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Pentagon Masses Troops, Equipment, And Ships For Hurricane Florence Response
The U.S. military has “quite literally surrounded” the East Coast states that Hurricane Florence is expected to hit with personnel and equipment, which are poised to swoop in to help people in need, said Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, head of U.S. Northern Command.
A total of 7,000 U.S. troops have tasked with taking part in relief efforts, of which about 3,000 are active-duty service members, O’Shaughnessy told reporters on Thursday. Thousands of other troops from all military branches have been ordered to prepare to deploy if needed.
Florence is expected to bring heavy rains to North and South Carolina as well as Georgia. The storm could especially drench certain areas if it stalls for several hours, according to the National Weather Service.
The amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge and the amphibious transport dock USS Arlington are close behind the storm and ready to take part in rescue missions, said Navy Lt. Jamie Seibel, a spokeswoman for Fleet Forces Command.
The ships have six MV-22B Ospreys and a total 16 helicopters between them: Three UH-1Y Venoms, six MH-60 Seahawks, three CH-53E Sea Stallions, and four MH-53E Sea Dragons.
Roughly 800 Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit are also aboard the ships along with Navy Seabees and a fleet surgical team, Seibel said.
The Defense Department has staged roughly 80 Light Medium Tactical Vehicles at Fort Stewart, Georgia, and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which can be used to carry supplies and rescue trapped people in flooded areas, O’Shaughnessy said. Another 40 high-wheeled vehicles and seven helicopters are standing ready at Fort Bragg.
Both the Air Force and Army have aircraft ready for search and rescue efforts, he said. Six Air Force HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, two HC-130J Combat King II aircraft, and four pararescue teams have been dispatched to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, along with other search and rescue teams from Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.
In addition, the Army has 35 helicopters for search and rescue at Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia, and another such unit at Fort Bliss, Texas, is ready to respond.
No active-duty troops are expected to take part in law enforcement missions in hurricane-affected areas, said Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Defense and Global Security Kenneth Rapuano.
“Typically in a disaster, the Department of Defense provides no Title 10 [federal active-duty] law enforcement,” Rapuano said. “That’s provided by National Guard in state active-duty status, local police. Federal law enforcement will often augment disaster areas if requested by the state. So the Department of Defense law enforcement would be a very unique circumstance and would require special legal considerations.”
A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).
But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.
A new documentary series about Clint Lorance pits the infantry officer convicted of murder against his former soldiers
The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the six-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.
A Vietnam vet found covered in ant bites is forcing the Atlanta VA to finally reckon with years of dangerous practices
Dawn Brys got an early taste of the crisis unfolding at the largest Veterans Affairs hospital in the Southeast.
The Air Force vet said she went to the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Decatur last year for surgery on a broken foot. But the doctor called it off because the surgical instruments hadn't been properly sterilized.
"The tools had condensation on them," recalled Brys, a 50-year-old Marietta resident. The doctor rescheduled it for the next day.
Now the 400-plus-bed hospital on Clairmont Road that serves about 120,000 military veterans is in a state of emergency. It suspended routine surgeries in late September after a string of incidents that exposed mismanagement and dangerous practices. It hopes to resume normal operations by early November as it struggles to retrain staff and hire new nurses.
The partial shutdown came about two weeks after Joel Marrable, a cancer patient in the same VA complex, was found covered with more than 100 ant bites by his daughter. Also in September, the hospital's canteen was temporarily closed for a pest investigation.
The mounting problems triggered a leadership shakeup Sept. 17, when regional director Leslie Wiggins was put on administrative leave. Dr. Arjay K. Dhawan, the regional medical director, was moved to administrative duties pending an investigation. Seven staff members were reassigned to non-patient care.
The only question for some military veterans and staff is why the VA waited so long. They say problems existed for years under Wiggins' leadership, but little was done.
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.