We'll start today in the "News you probably didn't hear" department; another soldier has been killed in Iraq.
A first lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team has been identified as the soldier killed Saturday in Mosul, Iraq.
First Lt. Weston Lee, 25, died from wounds he sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated during a patrol outside Mosul, according to information from the Army. The incident is under investigation, officials said.
Lee, of Bluffton, Georgia, was an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Lee was "an extraordinary young man and officer. He was exactly the type of leader that our paratroopers deserve," said Col. Pat Work, the commander of 2nd BCT, in a statement. "Our sincere condolences and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
Lee joined the Army in March 2015, and after Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course, he was assigned to 2nd BCT as a platoon leader. He deployed to Iraq in December 2016; it was his first deployment.
His was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal, the Army said.
Staying with our theme of disturbing things today, we'll move on to the VA. For us as civilians, whenever we go into a hospital, we expect a certain level of care and cleanliness. Looks like the expectations are a lot lower at a VA hospital in Texas.
SAN ANTONIO â€” Commanders at the Army health system's flagship Brooke Army Medical Center have shut more than half of the San Antonio hospital's 28 operating rooms and curtailed elective surgeries because of a shortage of properly sterilized instruments.
The San Antonio Express-News reports the hospital famous for treating victims in its burn ward found 73 cases of improperly sterilized instruments last month, including 16 where organic material like bone or skin fragments or blood was left on surgical tools.
The hospital isn't saying if the dirty instruments have led to infections. One commander, Col. Douglas Soderdahl, who also is a physician, says the numbers can be "interpreted in different ways" but says there are "no concerning spikes or things going in the wrong direction" in the hospital's medical care.
"No concerning spikes or things going in the wrong direction", eh? Well, Commander Soderhal...I only have one thing to say to that. You're next - right this way for your operation, sir.
Lastly today, in the wake of several sex scandals, there's another new statistic that's come out. Sex crimes in the military are deeply under-reported, primarily due to a fear of retaliation.
The Pentagon attempted to gather information via anonymous tracking. It's unclear what the response rate was, but even behind that shield, the news isn't encouraging.
WASHINGTON â€” Reports of sexual assaults in the military increased slightly last year, U.S. defense officials said Monday, and more than half the victims reported negative reactions or retaliation for their complaints.
The defense officials, however, said an anonymous survey conducted last year showed some progress in fighting sexual assault, as fewer than 15,000 service members described themselves as victims of unwanted sexual contact. That is 4,000 fewer than in a 2014 survey. Sexual assault is a highly underreported crime, so the Pentagon uses anonymous surveys to track the problem.
The new figures are being released Monday. Several defense officials spoke about the report on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the data ahead of time.
For more than a decade, the Defense Department has been trying to encourage more people to report sexual assaults and harassment. The agency says greater reporting allows more victims to seek treatment.
Overall there were 6,172 reports of sexual assault filed in 2016, compared to 6,083 the previous year. The largest increase occurred in the Navy, with 5 percent more reports. There was a 3 percent jump in the Air Force. The Army and Marine Corps had slight decreases.
Retaliation is difficult to determine, and the Defense Department has been adjusting its measurements for several years. It seeks to differentiate between more serious workplace retribution and social snubs that, while upsetting, are not illegal.
Two years ago, a RAND Corporation study found that about 57 percent of sexual assault victims believed they faced retaliation from commanders or peers. Members of Congress demanded swift steps to protect whistleblowers, including sexual assault victims, who are wronged as a result of reports or complaints.
It's a disturbing trend - perhaps one that could be changed by a dynamic leader using his bully pulpit. I wonder what that would be like?