U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Deacon Holten, a squad leader with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, smokes a cigarette after an attack at Patrol Base Bracha in the Garmsir district of Helmand province, Afghanistan, Oct. 9, 2009.
All was quiet aboard California Marine and Navy bases Thursday as a new law raising the age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21 took effect. But unlike the first law to raise the smoking age to 21, which took effect in Hawaii at the start of the year, this law explicitly exempts active-duty members of the military from having to comply.
California also houses the Navy’s largest West Coast base, Naval Base San Diego, where more than 20,000 active-duty troops live and work.
While the Marine Corps and the Navy prepared troops for the new law in Hawaii with all-service bulletins threatening penalties for violators, the military response this time around was minimal.
"I have not heard any comments from Marines on the installations with concerns," Carl Redding, a spokesman for Marine Corps Installations West, told Military.com.
Redding said there were no near-term plans to push out information informing troops of the legal exemption or to promote military smoking cessation plans in light of the new law.
Helen Haase, a public affairs officer for Navy Region Southwest, which includes Naval Base San Diego, said the base had no plans to act regarding the new law either.
A source in the California state Senate told Military.com that the smoking age exemption for active-duty troops was added by members with military constituencies who raised the popular argument that troops old enough to go to war should have the freedom to smoke if they chose.
It's an argument that carries particular weight in the military, where a 2011 Defense Department survey found that nearly one in four troops smoke. The Marine Corps reported the highest rate of cigarette smoking, with smokers making up nearly one-third of the force.
Notably, the California law would leave military base commanders with the option to enforce the 21-and-over tobacco purchase policy aboard their installations, if they chose to do so.
The U.S. military does not need Iraqi permission to fly close air support and casualty evacuation missions for U.S. troops in combat, a top spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS clarified on Tuesday.
Army Col. James Rawlinson clarified that the Iraqis do not need to approve missions in emergency circumstances after Task & Purpose reported on Monday that the U.S. military needed permission to fly CAS missions for troops in a fight.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.
Americans' mighty military may have met its match when it comes to erecting barriers to keep out intruders.
An alligator in Florida recently had zero trouble flopping over a chain-link fence to get onto a naval air base. Motorist Christina Stewart pulled over to film it, and local television station WJAX posted it on Facebook.