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Desmond Doss is credited with saving 75 soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles of World War II in the Pacific — and he did it without ever carrying a weapon. The battle at Hacksaw Ridge, on the island of Okinawa, was a close combat fight with heavy weaponry. Thousands of American and Japanese soldiers were killed, and the fact that Doss survived the battle and saved so many lives has confounded and awed those who know his story. Now, he's the subject of a new film directed by Mel Gibson called Hacksaw Ridge.

As Iraqi security forces advance toward the ISIS-held city of Mosul, ISIS militants are said to be rounding up civilians from surrounding areas and bringing them to the city to use as human shields.

The Pentagon says two Americans were shot and killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and at least two others were wounded. One of those who died was a service member, the other was a civilian.

NPR's Tom Bowman reported the assailant opened fire at the entrance to an ammunition depot near Camp Morehead, a training center for Afghan commandos. The camp is about an hour's drive south of Kabul.

As Tom reported for our Newscast unit:

The man from Mosul is neat and tidy, in his mid-30s. He uses careful English and tries to stop his voice from trembling as he speaks about the Iraqi city he lived in all his life.

"My mind is full with memories," he says. "Friends. Home. You know — my home. I was born there."

ISIS has occupied Mosul for more than two years. Residents describe a regime of strict rules and savagely violent punishments for breaking them. The man is too afraid of ISIS to give his name or occupation, but he is a professional. He brought up a family in Mosul.

The Islamic State forced the world to take notice when the extremist group overran Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, in June 2014.

Just months earlier, President Obama had described ISIS as "the JV team." But by August 2014, the U.S. was bombing ISIS in Iraq, and early Monday, the U.S. teamed up with the Iraqi army and other allies in a major offensive to recapture the northern Iraqi city.

Elizabeth Allen was at a happy hour for a San Francisco tech firm a couple of years ago, when a co-worker started forcing himself on her and the few other women at the party — again and again.

He was "giving us lots of hugs," Allen says, "trying to kiss me a few times; he grabbed my butt a couple of times." The women were outnumbered by men, some of whom looked on, bemused, as the women tried to signal their distress.

The military is famous for working long hours, not only on overseas deployments to hot spots like Iraq or Afghanistan but back home, too. It's almost a badge of honor.

So balancing work and family life can be especially difficult for those in uniform. Take Air Force Maj. Johanna Ream.

She's working a high-powered, top-secret job. Her husband's an Air Force cargo plane pilot who flies all over the world. And they were the parents of an infant named Jack when this happened:

Basler and Smith campaigns

Democrat Adam Smith of Bellevue is running to keep his seat in Congress, but most of his campaign cash comes not from Washington state but from Washington, D.C., and its suburbs.

Kara McDermott for KUOW

New rules that go into effect Monday from the Department of Defense detail protocol for military doctors who care for transgender service members.

The rules also establish guidance for commanders.

Soldiers fire two rounds from their High Mobility Artillery Rocket systems at Yakima Training Center in 2011.
Flickr Photo/DVIDSHUB (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9MtxXi

The Army plans to practice firing its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord despite concern from neighbors about the impact of the noise.

Much of the feedback solicited by the Army from neighbors around the base was negative. Many said noise from the unarmed rockets would be disruptive to children, animals and people with post-traumatic stress disorder.  

Patricia Murphy

The Department of Education is partnering with education nonprofits to help answer questions from students affected by the abrupt shutdown of ITT Technical Institute.

The 40,000 former students will have to find new schools if they want to pursue their education. But for the more than 6,000 of those ITT students who were veterans, the problems can be much more complicated.

After a Marine Corps report found a pattern of abuse at the Parris Island training facility in South Carolina, 20 officers and enlisted leaders could face punishment, including potential criminal charges or court-martial.

The investigative report linked the hazing activities at Parris Island to the March 18 death of one young recruit, Raheel Siddiqui. Military officials say Siddiqui killed himself, but this week Siddiqui's family released a statement through their lawyer challenging that idea.

R
Sara K. Schwittek JDP/Reuters

Most people over a certain age remember where they were on Sept. 11, 2001, and have a story about that day. Fifteen years later, it's practically a cliche to call Sept. 11 a day when everything changed. But for the thousands of men and women who decided to join the US military after the attack, it really did change everything.

We reached out to our online community of veterans to hear their reflections on 9/11, why they joined up, and what's happened since.

Here's what they had to say. Their responses have been edited for clarity.

World War II pilot Elaine Harmon, who died last year at the age of 95, wanted to be laid to rest with her fellow veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

And on Wednesday, Harmon's wish was fulfilled — thanks to a dedicated effort by her family and a law passed by Congress.

