Military

Major Gen. Greg Lusk
www.nationalguard.mil

The top military leader of the North Carolina National Guard is soon leaving the post he's held most of this decade.

Mold has long been a problem at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas. But when airmen started posting photos on Facebook, the Air Force stepped up its response.

Image of a nuclear bomb test explosion in the Pacific in 1958.
Nevada National Security Site

More than 500,000 American veterans were exposed to nuclear weapons tests from the 1940s to the early 1990s. These so-called "atomic veterans" were not permitted to speak about their participation in the tests until 1996 when the Nuclear Radiation and Secrecy Agreements Laws were repealed. Now the veterans who were exposed to the radiation from the weapons program will be offered a certificate marking their contribution.

The military is spending millions of dollars to clean up water contamination around bases throughout the country. But people living with the contamination say the money has not gone nearly far enough.

Cpl. Jackeline M. Perez Rivera / U.S. Military

U.S. military officials have identified a Marine who died Saturday in Iraq as 35-year-old Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer of Mancos, Colorado.

The new certificate recognizes as many as 550,000 veterans who were exposed to nuclear weapons tests between 1945 and 1992. But the certificates leave a lot of atomic veterans underwhelmed.

Black and white Marines served side by side during the Vietnam War, as seen in this 1966 photo of a firefight with the Viet Cong. But racial tension was not uncommon throughout the armed services.
U.S. Marine Corps

Camp Lejeune, N.C. was the first of several bases to experience racial violence during the Vietnam War. It led to major reforms in military racial policies.

Commanding General Gen. Michael Garrett meets with N.C. National Guard soldiers at Fort Irwin where 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team is training.
U.S. Army Forces Command

Nearly 3,000 members of the North Carolina National Guard are in the middle of a massive training exercise near Death Valley, California.

The Guard's 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team has brought its tanks and hundreds more vehicles to Fort Irwin, a sprawling Army base that's used for realistic desert training.

A thousand National Guard troops from Texas will try to address one of the unintended results of President Trump’s immigration crackdown -- traffic jams that are slowing international commerce.

The Government Accountability Office says the military isn't doing enough to deal with the effects of climate change, after more than $9 billion in hurricane and flood-related damage to three bases in less than a year.

Relatives and friends wait as the body of  Private First Class William H. Jones is lowered from an airplane at RDU on Thursday, June 20, 2019.
Jay Price / WUNC

The remains of Private First Class William H. Jones of Nash County -- known as "Hoover" to his family -- were flown from a military identification lab in Hawaii to RDU, and met on the tarmac by the family and a military honor guard on Thursday.

Some VA medical centers have realized that helping vets get back in the game can also help with their recovery.

Christina Westover / U.S. Army

Thousands of military personnel were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in the fall of last year. At the time President Donald Trump said their purpose was to bolster security and help reduce illegal border crossings.

During the eight months they've been deployed at the U.S.-Mexico border, military personnel have had little direct contact with the people at the center of the mission.

Congress is considering legislation to encourage "outdoor therapy" for veterans with injuries or post-traumatic stress. Volunteer groups are already running similar programs in national parks.

 

Raul Guerra was adopted, so his DNA couldn't be matched to blood relatives. Scientists instead turned to an emerging technique that linked his bones to the drinking water in the places he grew up.

98-year-old Normandy survivor Ray Lambert (left) accepts a plaque at a June 2018 ceremony. Fort Bragg paratroopers splashed down in his Moore County neighborhood as part of a salute to his service.
Ted Fitzgerald / The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.)

As he takes part in the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy invasion, Ray Lambert of Moore County, N.C. worries that his generation's values have eroded.

Ashely Evans / Western Carolina University

Kevin Rumley had a near-picturesque upbringing that he describes being like a 1950s Disney movie. Growing up in Fairfax, Virginia, Rumley and his two brothers played music, rollerbladed and skateboarded on the halfpipe their dad built them.

The policy bans transgender recruits and prevents current troops from transitioning to another sex unless they were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before April 12.

Courtesy of Zachary Stauffer

Naval aviator Lt. Wes Van Dorn signed up to pilot MH-53E helicopters — big, heavy single-rotor aircraft — with assurances he’d be home on most days to have dinner with his family and tuck his son into bed at night.

But as the Greensboro native soon discovered, maintenance and supply issues often kept the choppers grounded, and maintainers and pilots like him at work. In 2014, Van Dorn was killed in a training exercise off the coast of Virginia along with two sailors, leaving his wife Nicole and two young boys behind.

Carissa Rogers / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/goodncrazy/14262072596/

When a Vietnam War veteran died Christmas Eve with no family nearby, a community of veterans, a friend and military supporters in North Carolina stepped up to make sure he was finally laid to rest with military honors.

The Last Battleground Book Cover
UNC Press

Author Philip Gerard has spent years unearthing the lesser-known stories of the Civil War. In order to better document the history beyond the grand military strategies and exalted generals, Gerard dug deep into the archives, reading first-person testimonies, searching through hand-written letters, and speaking with a range of experts, from historians to longtime civil war reenactors.

Updated at 6:22 a.m. ET Saturday

U.S.-backed forces fighting ISIS remnants announced the capture of the last of the group's remaining territory Saturday.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led group supported by the U.S., declared a "total elimination of so-called caliphate" and a complete "territorial defeat" of ISIS.

"This is a victory for not just us but the whole world," local SDF commander Adnan Afrin told NPR.

Public Domain / Airman Magazine

A memorial service today at Fort Bragg makes 25 years since the 82nd Airborne Division suffered its biggest one-day loss of life since World War II.

The disaster occurred at literally, the last place paratroopers were able to feel safe before boarding a plane for a practice jump, or deploying to war – the loading ramp at the Fort Bragg airfield.

Updated at 9:08 a.m. ET Sunday

The Pentagon on Saturday identified two soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan as 29-year-old Spc. Joseph P. Collette of Lancaster, Ohio and Sgt. 1st Class Will D. Lindsay, 33, of Cortez, Colo.

The two were killed Friday in Kunduz province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained in combat, the Defense Department said. They were both based out of Fort Carson, Colo.

Shantelle Campbell / U.S. Army

The settlement with earplug manufacturer 3M has focused attention on service-related hearing loss, one of the most common health problems among veterans.

To keep up with potential adversaries such as China, the Pentagon is teaming with civilian technological innovators and trying to adopt some of the practices of the private sector.

Encouraged by a Library of Congress initiative, volunteers and non-profit groups around the country are recording and preserving veterans' voices.

As Fred Nelson shuffled through a crowded convention center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a man tapped him on the shoulder to ask about a gun.

The man knew Nelson was selling thanks to the handwritten menu taped on Nelson’s backpack advertising more than a dozen handguns, rifles and shotguns.

He offered $300 for a Glock 19 pistol listed at $350.

“Meet me in the middle at $325,” Nelson responded. “It’s never been fired. You can look down the barrel.”

“I can do $300 cash, that’s all I can do,” the buyer responded, before pausing. “I haven’t even looked at it yet.”

To increase interest in military service among teenagers, the Army is reaching out to some of the people who know them best: high school teachers and guidance counselors.

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