Military

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

The Department of Veterans Affairs says it's prepared to compensate Marine Corps family members who were exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

The V.A. announced in October that it will now begin helping family members who were sickened by water at the base. The Marine Corps has said as many as 1 million people may have consumed contaminated water between 1957 and 1987.

Fort Bragg
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg will begin rolling out its new Mass Warning and Notification System this month.

Already proven and tested at Pope Air Field after the last few years, the AtHOC technology will connect Fort Bragg service members, the civilian workforce, and their families with immediate emergency and crisis information.

Ben Abel is a public information officer on post. He says the system will be used primarily for situations involving life, health, and safety:

The Memphis Belle is one of 10 B-17s still flying in the U.S.
Eric Mennel / WUNC

The Memphis Belle, one of the last remaining B-17 planes from World War II, is making a stop this weekend in the Triangle.  The bomber was made famous in the movie, The Memphis Belle.  The United States built more than 12,000 B-17s beginning in the 1940s.  There are only 10 left that can still fly. [Click on the photo gallery above to look inside the plane.]

Fayetteville VA building
VA.gov

The Fayetteville VA is closing its emergency room  as of 8:00 a.m. Friday.  The emergency room will be converted to an urgent care clinic until further notice.

The hospital says a lack of doctors is to blame for the cut back.

"If there's a veteran out there in the community, or a family member of a veteran who is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, they should not, and I repeat, should not come to the Fayetteville VA emergency room," said Public Affairs officer Jeffery Melvin.  "They should dial 9-1-1 and ask them to take them to the nearest emergency department."

Lt. Col. Tim Nichols
Sanford Public Policy

  

President Obama addressed the nation with a four-part plan to expand the military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, better known as the Islamic State or ISIS.

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.

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