Harmon was one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a group of female pilots who flew military planes in noncombat missions in order to free up male pilots for fighting.

In the quarter-century from the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s until Sept. 11, 2001, the United States rarely went to war, and when it did, the conflicts were so brief they were measured in days.

Four years ago, Jason Brezler sent an urgent message to a fellow Marine in Afghanistan, warning him about a threat. The warning wasn't heeded, and two weeks later, three U.S. troops were dead.

Now the Marine Corps is trying to kick out Maj. Brezler because the warning used classified information.

Solving a problem

Jason Brezler never thought he'd make a career out of the Marine Corps — his family history was FDNY.

"My grandfather was a firefighter, my father was a firefighter and fire chief," he says.

Stephen Coning, a 26-year-old former Marine, took his own life this summer, leaving behind a wife and a 2-year-old son.

By chance, it was the same week the Department of Veterans Affairs released conclusive data showing that the rate of suicide for those who served is now much higher than for civilians.

Despite that connection, the VA does not presume all suicides to be "service connected."

Homeschooling is becoming more common, and studies suggest that military parents are more likely to homeschool their kids.

An analysis of veterans suicides by the Department of Veterans Affairs sheds new light on high-risk groups of veterans.

The report, billed as the most comprehensive analysis to date, examined completed suicides between 2001 and 2014.


The White House has declassified its procedures for approving operations against terror suspects outside of the United States, providing a window into the decision-making process for authorizing drone strikes and other forms of lethal force.

The redacted document, issued by the administration in May 2013, was released in response to a court order resulting from an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit.

John Zimmerman, a nurse anesthetist for the Veterans Administration in Minneapolis, leans over a patient. Under a new rule, some nurse practicioners are allowed to work independently rather than under a physician's close supervision.
Association of Veterans Affairs Nurse Anesthetists

Nurses may soon do work doctors normally do at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This includes nurses performing work that anesthesiologists have been doing – and that has some physicians irate.

Governor Jay Inslee (center) with Gold Star mother Monica McNeal (left) and Gold Star wife Arlene Murray (right) at Seattle’s Alvin Larkins Park.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Washington Governor Jay Inslee joined the growing list of politicians condemning Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s reaction to a speech made by a couple who lost their son during the Iraq War.

At the democratic convention Khizr Khan talked about his son U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan’s military service. He criticized Trump's call for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States.

Audio Pending...

The Pentagon says U.S. warplanes began attacking Islamic State targets in Libya today at the request of the U.N.-backed Libyan government. The airstrikes are in the city of Sirte, which is controlled by ISIS.

American aircraft destroyed a tank and two ISIS vehicles that the Pentagon says posed a threat to Libyan fighters trying to retake the city.

Khizr Khan, the father of an American Muslim captain killed in Iraq, had a message for Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night:

"Have you ever been to Arlington cemetery? Go look at the graves of brave patriots who died defending the United States of America. You will see all faiths, genders and ethnicities. You have sacrificed nothing and no one."

In an agency that was "built for men," VA leaders are working to add health care services for female veterans.

Local Veterans Affairs officials met with reporters this week to talk about some of the steps they're taking to improve accessibility and quality of care for veterans. 

One of the Seattle VA's new initiatives is to help veterans deal with chronic pain -- a problem that can often lead to opiate dependence and addiction. Another critical initiative addresses the 11 percent growth in VA Puget Sound's patient load. 


With biofeedback, breath control, and other mindfulness techniques, an Army unit hopes to help turn its paratroopers into more effective fighters.

Flanked by his secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, President Obama announced that he was once again slowing the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

By the time President Obama leaves office, 8,400 American troops will remain in the country. Obama said this was "the right thing to do."

"It is in our national security interest ... that we give our Afghan partners the very best opportunity to succeed," Obama said.

The Afghan army commander said the treacherous road to Marjah, in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand, was now safe. His forces had driven out the Taliban a few days earlier, he added.

"The road is open, so no problem," said Lt. Gen. Moeen Faqir. "Of course I hope you go there and find the reality and reflect it."

Lt. Col. Eric Flake, a physician at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wa. in what will be a new autism therapy center with Major Ruth Racine, a nurse practitioner who has a child with autism.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

While stationed in Germany, Army nurse practitioner Major Ruth Racine and her husband carved out a promising educational and therapeutic plan for their seven-year-old son Magnus, who has autism.

“We were in an absolutely fantastic place," Racine said. Magnus got occupational, physical and speech therapy.

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