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.
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.
The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.
The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.
McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.
The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.
Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.