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A Transgender Sailor Who Challenged Trump's Military Ban Will Attend The State Of The Union
Days after the Supreme Court backed a Pentagon ban on transgender troops serving openly, an active-duty transgender sailor will appear as a guest of honor at President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Megan Winters will be the guest of Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, at the State of the Union on Feb. 5, according to a release from the congressman's office. Winters, 30, was a plaintiff in a lawsuit by the organizations Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN challenging the ban.
The policy approved by then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis last year was not the across-the-board prohibition proposed by Trump via Twitter in 2017, but would keep most openly transgender individuals from enlisting and limit the ability of currently serving transgender troops to come out and transition.
Winters, now assigned to the carrier George H.W. Bush in Norfolk, Virginia, is a constituent of McEachin's who has been vocal about her position, giving interviews to PBS and The Associated Press, among others, about her position.
"I do my job to the best of my ability every single day and will do that as long as I'm able to," she told the AP in January. "I recall how I felt the first time I put on the uniform. I genuinely wish that upon any American who wishes to serve."
In a release, McEachin said he wanted to recognize Winters for her service in the Navy and give more visibility to other transgender service members.
"As many as 15,000 transgender individuals currently serve in the U.S. military, and they deserve our utmost respect and gratitude," he said in a statement. "Unlike our current commander in chief, I will always support and defend the brave members of our military."
On Jan. 22, the Supreme Court released a 5-4 decision that it would not take up three cases challenging the proposed ban. Several lawsuits continue in lower courts, however. The Pentagon has yet to begin enforcing its transgender policy as one nationwide injunction against it remains effective, tied to an ongoing case in Maryland Federal District Court.
Winters told the AP she would abide by the Pentagon's transgender policy if enacted, but hoped for the opportunity to remain in uniform.
"I want to tell you I stand steadfast and hold my head up high, but it is a little difficult," she said in the interview. "The president of the United States is my commander in chief. If they called for the end of transgender service, if it's a lawful order, I would have to obey it. But I truly want to continue serving my country."
This article originally appeared on Military.com
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When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.
Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.
"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."
That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.
Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.