Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, right now is Tuesday, December 11, 2018 which is Worldwide Mountain Day, Nationwide Noodle Ring Day, Vacation Meals Drive for Needy Animals Day, Nationwide App Day.
This Day in Historical past:
- 1994: Within the largest Russian army offensive because the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, hundreds of troops and lots of of tanks pour into the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya. Encountering solely mild resistance, Russian forces had by night pushed to the outskirts of the Chechen capital of Grozny, the place a number of thousand Chechen volunteers vowed a bitter battle towards the Russians.
- 1941: On today, Adolf Hitler declares warfare on the USA, bringing America, which had been impartial, into the European battle. The bombing of Pearl Harbor stunned even Germany. Though Hitler had made an oral settlement together with his Axis companion Japan that Germany would be a part of a conflict towards the USA, he was unsure as to how the struggle can be engaged. Japan’s assault on Pearl Harbor answered that query. On December eight, Japanese Ambassador Oshima went to German Overseas Minister von Ribbentrop to nail the Germans down on a proper declaration of struggle towards America. Von Ribbentrop stalled for time; he knew that Germany was underneath no obligation to do that underneath the phrases of the Tripartite Pact, which promised assist if Japan was attacked, however not if Japan was the aggressor. Von Ribbentrop feared that the addition of one other antagonist, the USA, would overwhelm the German struggle effort.
- 1969: Paratroopers from the U.S. Third Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, depart from Vietnam. The unit was despatched to Vietnam in February 1968 as an emergency measure in response to the Communist 1968 Tet Offensive. Touchdown at Chu Lai, the unit was hooked up to the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) and given the mission of defending the traditional capital of Hue within the area simply south of the Demilitarized Zone. In September 1968, the Third Brigade was moved south to counter enemy forces round Saigon. It was assigned to the Capital Army Help Command and ordered to safe the western approaches to the town to stop floor and rocket assaults towards the Saigon-Tan Son Nhut airport complicated.
- On today in 1777, Common George Washington begins marching 12,000 troopers of his Continental Military from Whitemarsh to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, for the winter. As Washington’s males started crossing the Schuylkill River, they have been stunned by a regiment of a number of thousand British troops led by Basic Charles Cornwallis. Cornwallis got here throughout the continental forces by probability as he adopted Common William Howe’s orders to forage for provides within the hills outdoors Philadelphia.
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Stripes: Final-ditch effort to cross Blue Water Navy invoice fails in Senate
By NIKKI WENTLING | Stars and Stripes | Revealed: December 10, 2018
WASHINGTON — A ultimate deal to offer Division of Veterans Affairs advantages to hundreds of veterans who served off the coast in the course of the Vietnam Conflict failed within the Senate on Monday nightwith solely days remaining within the 115th Congress.
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act would prolong eligibility for incapacity compensation and well being care to “Blue Water” Navy veterans – servicemembers who have been aboard plane carriers, cruisers, destroyers and different ships, a few of whom have fought for years to show they have been uncovered to Agent Orange. The dioxin-laden herbicide has been discovered to trigger respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s illness and coronary heart illness, in addition to different circumstances.
The Home voted 382-Zero in favor of the laws in June. Since then, it’s been caught within the Senate. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie voiced his opposition to the invoice in September, citing value considerations and inadequate scientific proof. He urged lawmakers to carry off till a brand new research is launched in 2019.
On Monday night time, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., went to the Senate flooring and requested for unanimous consent to cross the invoice. Unanimous consent expedites approval however might be stopped if one senator objects.
Citing value considerations, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Finances Committee, objected.
“On this bill, many of us have been made aware of the potential cost growth and the budgetary and operational pressures that would happen at the VA,” he stated. “They’re having a lot of problems, anyway.”
Enzi stated he needed extra particulars about what number of veterans can be made eligible for advantages beneath the laws and the way a lot it might value.
