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Afghan troop withdrawal to start slowly: U.S. officers

WASHINGTON — A planned US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will start slowly this summer with about 800 soldiers in two Army units due to depart this month, US officers said Wednesday. The military offered the first details of the troop drawdown after President Barack Obama announced in June plans to…

Marine reservist charged in U.S. military shootings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Thursday charged a Marine Corps reservist with shooting at four military buildings around Washington, including the Pentagon, and also said he appeared to be trying to build a bomb. Yonathan Melaku, 22, was charged with four counts including firing on the Pentagon and the…

No opting out of enlistment for opponents of gays in military: Sec. of Defense Gates

FORWARD OPERATING BASE DWYER, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates bluntly told Marines on Sunday that they won’t be able to opt out of their enlistment just because they disagree with a government decision to end a ban on gays serving openly in the military. Gates, who is on…

Marine helicopter down near Hawaii, one dead

A Marine Corps. helicopter crashed in the shallow waters of Kaneohe Bay, off the shore of Hawaii Tuesday night, according to Navy Times. Four crew members were injured in the crash Tuesday evening, and CNN reported on-air Wednesday afternoon that one died. The cause of the crash is under investigation,…

US Marine Corps buying 80 F-35C fighter jets

WASHINGTON – The US Marine Corps is buying 80 F-35C joint strike fighter planes, the Pentagon said, casting doubt on plans to buy a vertical-landing version still under development. A short take-off, vertical landing model the F-35B destined for the Navy has run into “considerable” development difficulties and has been…

US Marine gets 6 years for Iraq contracts fraud

WASHINGTON – A US Marine captain was sentenced to six years in federal prison for conspiring with his wife to skim nearly $1.7 million from government contracts in Iraq. Eric Schmidt, who still serves with the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to…

US sends 1,400 more Marines to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — The United States has ordered an additional 1,400 Marines to southern Afghanistan to preempt a Taliban spring offensive, despite a planned troop drawdown starting in July, the Pentagon said Thursday. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday “approved additional Marine forces to southern Afghanistan to exploit and consolidate gains…

Top Marine: Soldiers could lose lives if ‘don’t ask’ repealed

Gay rights groups are calling for the resignation of the US Marines’ top general after he asserted to reporters Tuesday that repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” would cost the lives of soldiers. General James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, cited a Pentagon study saying Marines fighting in Afghanistan were…

McCain calls study on gays in military flawed

McCain calls Pentagon study on gays flawed, argues change shouldn’t happen during wartime Directly challenging the Pentagon’s top leadership, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain on Thursday snubbed a military study on gays as flawed and said letting gays serve openly would be dangerous in a time of war. McCain’s opposition…

Top Marine: Keep ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

The new commandant of the US Marine Corps said Saturday that now is the wrong time to overturn the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the military, as US troops remain in the thick of war in Afghanistan. “There’s risk involved; I’m trying to determine…

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