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October 15, 2012

News briefs – October 15, 2012

Ohio’s GOP Senate hopeful urges review of U.S. bases

 

Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel says the U.S. should examine its overseas military installations and consider whether to close bases in Europe and elsewhere.

The Republican contender said Oct. 11 there should be a review of foreign bases, similar to the domestic efforts of the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, or BRAC.

Mandel says U.S. officials could trim operations or shut down some bases in other countries without compromising the nation’s security.

He didn’t cite specific locations, but Mandel said foreign bases should be evaluated on what they’re contributing to the U.S. mission. For instance, he suggested training at German bases could be relocated to the United States or elsewhere, such as Kuwait.

Mandel, a Marine veteran, is trying to unseat incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat. AP

 

Florida judge finds in favor of vet in hepatitis case

 

A Miami federal judge ruled in favor of a veteran who says shoddy hygiene practices at a Veterans Administration hospital caused his hepatitis infection.

Air Force veteran Robert Metzler and his wife in a lawsuit are seeking $30 million in damages. The Oct. 11 ruling says damages will be settled later.

Many similar cases have been filed around the country.

The plaintiffs’ attorney Ervin Gonzalez contends Metzler contracted hepatitis C after undergoing a colonoscopy with unclean equipment at the Miami VA hospital in 2007.

Metzler was one of thousands of veterans in five states to receive letters from the VA in 2009 urging them to get blood tests after being treated. The VA contended in court it did not cause Metzler’s infection and should not pay damages. AP

 

Iraq to buy Czech military planes for $1 billion

 

A Czech defense official says Iraq has agreed buy 28 Czech-made military airplanes in a deal worth $1 billion, part of Iraq’s attempt to build an air force.

Czech Defense Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek says Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra and his Iraqi counterpart, Abdul-Qadir al-Obeidi, agreed to the deal Oct. 12 in Prague.

The agreement, which must still be signed, Iraq will buy 24 new subsonic L-159 military planes, which are light combat and training planes. Iraq will also get another four planes the Czech military no longer needs.

Pejsek says the first plane should be delivered in seven months. AP

 

Air Force delays sending F-22s from New Mexico to Florida

 

The U.S. Air Force is delaying the planned transfer of F-22 fighters from a New Mexico base to one in Florida because of a defense spending freeze.

The stealth fighters now based at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo were expected to be transferred to Tyndall Air Force Base outside Panama City in the spring.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Holloman officials said Oct. 12 the transfer of two F-16 training squadrons from Luke Air Force Base in Arizona to Holloman is also on hold.

A stopgap federal defense spending bill now in effect bars aircraft retirements, realignments or transfers.

Holloman officials said the transfers are still planned but the Air Force will not be able to act until a final defense spending bill is passed. AP

 

Navy says submarine, Aegis cruiser collide

 

The Pentagon says it is investigating why a Navy submarine collided with an Aegis cruiser during routine operations at an undisclosed location.

The U.S. Fleet Forces Command said in a news release Oct. 13 evening that the submarine USS Montpelier and the USS San Jacinto collided at about 3:30 p.m. No one was injured, and the extent of any damages was not clear.

Lt. Commander Brian Badura of the Fleet Forces Command said late Oct. 13 that such collisions have taken place in the past but are unusual. He said that typically when an incident occurs, a team will swing into action to determine “exactly what happened.”

The news release says “overall damage to both ships is being evaluated,” and that the sub’s propulsion plant was “unaffected by the collision.” Both Norfolk, Va.,-based Navy ships are operating on their own power. AP

 

Japan navy showcases warships amid spat with China

 

Japan’s navy has marked its 60th anniversary with a major exercise intended to show off its maritime strength. The display comes amid a tense territorial dispute with China.

Led by state-of-the-art destroyers, hovercraft and submarines, about 40 warships and 30 aircraft took part Oct. 14 in Fleet Review 2012, which is the maritime equivalent of a military parade.

Japan’s navy was joined by warships from the United States, Singapore and Australia. Representatives from more than 20 countries, including China, also attended the event staged in waters south of Tokyo.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who watched aboard the destroyer JS Kurama, said Japan faces “severe” challenges to its security, though he did not specifically mention the dispute with Beijing over the islands in the East China Sea. AP

 




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