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In The News
This Memorial Day, Americans will consider some significant anniversaries that relate directly to this time of national reflection. On June 6 the United States and its World War II allies will mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the massive military landing on the beaches of Normandy that would result eleven months later in the end of the European War.
On the evening of June 6, 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt gave a radio address in which he framed a prayer for those who fought: “They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.”
He had predicted on June 5 that the road ahead “will be tough and it will be costly… .”
It would be tough and it would prove very costly. But by the end of August the American 28th Infantry Division marched down the Champs-Élysées. Allied forces were greeted there and in the French countryside by cheering newly-liberated French citizens. It was a heady time even though Bastogne and the Rhine and Berlin lay ahead. And of course to the east the foreboding home islands of Japan.
There will surely and appropriately be many programs and speakers that remind us of this historic D-Day battle. As Americans in 2019 remember Normandy and celebrate that step to victory, it will be important to also pause to consider another anniversary, one that has little place in our national memory. It was a battle that engaged the sons of the World War II generation, a battle won but not celebrated.
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Last weekend I was proud to host my USMA 1996 classmates at our annual mini-reunion down here on the Gulf Coast. It was a wonderful time of camaraderie, story telling, shenanigans, and some things I shouldn’t repeat or might not remember 🙂 What a great group we have that makes this annual pilgrimage!
One of the best parts of these yearly gatherings is that I get to meet new friends and classmates. With around 1,000 classmates, there were a lot of people who I didn’t know while at the Academy. Seeing new faces and reconnecting with old friends is part of the magic of these mini-reunions. It is fun to hear what everyone is doing in their current life, most of them outside of the military community.
West-Point.Org does this same thing daily across the entire community of graduates. All of the West Point graduates who I know are awesome people, upstanding members of their community, caring and hard-working individuals, successful in their chosen profession.
I challenge each of y’all to connect with someone who you may not know, another member of the greater West Point community. I guarantee that it will be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Also, please make the time to donate to our semi-annual fund drive for West-Point.Org. We are over 92% of the way to the finish line. Help us complete the mission!
For Freedom We Risk 1996
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By: Brian Melley, The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Military prosecutors in the case of a Navy SEAL charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 installed tracking software in emails sent to defense lawyers and a reporter in an apparent attempt to discover who was leaking information to the media, according to lawyers who told The Associated Press that they received the corrupted messages.
The defense attorneys told The Associated Press the intrusion may have violated constitutional protections against illegal searches, guarantees of lawyer-client privilege and freedom of the press, and may constitute prosecutorial misconduct.
“I’ve seen some crazy stuff but for a case like this it’s complete insanity,” said attorney Timothy Parlatore. “I was absolutely stunned … especially given the fact that it’s so clear the government has been the one doing the leaking.”
Parlatore represents Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who has pleaded not guilty to a murder count in the death of an injured teenage militant he allegedly stabbed to death in 2017 in Iraq. Gallagher’s platoon commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, is fighting charges of conduct unbecoming an officer for allegedly conducting Gallagher’s re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse.
Vice President Mike Pence will be the commencement speaker at West Point’s graduation this month.
Pence will speak at the U.S. Military Academy’s graduation ceremony for the class of 2019 on Saturday, May 25.
It will be Pence’s second visit to the academy, but his first time as graduation speaker, West Point said on Monday.
The Pentagon has drafted plans to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event Iran launches an attack on U.S. forces in the region or restarts its nuclear weapons program, the New York Times reported.
The updated military plan, which was presented by Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan at a meeting of President Donald Trump’s top aides last week, comes as tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen following what officials citing classified intelligence said were signs of possible threats to U.S. forces or interests in the region. It is not clear whether Trump himself has been briefed.
The size of the force — 120,000 troops is roughly the number the U.S. used to invade Iraq in 2003 — has shocked some officials inside the Trump administration, the Times reported on Monday, citing unnamed national security officials.
On Monday, Trump also issued a warning to Iran when asked by reporters about the prospects of regime change. “We’ll see what happens with Iran,” Trump said at the White House. “If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake.”
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The United Arab Emirates said Sunday that four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port.
Emirati officials declined to elaborate on the nature of the sabotage or say who might have been responsible. However, the reported incident comes as the U.S. has warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran.
Tensions have risen in the year since President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, restoring American sanctions that have pushed Iran’s economy into crisis. Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.
A week after President Donald Trump announced his new nominee to lead the Defense Department, the commander-in-chief’s pick to take over the second highest role in the Department of Veterans Affairs will have his confirmation hearing before the Senate.
James Byrne, who has served as the acting VA deputy secretary since last August, will testify before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday. His wait to formally take over the job he has been doing has been nearly twice as long as that of Patrick Shanahan, who has been acting defense secretary since Jan. 1.
Together, the moves represent Trump filling two significant military and veterans vacancies, an issue that has raised concerns among lawmakers.
Also this week, Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist will again testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the military’s efforts to reform its financial practices and pass an audit, a promised goal of administration officials.
BOSTON — A soldier from Massachusetts who went missing during the Korean War has been accounted for.
The remains of Army Sgt. George R. Schipani, of Somerville, Massachusetts, were identified in January, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday.
After the war, returning American prisoners said Schipani had been captured and died in a POW camp in February or March 1951. Based on that information, Schipani was declared dead.
Remains returned to U.S. authorities that couldn’t be identified were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.
Schipani’s remains were disinterred last July and identified using dental, anthropological and chest X-ray comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.
The U.S. Army is in the process of rolling out a new service uniform that harkens back to its World War II attire, The New York Times reported Monday.
“We went back and asked, when is the most prominent time when the Army’s service to our nation was universally recognized, and the answer came very quickly,” Daniel A. Dailey, the sergeant major of the Army, told the Times. “That victory, that impact on the nation, is still felt today by the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of the ‘Greatest Generation.’”
The planned uniform change was first announced in November, and the garb has since been put to use in field tests with recruiting battalions and some other troops. The Times reported that the Army plans to give the uniforms to all soldiers starting in 2020.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has pardoned a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner, the White House announced Monday.
Trump signed an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, for former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, of Oklahoma, press secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al-Qaida terrorist in Iraq. He was paroled in 2014 and had been scheduled to remain on parole until 2024.
A military court had sentenced Behenna to 25 years in prison. However, the Army’s highest appellate court noted concern about how the trial court had handled Behenna’s claim of self-defense, Sanders said. The Army Clemency and Parole Board also reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible.