Weekly Rundown: March 21st – 27th, 2020
Military News Recap
A quick recap of the major US military news stories from the last week:
- The DoD reported its first two deaths due to complications associated with the novel coronavirus this week. A civilian contractor passed away over the weekend in Crystal City, Virginia. And the spouse of a service member became the first death on a US military installation at Joint Base Langley-Eustis on Thursday.
- The rate of infection among service members shot up 60% since last week. This increase puts the infection rate within the military higher than the current national average.
- President Trump fully federalized the National Guards of the three states hit hardest by the disease thus far: New York, California, and Washington. More than 12,000 Guard members are currently activated across the country to contend with the outbreak.
- The Army emailed over 800,000 former and retired personnel with medical training regarding their interest in returning to duty to deal with COVID-19. Those willing to volunteer, if such a program is initiated, could potentially assist medical and military personnel all across the country. Over 9,000 have so far responded.
- Even the Taliban is working from home: one of the latest rounds of talks between the insurgent group and the current Afghan government took place over Skype out of coronavirus concerns.
Secret Rescue Operation
US military personnel rescued an American woman from Honduras in a highly secretive military operation. Both President Trump and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper spoke briefly on the rescue but provided few details. Who held her in captivity or for how long is currently unknown.
Afghan Peace Process
Despite the aforementioned Skype call, a number of factors continue plaguing the ongoing negotiations to end the War in Afghanistan. Both incumbent Ashraf Ghani and his challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, have declared themselves president after the recent election. Even a recent visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the threat of a $1 billion cut in aid programs did not end the stalemate between the politicians.
Marine Corps Changes
General David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps, officially outlined upcoming cuts to units and personnel in his planned redesign of the branch. Most notably, the plan calls for the elimination of all three tank battalions and three of the Corp’s 24 infantry battalions. Canon artillery, amphibious assault vehicle (AAV), and aviation units will see reductions over the next few years.
Aircraft Carrier Toilet Troubles
No matter your current toilet paper stocking situation is, at least you’re not dealing with the kind of plumbing issues plaguing the aircraft carriers USS Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. A report by the Government Accountability Office revealed that the sewage systems aboard these state-of-the-art ships clog so easily that they must be regularly flushed with a specific acid solution to clear them out. The cost of each ship-wide unclogging: $400,000.
In Case You Missed It
- Whether you’re new to the job market or between steady gigs, temporary or part time employment can help you stay busy and financially afloat while you get sorted. Check out our thoughts on Some of the Best Temporary and Part-Time Jobs for Veterans.
- Stuck on the couch and growing bored with all this unfortunately necessary quarantining? These 5 of the Best Military Movies on Amazon Prime can help pass the time in the best way.
- This Week in Military History: you may have already seen the fictionalized film version (that’s included in our above mentioned Amazon Prime list), but did you know there was a real Great Escape? Learn all about the daring aviators who tried busting out of a POW camp in 1944.