I was going to start this post off with a rundown of the different ways Nathan Phillips — the Native American activist involved in a scuffle between Catholic high school students in Washington, D.C. — has described his past service with the Marine Corps.
I was going to bring up his troublesome claims of being a "recon ranger" — which he was not. I was going to reflect on his claim that he was a "Vietnam-times veteran" who came home and was "spit on" and "called a baby killer," despite his service record keeping him in the United States, and it being unclear where he was claiming to have come home from.
The claims would have been questioned, but his overall story of being just a "Vietnam-times veteran" would have been outside the realm of stolen valor.
But then, another video emerged.
Many news organizations initially described Phillips as a Vietnam veteran, until they were forced to issue corrections. Well, they're going to need to issue a few more, since Phillips apparently slipped up in 2018 and claimed that he was "a Vietnam vet" and he was "in theater" during the war — which is categorically false.
Here's the full quote, taken from a video of Phillips posted to the Native Youth Alliance Facebook page (9:45 mark):
"I'm a Vietnam vet, you know," Phillips said. "I served in the Marine Corps from '72 to '76. I got discharged May 5, 1976. I got honorable discharge and one of the boxes in there shows if you were peacetime or... what my box says that I was in theater. I don't talk much about my Vietnam times. I usually say 'I don't recollect. I don't recall,' you know, those years."
In the same video, at around the 23:45 mark, he states, "I got a Section 8 home because I'm a veteran, wartime veteran like that. Honorable, in theater, so I have Section 8 home."
Phillips did serve in the Marine Corps from May 20, 1972 until May 5, 1976, according to a Corps spokeswoman, but did not serve anywhere near Vietnam or any theater of war. He had zero deployments and his only award was a National Defense Service Medal. He briefly had the military occupational specialty of 0351 Anti-tank missile-man before being assigned as an 1161 refrigerator technician.
He also was discharged as a private after four years of service.
The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.
Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15
announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.
This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired
recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."
"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."
On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.
A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.
The new trailer for
Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.
But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?