In response to estimates from the Congressional Finances Workplace, the invoice would value $1.1 billion for the subsequent 10 years. VA officers have argued the true complete can be billions extra. To offset prices, the invoice proposed a brand new charge for VA residence loans – a measure some lawmakers oppose.
“There’s clearly more work to do just on figuring out the spending and administration of this and the deficit impacts this bill will have,” Enzi stated on the Senate flooring.
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., later criticized Enzi’s objection, arguing the identical senator voted in favor of the GOP tax cuts estimated to extend the nationwide deficit.
“I must say that it is a bit disheartening to see a bill that was passed unanimously by the House blocked by just a handful of senators over supposed fiscal concerns when those same senators voted to add trillions of dollars to the deficit last year to score a political win on the back of American taxpayers,” Walz stated in a press release.
The Veterans of Overseas Wars additionally issued a scathing criticism of Enzi on Monday night time, describing his objection as “obstruction,” and including, “the VFW nor its members will forget this.”
Enzi’s opposition got here after Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., pressured senators to approve the invoice. Isakson, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has labored for months to deal with considerations from a few of his fellow Republicans.
Enzi wasn’t the one senator with considerations. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, opposed the invoice as a result of he needed to attend for the scientific research that the VA promised in 2019, in response to a Army Replace report.
Isakson rebuked requests Monday to attend for the research, saying, “This thing has been studied as long as it needs to be studied. We’ve got the best information we need to get.”
“I would just ask every member before they consider casting a ‘no’ vote, think about what you’re doing,” Isakson stated. “I would ask each of you to search your heart… think about the veterans in your state and cast a vote for doing the right thing for the right people at the right time and not object to the motion.”
Following the Enzi’s objection, Gillibrand and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the rating Democrat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, scheduled a information convention for Tuesday morning to request the Senate attempt once more to cross the invoice.
Senate management might nonetheless deliver the difficulty up underneath common order in its remaining days. If the Senate fails to approve the invoice earlier than the top of the 115th Congress, advocates should begin from the start once more subsequent yr.
“We have just days before this Congress is finished and our Blue Water Navy veterans are waiting for us,” Gillibrand stated. “Their families are waiting for us. Some of them are dying waiting for us.”
Like Isakson and Gillibrand, Tester and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., also spoke Monday on the Senate floor urging unanimous consent.
“I know there are some in the administration that don’t want to see us do this, but the truth is this is a cost of war,” Tester stated. “It is our obligation to meet the needs of the folks who have sacrificed for this country. It’s time to step up today, folks.”
Army.com: 5 Marines Declared Lifeless After Service Calls Off Seek for KC-130J Crew
11 Dec 2018
Stars and Stripes | By James Bolinger and Hana Kusumoto
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — The Marine Corps has ended an in depth seek for 5 Marines lacking after their KC-130J Hercules collided midair with an F/A-18 Hornet final week off Japan’s southern coast.
“After an replace from the Joint Personnel Restoration Middle, and a evaluation of all out there info, I’ve made the willpower to finish the search and rescue operations for the crew of our [Hercules] … and to declare that these Marine warriors are deceased,” III Expeditionary Force commander Lt. Gen. Eric Smith said in a statement posted Tuesday afternoon local time to the organization’s official Facebook page.
“Each attainable effort was made to get well our crew, and I hope the households of those selfless People will discover consolation within the unimaginable efforts made by U.S., Japanese, and Australian forces through the search,” he added.
Seven Marines were involved in the training accident, which occurred just before 2 a.m. Thursdaylocal time about 200 miles south of Muroto Cape on Shikoku Island, U.S. and Japanese officials said.
Although the crews were conducting regularly scheduled training, Marine investigators have not confirmed that aerial refueling was underway during the incident, the statement said.
The Hercules’ flight data and cockpit voice recorders have not been found, making it “untimely to take a position about wreckage restoration,” the statement added.
Two Marines aboard the Hornet were recovered the day of the accident. The first has been released from a hospital, while the second — Capt. Jahmar Resilard, 28 — was pronounced dead after being found by a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Forces ship.
