With Donald Trump Hospitalized With COVID-19, Mike Pence Steps Into the Spotlight

As the questions about President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and subsequent hospitalization at Walter Reed continue to grow, so too do the challenges facing his understudy, Vice President Mike Pence.

In this extraordinary moment of national crisis, few people have as daunting a set of tasks as Pence. He is first in the line of presidential succession, the man on tap to assume the duties of Commander in Chief if Trump’s condition should worsen. He is preparing to shoulder an increasing number of Trump’s governing and campaigning responsibilities with the President hospitalized. He is getting ready for a vice presidential debate Wednesday against a formidable opponent, with stakes that have soared amid the President’s illness. And he is trying to do all of it with an eye toward his own political future, mindful that his boss reflexively turns on those who grab too much of his spotlight.

So far Pence has acted as though it’s business as usual. The Vice President was given a clean bill of health Friday by White House physician Jesse Schonau, who announced that he had tested negative and was not in danger of exposure to COVID-19. “Vice President Mike Pence does not need to quarantine,” Schonau said in a memo released to reporters. “Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities.” He tested negative again on Saturday, according to an aide.


Chinese air force propaganda video appears to use Hollywood movie clips

A new Chinese air force propaganda video appears to use Hollywood movie clips in its depiction of an attack on a target resembling a United States Air Force base.

The 2-minute, 15-second video, titled “The God of War H-6K Goes on the Attack!” was released over the weekend by China’s People Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media site. It highlights the force’s H-6K aircraft, twin-engine jet bombers nicknamed “Gods of War” by the Chinese military.
But eagle-eyed social media users pointed out that some of the explosive aerial footage used appears to be lifted from numerous Hollywood movies, including “The Hurt Locker,” “The Rock” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”
The video, which was seen millions of times before the post was taken down on Tuesday, has been mocked by many users for its apparent liberal use of American action movies sequences, with commentators pointing out that the PLAAF’s propaganda is not only fictitious, but likely stolen without credit.

CNN has reached out to China’s Foreign and Defense Ministries for comment.
The video begins with some slick scenes of the large bombers in what appears to be the early dawn at a desert airbase. They roar into the sky and seconds later release a missile that zooms down to strike a target.
Comparing a freeze frame of the missile strike to Google Earth images, the target appears markedly similar to the US’ Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.


Inside the National Guard’s Daring Rescue of Hundreds from a California Wildfire

More than 200 campers were trapped near a boat dock on Shaver Lake in California’s Fresno County over the Labor Day weekend, encircled by flames and a blinding wall of wildfire smoke.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joseph Rosamond, piloting a California Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook, had already made the decision to try to put his helicopter down close by the desperate campers on Sept. 5.

So had CWO 5 Kipp Goding, pilot of a California Guard UH-60 Black Hawk, who had linked up with Rosamond’s aircraft and was trailing him to the scene, weaving through peaks rising to 7,000 feet and then dropping down to a valley leading to the dock.

“We were quickly running out of time,” Rosamond said.


Order Gives Employees Social Security Withholding Tax Deferral, Not Forgiveness

President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order on August 8 that allows employers to defer withholding Social Security taxes.

However, it’s a payroll “deferral,” not payroll “forgiveness” — meaning it’s a temporary change, and service members and Defense Department civilians have to pay that money in 2021.

Internal Revenue Service officials said the Presidential Memorandum defers the employee portion of Social Security taxes. The Social Security tax is set for employees by law at 6.2 percent.

For service members, that would be 6.2 percent of basic pay. An E-5 with eight years of service has a monthly basic pay rate of $3,306.30. The monthly Social Security tax equals $204.99. Through the end of the year, this adds up to $819.96.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the deferred Social Security taxes will be collected through April 30, 2021. So, that E-5 with eight years of service who received a total of $819.96 from the tax deferral now has to pay it back early in 2021.


Arlington National Cemetery Reopens to Public, But Most-Visited Sites Still Off-Limits

Arlington National Cemetery will reopen to the general public Wednesday after a six-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But its most visited sites, such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will remain off-limits, the cemetery said in a release Tuesday.

Beginning Wednesday, the hallowed cemetery in Virginia, across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon for visits to gravesites only. Face coverings and social distancing will still be required at all times, the cemetery said.

However, “several places of interest will remain closed to assure health protection conditions,” it added. “These sites include the John F. Kennedy gravesite, the Memorial Amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

Exhibits in the Welcome Center will also remain closed.


