Military

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

NC Veterans Affairs and American Legion 9/11 Remembrance

8:15 a.m., corner of Saunders St. and N. Salem St., Apex

NCDVA Director Ilario Pantano, a former US Marine and witness to the attacks, will give remarks and introduce Speaker Pro Tempore of the NC House of Representatives Skip Stam.  Representative Stam, also a former US Marine, will headline the ceremony and speak to the events of 9/11 and the courage of past, present and future generations of Americans.

pigs
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists say they will ramp up their efforts to halt military training they say harms and even kills animals.  The organization is urging the Army and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to turn exclusively to modern training equipment -- such as computer simulators. 

PETA says the United States is one of only six NATO nations that still uses live animals in military medical training.  PETA's director of lab investigations Justin Goodman says it's the military's own study that reveals the dangers.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Fort Bragg is hosting a Transition Summit today and tomorrow to help out-going soldiers find jobs outside the military.

The federal unemployment rate for veterans is about six percent.  That's according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' July numbers.

Someone has posted an apartment on Craigslist that looks suspiciously like the Camp Lejeune barracks. The "lovely" space is located in a "gated community with 24-hour private security." The ad also touts the "active community with running trails" and "motivation specialists to encourage you along your way." Other amenities include a courtesy wake-up service at or around 0530. "Extremely short commute to work!!!," the ad notes. Read the listing:

Creative Commons

Islamic militants are slowly gaining more control of Iraq. 

The group known as the Islamic State is asserting its will in the northern part of the country. It has made Mosul its de facto capital, and has driven thousands of Christians out of the city.

But the battle is not just sectarian, it is political.

The U.S. has been unsuccessful in its push for the Shiite majority to be more inclusive toward Sunnis and Kurds, and some say a one-state solution cannot work.

headshot of ethicist David Gushee
theology.mercer.edu

Many have criticized the American government's use of torture since 9/11 including military experts who say it it is ineffective. But for Christian ethicist David Gushee, the very question of effectiveness is a degrading one. He believes the usefulness of a behavior does not affect its morality. 

Gushee is part of the non-governmental, bipartisan Task Force on Detainee Treatment, convened by the Constitution Project. Gushee speaks tonight at 7pm at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. A declassified report on CIA torture is expected to be released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later this summer. 

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl
Wikipedia

A deal reached by the White House allowed for the release of American POW Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl this week.

In exchange, five Taliban prisoners were released from detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The decision has prompted reaction from members of the military and Congress.

Teachers at North Carolina's military bases are preparing for up to five furlough days due to cuts from the sequester
Fort Bragg

Jasmine Pollard is an Army reservist. She had just gotten back from a nine-month deployment when she and her now wife decided to marry. The ceremony was in California, a state that allows same-sex marriages.

Her wife also serves. She's a medic stationed at Fort Bragg. So Jasmine, 20, decided to move back East so they could be together. She'd hoped to go to school, taking advantage of a federal law the says military dependents can receive in-state tuition rates.

She ran into problems.

She called Fayetteville State University to ask about the waiver.

The official statement might be the most passive aggressive technique in politics. And right now, there's a lot of passive aggression in the world of veterans affairs.

A field of flags outside the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC.
Gerry Dincher / Flickr/Creative Commons

People will gather across the state for Memorial Day ceremonies honoring men and women who died in service to the US military.

Governor Pat McCrory and the commander for Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune will gather for a ceremony at the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington.

During World War II, the battleship participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific, survived a broadside torpedo attack, and earned 15 battle stars.

Marine Brigadier General Robert Castellvi said the armed forces are facing new issues since the time the North Carolina sailed.

Expert Infantry / Creative Commons

Women are still excluded from certain areas of military service, but the Department of Defense has given branches until 2016 to eliminate "unnecessary gender-based barriers to service". Now, bases are evaluating how women fare during training that was reserved for men.

Camp Lejeune is studying enlisted female Marines who have passed their first 29 days of general training and volunteer for another 30 days of specialized training. At the end of it, their male peers can become machine gunners and missile men.

Air Force airmen lay sandbags to protect against a flooding disaster in MO in 2011.
Dept. of Defense

Climate change and the way we use energy are threats to national security, according to group of U.S. military generals at the nonprofit CNA Corporation.

Their research shows stronger storms will likely divert more troops to humanitarian missions and American dependence on fossil fuels forces convoys to routinely transport fuel through dangerous areas.

Host Frank Stasio talks with retired Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, a member of the Military Advisory Board at CNA Corporation.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

Police and community leaders in Fayetteville are working on a local incarnation of the Silent Siren program to help veterans in an emergency.