The statement did not identify the five Marines, but it did say their next-of-kin had been notified.
“All of us within the Sumo household are extraordinarily saddened following the announcement of the conclusion of search-and-rescue operations,” Lt. Col. Mitchell Maury, commander of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, said in the statement. “We all know this troublesome choice was made in any case assets have been exhausted within the vigorous seek for our Marines. Our ideas are heavy, and our prayers are with all household and buddies of all 5 aircrew.”
Smith also expressed his condolences to the lost Marines’ families.
“Each member of the III MEF household mourns this loss and stands alongside the households of the fallen on this horrible second,” he said in the statement. “We stay, Semper Fidelis.”
Both the Japan Self-Defense Forces and Japan Coast Guard announced Tuesday that they’d halted their search efforts at 6 a.m.
While the coast guard has stopped searching specifically for the crew members, it will keep an eye out during regular patrols of the area, a spokesman for 5th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters told Stars and Stripes on Tuesday via telephone.
The coast guard sent six of its patrol boats on Thursday and continued to send vessels until Monday, although its search team had shrunk during that time, the spokesman said.
A multinational effort to find survivors was launched that included U.S., Japanese and Australian aircraft and U.S. and Japanese ships.
III MEF has declared the incident a “Class A” mishap, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported Monday. Those involve total property damage of “$2 million or extra and/or plane destroyed” and “fatality or everlasting incapacity.”
Marine officers stated Tuesday they’re nonetheless investigating the incident.
MCAS Iwakuni is house to Marine Plane Group 12 and the Navy‘s Carrier Air Wing 5. It is one of the Pacific’s largest air stations.
Stripes: Dartmouth research finds VA hospitals outperform others in similar areas
By NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES Revealed: December 10, 2018
WASHINGTON – A brand new research by Dartmouth School that compares Division of Veterans Affairs hospitals with different hospitals in the identical areas discovered VA amenities typically outperform others in relation to mortality charges and affected person security.
Researchers in contrast efficiency knowledge at VA hospitals towards non-VA amenities in 121 areas. In 14 out of 15 measures, the VA carried out “significantly better” than different hospitals, in accordance with outcomes from the research.
“We found a surprisingly high, to me, number of cases where the VA was the best hospital in the region,” stated Dr. William Weeks, who led the research. “Pretty rarely was it the worst hospital.”
Weeks initiated the analysis after studying a number of research from current years that had discovered VA hospitals carried out higher than different medical techniques. He was skeptical of the analysis, he stated, as a result of it in contrast knowledge on a nationwide degree, not by area.
He needed to take the attitude of veterans, who may get a selection between their native VA hospitals and different hospitals shut by.
Weeks is a professor on the Dartmouth Institute for Well being Coverage and Medical Follow and a former VA worker. He carried out the research with Alan West, who works on the White River Junction Medical Middle in Vermont.
Although he used to work for the VA, Weeks stated he was essential of the company prior to now. Going into the research, he thought he may discover a number of well-performing VA hospitals had skewed the info in earlier analysis.
“The theory was that a few larger hospitals could be really good performers and the rest not so good,” Weeks stated. “And the weight of that might make national averages look better than what might be experienced by a typical veteran. That was the premise, but we found something that was a little bit surprising.”
The researchers in contrast danger of dying from coronary heart failure and pneumonia at hospitals, in addition to danger of blood clots, infections and wounds after surgical procedure, amongst different measures.
“The primary drivers of making a decision are, ‘I don’t want to get hurt,’ and ‘I want to live through it,’” Weeks stated. “That’s why we focused on these.”
With the brand new research, researchers are sending a message to Congress to rethink efforts to increase veterans’ well being care into the personal sector.
Earlier this yr, President Donald Trump signed the VA Mission Act – main reform laws that overhauls how the VA outsources well being care to the personal sector.
Beneath the invoice, the VA and Congress are purported to work collectively in coming months to create new guidelines dictating which veterans can use private-sector care and in what conditions. The purpose is to offer veterans extra flexibility to see docs outdoors of the VA system.
