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U.S. Army apologizes for treatment of soldiers PDF Print E-mail

U.S. Army apologizes for treatment of soldiers exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq

 The undersecretary of the Army apologized Wednesday for the military’s treatment of U.S. service members exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq, and announced new steps to provide medical support to those with lingering health effects and to recognize veterans who had been denied awards.

Undersecretary Brad R. Carson acknowledged that the military had not followed its own policies for caring for troops exposed to old and abandoned chemical munitions that had been scattered around Iraq, and vowed improvement. He also said that the Army had reversed a previous decision and approved a Purple Heart medal for a soldier burned by sulfur mustard agent, and Carson said he expected that more medals would be issued to other veterans after further review.

“To me, the scandal is that we had protocols in place and the medical community knew what they were, and yet we failed in some cases to implement this across the theater,” he said. “That was a mistake, and I apologize for that. I apologize for past actions and am going to fix it going forward.”

Carson was appointed last fall by Chuck Hagel, then the defense secretary, to lead a Pentagon working group to identify service members who had been exposed to chemical weapons and offer them medical screening and other support. The effort was in response to an investigation in The New York Times that revealed that the U.S. military had secretly recovered thousands of old and often discarded chemical munitions in Iraq.

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US Army establishes first manned-unmanned unit PDF Print E-mail
The US Army has established its first manned-unmanned teaming (MUM-T) squadron, combining Boeing AH-64D/E Apache helicopters with Textron Systems RQ-7B Shadow unmanned air vehicles in one heavy attack-reconnaissance unit.

The Fort Bliss, Texas-based 1/501st Aviation Battalion of the 1st Armoured Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade on 16 March became the first unit to combine manned and unmanned aircraft, reflagging to become the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment.

Although the Apache and Shadow have previously demonstrated MUM-T interoperability, having the two types fall under the same chain of command is the result of “years’ worth of planning”, the army says.

The Shadow is equipped with the new tactical common datalink, which will allow it to be operated alongside Apaches to fulfil the army’s armed aerial scout role previously provided by Bell Helicopter OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, which are due to enter retirement.
 
Statement on March 12 Airstrike in Somalia PDF Print E-mail
DOD news release
 
On March 12 at approximately 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time, working from actionable intelligence, U.S. forces using unmanned aircraft struck a vehicle carrying Adan Garar, a member of al-Shabaab's intelligence and security wing, in the vicinity of Diinsoor, Somalia. The attack was a success and resulted in the death of Garar.
 
Garar was a key operative responsible for coordinating al-Shabaab's external operations, which target U.S. persons and other Western interests in order to further al-Qaida's goals and objectives. He posed a major threat to the region and the international community and was connected to the West Gate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. His death has dealt another significant blow to the al Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia.
 
Continuing Global Tensions Call for Prepared U.S. Military PDF Print E-mail
Peace in our time, which is what Neville Chamberlain called for in a 1938 speech, remains as elusive today as it did after World War I. While the Army has been getting smaller as large-scale combat operations ended in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world is not close to peace at all.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made this clear in a message to the entire Defense Department on the day he was sworn into office. “We confront a turbulent and dangerous world: continuing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, and the malignant and savage terrorism emanating from it; an ongoing conflict in Afghanistan; a reversion to archaic security thinking in parts of Europe; tensions in the Asia-Pacific; the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and intensifying threats in cyberspace,” Carter said.
 
USMA barracks to honor Tuskegee Airmen leader PDF Print E-mail
The newest barracks at the U.S. Military Academy will honor a graduate who never had a roommate while at West Point.

The building will bear the name of Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the Air Force's first black general and a member of Class of 1936, the school announced Monday. Davis, the fourth black graduate from the school and the first in the 20th century, was shunned by the West Point community during his time on campus, with no roommates and no interactions outside official business.
 
 "Living as a prisoner in solitary confinement for four years had not destroyed my personality, nor poisoned my attitude toward other people," he would write in his autobiography, according to his New York Times obituary from 2002.
 
 
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