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U.S. Backing Turkish Military Units Battling ISIS PDF Print E-mail
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 PDF Print E-mail
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 PDF Print E-mail
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 PDF Print E-mail

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 PDF Print E-mail
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.
 
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