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Pence Tells West Point Cadets America Honors Their Service
 In this time of uncertainty and danger, America needs the service of all its citizens, Vice President Mike Pence said yesterday at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.


Pence spoke at the annual Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper Dinner -- an event marking the extraordinary life of the first African American graduate of the academy.

Flipper faced extreme prejudice and persevered to earn his commission in 1877. He was accused and court martialed for a crime he did not commit and ejected from the Army in 1882. President Bill Clinton righted that wrong with a pardon in 1999.

The academy has honored its first African American graduate with the annual dinner.

Read More...

 
Vice President Pence Remarks at Henry O. Flipper Dinner

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, General Caslen.  Your wife informed me that it was not booing that I heard when you came up, but it was “Supe.”  (Laughter.)  Give this wonderful superintendent a round of applause, would you please?  He deserves it, and the nation is proud of your service.  (Applause.) 

General Holland, General Jebb, Captain Villanueva, distinguished guests, and core of cadets of the United States Military Academy -- it is an extraordinary privilege for me to be with you tonight. 

Two special guests are with me that I want to acknowledge.  A man who I knew before he was even elected to the Congress, and now he is one of the most prominent members of the United States Senate; Senator Tim Scott is with us tonight just to be with all of you.  Senator Scott, thank you for joining us this evening.  (Applause.) 

And my commanding officer is with us, as well.  My wife of 31 years -- (laughter) -- Karen Pence is in the house.  Would you make her feel welcome?  (Applause.) 

I’m very humbled to have raised my right hand just a few short weeks ago to accept the responsibilities and be Vice President of the United States of America.  

And by the power vested in me, I hear by grant amnesty for all minor conduct offenses of those present.  (Applause.) 

I’m not sure I’ll be asked back now.  But it’s really good to be with you all and, frankly, very humbling.

I came here on behalf of the President of the United States, your Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, and I bring you his greetings and his gratitude.  (Applause.)  

I left the Oval Office when I headed to West Point this afternoon, and the President insisted that I send his greetings to all of you, his heartfelt thanks for your willingness to serve our great country.

But more than that, the President sends his commitment to you that President Donald Trump and this administration will stand with you as you stand to defend the United States of America.  (Applause.) 


 

 
Nude Photo Scandal Extends Throughout The Military
The Army is looking into allegations that some soldiers may be involved in an image-sharing message board where troops from all branches of the service are allegedly crowdsourcing naked pictures of female service members. 

“Special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s specialized Computer Crime Investigative Unit are currently assessing information and photographs on a civilian website that appear to include U.S. Army personnel,” Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in a statement to Army Times. 

The special agents are working to “determine if a criminal offense has occurred,” Smith said. 

First reported by Business Insider, the Army’s inquiry comes one day after news broke about AnonIB, a website where purported male service members request naked pictures of their female counterparts by name, rank and duty station. The Business Insider report also said the men allegedly were cyber-stalking and sharing nude photos of their female colleagues. 

 
Rhodes Scholarship Winner Christian E.Nattiel, USMA 2017

Christian E.Nattiel is a senior at the United States Military Academy, where he is double-majoring in mathematical sciences and philosophy. He is interested in narratives of struggle, social justice, and self-determination.

Read More...  

 
H.R. McMaster Appointed National Security Adviser
President Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, a widely respected military strategist, as his new national security adviser on Monday, calling him “a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience.”
 
Mr. Trump made the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago getaway in Palm Beach, Fla., where he has been interviewing candidates to replace Michael T. Flynn, who was forced out after withholding information from Vice President Mike Pence about a call with Russia’s ambassador.
 
The choice continued Mr. Trump’s reliance on high-ranking military officers to advise him on national security. Mr. Flynn was a retired three-star general and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is a retired four-star general. His first choice to replace Mr. Flynn, who turned the job down, and two other finalists were current or former senior officers as well.
 
Shortly before announcing his appointment, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter: “Meeting with Generals at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Very interesting!”
 
LTG Harold G. "Hal" Moore, Jr, USMA 1945
 Retired Lt. Gen. Hal Moor died in his home in Auburn, Alabama, a few days short of his 95th birthday.  He is survived by three sons, two daughters, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his wife, Julie Compton, in 2004.  

A funeral mass will be held at St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Auburn, followed by a memorial service National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning Army Base in Columbus, Georgia. Internment following at Fort Benning.

LTG Moore Co-Authored the best selling book "We Were Soldiers Once… And Young" with Joseph L. Galloway in 1992 about the First and Second Battalions of the 7th Cavalry Regiment in the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, which was later adapted ainto the movie We Were Soldiers released in 2002. 

Moore and Galloway wrote a sequel to the book titled "We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam" which was published in 2008 about their return to Vietnam and a reflection on how the war had changed them.

 
House Approves Troop Pay Raise
The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a 2.1 percent pay raise next year for troops.
 
The measure was included in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which the lower chamber overwhelmingly backed by a vote of 375-34. The massive $619 billion bill sets policy and spending goals for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
 
"This bipartisan bill focuses on our troops, America’s most important national defense resource," Rep. William "Mac" Thornberry, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.
 
"It provides them a full pay raise for the first time in four years, it stops layoffs of our military personnel and actually increases the end strength of our Armed Forces, and it starts to stabilize the readiness problems that are making it more difficult for our troops to accomplish their mission and increasingly represent a danger to their lives," he added. "It contains landmark reforms to improve our military’s strength and agility."
 
Senate Confirms Pompeo as CIA Director
The Senate on Monday confirmed President Donald Trump's nominee to run the CIA despite some Democratic objections that Rep. Mike Pompeo has been less than transparent about his positions on torture, surveillance and Russia's meddling in the U.S. election.

The vote was 66-32.

Pompeo takes the helm at the nation's top spy agency at a crucial time for U.S. national security as intelligence — traditionally a nonpartisan issue — has been thrust into the political arena. Trump has been critical of intelligence agencies after their assessment of Russian involvement to help him win the election while the new president also has said he is fully behind them.

Senate Republicans had hoped to vote on Pompeo's nomination Friday, after Trump's inauguration. But Democrats succeeded in stalling action until they could debate.

Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden on Monday said Pompeo was the "wrong man for the job."

"He has endorsed extreme policies that would fundamentally erode liberties and freedoms of our people without making us safer," Wyden said. He said Pompeo's answers to questions from some senators have been "vague" and "contradictory," making it impossible to know what Pompeo believes.

Read more... 

 
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. 
 

 
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