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Author: TriSec    Date: 05/10/2016 02:06:20

Good evening.

Well, I thought last week worked out so well that I'm at it again. We'll be far less rushed tomorrow morning, that's for sure.

We'll start out this morning with the latest casualties in our ongoing war. There's two; one of which we learned about after we went to press last week.

A U.S. service member was killed Tuesday morning in northwestern Iraq by an ISIS attack while assisting Kurdish Peshmerga forces north of the ISIS stronghold of Mosul, marking the third combat death for U.S. troops since the campaign against ISIS began in 2014, the Pentagon said.

The American was a Navy SEAL who was killed in a firefight after attackers broke through the front lines, CNN reported. The U.S. military responded with F-15 and drone strikes, dropping more than 50 bombs, the network reported.

"The casualty occurred during an ISIL attack on a Peshmerga position approximately three to five kilometers behind the forward line of troops," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook, using another acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, said in a statement.

The name of the casualty was withheld until the family could be notified.

"This sad news is a reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face every day in the ongoing fight to destroy ISIL and end the threat the group poses to the United States and the rest of the world," said Cook while he was traveling in Europe with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who is seeking more help from allies in the campaign against ISIS.

"Our coalition will honor this sacrifice by dealing ISIL a lasting defeat," Cook said.

The death of the service member was the third in combat against ISIS to be confirmed by the military, and the second to occur while U.S. trainers and advisers were working with the Kurds in northern Iraq.

Unfortunately, it took less than a week for another number to be added to the toll. I learned about this today. This time it was in Iraq.

An officer from the Washington National Guard died at an air base in Iraq on Friday, the Pentagon announced early Sunday.

Lt. David Bauders, 25, died while serving with the 176th Engineer Company, a Snohomish-based unit that also helped in the recovery of the Oso mudslide in March 2014.

Bauders, a Seattle resident, was killed in a noncombat incident at Al Asad Air Base. The Defense Department did not release any other information about the incident and the cause of his death is under investigation, a National Guard spokesman said.

"The loss of a Soldier is tremendously hard on this organization, but more so for David's family, friends and loved ones," Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty of the Washington National Guard said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time, David sacrificed his time and efforts to better our state and nation, and for that, we are extremely grateful. That's how we will remember him -- a selfless Soldier willing to put others first."

As a civilian, Bauders was a trooper in the Washington State Patrol. He was sworn in as a trooper in March 2014 and patrolled North Seattle and King County, a Washington State Patrol spokesman said.

Bauders commissioned into the National Guard in May 2013 as an ROTC cadet out of the University of Portland.

Al Asad Air Base in Iraq's western Anbar Province was one of the largest forward bases used by American troops during the Iraq War.

It's a sad commentary that these two deaths were barely even noticed by the general press. You'll note both stories came from Military.com - they seem to be the only ones following stories like this.

Moving on, maybe you saw this picture recently?


It's graduation season, and those are cadets at the USMA at West Point. They seem to be raising their fists in a half-hearted black power salute, which some are seeing as supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and is completely contrary to the Cadet's Code of Conduct.

You can probably guess that there's the usual histrionics going on among our differently-winged friends.

Except it's completely meaningless. You see, there was this ad campaign that was run for a few years, featuring the stirring music below. It became a tradition among the Corps of Cadets to do the fist pump and yell "Army Strong!" whenever they heard it.

Oh wait, I'm sorry. The soldiers in that photo are black. The rules are different. My mistake.

We'll finish up today with the Navy. I've been following stories like this for several years now. I can't put my finger on it, nor have I coherently pulled together a thread to tie it all together...but there's yet another Navy Captain that's been relieved of duty from yet another ship for yet more dereliction of duty. Something really is rotten in the state of Denmark.

NORFOLK -- A Navy hospital ship designed to perform humanitarian missions and build goodwill for the United States abroad was plagued by leadership problems in its medical facility for years before it set off to Latin America last spring with a new commanding officer who was put in place just days before leaving Norfolk, investigative reports show.

The USNS Comfort still managed to treat more than 122,000 patients in 11 countries during Operation Continuing Promise, a high-profile six-month mission that was the ship's first in four years due to the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. But problems continued even on an otherwise successful cruise when the ship's top enlisted sailor was relieved of his duties for an alcohol-related incident while on liberty in Panama.

The humanitarian missions typically generate a wellspring of positive publicity for the military and nongovernmental organizations that embark aboard the ship as volunteers. Video of smiling military medical personnel helping local populations beamed around the world on CNN last summer.

But investigative reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show all was not well aboard the ship in the years prior to Capt. Christine Sears' arrival on the Comfort in March 2015.

Capt. Rachel Haltner had been relieved of command the day before after her crew described high levels of stress and a lack of trust throughout the medical facility and said they felt mentally, physically and emotionally worn out. Haltner micromanaged her subordinates, publicly denigrated others and created an environment where the crew feared retaliation for speaking to investigators, according to a letter from Rear Adm. Thomas Shannon, commander of Military Sealift Command.

Navy investigators were tipped off that the working environment was poor by at least one anonymous letter sent to U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell's office, U.S. Fleet Forces Command and a local television station, as well as through command climate surveys.

The report also shows Haltner clashed with the ship's civilian skipper and was a poor communicator. The Comfort is crewed by civilian mariners but its medical treatment facility or MTF is run by military personnel, and it's not uncommon for tensions to exist between the two sides on a military ship. When the nearly 900-foot-long white ship emblazoned with a red cross is in reduced operating status before a mission, there are about 60 military personnel and 20 civilian mariners aboard. During a mission, that number swells to about 1,200 medical personnel.

12 comments (Latest Comment: 05/10/2016 18:29:26 by Mondobubba)
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