Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: 'Army' (266) Currently Viewing: 51 - 60 of 266

August 12, 2014 at 7:31am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Kurds turn tide, officially watching China, G-day Marines, Homeland returns ...

2nd of the 315th Battalion, 72nd Field Artillery Brigade, throw coffee pots during the 72nd FA Bde. Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year competition at Army Support Activity-Dix. Original photo by Ryan Morton

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.12.14 >>>

U.S. airstrikes helped, but Kurds from Syria turned tide against Islamic State.

Secretary of State John Kerry said today the United States doesn't plan to send additional troops to Iraq, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The United States has begun urgently shipping weapons to the Iraqi Kurdish forces battling an advance by extremist Islamic State militants.

The United States hopes the newly-designated Prime Minister of Iraq can form a cabinet quickly and build a united front against ISIS rebels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday.

A Pentagon official said ISIS would be able to "sustain its attacks" on Iraqi forces.

Obama will be on shaky legal ground if he continues to attack ISIS, experts say.

U.S. Army parachute riggers at two bases in the Central Command area of operations are assembling pallets of food and water for humanitarian air drops in the vicinity of Sinjar, Iraq.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is confronting conflicting pressures at home and abroad over his government's prosecution of Operation Protective Edge, now in its 35th day.

A Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid set off for eastern Ukraine, setting the stage for a confrontation with Kiev, which said it would not allow the vehicles to cross onto its territory. 

A tense standoff between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists will be over within a week - and will decide whether "all-out war" begins in Eastern Europe, says a U.S. senator.

More research is needed on the health of the children and grandchildren of troops exposed to environmental pollution and chemicals while they served in the military, several U.S. senators say.

Congress added language to the 2015 defense budget requiring the Pentagon to assess and confront Chinese military expansion.

Despite delays, new U.S. Navy sub headed for on-time delivery.

The United States and Australia are expected to sign an agreement today that will pave the way for 2,500 U.S Marines to rotate through the continent.

Army Vice Chief: Never forget where we put our soldiers.

A 32-year-old active Navy SEAL is hoping to earn a spot on Northwestern University's football team.

Robin Williams, an improvisational genius, forever present in the moment.

After roles in blockbusters such as Iron Man, Fahim Fazil decided to work as a translator for the U.S. Marines in Helmand Province.

These flying machines created by Daniel Agdag make us think of those designed by Leonardo Da Vinci in the 15th century.

Every single Alfred Hitchcock cameo in one video.

So it seems we can now pay a restaurant bill with our phones ...

The Daily Show launched a behind-the-scenes podcast.

Homeland will return Oct. 5 with a two-hour premiere.

Finally: 25 lessons learned from Pee-wee's Big Adventure.

Time to exercise your face ...

LINK: Original photo by Ryan Morton

August 11, 2014 at 7:35am

Monday Morning Joe: US arms Kurds, Israeli and Palestinian talks, new Army PT uniform, Spin profiles Olympia band ...

343rd Training Squadron Basic Officer Course trainees throw coffee pots under the instruction of Tech. Sgt. Jeffren Reyes, 343 TRS Basic Officer Course instructor, on Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis. Original photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.11.14 >>>

The U.S. government began directly arming Kurdish forces in Iraq who are battling the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, according to The Associated Press.  

The Pentagon is releasing images from a U.S. military airdrop of food and water on Saturday in northern Iraq, where thousands of Iraqi citizens are threatened by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Iraq's president appointed a new prime minister today, further complicating the country's intense power struggle amid a dire humanitarian crisis and a militant threat strong enough to draw U.S. air power back to the fray.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was battling to keep his job, as some parliamentary allies sought a replacement and the United States warned him not to obstruct efforts to form a new government. 

Navy officials said the move to position key platforms in strategically vital areas is designed for precisely this reason.

Islamic militants' growing influence in Iraq and Syria is a threat to Americans, lawmakers from both political parties agreed Sunday even as they sharply split on what role the United States should play in trying to crush them.

