Double Weekly Rundown: November 23 – December 6, 2019
We took the back end of last week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, so there’s extra to catch you up on. So here’s a quick review of the major military related headlines from the last two weeks:
President Donald Trump sitting down for a Thanksgiving meal with US troops in Afghanistan.
- During his surprise Thanksgiving visit to US troops in Afghanistan, President Trump announced a tentative restart of peace negotiations with the Taliban. Such negotiations, the last round of which the President abruptly called off in September, would likely be dependent on a cease fire.
- An active shooter situation this morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola that ended with three dead, including the gunman (who, since the initial posting of this piece, was identified as Saudi Air Force officer going through aviation training there), came close on the heels of a shooting at Naval Station Pearl Harbor the day before. The perpetrator of the latter, who died during the shooting, has been identified as an enlisted sailor off the dry-docked Los Angeles class attack submarine USS Columbia. All three of his victims, two of whom died in the attack, were civilian contractors working at the dry dock. The third is reported in stable condition.
- NATO celebrated its 70th anniversary in London with an assembly of the member nations’ leaders. As with so many things NATO does, the summit was considered by most to be tumultuous yet mostly successful.
- The drama and controversy surrounding the case of Chief Special Warfare Operator Eddie Gallagher continued with the firing of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer. The firing reportedly resulted from Secretary Spencer’s attempt to work out a deal with the White House that would have allowed Gallagher to retain his SEAL trident but still have to go through the process of a review board for it.
President Trump’s nominees to replace Spencer as Secretary of the Navy: Rear Admiral (Retired) Kenneth Braithwaite, current US Ambassador to Norway.
- The Army awarded their first Master Gunner badges to personnel who pass one of the rigorous master gunner courses for a variety of vehicle mounted and artillery weapons.
- A report from the Government Accountability Office found that 102 bases around the country will soon face serious water shortages as a result of climate change.
- Congressman and Marine veteran Duncan Hunter (R-California) plead guilty to misusing at least $150,000 in campaign funds, spending the money on things from golf balls to ski trips with one of his three mistresses. His wife admitted to her part in the fraud as part of a plea deal earlier this year and the Congressman, who initially blamed the case against him as a “deep state conspiracy” may serve up to a year in prison.
- Military personnel and their families from all branches and bases all across the country testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on the abysmal state of housing owned and operated by private companies. Among their grievances, the rampant and almost universal presence of dangerous black mold.
- The filmed mass arrest of two dozen Marines on Camp Pendleton for human trafficking and drug charges in July has resulted in most of the charges being dismissed. The footage of the dramatic event, which was released by the Marine Corps in early November, was deemed an unlawful violation of the rights of the accused. The Marines in question will almost definitely still be administratively punished and discharged.
Shot from the footage of NCIS agents arresting members of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines on July 25th.
In Case You Missed It
- Last Week in Military History: It’s pretty common for the losing side of a war to resort to desperate schemes to try and turn the tide. Most fail, but some do succeed. The Confederate Secret Service’s attempt to burn down Manhattan in 1864 did not.
- This Week in Military History: On the afternoon of December 5th, 1954 the five torpedo bombers of Flight 19 took off on a run-of-the-mill training mission. The tragic events that followed became a cornerstone of the legend of the Bermuda Triangle.
Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor, US Navy, commanding officer of Flight 19.
From Our Sister Site
While AHRN’s handy guide to military shopping might not be much use now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed. But they have some tips on holiday military etiquette to get you through December and some advice for protecting your home during this hectic time of year.