military

Petition calls on Chick-fil-A to bring chain restaurants to U.S. military bases

Emily Carby, a senior airman at Colorado’s Buckley Air Force Base, is all for eating more chicken. That’s why she created a now viral Change.org petition that calls on Chick-fil-A to bring the restaurant to military bases across the country for the first time. (Currently, a total of 2,200 name-brand fast food restaurants — such as Subway, Church’s Chicken and Captain D’s — can be found on U.S. military bases, according to the Panama City News Herald). In the petition, Carby wrote she is “calling on all military members, base workers and retirees to come together and ask the United States Government to consider contracting Chick-Fil-A’s on United States military installations.” She added that the option would give military personnel access to “healthier choices,” as well as more variety. It would appear that many agree with Carby: As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had more than 50,000 signatures, roughly 25,000 less than its goal of 75,000. At least three airmen at Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County, Fla., told the Panama City News Herald they drive from the air base to a nearby Chick-fil-A location at least once a week. The manager of that same restaurant also told the paper more than 60 percent of his customers are “affiliated with local military bases.” But despite the demand, a Chick-fil-A spokesperson told Fox News in a statement the chain has “no plans to expand onto military bases at this time.” “We will continue to look for ways to serve great food and remarkable service while supporting the military locally with events such as Military Appreciation Night, in-restaurant commemorations and more,” the statement continued. A spokesperson for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which operates fast food restaurants under both license and franchise agreements on military bases, declined to comment on the petition…

Trump signs new defense policy bill that rebuilds military, boosts troop pay

Capping a major victory, President Trump signed a $716 billion defense bill Monday that authorizes hundreds of new planes, ships and tanks, increases troop strength and raises military pay, modernizes the U.S. nuclear arsenal and tightens control of government contracts with Chinese technology companies. Speaking to troops at Fort Drum, N.Y., Mr. Trump said the new National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2019 is “the most significant investment in our military, and in our warfighters, in a generation.” “After years of devastating cuts, we’re now rebuilding our military like never before,” Mr. Trump said. “Every day our military was fighting for us, and now we’re fighting for you.” The signing ceremony also fulfilled Mr. Trump’s promise to provide more certainty for military funding, after years of budget “sequestration” caps under President Obama. It’s the earliest in the year that Congress has completed an NDAA in more than 20 years. The White House said the NDAA helps to develop “a more lethal and resilient force,” and will increase the size of U.S. forces by authorizing 15,600 more troops across the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The new recruits will bring the total strength of the Army to 487,500 soldiers; Navy, 335,400 sailors; 186,100 in the Marine Corps; and 329,100 in the Air Force. Mr. Trump also got what he wanted in the measure with controls on U.S. government contracts with China’s ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies because of national-security concerns; the restrictions are nevertheless weaker than earlier versions of the bill.

🙂

Top U.S. Gen. Warns: Islamic State in Afghanistan ‘Harboring Intentions’ to Attack West

The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) branch in Afghanistan has become a significant menace against the West despite the fall of the group’s caliphate in Iraq and Syria, a top American commander warned this week. In June, Brig. Gen. Lance R. Bunch, the top U.S. air commander in Afghanistan, noted that the ISIS wing has attempted to “establish” its own “caliphate” twice this year alone in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar along the Pakistan border, considered the group’s primary stronghold in the region. U.S.-NATO-assisted Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have so far managed to thwart the ISIS attempt to establish a caliphate in Afghanistan, Gen. Bunch declared. Gen. Joseph Votel, the chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), charged with overseeing the war in Afghanistan, warned Pentagon reporters on Wednesday the American military is “concerned” ISIS in Afghanistan intends to attack the West. “I think we always have to be concerned about ISIS, whether it’s ISIS-K or whether it’s any of the other branches of it, harboring intentions to operate, you know, much more globally or externally from the areas in which they’re operating. And so, you know, we do have that concern about them,” Votel said. The ISIS branch in South Asia, which primarily operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is known as the Khorasan Province (ISIS-K). Asked whether the U.S. military is aware any links between ISIS-K and outside groups that would potentially carry out attacks in Europe or against the United States, Gen. Votel responded: “I think in general ISIS does have that intention.” When pressed to describe any actual plots by ISIS-K on the West, the top commander added, “I think there probably has been, but I can’t cite a specific example to you.” Back in October 2016, the U.S. military acknowledged that ISIS was “very focused on trying to establish their caliphate, the Khorasan caliphate, inside Afghanistan.” ISIS officially announced its presence in Afghanistan in early 2015, less than a year after the United States declared its combat mission over at the end of 2014. The U.S. has been assisting the Afghan forces in their fight against ISIS in their stronghold of Nangarhar. “We have killed numerous ISIS-K fighters this year,” Gen. Votel told reporters Wednesday. “The military campaign against ISIS has been both continuous and effective.” The general stressed that U.S. efforts towards “reconciliation” between Kabul and the Taliban, the primary goal of American President Donald Trump’s strategy to end to the nearly 17-year-old war, are separate from the fight to annihilate ISIS. “It is important to recognize that while we apply military pressure against the Taliban to bring them to the table of reconciliation, we harbor no illusion about reconciliation with ISIS-K; our mission is to destroy this organization,” he declared. Citing U.S. officials and the latest American intelligence estimates, Voice of America (VOA) reported this week that efforts to root out and decimate ISIS-K have “so far failed to prevent the terror group from maintaining a foothold in the country.” “IS-Khorasan is thought to have more than 1,000 fighters, most of them located in Afghanistan’s southern Nangarhar province, with a small number operating in the country’s eastern Kunar province,” VOA added. The ISIS branch reportedly reached a peak of 3,000 fighters in Afghanistan. According to a report from the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), ISIS-K was behind more than 50 percent of civilian casualties in the war-ravaged country through the first half of 2018. The University of Maryland’s renowned National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) listed ISIS-K among the 10 top prolifically deadliest terrorist group’s in the world last year, separate from core Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Last year, ISIS-K carried out 197 attacks, killing 1,302 people, the study revealed.