United States warplanes and drones pummeled Islamic State militants near Arbil in a fresh wave of airstrikes Sunday, destroying armed trucks and a mortar position, the US military confirmed.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed indirect talks mediated by Egypt today on ending a month-old Gaza war, Egypt's state news agency said, after a new 72-hour truce appeared to be holding.

The United States will monitor the South China Sea to see whether "de-escalatory steps" are being taken, a U.S. State Department official said today, a day after China repelled U.S. pressure to rein in actions in the disputed waters.

The Air Force Technical Applications Center has a welcome addition to its treaty monitoring capabilities - the Cobra King radar system aboard the USNS Howard O. Lorenzen.

A new Army Physical Fitness Uniform will become available service-wide, beginning in October next year.

The yo-yo world champ's skills are mesmerizing.

Morrissey has reportedly been dropped from his record label.

Will Elisabeth Moss co-star on True Detective?

Spin profiles up-and-coming Olympia band Naomi Punk.

Here's a list of 50 must-read books by female writers.

Hear Arcade Fire cover the Beverly Hills Cop theme.

This is good news ...

LINK: Original photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey

August 8, 2014 at 10:55am

JBLM cuts on the horizon: South Sound leaders mobilize to soften blow

Congressman Denny Heck, D-Olympia, spoke about how pending cuts to the number of soldiers and civilians at JBLM will affect the South Sound economy. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The worst-case scenario is that Joint Base Lewis-McChord - the nation's premier West Coast power projection platform - may lose up to 16,000 soldiers and civilian workers as the Army works its way through a reduction in force process.

"We are living and operating under a real threat," said Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, during a forum held yesterday afternoon at Lakewood City Hall.

"It is very, very real," he emphasized to the audience of about 75 community, state and business leaders.

This past June, the Army released its Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment, or SPEA.  The document indicated that JBLM is being considered for a potential reduction of 16,000 soldiers and civilian workers between 2015 and 2020.

The assessment found that the reduction in personnel would result in a "significant impact to socioeconomic resources."

But the Army's assessment of what a "significant impact" is and what area leaders and businesspersons perceive as a "significant impact" vary greatly.

For example, the SPEA stated that Washington state would lose $3.5 million in retail taxes in fiscal year 2016.  On the other hand, the Washington State Office of Financial Management analyzed the same data and determined that the state would lose $20.47 million in retail taxes.

The reason for the large difference in numbers is that the state used a model that factored in data specific to Washington state rather than the broad-brush approach the Army took, pointed out Kristine Reeves, director of military and defense sector for the State Department of Commerce.

"The Army basically used a ‘cookie-cutter' approach," quipped Heck. "It's brain dead."

In eliminating a significant portion of JBLM's workforce - which is the state's second-largest employer - a significant portion of the South Sound's economy will be adversely impacted.

"Based on some initial calculations, the reduction could result in almost $1.3 billion annually in income losses to our region," wrote Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield in a recent article.

"Local government would lose billions of dollars in revenue from sales, property and other taxes."

The SPEA is silent on how Madigan Army Medical Center will be affected; the report does not address how businesses that have invested in the South Sound to help support JBLM during the last decade would lose money; and the findings do not acknowledge how service industry workers on JBLM would find new employment.

"The Army found that a reduction of up to 16,000 personnel from JBLM would have no significant impact on the surrounding community," Heck said.

"Let me be clear: They are wrong, and we disagree, and it's our job to make sure they understand. Our future is in our hands."

Public input matters.

Last year, when the first assessment on potential base reductions was released, the South Sound region submitted only one public comment. The result was that JBLM lost 4,200 soldiers.

On the other hand, the Fort Polk, Louisiana community mobilized and submitted more than 4,000 public comments and lost only 250 personnel.

Connect the dots - public input matters.

"The best way to make an impact is to write letters about how the base is tied to the local community," said Mary Huff, program coordinator of the South Sound Military and Communities Partnership.

"I don't think it's hard once you think ‘What do I need from JBLM?  How does my community benefit from JBLM?'"

