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'We're Already Here': A Renewed Transgender Ban Would Kill This Seasoned Army Grunt's Long Career
Staff Sgt. Patricia King has been proud to deploy downrange three times in her 18-year Army career. But she may have to resign without retirement benefits if President Trump re-imposes a ban on transgender troops serving in the military.
“I’m always optimistic,” King told Task & Purpose as she waits for the president’s decision, which is expected within the next month. “The notion that we can no longer serve our country and give back to our country that we love is something that we can’t afford to lose. We love our country just like any other citizen does and the opportunity to continue to serve is something that we value. We’re already here. We’re already doing the job. It’s not something that any one of us is ready to give up on.”
King began her transition from male to female in November 2015. Prior to that, she deployed three times to Afghanistan – during her first, she took part in Operation Anaconda as a squad automatic weapon gunner with the 10th Mountain Division – and once to Kuwait, she said.
On Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis made his recommendation to President Trump about whether to allow transgender service members to stay in the military. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that Mattis was expected to recommend that transgender troops be allowed to stay in the military, but a Pentagon refused could neither confirm the story was accurate nor indicate what Mattis’ recommendation is.
One argument in favor of not allowing transgender troops to serve is that their medical needs make them non-deployable. But King said there have been only “nominal periods of time” that she could not deploy due to follow-up surgeries and she has managed to schedule most of those procedures around Christmas and summer leave.
“I am 100 percent deployable,” King said. “My readiness has always been my top priority. Selfless service is one of our core Army values. I had a surgery in November and I climbed a mountain last weekend.”
The Defense Department does not track how many transgender troops are in the military, according to the Pentagon. Service members are listed as either male or female.
A transgender Marine told Task & Purpose that his chain of command has provided him with amazing support, but he wants people to stop fixating on his gender.
“I want my career and character to speak to the kind of person I am and what I can achieve, not be limited by someone’s ill-informed personal opinion of my impact,” said the Marine, who asked that his name not be used out of concern of possible retaliation.
“They have already put me in a box and defined me as mentally ill or incapable of honorably serving,” the Marine added. “I can tell you that me being trans has nothing to do with my morals or ethics, and yet I have been reduced to nothing but what they already assume of me.”
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.
On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.
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 five-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 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.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.