So, we’re VERY glad to hear GEN Votel say that his mission is “to destroy this organization.”  Outstanding!!  Having spent some time in Afghanistan myself, I’m thrilled to hear that we’re going on the offense again there.  Excellent!!     🙂

Report: Marines lead all services in binge drinking, sex partners

A new report from the RAND Corporation analyzed survey data from thousands of active-duty military members and found Marines are more likely to be heavy drinkers, use tobacco and engage in riskier sexual behavior than the sailors, soldiers and airmen of the other branches. RAND found that incidents of binge drinking and hazardous drinking among Marines was almost double what it was in the Air Force. The report defines binge drinking as having at least four or five drinks on one occasion. Hazardous drinking is defined as usage that suggests alcohol use disorder, commonly known as alcoholism. Nearly half of the Marines surveyed reported drinking habits that met the criteria for hazardous. The survey also revealed Marines were more likely to have had more than one sex partner over the course of one year and were less likely to use condoms with new partners. The data were gathered as part of the 2015 Health Related Behaviors Survey conducted across all branches of the military and the Coast Guard. Researchers spent two years combing through and making sense of the data, which included responses to numerous aspects of physical and mental health. In addition to questions about drug and alcohol use, respondents provided researchers with information on their eating and sleeping habits, sexual behavior as well as their diets and exercise. Almost 17,000 usable surveys were involved in the study.

Interesting..  For more, click on the text above.

Remains of American troops returned by North Korea; Trump thanks Kim for keeping promise

President Trump thanked North Korea’s Kim Jong Un for returning the bodies of fallen American soldiers at a press conference on Friday. “At this moment a plane is carrying the remains of some great fallen heroes from America back from the Korean War,” the president said. The White House confirmed on Thursday that a plane left for North Korea to retrieve the remains of U.S. troops killed during the Korean War. Mr. Trump said that Vice President Mike Pence will greet the families when the remains return to the U.S. The remains will first arrive in South Korea, where a formal repatriation ceremony will be held on August 1. They will then be taken to Hawaii for identification. “I want to thank Chairman Kim in front of the media for fulfilling a promise that he made to me,” Mr. Trump said, “And I’m sure he will continue to fulfill that promise as they continue to search and search and search.” The commitment to return troops was first announced at Mr. Trump’s and Mr. Kim’s Singapore summit on June 12.

U.S. troop remains from North Korea headed home, White House confirms

U.S. aircraft on Thursday night flew to North Korea to begin retrieving the remains of American troops killed during the Korean war, the White House announced. American planes retrieved the remains from Wonsan, North Korea, and will return them to Osan Air Base in South Korea. A formal repatriation ceremony will be held on August 1, the Trump administration said. The White House cast the move as a significant step forward in U.S.-North Korean relations following last month’s historic summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. “At their historic meeting in Singapore, President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un took a bold first step to achieve the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, transform relations between the United States and North Korea, and establish enduring peace,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “Today, the Chairman is fulfilling part of the commitment he made to the President to return our fallen American service members. We are encouraged by North Korea’s actions and the momentum for positive change.” The move was first reported by South Korea-based Yonhap news agency. It’s unclear how many remains are being transported out of North Korea; the White House said an estimated 5,300 Americans have not yet been brought home. “The United States owes a profound debt of gratitude to those American service members who gave their lives in service to their country and we are working diligently to bring them home,” Ms. Sanders said. “It is a solemn obligation of the United States government to ensure that the remains are handled with dignity and properly accounted for so their families receive them in an honorable manner.” Earlier this week, Mr. Trump said the process of returning the remains was under way. “As you may know, we’re also working to bring back the remains of your brothers-in-arms who gave their lives in Korea. And I hope that, very soon, these fallen warriors will begin coming home to lay at rest in American soil. That’s starting the process,” the president said during a speech to a VFW convention in Kansas City. Following the repatriation ceremony in South Korea, the remains are expected to transported to Hawaii for forensic identification, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie as Veterans Affairs Secretary

The Senate on Monday evening confirmed Robert Wilkie as the next secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) in a largely bipartisan 86-9 vote. President Donald Trump said in a statement: ” I applaud the United States Senate for confirming Robert Wilkie as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Wilkie has dedicated his life to serving his country with honor and pride. He has displayed great patriotism and a commitment to supporting and empowering America’s armed forces and veterans. Under his leadership, I have no doubt that the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to make strides in honoring and protecting the heroic men and women who have served our Nation with distinction.” Wilkie currently serves in the Air Force Reserve and was previously in the Navy Reserve. Trump first nominated Wilkie as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness last July. Prior to that, he served as an adviser to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Before that, he served as vice president for strategic initiatives for CH2M HILL, one of the world’s largest engineering and program management firms. He served during the George W. Bush administration as assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs and as a special assistant to the president for national security affairs at the National Security Council. He also served as counsel and aide to Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS). During his confirmation hearing last month, Wilkie pledged to try to improve morale at the VA and to make it more adaptive in the face of long-time bureaucratic struggles. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, said he is “confident” Wilkie will do an excellent job.

Let’s hope so!  The VA is a total mess..  So, Mr. Wilke has his work cut out for him.  We wish him success.