Veterans’ Weekly Report – June 28th, 2018
U.S. Preps for Return of More than 200 Troops’ Remains from North Korea
WASHINGTON — The American military command in South Korea is anticipating the return of the remains of an unknown number of U.S. or allied service members who have been missing since the Korean War by North Koreans, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
Officials say the timing of a ceremony is uncertain, but could be sometime soon. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the preparations before an official announcement spoke on condition of anonymity, according to The Associated Press.
The remains are believed to be some or all of the more than 200 that the North Koreans have had for some time. But the precise number and the identities — including whether they are U.S. or allied service members — won’t be known until they’re sent to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickamin Hawaii and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for testing.
President Donald Trump raised the likelihood of the repatriation of remains last week after his summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. At the time Trump said, “We’re getting the remains, and nobody thought that was possible.”
Source: Military.com | The Associated Press
Texas Military Bases Could Be Home to Migrant Families Very Soon
Military bases could soon become home to migrant families while they await immigration or criminal proceedings.
The executive order signed Wednesday by President Donald Trump to stop the separation of families crossing the border illegally orders Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to provide space in existing facilities or construct facilities if necessary. This is upon request of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen.
The idea of housing children on military installations in Texas has been discussed in recent weeks as the administration enforces its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mattis, when asked about the idea of housing immigrants on bases, said, “We’ll see what they come in with. We support DHS, and right now this is their lead and we’ll respond if requested.
“We have housed refugees. We have housed people thrown out of their homes by earthquakes and hurricanes. We do whatever is in the best interest of the country,” he said Wednesday to reporters outside the Pentagon.
‘Shooter’ Stars Visit Miramar For Premiere
Bob Lee Swagger is back for a third season of “Shooter” on the USA Network and cast members Ryan Phillippe, Omar Epps, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Shantel VanSanten joined showrunner John Hlavin for the trek down to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, CA on June 20th for a premiere event.
“Shooter” is an American television drama series based on the 2007 film of the same name and the novel Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. The show stars Ryan Phillippe in the lead role of Bob Lee Swagger, an expert marksman living in exile who is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president
The show airs Thursday nights at 10pm ET/PT and will be available to stream on the USA website and in the network’s apps.
Good Day to Be a Woman; Marine ground combat arms unit gets its first female commander
A historic and overdue change of command took place on June 22 aboard Camp Pendleton, California, as the first woman to command a Marine ground combat arms unit took charge.
Lt. Col. Michelle I. Macander took over as commanding officer of 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division from Lt. Col. Christopher M. Haar, during a ceremony held aboard Camp Pendleton.
Macander is now the first female Marine to command a ground combat arms unit.
Rumours of this change appeared June 21st, though the new commanding officer remained anonymous.
The Corps has slowly been making progress in gender integration across the combat arms as female Marines begin to fill out jobs and units that were previously closed to women, especially because the Corps IOC have been under intense scrutiny, according to MilitaryTimes.
Marine Corps Times reported in early March that there were about 10 female officers serving as 1302s or combat engineer officers, and there were about 16 1371s, or enlisted combat engineers.
Only one woman thus far has graduated from the arduous 13-week Infantry Officer Course aboard Quantico, Virginia, while another is on track to graduate.
House Finally Approves Benefits for Blue Water Navy Veterans
WASHINGTON — The House unanimously passed legislation Monday that would extend Department of Veterans Affairs benefits to approximately 90,000 sailors who served off the coast during the Vietnam War, some of whom have been fighting for years to prove their illnesses were caused by exposure to Agent Orange.
Susie Belanger and John Wells — both Florida residents and founders of Military- Veterans Advocacy — were in the House gallery when lawmakers cast their votes on Monday. The two have pushed Congress to work for Blue Water Navy veterans since the group’s formation eight years ago.
Belanger’s husband, Ernest Belanger, was a sailor who served off the coast of Vietnam. He successfully received approval for VA benefits by proving he stepped foot in the country, but the couple knew other veterans were still being denied coverage. Susie Belanger recruited Wells, an attorney and retired Navy officer, and started an emailing campaign. Now, her emails are known on Capitol Hill as “Susie-grams.”
“Little by little, they all listened,” Belanger said. “That’s how we got this as far as we have.”
Lawmakers repeatedly thanked advocates Monday who helped make the issue a priority in Congress. Valadao called Belanger out by name.
“Passage of this bill today would not be possible without Ms. Susie Belanger, who worked tirelessly to raise awareness on this issue,” Valadao stated.
It’s uncertain when the Senate might take up the issue. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, have urged the Senate to pass it.