Huff also stressed that letters that specifically show how the drawdown will affect businesses and jobs are vital.

"You must make your voice heard," Huff stressed.

Considering public comment is more than just a formality that the Army must follow.  The Army is required to address all submitted public comments, as long as they fall within the scope of the SPEA.

"We are on solid ground," Heck concluded.  "We're right; they're wrong."

To submit a comment via letter or email, visit the South Sound Communities and Military Partnership website and click the links under "Public Involvement." 

Written comments should be sent to: U.S. Army Environmental Command, ATTN: SPEA Public Comments, 2450 Connell Road, Building 2264, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664, or emailed to usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil.

The comment period closes Aug. 25.

August 7, 2014 at 7:36am

Thursday Morning Joe: ISIS captures, Khmer Rouge in prison, Al Qaeda's how-to manual, new Terminator movie ...

1st Platoon Delta Company with The Basic School throw coffee pots during the Squad Weapons Munitions Field Firing Exercise. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.7.14 >>>

The deadly insider attack that killed an Army major general and wounded more than a dozen other troops has led to questions about the way ahead in Afghanistan and the strength of the partnership between coalition and Afghan troops.

Sunni militants from the Islamic State group today seized Iraq's largest dam, placing them in control of enormous power and water resources and access to the river that runs through the heart of Baghdad.

Militants from the so-called Islamic State have taken over the largest Christian town in Iraq, Qaraqosh, and sent tens of thousands fleeing as a result.

Russia's "provocative actions" in neighboring Ukraine are prompting NATO to re-examine its relevance.

Decades after terrorizing Cambodia in the 1970s, the two most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge were found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison today.

U.S. lawmakers continue reacting skeptically to the Obama administration's quiet U.S. military and intelligence pivot to Africa, this time holding up millions to counter violent extremists there.

Veterans are expected to have an easier time getting government-paid health care from local doctors under a bill that President Obama is set to sign into law today. The $16.3 billion measure also allows the Veterans Affairs Department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide.

Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson: Wait times can be fixed in two years.

A primer on why the U.S. military puts Israel and the Palestinian territories in European Command.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl this morning again faced more questioning, which so far has not been confrontational. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl began interviewing Bergdahl at Fort Sam Houston in Texas yesterday. That session lasted from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dahl has been tasked with looking into the nature of Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from his Army base in Afghanistan. 

Captured letters reveal Al Qaeda's how-to manual.

The White House proposed a plan two months ago for the Pentagon to train and equip vetted Syrian rebel forces in that nation's civil war. But, since then, there's been lots of talk and not much action

The U.S. Army is seeking "one-way" tracers that can only be seen from the vantage point of a shooter.

The Navy's latest 30-year shipbuilding plan calling for a fleet size of more than 300 ships and submarines is at risk because of budget cuts.

The Navy and NASA wrapped up the second round of practice recoveries of the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to bring humans to the moon, asteroids and, eventually, to Mars.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently rolled out the first comprehensive two-year integrated priorities list to strategically order funding of sustainment, restoration, modernization, environmental and demolition projects across the Air Force portfolio.

Marine vet paddles away two tours in Afghanistan on the Mississippi River.

The Army National Guard is ending its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Indy Racing League driver Graham Rahal.

This animation video explains everything you need to know about Earth.

What?: Rick Springfield and Meryl Streep? There's a pairing we never expected to see.

There's no need to freak out about an Annie Hall sequel.

Time has a fascinating graphic that illustrates Hollywood's movie calendar.

This cool feature compares cartoon characters in the first and last episodes of their series.

Really? A fifth Terminator movie?

Yes please: R2-D2 kitchen timer.

Finally: All the sounds in the Matrix replaced with 8-bit sounds.

How to stop a baby from crying

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos

August 6, 2014 at 7:33am

Wednesday Morning Joe: US generals killed in combat, US troops in Ukraine, bad guy database doubled, Western girls to Jihad, top movie fight scenes ...

Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group throw a training coffee pot at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.6.14 >>>

U.S. officials prepared to fly the body of a two-star general slain in an Afghan "insider attack" back home, as a similar attack saw an Afghan police officer drug and shoot dead seven of his colleagues, authorities said.

Who assassinated Maj. Gen. Harold Greene?

History of U.S. generals killed in combat.

The Obama administration needs to boost its military support to Iraq's Kurdish minority, which has suffered a string of setbacks in the last several days battling a Sunni militant group, according to key members of Congress.

Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border and could use the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission to invade.

The U.S. sent a small team of troops to Ukraine to aid in recovery operations for the victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

A Senate committee is holding up a plan to shift $100 million to an Air Force space-launch program, telling the service to devise a plan for a new liquid rocket engine.

A government database of known or suspected terrorists doubled in size in recent years, The Associated Press has learned. The growth is the result of intelligence agencies submitting names more often after a near-miss attack in 2009.

Paul Wolfowitz, a former senior George W. Bush official and one of the chief Iraq War architects, said the U.S. "won" the war in Iraq.

The ISIS online campaign luring Western girls to Jihad.

Leading experts in military combat-vehicle research, engineering and design gathered to discuss a single goal: reducing the weight of the Army's tanks and infantry fighting vehicles by 40 percent in the coming decades.

It's a banner year for the Air Force with the Department of Energy recently announcing that service won a lion's share of 2014 Federal Energy Management Program awards.

Court: Leaders not liable for subordinates' bad decisions.

Three current Blue Angels pilots are among the commissioned officers who circulated pornographic messages and photographs among themselves and to other members of the elite flight team, according to copies of phone texts that were part of a recent Navy investigation.

Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, are once again warning internet users worldwide about cyber criminals involved in an online crime that CID has dubbed "the Romance Scam."

Abandoned Soviet forced labor camp oddly turns into one of the most enjoyable beaches ever.

Are these the best movie fight scenes ever? You will watch all 11:20 minutes of this.

Ooh, it's an oral history of The Wonder Years.

Glamour has a video feature about The Daily Show's Jessica Williams and Samantha Bee.

What?: "chillax" and "vlog" have been added to the Scrabble dictionary.

Finally: Peter Dinklage, a mullet and a bazooka.

Did Louie C.K. shrink?

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Sullivan Laramie

August 5, 2014 at 7:34am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Afghan insider attack, Russian buildup, Air Force vs FedEx, top grunge songs ...

Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division participate in a live-fire coffee pot familiarization training at McGregor range near Fort Bliss, Texas. Original photo by Sgt. Vincent Byrd, 2nd BCT, 1st AD, Public Affair

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.5.14 >>>

A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire today on foreign troops at a military base, killing at least one U.S. soldier and wounding 15, including a German brigadier general and "about a dozen" Americans, authorities said.

UPDATE: U.S. officials say U.S. general was killed in the Afghan insider attack.

A group of retired military generals and flag officers is calling on the White House to support an "expansive declassification" of a Senate report on CIA interrogations expected to be released as early as this week. 

Declaring its anti-tunnel mission accomplished, Israel agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire, yet continues to maintain thousands of forces around the border with Gaza for rapid response in case rocket attacks resume.

Hamas is able to fire missiles into Israel because Tehran provided weapons technology to the militant group to defend itself against Israeli attacks, a senior Iranian official said.

A bipartisan group of seven lawmakers is in Israel to assess the conflict with Hamas, now entering its fourth week.

Russia has roughly doubled the number of its battalions near the Ukrainian border, and could respond to the Kiev government's gains there by launching a cross-border incursion with little or no warning.

Russia's defense ministry announced 100 fighter jets, helicopters and bombers will conduct military exercises near the Ukrainian border this week.

Ukrainian government forces kept up a military offensive to claw back lost territory from pro-Russian separatists today while casting a nervous eye at Russian military exercises over the border.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called upon his country's armed forces to help Kurdish forces battle a Sunni militant offensive in northern Iraq that has caused tens of thousands of people from the minority Yazidi community to flee their homes.

