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The real villain in the Air Force-Trump hotel scandal: the dreaded Defense Travel System, obviously
The hullabaloo about an Air Force C-17 crew spending the night at one of President Donald Trump's resort in Scotland is just another reminder of why the Defense Travel System is the one piece of technology that the Pentagon wouldn't mind if the Chinese stole.
The Air Force has launched a review of how it selects which hotels airmen can book, after news broke that seven airmen stayed overnight at Trump's Turnberry resort in March during a stopover while the crew's C-17 refueled roughly 54 miles away at Glasgow's Prestwick Airport.
After Politico reported on Sept. 7 that lawmakers were investigating why the C-17 crew paid to stay at a luxury resort owned by the president, the Pentagon's top spokesman stressed to reporters on Monday that the Air Force's review into the matter has not found any infractions to guidelines for how the service selects which airports and hotels airmen can use for stopovers.
"In this case, they made reservations through the Defense Travel System and used the closest available and least expensive accommodations to the aircrew within the crew's allowable hotel rate," Jonathan Hoffman said at a Pentagon media availability.
"I'd like to point out that the cost of this hotel on the stopover mentioned was $136 a night, which is well within the $166 per night per diem rate and was significantly cheaper than the nearby Marriott property, which was $161 a night."
Since 2015, Air Mobility Command has increasingly used Prestwick Airport as a layover for flights headed to or returning from downrange because it is open 24 hours a day, the weather is better than at Edinburgh's Shannon Airport, and there is less aircraft parking congestion than in airports on continental Europe, Hoffman said.
The reason the C-17 crew stayed in Scotland overnight in March is they were required to rest after reaching the end of their duty day, said chief Air Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas.
"Because we don't want our airmen flying fatigued, you can have a 12-hour crew day but then you've got to have 12 hours of rest before you get behind the controls of the airplane," Thomas told reporters on Monday. "It can be waived during wartime or during periods of extremis, but it is a flight safety issue."
Thomas also called the costs of transporting the crew to the Trump resort as opposed to a hotel closer to the airport "negligible" because the Air Force has to pay for a bus or van to take airmen to their lodgings.
"So whether they go 5 miles or 10 miles or 20 miles it doesn't really change much," he said.
For his part, Trump vehemently denied influencing the C-17 crew's decision to stay at one of the Turnberry resort in March.
"I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!)," the president tweeted on Monday. "NOTHING TO DO WITH ME."
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.