Weekly Rundown: March 14th – 20th, 2020
Military News Recap
A quick recap of the major US military news stories from the last week:
The coronavirus outbreak continues to have widespread impact across the military:
- Multiple bases and three Navy vessels have reported cases of infected personnel.
- The National Guard in numerous states will see expanding activations to assist emergency services.
- The Navy’s two hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and Mercy, are expected to deploy to New York Harbor and Seattle, respectively, to ease overflow at medical facilities.
- In order to produce much needed supplies to combat the disease and its spread, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act of 1950.
- Coalition training of Iraqi troops has paused over virus fears. And the drawdown of NATO troops in Afghanistan will continue despite the added confusion the coronavirus and related quarantine measures are expected to add to the process.
War in Afghanistan
27 Afghan troops died in a single attack when the Taliban stormed their base in Zabul province early Friday morning. It’s the latest major incident of the continuing combat there even as all sides of the conflict pursue hopes of a lasting peace.
War in Iraq
In addition to last week’s fatal rocket attack at Taji Base, three more struck American or coalition locations this week. One also struck Taji, wounding three coalition personnel and two Iraqi soldiers. Another damaged the Basmaya training base outside Baghdad, though no casualties were reported. And several rockets hit the Green Zone near the American Embassy, also without serious damage or reported casualties.
Duncan Hunter Sentenced
Ex-Congressman Hunter, the former Marine who stole over $150,000 of campaign funds to pay for things from golf balls to weekend trips with his mistresses, was sentenced to 11 months in prison.
A US Navy lieutenant is suing for the right to remain in the service in hopes of overturning the current ban on transgender personnel in the military. The publicly anonymous officer, a transgender woman, has served for nearly ten years and wishes to remain in the Navy during and after her transition process. Hers is one of four current lawsuits challenging the ban.
Missing USMC Rifles
The tragicomic saga of the lost rifles of 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines that began this past December continued with the relief of the unit’s commanding officer and sergeant major. We used the verb “continue” rather than “ended” because the two rifles remain missing.
Army’s Blackhawk Replacement
The Army has narrowed down the choices for the aircraft set to replace its fleet of aging UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to two: the Bell Textron’s V-280 Valor and Sikorsky-Boeing’s SB-1 Defiant.
In Case You Missed It
- With the coronavirus outbreak affecting everything from daily life to PCS moves, we put together a guide for everything the DoD needs you to know about COVID-19.
- Stuck inside due to the various quarantines? Stay entertained by watching any (or all) of our picks for The 5 Best Military Movies on Netflix Right Now.
- If you’re sick of watching TV while stuck inside, consider reading through 5 of the Best Military Non-Fiction Books Everybody Should Read.
- This Week in Military History: She started as a coal transport and sank as a seaplane tender, but in between the USS Langley was America’s first aircraft carrier.