“One has to wonder whether outsourcing care is the right choice if we care about veterans’ outcomes,” Weeks stated. “The VA is, for the most part, doing at least as well as the private sector in a local setting, and pretty often are the best performers in that setting.”
The Atlantic: The U.S. Is Paying Extra Than It Bargained for within the Yemen Conflict
The Pentagon says that “errors in accounting” imply Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates haven’t been correctly charged for refueling.
Samuel OakfordRyan Goodman
Dec eight, 2018
President Donald Trump, who repeatedly complains that america is paying an excessive amount of for the protection of its allies, has praised Saudi Arabia for ostensibly taking over Iran within the Yemen struggle. It seems, nevertheless, that U.S. taxpayers have been footing the invoice for a serious a part of the Saudi-led marketing campaign, probably to the tune of tens of tens of millions of dollars.
The revelation—detailed in a Protection Division letter obtained by The Atlantic—is more likely to increase additional ire amongst senators who’ve grown ever-more crucial of Saudi conduct within the struggle, which has resulted in a rising variety of civilian casualties, and U.S. help for it.
Because the begin of the Saudi-led intervention, in March 2015, and up till final month, the USA offered mid-air refueling for Saudi-led coalition plane that then flew missions associated to the Yemen marketing campaign. Getting heavy U.S. tankers into the air and finishing up this job is enormously costly. The recipient nation is required by regulation to pay the prices, however that isn’t what occurred right here. In a mea culpa of types, the Pentagon’s November 27 letter states that whereas the Protection Division “believed” Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “had been charged for the fuel and refueling services, they in fact had not been charged adequately.” How inadequately, the Pentagon won’t but say; it’s “currently calculating the correct charges,” the letter states.
On Thursday, the Pentagon confirmed the letter’s contents to The Atlantic. “Although DoD has received some reimbursement for inflight refueling assistance provided to the Saudi-led coalition (SLC), U.S. Central Command recently reviewed its records and found errors in accounting where DoD failed to charge the SLC adequately for fuel and refueling services,” Commander Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, advised The Atlantic.
The Pentagon’s letter says that it reached these conclusions after Senator Jack Reed, the highest Democrat on the Senate Armed Providers Committee, made a selected request for info.
Reed, together with seven different Democratic senators, raised the query of reimbursements in a letter to Protection Secretary Jim Mattis in March. The Pentagon’s response admitting “errors in accounting” arrived the day earlier than a key Senate procedural vote on withdrawing U.S. help for the struggle effort.
“It is clear that the Department has not lived up to its obligation to keep Congress appropriately informed or its responsibility to secure timely reimbursement,” Reed informed The Atlantic. “U.S.-provided aerial refueling assistance was provided to the Saudi-led coalition for more than 3.5 years, activities that likely cost tens of millions of dollars. We must ensure that U.S. taxpayers are fully reimbursed for that support.”
When requested by The Atlantic how a lot reimbursement DoD had acquired from the Saudi-led coalition, Rebarich stated that “CENTCOM is still working through the calculation.” The Saudi and UAE embassies in Washington had not responded to The Atlantic’s requests for remark about any reimbursements on the time of publication.
Jeffrey Prescott, who served as senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf States on the Nationwide Safety Council in Barack Obama’s administration and is now a strategic advisor to the Penn Biden Middle, advised The Atlantic: “This is a striking revelation. President Trump has been exceedingly transactional, even seeming to threaten to cast aside NATO if our closest allies didn’t increase their contributions. That is why it is jarring to see that the Trump administration—save for congressional and public pressure—would continue to refuel Saudi and Emirati aircraft without adequate, if any, reimbursement.”
