(U.S. Army/Capt. Adan Cazarez)

In early 2001, Ryan McCarthy was on his way out of the Army.

The Army Ranger had been in the infantry since September 1997 and his service obligation had ended. He had the option to get out, and was planning on taking it.

But that, along with everything else, changed on September 11th. His unit was called to Afghanistan, and he decided to stay. Though his former battle buddy Dan Ferris, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served alongside him in the 75th Ranger Regiment, said it wasn't even a question.

"Ryan was like, 'There's no way in heck that I'm leaving. I'm staying and I'm going with you guys.' He was just completely dedicated to getting out there and defending our country with all of us," Ferris told Task & Purpose.

McCarthy was among the first boots on the ground during the invasion of Afghanistan. After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute, McCarthy went on to serve for five years, deploying to Afghanistan from October 2001-February 2002, and earning three Army Achievement Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, and Parachutist Badge, among others.

On Monday, the 45-year-old Army Under Secretary was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the top civilian in charge of the U.S. Army, replacing Mark Esper as Army Secretary, who was confirmed as Secretary of Defense in July.

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The cast of 'The Code' (CBS Entertainment)

When CBS announced that it picked up The Code in 2018, the network clearly thought it had the next JAG on its hands. Instead, it got a disaster of a production that was cancelled after just one season.

The military courtroom drama — developed by Craig Sweeny and Craig Turk and starring Luke Mitchell, Dana Delaney, and Anna Wood — was billed as a gritty look at "the military's brightest minds take on our country's toughest challenges – inside the courtroom and out."

But over its first season, the series failed to cultivate a dedicated audience, lagged in network ratings, and, perhaps more importantly, pissed off an online army of U.S. military veterans incensed by the series' inaccuracies.

This could have been at least partially avoided, according to several sources, if Sweeny and Turk hadn't outright rejected the Marine Corps' help at every turn.

This account is based on conversations with two Marine Corps officials and a source at CBS Entertainment with knowledge of the interactions between the The Code team and the Corps. All three spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisal.

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It starts with four letters, maybe even just three.

When Don and Diane Shipley find out someone claims to be a Navy SEAL or POW, they won't just take their word for it. And when it comes to liars, they take no prisoners.

The couple has made it their mission to track down and expose "phonies" — their word for people who falsely claim to be Navy SEALs and/or former prisoners of war.

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(IRIB News Agency via Associated Press)

Just before sunset on Jan. 12, 2016, 10 American sailors strayed into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, a navigation error with potentially grave consequences. On their way to a spying mission, the Americans had set sail from Kuwait to Bahrain. It was a long-distance trek that some senior commanders in the Navy's 5th Fleet had warned they were neither equipped nor trained to execute.

Surrounded by four boats operated by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the U.S. sailors, in two small gunboats, surrendered rather than opening fire. The officer in charge of the mission later said he understood that had a firefight erupted, it could well have provoked a wider conflict and scuttled the controversial nuclear deal the two countries were poised to implement in mere days.

The Navy dialed up an elaborate rescue mission to free the sailors from tiny Farsi Island involving fighter jets and a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group. But the return of the sailors was ultimately secured peacefully. The nuclear deal went forward with the U.S. providing sanctions relief and unfreezing billions in Iranian assets in exchange for Tehran's promise to curb its nuclear ambitions.

President Donald Trump explicitly invoked the 2016 incident last week as he weighed actions against Iran amid rising tensions. Trump told Time magazine that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had mishandled the high-stakes confrontation, a mistake he would not make. “The only reason the sailors were let go is that we started making massive payments to them the following day," Trump said. “Otherwise the sailors would still be there."

But a ProPublica investigation makes clear that Trump's repeated claims about the captured sailors – Obama's weakness; that the money was improper – obscure the more troubling realities exposed by the Navy's 2016 debacle in the Persian Gulf. The Farsi Island mission was a gross failure, involving issues that have plagued the Navy in recent years: inadequate training, poor leadership, and a disinclination to heed the warnings of its men and women about the true extent of its vulnerabilities.

Now, the Navy, and the 5th Fleet based in the Persian Gulf, are staring at the possibility of a military conflict, standing ready for a commander in chief who lacks a permanent secretary of defense and is thus more dependent on uniformed military leaders.

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A Soldier holds an American flag prior to the start of an oath of citizenship ceremony in the General George Patton Museum's Abrams Auditorium at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Sept. 19, 2018. (U.S. Army/ Eric Pilgrim)

ASHINGTON — Immigrants serving in the U.S. military are being denied citizenship at a higher rate than foreign-born civilians, according to new government data that has revealed the impact of stricter Trump administration immigration policies on service members.

According to the same data, the actual number of service members even applying for U.S. citizenship has also plummeted since President Donald Trump took office, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported in its quarterly naturalization statistics.

"The U.S. has had a long-standing tradition of immigrants come to the U.S. and have military service provide a path to citizenship," said retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, a senior adviser to the liberal veterans advocacy group VoteVets.org. "To have this turnaround, where they are actually taking a back seat to the civilian population, strikes me as a bizarre turn of events."

According to the most recent USCIS data available, the agency denied 16.6% of military applications for citizenship, compared to an 11.2% civilian denial rate in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, a period that covers October to December 2018.

The fiscal year 2019 data is the eighth quarterly report of military naturalization rates since Trump took office. In six of the last eight reports, civilians had a higher rate of approval for citizenship than military applicants did, reversing the previous trend.

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The USS America, (LHA 6), houses 12 F35-B Lightning II aircraft off the coast of California, November 18, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dana Beesley)

The Navy is bringing increased strike power to U.S. forces in the Pacific with a new deployment, the service said in a statement.

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