Saved Rounds: This Week’s Military News Roundup

Bullet Points

This week brought us some of the crude, the bad, and the ugly, with stories of corporate stolen valor, birth defects caused by contaminated base water supplies, and we look back at remembering the ultimate stunt pulled by a former service academy student. Here's your military news roundup.


  • Nike and apparel boutique Undefeated were accused of stolen valor after putting out a logo for a new collaboration that bore a striking resemblance to the U.S. Naval Academy coat of arms. Nike has not put out an official response to the controversy, but Naval Academy officials are sticking with claims of a clear trademark violation ahead of the apparel launch this weekend.
  • Lawmakers wrote a scathing letter regarding their concerns about service members drinking poisoned base water which has resulted in birth defects on 126 DoD installations. The $2 billion plan to sort out the situation involves replacing the bad pipes with the same exact danger causing pipes, just newer. 

And this week’s Military Flashback Friday

  • West Point Academy drop-out Caleb Stevens returned from fighting the ISIS with a Kurdish militia group by entering a Chicago ER with his mom back in February and announcing that he needed medical attention for a week-old gunshot wound. After disclosing that he'd be shot in Syria, local police showed up to his hospital room accusing him of being a terrorist. He's fine now, though!

U.S. Air Force airmen from the 405th Expeditionary Support Squadron work together to clear debris inside the passenger terminal the day after a Taliban-led attack at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Brandon Cribelar)

Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.

The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.

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The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, June 17, 2017 (U.S. Navy photo)

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.

Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."

The investigations, both public and private, are out, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report assessing the changes to training implemented since the collisions.

So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.

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Belgian nurse Augusta Chiwy, left, talks with author and military historian Martin King moments before receiving an award for valor from the U.S. Army, in Brussels, Dec. 12, 2011. (Associated Press/Yves Logghe)

Editor's note: a version of this story first appeared in 2015.

Most people haven't heard of an elderly Belgian-Congolese nurse named Augusta Chiwy. But students of history know that adversity and dread can turn on a dime into freedom and change, and it's often the most humble and little-known individuals who are the drivers of it.

During the very darkest days of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, Chiwy was such a catalyst, and hundreds of Americans lived because of her. She died quietly on Aug. 23, 2015, at the age of 94 at her home in Brussels, Belgium, and had it not been for the efforts of my friend — British military historian Martin King — the world may never have heard her astonishing story.

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A Ukrainian serviceman watches from his position at the new line of contact in Zolote, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine Nov. 2, 2019 (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

More than $20 million of the Pentagon aid at the center of the impeachment fight still hasn't reached Ukraine.

The continued delay undermines a key argument against impeachment from President Trump's Republican allies and a new legal memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

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(Glow Images via Associated Press_

Average pay, housing and subsistence allowances will increase for members of the military in 2020, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

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