(Photo: RK Green Studios)
Juan Dominguez lost his both his legs and his right arm after stepping on improvised explosive device while serving as a Marine Corporal in Afghanistan in 2010. But that didn’t stop him from finding true love a few months later, when he met his now-wife Alexis after returning to the States.
(Photo: Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)
There was a touching moment before tonight’s Red Sox/Rays game, as nine-year-old Alayna Adams threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Tropicana Field and was reunited with her dad in the process.
Vietnam veteran presumed dead reportedly found in remote jungle 44 years later
John Hartley Robertson, a Green Beret presumed dead after his helicopter was shot down in a 1968 secret mission over Laos, has been found more than four decades later in south-central Vietnam, according to the new documentary “Unclaimed.”
The film, by Canadian Michael Jorgensen, covers the journey of Vietnam veteran Tom Faunce to track down and identify Robertson. It made its official premiere Tuesday in Toronto.
Native American Women Warriors
The Native American Women Warriors was created to raise awareness of women veterans
Mitchelene BigMan President and founder had created dresses to signify her patriotism to this great nation and the First Nations People.
In March 2010, the dresses caught the eye of an elder, which was the time the group was recognized as the first all female Native American Color Guard. The name at that time was the Army Women’s Iraqi Freedom Veterans, because it started out as Army, but changed the name to include all branches of services.
Since that historical moment the ladies have made special appearances as motivational, guest and keynote speakers at various events whether Veterans or Native in; conferences, pageants, training and Ethnic Observances.
Native American Women Warriors still are given the opportunities to color guard but has grown to a non-profit, officially 1 Mar 2012. With the growth and changes, members had changed, but our recruitment efforts has blessed us with outstanding and passionate Native lady veterans and assisting us in our vision and mission, we have been blessed to have Sarah Baker, a member of the Marine Corps, join our ranks and has helped us tremendously.
Our current board of directors are; Mitchelene BigMan, Army (founder/president, Crow), Arlene Duncan (Vice President/), Angel Young (Secretary/Standing Rock Lakota), Brenda McEwing (Treasurer/Dakota Tipi).
(Photo: NBC News)
The soldier who lost all four limbs in an IED explosion in Iraq in 2009, showed the world his newly transplanted arms Tuesday.
Brendan Marrocco, 26, the first soldier to survive after losing all four limbs, received his new arms in a 13-hour operation that involved 16 surgeons on December 18 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Noting Army flap, Marine Corps orders its spouses clubs to allow same-sex members
(Photo courtesy of Ashley Broadway)
Marine Corps leaders have directed their legal teams to alert spouses clubs at all Marine bases to begin allowing same-sex spouses as members if those social groups want to continue operating on Marine installations, Marine officials confirmed to NBC News Wednesday evening.
Marine Makes History with the First Same-Sex Proposal at White House
Just days before the two-year anniversary of President Obama signing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law, a gay marine is making history with what is believed to be the first-ever same-sex marriage proposal in the White House.
It happened this past weekend when U.S. Marine Corps Captain Matthew Phelps was on a White House Christmas tour with his partner, Ben. The couple met at the White House earlier this year during an LGBT Pride Month event. The photo of Phelps popping the question quickly went viral.
Colleges offer veterans classes to ease transition
The students in the Saturday morning class trickle in and, as they introduce themselves around a table, reveal far more intimate biographies than just name and hometown.
One confesses to demons he struggles to control. Another says he’s here to find a community. “Forgive me,” an Iraq war veteran begins haltingly. “I have to use notes. I have a brain injury.”
The students are participants in a veterans writing seminar atGeorge Washington University, where for two days they immerse themselves in the basics of the craft and learn how to plumb for therapeutic and creative purposes their experiences in places likeIraq, Bosnia and Vietnam. The class is a non-credit weekend seminar open to veterans and their relatives, but the university plans to soon adapt the model into a for-credit semester-long course for student veterans.
The seminar is part of a trend of veterans-only courses offered atcolleges and universities, part of a concerted effort to cater to a population that tends to be older, more experienced and farther removed from the classroom than traditional undergraduates.
(Photo: Amanda Fulton via Associated Press)
Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was hosting its first same-sex wedding Saturday.
Last of 33,000 US surge troops leave Afghanistan
(Photo: Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin / AP)
Nearly two years after President Barack Obama ordered 33,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan to tamp down the escalating Taliban violence, the last of those surge troops have left the country, U.S. officials said Thursday.
NATO: 202 Afghan bases closed, more to come
NATO has closed more than 200 bases in Afghanistan and transferred nearly 300 others to local forces, a concrete step toward its 2014 target of handing over security responsibility, NATO officers said Sunday.
All 202 closed facilities were small, ranging from isolated checkpoints to bases of a dozen to 300 soldiers, said Lt. Col. David Olson, a NATO forces spokesman. Most of the closures have been along the country’s main highways, spread across nearly every province, Olson said.
Another 282 bases of the same size have been handed over to the Afghan government, he said.
That means international forces now operate about half as many bases in Afghanistan as in October of 2011, when they ran about 800 bases.
The closures are part of the large-scale drawdown over this year and next as international forces prepare to transfer security tasks to the Afghan government at the end of 2014. Most of the troops that are leaving are American, and therefore most of the closures are U.S. bases.