Fayetteville police responded last week to a call from a woman whose husband, a soldier, was parked outside a Walmart threatening to kill himself. Police approached the stand off without lights, sirens and shouting.  They were able get the soldier help.

Fayetteville wants to expand that gentle approach for emergencies involving veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injury.

A picture of the Airborne logo.
The US Army Institute of Heraldry / US Army

All American Week gets underway today at Fort Bragg to honor members of the 82nd Airborne Division. 

Events begin this morning with a four-mile division run with 20,000 participants. 

Wednesday is International Day, where military leaders from US allies will be invited to tour the base and attend a ball in the evening. 

Lieutenant Colonel Bob Risdon said the culminating events will be held Thursday when thousands will turn out to see the Division Review.

The Durham VA Medical Center
Durham VA Medical Center

The Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating allegations of improper scheduling at VA medical centers across the country. 

Leaked emails from VA offices in Arizona and Wyoming suggest employees changed records to falsely show that veterans were getting prompt appointments. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is testifying about those allegations today on Capitol Hill.

This week, two employees at the Durham VA Medical Center were put on administrative leave amid similar allegations.

map, states, veteran education assistants
Student Veterans of America / StudentVeterans.org

North Carolina is one of only eight states in the country where none of the state's schools offer in-state tuition or residency exemptions for veterans. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, the number of veterans living in the state is expected to balloon by as much as 60,000.

This presents an opportunity for the state to change course and join the rest of the country in training service members who have called North Carolina home while in the military, though are technically residents of the states from which they enlisted.

Return From War

Apr 10, 2014
Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits owner and Marine veteran Matt Victoriano
Carol Jackson

Military veterans face many challenges in combat zones and on battlefields. But what about the struggles they face when they return to civilian life?  

Jeffrey Berejikian teaching a class.
http://berejikian.net/

Individuals are more likely to dwell on losses than gains. They are also more likely to take risks to recover losses than to achieve new gains. Those ideas have long been accepted in social science circles, but now they are being applied to international relations. 

Department of Defense Seal
defense.gov / Department of Defense

    

The sexual assault case against Army General Jeffrey A. Sinclair halted this week when a judge’s review of emails revealed “unlawful command influence” in the rejection of a plea deal in January. The latest development provides an opportunity for Sinclair’s defense team to renegotiate a plea bargain with a new group of military officials. 

The Neuse is Scuttled - March 1865
Stephen McCall / CSS Neuse State Historic Site

This week, an archaeological team is expected to set out to see if they can find remains of the CSS Neuse, a battleship that met a watery grave near Kinston, NC, during the Civil War. Now, many of you history buffs might know why parts of an ironclad ship is lying inland, at the bottom of the Neuse River, but we did not. The story is at times dramatic, frustrating and incredibly sad.

Karl Eikenberry headshot
stanford.edu

From 2009 to 2011, Karl Eikenberry served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan where he worked to stabilize the country and build a stronger foundation for democracy.

The challenge is great as many question the intervention of American troops. Eikenberry, a Goldsboro, NC native, believes the humanities can provide an innovative approach to modern diplomacy.

Department of Defense Seal
defense.gov / Department of Defense

    

Army General Jeffrey A. Sinclair's sexual assault trial began yesterday. General Sinclair is one of the highest ranking military officers to be tried by jury. The case comes just as legislation to address sexual assault in the military goes before the Senate for a vote.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Pfc. Cristina Fuentes Montenegro, 25, one of the first three female Marine graduates from the School of Infantry-East’s Infantry Training Battalion course, and native of Coral Springs, Fla., left, and Pfc. Julia Carr
Lance Cpl. Justin A. Rodriguez / U.S. Marine Corps

Camp Lejeune is one of the Marine's largest bases. Here at WUNC, we report on the base regularly because it's located in North Carolina. We used to call it Camp "Luh-JOON". But we recently started pronouncing it "Luh-JERN". How come?

U.S. Army

Ground was broken this week on a new center at Fort Bragg that will focus on the treatment of traumatic brain injuries. According to the latest estimates from the Defense Department, there have been hundreds of thousands of these cases diagnosed - and perhaps as many that have not yet been diagnosed.

Nine of these new centers are planned for different communities in the United States. They are known as the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) Satellite Centers. 

Contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base has been linked to adverse health effects.
Sanjay Parekh, via Flickr

 

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that babies born to mothers who drank contaminated tap water at Camp Lejeune while pregnant had elevated risks of childhood cancers and serious birth defects.  

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