snap decision to reopen enlistments next month,  mean the next battle between administration lawyers and trans advocates “will not be about whether you allow transgender enlistees, it's going to be on what terms," Brad Carson — the former undersecretary of defense personnel and readiness who helped implement Carter’s pro-transgender policy in 2016 — told the AP. "That's really where the controversy will lie."

Sgt. Ryan Blount, 27th Brigade, New York Army National Guard, rests in a hallway after a full day of field training, before heading back out Jan. 16, 2015, at Alexandria International Airport, La. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Cliffton Dolezal)

(Reuters Health) - Soldiers who experience sleep problems during basic combat training may be more likely to struggle with psychological distress, attention difficulties, and anger issues during their entry into the military, a recent study suggests.

"These results show that it would probably be useful to check in with new soldiers over time because sleep problems can be a signal that a soldier is encountering difficulties," said Amanda Adrian, lead author of the study and a research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.

"Addressing sleep problems early on should help set soldiers up for success as they transition into their next unit of assignment," she said by email.

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The Armed Forces Service Medal has a green, blue and yellow ribbon and a bronze medal featuring a torch like that held by the Statue of Liberty. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Alexx Pons)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."

The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.

There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.

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Photo: US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.

Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.

It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.

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Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

It all began with a medical check.

Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.

It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.

Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.

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U.S. Army Cpt. Katrina Hopkins and Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Rogers, assigned to Task Force Warhorse, pilot a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) operation at Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 18, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Javion Siders)

U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.

However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

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