The latest string of victories by Islamic militants in Iraq raises an enormous and obvious question: What's the U.S. doing to help the Kurds?

What the Air Force can learn from FedEx.

The Air Force is extending the service life of its fleet of C-130 combat delivery aircraft by replacing center wing boxes on some of the planes and adding new electronics.

U.S. government, military had role in experimental Ebola drug.

Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and U.S. Transportation Command are standing up a team of transportation experts this week to quickly address the most significant challenges and concerns military customers are facing when shipping their privately owned vehicles.

High speed footage of a missile disintegrating a tank.

U.S. Navy sailors inside an amphibious assault ship - or a lost Aliens scene.

Behold some of the best Steadicam shots of all time.

Sharknado 2 is coming to theaters.

List: Top 50 grunge songs.

Finally: this video tries to catalog Easter eggs in every Marvel movie.

Roof Strong ...

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. Vincent Byrd, 2nd BCT, 1st AD, Public Affairs

August 4, 2014 at 7:48am

Monday Morning Joe: World without just wars, China's satellite killers, Army drawdown, female Ghostbusters ...

The 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) throw coffee pots during live training at a Drawsko-Pomorskie training area. Original photo by Spc. Lisa Vines, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.4.14 >>>

Two wars - one in Gaza the other in eastern Ukraine - are unfolding simultaneously. They have nothing in common except this: both should be being seen as unambiguous in terms of which side is right and which wrong.

Five government soldiers were killed and 15 wounded over the last 24 hours in fighting in eastern Ukraine where Kiev forces recaptured an important railway hub from pro-Russian rebels.

A United States reconnaissance plane recently crossed into Swedish airspace to avoid being intercepted by Russian fighter jets.

U.S. defense experts and the U.S. State Department are describing China's successful so-called "anti-missile test" as another anti-satellite test raising fears the U.S. will be unable to protect its spy, navigation and communications satellites.

Amid mounting casualties and mutual recriminations over the sixth failed ceasefire in their ongoing war, Israel and Hamas continued late last week to battle on parallel fronts: under the sands of Gaza and in the court of public opinion.

Israeli intelligence agents eavesdropped on Secretary of State John Kerry during the peak of peace negotiations he led between Israel and the Palestinians last year.

Palestinians and Israel accused each other of breaking a seven-hour ceasefire intended to allow humanitarian aid into the battered Gaza Strip soon after it came into force.

Russian sanctions: India defiant, Finland nervous.

Iran's elite Guards fighting in Iraq to push back Islamic State.

Special report: The doubt at the heart of Iraq's Sunni "revolution."

Army preparing for steep drawdown, losing patience with Congress.

Joint trauma system vital link to saving lives.

When the military's top cyberwarriors gathered last year inside a secretive compound at Fort Meade, Maryland, for a classified war game exercise, a team of active-duty troops faced off against several teams of reservists. And the active-duty team apparently took a beating.

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell stresses relationships, upcoming ISAF Tour.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III: The Army Ethic is the "doorway" into our profession.

Air Force Academy athletes, including football players, participated in wild off-campus parties featuring booze, marijuana, and date-rape drugs, according to an investigative report.

Former Army officer Capt. Kevin Ryan who has launched microbrewery Georgia-based Service Brewing Co. knows everyone will raise a glass to help support a veteran-owned business that gives a portion of its proceeds to charities backing military members, policemen and firefighters.

The New York Times has a piece about folks who dress up as characters in Times Square.

Jack White's Lazaretto is the best-selling vinyl release in 20 years.

Dave Grohl's HBO show premieres in October.

Paul Feig's female-centric Ghostbusters reboot.

William Shatner and NASA had an amusing Twitter exchange.

His generation's Dick Van Dyke.

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Lisa Vines, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment

August 2, 2014 at 7:24am

Saturday Morning Joe: Gaza ambush fallout, DoD vs Ebola, major pink slip, hitchhiking robot ...

Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, assume a good throwing position during live-fire coffee pot familiarization training at McGregor range near Fort Bliss, Texas. Original photo by Sgt. Vincent Byrd, 2nd BCT

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.2.14 >>>

Israel bombarded the southern Gaza town of Rafah today as troops searched for an officer they believe was captured by Hamas in an ambush that shattered a humanitarian cease-fire and set the stage for a major escalation of the 26-day-old war.

Hamas acknowledged responsibility for a deadly Gaza Strip ambush in which an Israeli army officer may have been captured, but said the incident likely preceded and therefore had not violated a U.S.- and U.N.-sponsored truce.

Defense Department personnel are on the ground in West Africa and in U.S. laboratories fighting to control the worst outbreak in the African history of the Ebola virus, which a senior Army infectious disease doctor called a "scourge of mankind."

The Army will send notices to 500 majors next week that they must leave the service, the outgoing Army vice chief of staff said.

The House late Friday sent a measure to the president that would provide Israel with funding for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

President Obama said in blunt terms the United States "tortured some folks" - describing a forthcoming report on now-defunct U.S. interrogation techniques he called "contrary to our values."

The Pentagon announced the U.S. wants to send troops to train Ukrainian forces next year as the country faces continued aggression from pro-Russia separatists. 

North Korea has asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to protest upcoming U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

Former President Bill Clinton told an audience in Australia just hours before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that he passed on the chance to kill Osama bin Laden with a military strike, according to an audio tape just released.

U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell will preside over the precipitous drawdown of U.S. forces and material from Afghanistan, falling from about 22,000 US troops to 9,800 by December.

Units of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions deploying to Afghanistan in the fall will stay on into 2015.

The initial down-select for the technology demonstrator phase of the U.S. Army's ambitious Joint Multi-Role helicopter program has missed its original July deadline, and Army officials are now saying they'll inform industry teams about who is moving forward sometime this month.

A new Defense Health Agency policy allows Tricare patients to get therapy from certain mental health specialists who otherwise would have been dropped from the military's list of approved providers this year.

Army officials released a statement on its long-waited camouflage decision, and it left a lot of questions unanswered.

Witness the power of water, carrying boulders of all sizes in this impressive video filmed at the Illgraben-Bhutan Bridge, in Switzerland.

The week in music: J Mascis, Tori Amos, Vaselines and others ...

Tiny - a little movie about a couple that builds a tiny house in Colorado.

Did you know there's a robot hitchhiking across Canada?

Following a six-day-old kitten through 12 weeks of growing up. Seriously.

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. Vincent Byrd, 2nd BCT, 1st AD, Public Affairs

August 1, 2014 at 7:28am

Friday Morning Joe: Senate approves VA bill, CIA spied on Senate, Air Force promotion changes, New York City latte ...

Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment throw a simulated coffee pot during Exercise Spartan Fury at Pohakuloa Training Area on the Island of Hawaii. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke

GRAB THE COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 8.1.14 >>>

The Senate overwhelmingly gave final approval to a $16.3 billion Veterans Affairs reform bill last night, sending the measure to the White House and giving Congress a legislative victory before the start of its summer break.

A wake up call to Washington on defense: Panel concludes U.S. military superiority not a given.

CIA did spy on Senate staffers: CIA Director John Brennan stood firm for months in his insistence that the CIA had little to be ashamed of after searching the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His defiant posture quickly collapsed after a devastating report by his own inspector general sided against agency on each key point of the dispute with the Senate.

Pressure is building on CIA Director John Brennan to resign following the agency's admission Thursday that it spied on the computers of Senate staffers.

A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled today as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying one of its soldiers has been abducted.

The European Union's embargo on the import and export of arms and related material with Russia, which covers all items on the EU's common military list, will come into force today.

A German army general has for the first time been appointed chief of staff to work with the commander of U.S. ground forces in Europe, both countries' militaries.

Downsizing the war: Layoffs and yard sales in Afghanistan.

Spy satellites: House Intelligence Committee unanimously approved a new report suggesting ways the government could save billions of dollars in its purchases of intelligence satellites.  

Congress presses DoD for allotment system reform.

