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U.S. Backing Turkish Military Units Battling ISIS
American warplanes and combat advisers are once again backing Turkish military units battling Islamic State fighters in northern Syria, the most tangible indication yet that months of tension between the NATO allies may be easing.  

Four airstrikes, occurring Tuesday near the town of al Bab, hit Islamic State construction equipment and tactical vehicles, including an armored personnel carrier, said Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition based in Baghdad. Dorrian indicated the mission, developed with Turkish commanders, most likely was enabled by American ground troops working nearby. 

"One of the things that we very much prize is to have boots on the ground operating in proximity to, or directly with, our partner forces. That's the preferred alternative," Dorrian said, when asked whether airstrikes conducted in support of Turkey require spotting by American air controllers who can see the desired targets. "And that is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful, especially on a very crowded and complex battlefield with a lot of different actors to make sure that we're hitting the targets that we intend to hit." 
 
Obama Pardons Mannning and Cartwright
President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of a pair of high-profile military prisoners and pardoned a controversial former Marine Corps general on Tuesday as one of his last acts before leaving the Oval Office.

Among the 209 commutations and 64 pardons announced by the White House were Chelsea Manning, serving 35 years for leaked sensitive Army documents related to the Iraq War; Dwight Loving, a soldier on death row convicted of murder in 1988, and James Cartwright, convicted of lying to the FBI about the release of sensitive intelligence information to reporters five years ago. 

Cartwright received a pardon, effectively erasing the crime from his record. Manning, who has served seven years of a 35-year sentence, will be released in May. 
 
Loving had his sentence reassigned to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

All of the 273 decisions were announced without further explanation from the White House. The majority of the decisions were for lower-level drug offenses, an issue that has been among Obama’s top executive actions in recent years. 
 
 Manning’s case had been among the most closely watched as Obama’s time in office grew shorter, with advocates pushing for her release. She has attempted suicide several times in the last year, and her imprisonment has raised problematic questions about the military’s responsibilities to deal with her requests for gender reassignment surgery. 

Manning, an Army intelligence analyst known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest, made public hundreds of thousands of military documents, including military reports from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and diplomatic cables from American embassies around the world. 
 

 
Soldiers can now wear turbans, beards and hijabs
New Army regulations will allow soldiers to wear turbans, beards and hijabs under most circumstances, reflecting a change Sikhs have sought for years.
 
“Based on the successful examples of Soldiers currently serving with these accommodations, I have determined that brigade-level commanders may approve requests for these accommodations,” wrote Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning in a Jan. 3 memo.
 
In March, the Army concluded that permitting beards for medical reasons but banning them for religious reasons is a discriminatory bar to service for Sikhs, who are forbidden by their faith to cut their hair and beards.
 
With that decision, Capt. Simratpal Singh, a West Point graduate and Bronze Star recipient, was the first to win Army approval to continue on active duty while maintaining his religiously mandated beard and turban.
 
DoD Energy Drink Warning

The U.S. Department of Defense is urging soldiers to ease up on drinking too much energy beverages as it could lead to serious damaging of the body.

The military noticed that a growing number of servicemen choose to drink energy beverages over water, especially during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Researchers examined data collected from soldiers serving during 2010's Operation Enduring Freedom and discovered that as much as 45 percent of those deployed downed at least one energy drink a day.

The findings also showed that nearly 14 percent of U.S. soldiers serving in the conflict consumed three or more drinks a day.

Negative Health Effects Of Drinking Too Much Energy Drinks Energy drink manufacturers choose to market their products to young Americans, including those in the armed service. Some of the most popular beverages can even be found on military facilities. 

Health  experts, however, warn that these drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, which could cause serious negative effects on the body such as insomnia, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, faster heartbeat and even muscle tremors.

Read more... 

 
Iinaugural parade to spotlight military and police units
The inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump will include a parade composed of 8,000 marchers from 40 organizations including the military, veterans groups and law enforcement, as well as the Boy Scouts of America.
 
The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced in a release Friday the list of groups that will march in the parade following the Jan. 20 inauguration of the 45th president. All branches of the military will be represented, as will a number of high school and college marching bands.
 
“People from every corner of the country have expressed great interest in President-elect Trump’s inauguration and look forward to continuing a salute to our republic that spans more than two centuries,” said Sara Armstrong, chief executive of the presidential inauguration committee.
 
The parade will spotlight horse-mounted members of several Army units, including the Caisson platoon out of Fort Myer, Va., responsible for the carriage-drawn funeral ceremonies in Arlington National Cemetery.
 
Department of Defense Seeks Biodegradable Bullets
Calling all engineers: The Department of Defense is on the lookout for a new bullet that will sprout seeds, instead of waste, after it’s shot.
 
