BRISTOL, R.I. -- An Army Green Beret from Rhode Island has been killed in Afghanistan just a month after he was honored at the historic Fourth of July parade in his hometown of Bristol.
The 7th Special Forces Group to which he was assigned said Sunday that Master Sgt. Peter Andrew McKenna Jr., 35, died Friday in Kabul during an attack on a NATO facility. The Pentagon said he was struck by enemy small arms fire.
McKenna, a 17-year Army veteran, had also served in Iraq and been awarded the Bronze Star with V device for heroism in combat operations, as well as the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. He was serving at the operations rank of first sergeant during his deployment in Afghanistan.
WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is outlining a foreign policy in which the United States would put ground troops in the fight against Islamic State militants and demand money from Middle East countries supported by the U.S. *snip* On defeating Islamic State militants, Trump said the key is to take away their wealth by taking back the oil fields under their control in Iraq. Told by "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that such a move could require ground troops, Trump responded, "That's OK." He said the Iraqis should be given "something" from their oil fields but, in an apparent reference to Iraq War veterans, "we should definitely take back money for our soldiers."
"We've had soldiers that were so badly hurt and killed," he said. "I want their families to get something. Wounded warriors all over the place. They got nothing. And they can't even say we had a victory."
Trump in the past has accused Saudi Arabia of being the world's biggest funder of terrorism. On Sunday, he said the Gulf nation should be paying the U.S. because it wouldn't exist without American support. And, Trump said, the only reason the U.S. supports Saudi Arabia is because it needs the oil.
"Now, we don't need the oil so much," he said in an apparent reference to U.S. oil and gas production. "And if we let our people really go, we wouldn't need the oil at all. And we could let everybody else fight it out."
Trump said Saudi Arabia is going to need help fighting against the kinds of militants who have targeted neighbouring Yemen. He said he would assist the Saudis in that event, albeit reluctantly and for a price.
"We defend Saudi Arabia. We send our ships. We send our planes. Every time there's a little ruckus, we send those ships and those planes. We get nothing. Why? They're making a billion a day. We get nothing. And this is the problem with the world," he said.
Ask who he talks to for military advice, Trump said he watches the news shows and cited former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton ("a tough cookie") and retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs ("a good guy") as two examples of people who impress him.
Speaking of impressive former leaders, I'm impressed by the posturing of a former presidential candidate over the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. It is a finite resource, after all, and some day it's going to be completely full of dead soldiers. Senator McCain, among others, is up in arms that the Virginia DOT wants to build a bus facility of some sort on some abutting Navy land that has recently come available. I pointed out in a military forum that it's too bad that we're all clamoring for more space to bury our war dead instead of clamoring not to get them killed in the first place. Of course, the response was deafening.
WASHINGTON – An expansion of Arlington National Cemetery could be scaled back because the county and state of Virginia want to build a bus facility, according to Sen. John McCain.
McCain sent a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh on Wednesday calling the possibility "shameful" and urging the service to maximize the number of plots in the project.
The national cemetery could reach capacity within a decade and is encouraging cremations and enforcing strict burial regulations to save space. But the Navy Annex facility that once overlooked the Pentagon has been demolished and offers an opportunity for an additional 7,600 internment sites.
"It would be shameful to have to tell the family of a fallen American hero that there is no space available at Arlington National Cemetery, because rather than expand its grounds, Arlington County and the Virginia Department of Transportation decided to build a bus maintenance facility," McCain wrote in a copy of the letter to McHugh shared with media.
The county and state want to realign Columbia Pike, a state highway, in a way that leaves space for the busing facility, he wrote.
Arlington County did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday afternoon.
"As you proceed with discussions on this matter … I encourage you to pursue a solution that maximizes property for the cemetery and restricts incompatible use, and to use whatever tools available to you to ensure this outcome," McCain told McHugh.
BRUSSELS -- The increase in the scale and number of military exercises being undertaken by NATO and Russia is making armed conflict in Europe more likely, a think tank warned Wednesday.
Ian Kearns, director of the London-based European Leadership Network, told The Associated Press that the war games "are contributing to a climate of mistrust" that have "on occasion become the focal point for some quite close encounters between the NATO and Russian militaries."
Kearns is one of the co-authors of an ELN study, which looked in detail at two military exercises held this year by Russia and NATO and found signs that "Russia is preparing for a conflict with NATO, and NATO is preparing for a possible confrontation with Russia."
The exercises, according to the ELN, "can feed uncertainty" and heighten the risk of "dangerous military encounters."
Relations between Russia and the West have been in the deep freeze since Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year. The ELN study said NATO plans approximately 270 exercises this year, while Russia has announced 4,000 drills at all levels.
The Russian exercise in March involved 80,000 personnel, while NATO's Allied Shield in June mobilized 15,000 people from 19 NATO countries and three partner states.