The U.S. refueling of Saudi-led coalition plane has lengthy been a supply of confusion, as a result of the army has provided differing statements about how a lot gasoline it has offered to its coalition companions. Hill staffers have spent years making an attempt to pin down particulars of the preparations, that are carried out by way of “acquisition and cross-servicing agreements,” or ACSAs, primarily bilateral treaties between america and a companion nation that permit for the supply of army and logistical help. Within the November 27 letter, the Pentagon admitted that the U.S. army refueled Saudi Arabia’s plane for at the least the primary yr of the warfare with none ACSA with the Kingdom.
Within the letter, written by Principal Deputy Basic Counsel William S. Citadel, the Pentagon means that Saudi Arabia was handled as a “third party” for the primary yr of the struggle, receiving gasoline by way of the UAE, who had a separate ACSA settlement dated to 2006. Such third-party preparations at the moment are explicitly prohibited underneath the newest protection spending invoice, signed into regulation in mid-August.
It’s unclear if Fort’s rationalization was arrived at after the invention of the accounting error. After the primary yr of the Yemen warfare, the U.S. drafted a provisional ACSA with the Saudis, however the Pentagon says that Congress was by no means notified as a result of the Kingdom, even at present, hasn’t “fulfilled all of its internal procedures necessary for an Agreement to enter into force.” Briefly, all through your complete period of U.S. refueling, the Pentagon admits there was by no means an official servicing settlement in drive with Saudi Arabia.
Proof exists that the army was, at sure ranges, monitoring gasoline gross sales. Data offered by the Protection Logistics Company this March indicated that because the begin of fiscal yr 2015 (October 2014), greater than 7.5 million gallons of aerial refueling had been offered to the UAE, and greater than 1 million gallons to the Saudis. These figures have been for all aerial refueling, not essentially solely associated to operations in Yemen. Separate DLA knowledge confirmed that at the very least some funds had been made by the UAE, although it was unclear to what diploma they have been tied to operations in Yemen. The Atlantic has requested the DLA whether or not both set of figures have been affected by accounting errors. On Friday, the DLA stated it was wanting into these questions.
Subsequent yr, the Authorities Accountability Workplace is predicted to launch a report on using ACSAs, which can shed extra mild each on the best way they have been used within the Yemen conflict and nations the place they’ve been employed with little scrutiny. The Senate, in the meantime, is about to vote on whether or not to chop off help for the coalition subsequent week.
Army Occasions: Trump modifications his thoughts once more on army spending, now needs an enormous increase subsequent yr
By: Leo Shane III 19 hours in the past
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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump this week is predicted to announce plans for a dramatic increase in army spending subsequent fiscal yr, reversing course on earlier pledges of a trimmed down protection finances, in accordance with a number of information sources.
The transfer comes after intense lobbying from congressional Republicans and Protection Secretary Jim Mattis, who argued Trump’s introduced $700 billion army spending plan for fiscal 2020 was not solely opposite to the administration’s nationwide safety build-up however probably harmful for the nation.
The determine represented a big drop from the $733 billion mark that Pentagon planners had been anticipating can be unveiled in February, as a part of the president’s annual finances submission to Congress. Trump had stated the decreased army spending can be paired with a 5 % minimize for all different federal spending packages, to rein within the nationwide deficit.
However Politico reported on Sunday that following a Dec. four assembly with Mattis, Senate Armed Providers Committee chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Home Armed Providers Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, Trump dedicated to a fiscal 2020 protection finances of at the very least $750 billion, an almost 5 % improve as an alternative of a 2 % minimize.
The information is certain to excite protection hawks in Congress at the least within the short-term. Mattis and others have argued that years of army underfunding have left readiness and modernization priorities unaddressed, and that overseas adversaries — particularly, China — have seen the declines as a chance to flex their very own army spending may.
However quite a few congressional Democrats have argued that the Pentagon price range is already too bloated in comparison with different home spending priorities. They’ll take over management of the Home in January, and any last price range deal will want an indication off from Democratic management.
That’s key, as a result of lawmakers have to not solely negotiate a brand new finances determine but in addition attain a broader authorities spending deal by subsequent fall to keep away from triggering automated spending caps put in place in 2011.