The U.S. Congress will leave town for five weeks without providing hundreds of millions of dollars requested by Israel to replenish its Iron Dome interceptor missiles.

The Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, biennial maritime security exercise is a multinational training opportunity taking place in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

Air Force officials announced a series of sweeping changes to the Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted Airman Promotion System July 31.

The navigator on the famous B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, died July 28 in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Terry and Jan Blumberg used benefits and insurance money from their son Army Sgt. Trevor Blumberg's 2003 death in Iraq to help build the two-story home. Now in its third year, Blum's Landing serves as a retreat for veterans.

The new .45s are made by Colt, the first 1911 models they've provided to the U.S. since the end of World War II.

Skydivers land on lake and skid all the way to shore.

Lollapalooza live stream starts this afternoon.

IFC has posted a full episode of its new show Garfunkel and Oates before it premieres.

Katy Perry's new video employs Pee-wee Herman lookalikes.

Watch the trailer for the new SpongeBob SquarePants live-action movie.

List: "hidden celebrity cameos" in movies.

Finally: What New York City would look like submerged in a gigantic latte.

One day drones will cast the skies and we'll need this guy to fix it.

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke

July 31, 2014 at 8:24am

Thursday Morning Joe: AF 2015 budget request, EU sanctions, Russian troops rising, best albums of the century ...

173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) throw coffee pots at a Drawsko-Pomorskie training area. Original photo by Spc. Lisa Vines, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment

GRAB A COFFEE POT AND READ THE MORNING REPORT FOR 7.31.14 >>>

The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill to help veterans avoid long waits for health care that have plagued the Veterans Affairs Department for years.

The European Union formally adopted sanctions today curbing arms sales to Russia and cutting off financing for targeted banks over Moscow's support for rebels in Ukraine.

Report: Colin Powell, others kept in dark about CIA techniques after 9/11.

To balance readiness today and modernization tomorrow, the Air Force's fiscal 2015 budget request is shrinking like today's defense budget thanks to Congress's own priorities and the approaching threat of sequestration in 2016.

The Secretary of the Air Force stood by her department's proposal to retire the A-10 fleet, arguing the United States has plenty of replacements available should the nation land in an armed conflict.

NATO: Number of Russian troops on Ukraine border rising.

Democratic senators joined their Republican colleagues in calling for some U.S. military aid to Ukraine after receiving a closed-door briefing from senior Obama administration officials.

Ukraine said it had suspended offensive operations in its military campaign in east Ukraine to help international experts reach the downed Malaysian airliner's crash site but separatists were continuing to attack its positions.

Iron Dome: The White House said it "strongly opposes" a Republican-crafted emergency spending bill, in part because it contains no funds for an Israeli missile defense system.

The United Nations in Gaza is struggling to withstand a flood of almost a quarter of a million refugees into shelters that have repeatedly come under Israeli fire. 

Two advocacy groups are suing the Veterans Affairs Department for what they say are the department's discriminatory practices regarding compensation claims related to service-connected sexual assault.

Despite ongoing restrictions on the fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the U.S. Air Force's top general warned against being "alarmist" when discussing the fifth-generation jet's engine.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released in a prisoner swap with the Taliban two months ago, will meet next week with Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl who is investigating the circumstances of his capture in Afghanistan.

Air Force: Stowaway triggers security review.

LCS alternative: For those of you with July 31 marked on your calendars as a red-letter day in the U.S. Navy's Small Surface Combatant program - hold that thought.

Servicemembers can soon expect faster forwarding times on mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service to APO addresses after moving.

11 of the most beautiful drone videos shot by you.

Sometimes you want a room with a view. Sometimes you want a bunker that's walled-off to the world. Why not have both?

Here's a funny compilation of terrible special effects in big-budget movies.

GQ ranks the best albums of this century.

This list from i09 rounds up the greatest sci-fi comedies.

Don't expect a Led Zeppelin reunion anytime soon.

Must watch: Cocoa farmers trying chocolate for the first time.

Oh, great. Who's going to clean up this mess?

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Lisa Vines, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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