military

When Defense Secretary Ashton Carter landed in Iraq for a surprise visit this week, he came armed with this news: More than 200 additional U.S. troops are headed to that country. They'll join the fight to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State.

As that battle unfolds on the ground, a parallel war against ISIS is unfolding in cyberspace.

A few months ago, the U.S. military gave Zabihullah Niazi $3,000. He lost his left eye and left arm when an American AC-130 gunship repeatedly fired shells into the hospital in which he worked in northern Afghanistan.

The money was what officials term a "condolence payment," an expression of sympathy and sorrow for injuring Niazi when the U.S. military mistakenly hit the Kunduz hospital, killing 42 people.

An initiative at several veterans hospitals adds something new to patients' medical records: their life stories.

M
Courtesy of Reprieve.

Malik Jalal doesn't sleep in the same house as his family any more. He sleeps in the open, at a distance from his wife and children.

A leader of his community in northern Waziristan, Jalal thinks he is on a US drone kill list — and could be slain at any moment.

But that's not his worst fear.

The Obama administration has shaken up U.S. policy by reaching out to longtime foes including Cuba, Iran and Myanmar. This has spurred a debate about what impact, if any, the U.S. moves have on human rights in these countries.

Some argue that such engagement can encourage authoritarian countries to improve their human rights record, while others say it makes no difference, or may even lead regimes to feel they don't have to worry about punitive measures for rights violations.

Soldiers perform fast rope insertion certifications at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in January 2015.
Flickr Photo/CC BY NC SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/rakSmz

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is no longer considering a controversial proposal to land helicopters at seven wilderness sites around the state.

Officials at JBLM made the decision after receiving feedback from stakeholders and reading 2,350 comments from the public which were mostly negative. 

R
Omar Sanadiki/Reuters

When Syrian teenager Omar ran away from his family, he had no idea what was in store for him. It all started last year, when he was 13, and ISIS came to his hometown of Ras Al Ayn near the Turkish border.

Omar says ISIS fighters seemed like real warriors who would give him a sense of pride and purpose.

Captain Simratpal Singh wearing his turban and full beard with his US Army uniform.
Courtesty of Sikh Coalition/Jovelle Tamayo

Bill Radke speaks with Captain Simratpal Singh about the U.S. Army now allowing him to grow a full beard and wear a turban in accordance with his Sikh religion.  Singh graduated from Highline High School in Burien and is a recipient of the Bronze Star. 

Roosevelt Ward Jr. after receiving a 50th anniversary commemorative pin. Ward served in the US Navy between 1965-1966.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Veterans and their families packed the lobby of VA Puget Sound in Seattle on Tuesday for the department’s local commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

The Marines will begin training the first women for ground combat jobs in June. But it could be a challenge because so far no women recruits have signed up for armor, artillery or infantry positions.

In addition, some 200 women Marines already completed ground combat training last year as part of an experiment. But so far they have chosen to stay in their current jobs, ranging from truck drivers to comptrollers to helicopter refuelers, and have not opted to switch to combat jobs.

The fix is broken.

Two years ago Congress created the Veterans Choice Program after scandals revealed that some veterans were waiting months to get essential medical care. The $10 billion program was designed to get veterans care quickly by letting them choose a doctor outside the VA system. Now Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are pushing through new legislation to fix the program.

Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson will be nominated as the next head of U.S. Northern Command, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Friday. If approved, she would be the first female head of a combatant command.

The U.S. military divides the world into geographic regions that are each overseen by a four-star general or admiral directing military operations across the branches of service. None of those combatant commanders has ever been a woman.

The Pentagon hopes an ISIS chemical weapons engineer captured in Iraq last month will lead U.S. troops to possible weapons sites and help prevent chemical attacks by the Islamic State.

Defense officials hope that Sleiman Daoud al-Afari will help them find storage sites for chemical munitions including mustard agent, which can blister the skin and lungs and lead to death in high concentrations. Iraqi officials told the Associated Press that al-Afari worked for Saddam Hussein's military and has long been a member of ISIS, which seized portions of Iraq last summer.

Allie and Matthew McClintock. It was a big deal for him to be photographed in his uniform.
Courtesy of Allie McClintock

A Special Forces soldier from Tacoma killed in January has been awarded a Silver Star.  

Sfc. Matthew McClintock was killed trying to help a wounded teammate during an intense firefight in Marjah, Afghanistan. After McClintock’s death his unit nominated him for a Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award for valor.

Theresa Larson developed an eating disorder while in the Marine Corps.
Courtesy of Theresa Larson

Marine Lt. Theresa Larson was forcing herself to vomit as many as five times a day when she was medically evacuated out of Fallujah, Iraq.

The problem had started back at Camp Pendleton in California, but Larson was doing her job and keeping it together, so the very few people who knew about it backed her up.

Pages