“As our Afghan security force partners take more responsibility for their own security, more bases will be closing and transitioning,” said Brig. Gen. Steven Shapiro, who is heading up the operation to return or hand over U.S. equipment. He said that so far the U.S. government has given about 20,000 pieces of equipment worth about $3 million to the Afghan government, ranging from chairs to large generators.
“Our footprint here will continue to shrink,” Shapiro told reporters at a briefing about how non-military equipment is being processed as numbers of American forces decrease.
The U.S. started drawing down forces from a peak of nearly 103,000 last year and plans to have 68,000 troops in Afghanistan by October.
First lady Michelle Obama chose a naval station in the electoral battleground of Florida to announce Wednesday that 2,000 businesses around the country have hired or trained more than 125,000 military veterans and spouses in the past year, exceeding a White House goal of 100,000 by the end of next year.
Mrs. Obama also told a crowd of Navy personnel and their spouses at this Jacksonville base that the same companies have committed to hire or train an additional 250,000 veterans and military spouses by 2014. That includes hiring or training 50,000 military spouses within three years — and helping them keep those jobs as families move from one duty station to another.
“I thought this challenge was pretty ambitious and when we first started out, we only had two companies as our partners,” She said. “Soon, those two companies became 20, and then 200 and then 2,000 … These 2,000 companies have not just met our challenge, they’ve exceeded it.”
Mrs. Obama said that she is repeatedly hearing from companies that some of their best employees are military veterans or their spouses, so the Joining Forces effort isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s helping companies do better.
“They’re doing this because it’s the smart thing to do for their bottom lines,” Mrs. Obama said. “These companies know that if you can prepare a helicopter engine in Mayport, if you can coordinate thousands of pounds of supplies and deliver them to villages across Afghanistan, then clearly you have what it takes for a manufacturing or a logistics job right here in the U.S.”
Jacksonville has a large military presence and winning support here fits into President Barack Obama’s strategy to win Florida and its 29 electoral college votes — the most of any of the tossup states in November’s election. His campaign is targeting the conservative area to build support where Republicans have usually had strong success. The timing of the trip also precedes next week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.
The program connects companies with veterans and helps veterans use their military skills in the private sector. Mrs. Obama was joined by Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel, who praised the project and said it is making a difference for people leaving the military. The administration is also pushing states to allow military spouses to transfer professional licenses from state to state to help them get new jobs when their spouses are transferred to a new base.
In April 2011, the first lady and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, launched Joining Forces to encourage Americans to support military families and veterans. The White House said the hiring push has helped to reduce unemployment among veterans from 8.6 percent in July 2011 to 6.9 percent last month.
“This is just the beginning. We are only scratching the surface,” Mrs. Obama said. “I won’t be satisfied, nor will my husband, until every single veteran and military spouse who wants a job has one. All of you deserve nothing less.”
New Zealand signals earlier exit from Afghanistan
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key (pictured above) announced Monday that the country will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan earlier in 2013 than planned. He said the move is not prompted by the deaths this month of five New Zealand soldiers, including three who were killed Sunday by a roadside bomb.
August’s deaths account for half of all fatalities suffered by the small contingent of New Zealanders in the nine years they have been stationed in central Bamiyan province, which was comparatively stable until a recent upswing in violence.
Key said it was “highly likely” the remaining soldiers from the contingent of 145 would be withdrawn in April 2013. He said discussions for the earlier withdrawal began before the five deaths this month. Murray McCully, New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister, had announced in May the troops would be withdrawn “in the latter part of 2013.”
Key said he wants to bring home the troops as fast as practicable within a timetable that fits in with the coalition partners.
“We’ll do it as fast as we can, and we’ll do it in the way that protects our people as best we can,” he said.
He rejected calls to end the operation immediately.
“Yes we need to make it the shortest timeframe we can now logistically, but we have to do it with our partners. If we don’t, then the message we send to the rest of all of Afghanistan is that it’s time to run for the exits,” he said. “And if we do that, then the thousands of people who have lost their lives have been in vain. And I just don’t think that reflects the values and principles that underpin New Zealand.”
The move is likely to be popular among many New Zealanders, who have increasingly questioned the country’s role in the conflict. The New Zealand troops were sent there ostensibly as a reconstruction team, with the mission of helping to rebuild and protect Bamiyan province’s infrastructure and social systems. In recent months, however, that role has increasingly given way to combat operations, as violence in the region has increased.
The latest incident on Sunday also marked the first time a New Zealand woman has died in the conflict. Lance Cpl. Jacinda Baker, a 26-year-old medic, was killed in the explosion, as were Cpl. Luke Tamatea, 31, and Pvt. Richard Harris, 21.
According to defense force officials, the three were traveling in a convoy of four Humvees on Sunday to escort a soldier suffering a medical condition back from a visit to the doctor when a roadside bomb exploded, destroying the vehicle and instantly killing the occupants.
Lt. Gen. Rhys Jones, chief of the defense force, said the Taliban have taken responsibility for the attack. Earlier this month, two New Zealand soldiers were killed and another six injured during a gunbattle with insurgents in the same region.