In a call for proposals, the DoD says that the U.S. Army uses “hundreds of thousands of training rounds” across the country and world. These rounds are left on the ground or just beneath the surface, which is an issue for a few reasons. For one, the components take hundreds of years to biodegrade. When corroded, they could pollute nearby soil and water. Additionally, civilians such as farmers and construction crews who encounter the remnants don’t know if they’re training or tactical rounds.
 
To solve these problems, the DoD is looking for a bullet casing that eliminates environmental hazards. Embedded in the biodegradable composites will be bioengineered seeds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory that don’t begin to germinate until they’ve been in the ground for several months. The DoD wants these seeds to produce eco-friendly plants that remove soil contaminants and consume the biodegradable debris from the bullets. It’s important that animals can eat the plants without getting sick.
 
Black Knights Open New Lacrosse Center
 Both the men's and women's lacrosse programs have officially moved into the new top-notch Foley, Enners, Nathe Lacrosse Center.

The FEN Lacrosse Center is named after former classmates William Foley '67, Lt. Ray Enners '67 and Michael Nathe '67.

"We are so fortunate to call the new FEN Center the home of Army men's and women's lacrosse," said the Noto Family Head Women's Lacrosse Coach Kristen Skiera. "The attention to detail within the building and the location in the corner of Michie Stadium shows immense dedication to Army Lacrosse. This top-notch facility will serve our cadet-athletes in so many ways and undoubtedly contribute to the tradition of excellence of Army athletics."
 
The 15,000-square-foot-facility will feature two floors nestled in the northeast corner of historic Michie Stadium.
 
The first floor contains locker rooms for Army West Point's men's and women's lacrosse teams in addition to equipment and athletic training rooms, and coaches' locker rooms. While the equipment room features a rolling rack storage system and laundry room, the training room includes six treatment tables, a physician's office, ice machine and Grimm dual therapy pool.
 
 
Bradshaw Named Army's Athlete of the Week
Following his brilliant performance against North Texas in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl, junior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw was named the Army Athletic Association Athlete of the Week.

Bradshaw led his team to its first bowl victory since 2010 with 129 rushing yards, including a career-long 65-yard touchdown run. The 129 rushing yards were the second most for a quarterback in Cotton Bowl Stadium history, passing Texas' Vince Young, who ran for 127 yards against Oklahoma in 2003. Navy's Chris McCoy owns the records with 273 yards in 1995.

The Chicago native marched Army down the field for five scoring drives, including two of 10 or more plays. He rushed for seven yards in overtime and pitched the ball to Jordan Asberry on 4th-and-goal, leading to the eventual gamewinning touchdown as Army won 38-31 over North Texas.

Bradshaw was named the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl's Most Valuable Player and was also 2-for-3 through the air for 53 yards, including a 38-yard pass to Tyler Campbell. He also hit Edgar Poe on a crucial 3rd-and-8 in overtime and the play picked up 15 yards and a first down. 
 
Army modernization efforts of 2016
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Supporting the fight around the globe means providing Soldiers with the most advanced technology available.

The right technology can ensure overmatch against future adversaries in an increasingly complex and dangerous world, where the threat is often "elusive and ambiguous," according to Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, speaking at an industry event in Michigan, Oct. 27.

The Army must ride the wave of technology or risk being left behind, cautioned Lt. Gen. Michael E. Williamson, the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.

Consumer electronics are advancing at an incredibly rapid pace, with the average time to obsolescence of some devices as short as 24 months, he noted at a "Network Readiness in a Complex World" panel in July, he said.

Fortunately for Soldiers and the American people, Army researchers and scientists and industry partners made great strides in modernization in 2016. The following is a sampling of 10 of their top advancements and milestones.

30MM CANNON FOR STRYKER

The first prototype Stryker infantry carrier vehicle, outfitted with a 30-millimeter cannon, was delivered to the Army Oct. 27.
 
Army's top stories of 2016
Uniform changes, new directives and football were among the topics that dominated headlines for the Army in 2016. Below is a list of this year's most-read articles by the Army News Service.

1-2) SLEEVES CAN NOW BE ROLLED UP 

The hottest topic among readers this year, with a pair of articles in the top two slots, turned out to be the Army's decision to permit Soldiers to roll up the sleeves on their combat uniforms so they can keep cool.

Army officials announced the policy change in late June, following a 10-day trial at Fort Hood, Texas, which was initiated after a specialist asked Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley during a reenlistment ceremony whether he and his fellow Soldiers could roll up their sleeves due to the hot weather. Milley and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey agreed, and an official memorandum was rolled out Army-wide a few weeks later. 

3) NEW DIRECTIVE: OFFICERS MUST BE VETTED BEFORE PROMOTIONS 

A new Army directive over the summer caught the attention of many readers, especially those of officers looking to be promoted. Updated regulations now require that officers selected for promotion be vetted for mental, physical, moral, and professional fitness and meet the standards for exemplary conduct before their names are forwarded to the Army secretary for certification.
 
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