Pentagon: Use of surveillance planes in protests was legal

The use of National Guard reconnaissance planes in four U.S. cities to monitor the widespread protests earlier this year didn’t violate rules against the military collecting intelligence on Americans, a Pentagon report has concluded.

The investigation by the Air Force inspector general found that the planes were used to gather information about crowd size, crowd flows and fires but they did not monitor individuals. The probe was ordered by Defense Secretary Mark Esper in response to questions within the department and Congress about whether the military illegally conducted surveillance of American citizens during the unrest after the death of George Floyd.

The flights in late May and early June came as President Donald Trump was calling for tougher measures to quell the widespread unrest. Floyd was a black man who died after a white Minneapolis policeman pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes.

National Guard troops were used to assist local law enforcement in a number of cities around the country.


Air Force helicopter shot while flying over Virginia; crew member injured

An Air Force UH-1N Huey helicopter was forced to conduct an emergency landing at a local airport in Manassas, Virginia, Monday after being shot from the ground.

A crew member received a minor injury, and was treated and then released at a local hospital, a spokesman for Joint Base Andrews said in an email. The helicopter — which was on a routine training mission and is assigned to the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Andrews — was damaged.


Live Ordnance Found Inside Nebraska Museum Storeroom

The Associated Press | By The Associated Press
NORFOLK, Neb. — A bomb squad and military experts had to be called to a northeastern Nebraska museum after live military ordnance — including a World War II grenade and two artillery shells — were found in a museum storeroom, officials said.

The staff at the Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk discovered the grenade, ammunition and ordnance on Wednesday, shut down the museum and called Norfolk police, the Norfolk Daily News reported.

Local officers were unable to determine if the vintage ordnance was live and called the Nebraska State Patrol bomb squad. The bomb squad determined that some of the items were live, and called the Nebraska Air National Guard explosive ordnance disposal team to help, which removed all of the live items.


Army to Eliminate Officer Promotion Photos to Curb Racial Bias in Selection

The U.S. Army will remove photographs from their process of selecting and promoting officers, as part of an initiative to combat racial biases.

The Army announced the launch of Project Inclusion on Thursday, a “holistic effort” aimed at promoting diversity and tackling racial disparities in the service. As part of the initiative, official photographs will no longer be part of officer selection boards beginning in August, while other personnel decisions will be reviewed under similar “evidence-based standards.”

“The Army must continue to put People First by fostering a culture of trust that accepts the experiences and backgrounds of every Soldier and civilian,” Gen. James C. McConville, Army Chief of Staff, said in a press release. “Our diverse workforce is a competitive advantage and the Army must continue to offer fair treatment, access and opportunity across the force.”



Link to live stream:

US Army offers $15,000 reward for info leading to whereabouts of missing Fort Hood Soldier

Authorities are searching for a missing soldier stationed at Fort Hood who hasn’t been seen since Wednesday.

Vanessa Guillen, 20, was last seen in the parking lot of her barracks at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas on April 22 around 1 p.m., according to a news release from the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID).

A $15,000 reward for information leading to Guillen’s whereabouts is being offered by CID, a tweet from Fort Hood said Monday.

Keys to her car and room were found in the armory where she was working earlier in the day along with her identification card and wallet, the release said.

Guillen, a private first class, was last seen wearing a black T-shirt, according to the release.


‘Extensive search’ for missing soldier, 20, last seen on Texas army base continues after keys, wallet found

An “extensive search” continued Sunday for a 20-year-old soldier who went missing while stationed on a military base in Texas last week.

Pvt. 1st Class Vanessa Guillen was last seen around 1 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood.

Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day, according to the Fort Hood Press Center release.

Guillen was described as of Hispanic descent, 5 feet, 2 inches tall, 126 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black T-shirt.

A “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) notice was issued by Fort Hood Military Police notifying surrounding law enforcement. An “extensive search” is underway by military members, as well as civilian and military police, the press release said.

Fort Hood officials and Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are also asking for the public’s assistance in their search.

Her sister, Mayra Guillen, shared a Facebook post on Friday, writing: “My sister… last seen two days ago. Phone last tracked at Belton, Texas. No contact with boyfriend, close friends or family. Belongings and CAR are at base too back in fort hood. Something is not right please help me find her. Houston Austin Ft hood/ Killeen areas.”