Underneath these guidelines, protection spending would drop to beneath $600 billion for fiscal 2020, a determine that protection leaders have labeled catastrophic.
Whereas Republican protection lawmakers have lobbied for extra army spending, they’ve discovered themselves at odds with fiscal conservatives on Capitol Hill who seen Trump’s $700 billion determine as an inexpensive pull again in federal spending.
And simply days after Trump floated that determine, Workplace of Administration and Price range head Mick Mulvaney — a previous critic of out-of-control army budgets — shortly ordered Protection Division planners to start out revising their finances submissions to match the lower-than-expected mark.
It’s unclear whether or not Pentagon planners are once more revising their finances paperwork to match the brand new $750 billion determine. That work is usually completed in late December or early January, in preparation for the February launch of the president’s full federal finances request.
Home and Senate appropriators will debate the price range numbers by means of the spring and summer time, in hopes of reaching a remaining spending settlement by the beginning of subsequent fiscal yr on Oct. 1.
This yr was the primary time in a decade that the army finances was completed earlier than that deadline. A number of different businesses, together with the State Division and Division of Homeland Safety, nonetheless haven’t had their full-year funding finalized and could possibly be shut down subsequent week if a deal is just not reached.
Reporter Joe Gould contributed to this story.
The Stripes: Military rescinds reprimand for Niger ambush that left 4 lifeless, report says
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Revealed: December 10, 2018
The Military has rescinded the reprimand of a Inexperienced Beret who led troops in the course of the lethal October 2017 ambush in Niger that left 4 U.S. troopers lifeless, the New York Occasions reported.
Final week, Workforce 3212 chief Capt. Michael Perozeni, initially blamed for his position in planning the mission, was formally cleared, the newspaper stated.
In the meantime, a extra senior officer — Lt. Col. David Painter, then the battalion commander in control of Alpha Firm and Staff 3212 — was issued a reprimand after initially escaping blame, in response to the Dec. 7 report.
Col. Brad Moses, the commanding officer of third Particular Forces Group on the time, has up to now acquired no punishment however is now beneath renewed scrutiny, the newspaper stated.
U.S. Africa Command referred questions on punishments and accountability actions to U.S. Particular Operations Command, which didn’t have an instantaneous response Monday.
The newest strikes got here in response to a priority expressed by Protection Secretary Jim Mattis that lower-ranking troops have been shouldering an excessive amount of of the blame. After information studies highlighted that junior officers have been being singled out for punishment, Mattis summoned prime army commanders. The assembly resulted in Perozeni’s reprimand being rescinded and his supervisors being subjected to recent scrutiny, the Occasions reported.
U.S. Particular Operations Command Africa boss Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks already had been reprimanded in reference to the ambush for inadequate oversight of his subordinate officers. He’s the highest-ranking official punished up to now for the incident.
An earlier Africa Command investigation of the October ambush decided that the members of the Inexperienced Beret and Nigerien group had little expertise collectively as a unit.
Within the aftermath of the assault, there was vital inter-command friction between Military, SOCOM and AFRICOM in addition to Pentagon management over who ought to be blamed, the Occasions reported.
Whereas the Occasions cited complaints contained in the Military about AFRICOM investigating itself, the command on Monday defended its investigation.
“It is not uncommon for a higher headquarters to serve as the investigating authority for one of its component or subordinate commands,” AFRICOM spokesman Maj. Karl Wiest stated in an e-mail. “U.S. AFRICOM had the duty to find out the details and circumstances associated to the assault so as to acknowledge the valor of our troopers and to offer solutions to the households of the fallen, Congress, and the American public.
“U.S. AFRICOM also needed this information to capture lessons that we have used to further refine our approach to countering violent extremists with our partners in the region.”
4 troopers have been killed within the ambush: Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah W. Johnson, Employees Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Employees Sgt. Dustin M. Wright and Sgt. La David Johnson. A lot of the 11 troopers on the workforce, together with the 4 slain troops, have been nominated for valor awards which have but to be accredited.