A quick review of the major military related headlines from the last week:
US Navy Airman Mohammed S. Haitham, Ensign Joshua K. Watson and Airman Cameron S. Walters (left to right), the three sailors killed at Pensacola last week, were posthumously awarded their gold wings. All three are credited with sacrificing their lives attempting to stop the shooter thereby preventing even more casualties.
- Last week’s tragic shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left three sailors dead is being investigated by the FBI as a terrorist attack. The perpetrator, an officer of the Saudi Air Force who was killed at the scene, is believed to have been radicalized years before he came to the US for training. Despite being a foreign national he was able to purchase the firearm he used through a loophole that allows anyone in Florida with a hunting license to purchase a handgun.
- As a result of the shooting, the Department of Defense has suspended all operational training for the roughly 850 members of the Saudi armed forces attending military courses in the US. The DoD will not accept any new international personnel to attend such programs until better screening programs are in place.
- Russian forces entered the Syrian city of Raqqa, the former capital of ISIS’s claimed Islamic State.
- Negotiations with the Taliban officially restarted on Monday, only to be followed on Wednesday by a massive suicide attack at Bagram Air Base that caused a great deal of damage, killed two civilians, and injured at least 70 others including coalition personnel. As a result, talks are once again suspended.
Airmen clearing debris inside Bagram's passenger terminal the day after the recent Taliban attack. Photo Credit: Airman 1st Class Brandon Cribelar, US Air Force.
- The leak of a massive “Lessons Learned” document from SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan) has proved what many experts, former generals, and justifiably disgruntled lance corporals have been saying for years: the war in Afghanistan has not gone well. It has been a muddled situation without clear objectives or a plan for conclusion at any point. And it doesn’t look like that will change any time soon.
- A massive defense bill passed, despite apprehension that it might not. Included in it are a number of vital provisions:
- Money to compensate troops who were victims of malpractice by military medical personnel who they cannot sue due to the Feres Doctrine.
- A “tenant bill of rights” to address the glaring and dangerous issues in military housing.
- A partial ban on the carcinogenic firefighting foam that has caused water contamination around hundreds of bases.
- Paid parental leave for federal workers.
- Space Force.
- The VA has opened a gambling addiction center in Las Vegas, Nevada. What else can you say about that?
- Admiral Kuznetsov, the sole aircraft carrier of the Russian Navy, caught fire. At least one sailor died and 11 more were injured aboard the ship which is, according to most accounts, a “floating hell.”
Admiral Kuznetsov on fire at a dry dock in Murmansk, Russia.
In Case You Missed It
This Week in Military History: It was a bleak day in December when Japanese torpedo bombers sank a US Navy vessel in a surprise attack that shocked the world. Not the one you’re thinking of, though. Because the USS Panay was attacked in 1937.
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