U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,035
As of Dec. 11, 2012, at least 2,035 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.
At least 1,698 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.
Outside of Afghanistan, the department reports at least 118 more members of the U.S. military died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Of those, 11 were the result of hostile action.
The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is four more than the department’s tally.
The Defense Department also counts three military civilian deaths.
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 18,109 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP
Four hurt in Navy helicopter ‘hard landing’ in California
Officials say a Navy helicopter as made a “hard landing” at North Island Naval Air Station in Southern California, injuring four crew members on board.
Navy officials said in a release that the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter was taking part in routine training at the station in San Diego County when it made the hard landing at about 11 p.m., c. 12.
Officials say two of the crew members were taken to UC San Diego Medical Center and the other two were taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital. The extent of their injuries wasn’t released.
The news release says an “aircraft mishap investigation” is under way. AP
Iran shows homemade helicopters with military role
Iran’s state TV says the country has put its first homemade helicopters into service, displaying them at an air show.
The report says the 12-passenger Panha-1 and eight-passenger Panha-2 helicopters have military capabilities.
The unveiling came Dec. 11 during an aviation exhibition on the Gulf island of Kish.
Iran also displayed a new six-passenger airplane and landing gear for a jet fighter.
Iran began a military self-sufficiency program in 1992. It periodically announces accomplishments in the fields of industry and military production.
Ten countries, including Russia, China, Ukraine, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sudan, are participating in the exhibition that ends Dec. 14. AP
NATO sets up new headquarters for allied special forces
NATO has opened a new headquarters for its special forces in a move designed to cut defense spending and better coordinate the elite military units.
In a ceremony in Mons, Belgium, NATO’s supreme commander Adm. James Stavridis said Dec. 12 the new command center will ensure that national contingents continue to develop their capabilities by training together and developing joint doctrines.
The elite units are much cheaper and easier to deploy than conventional forces along with armor, artillery and logistical support. Although they are much fewer in number, commandos often have a disproportionally large effect on the enemy.
The new headquarters, which replaces a small building in Mons, aims to preserve the capabilities developed by NATO’s special forces in Afghanistan, where national contingents have been operating together throughout the war. AP
Congressman says Marine’s medal won’t be upgraded
A San Diego congressman says the secretary of defense has denied his request to upgrade a fallen Marine’s Navy Cross to the Medal of Honor.
Rep. Duncan Hunter’s office said Dec. 12 that the Pentagon told the lawmaker it supports the decision of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who honored Sgt. Rafael Peralta with the Navy Cross instead of the military’s highest honor.
Gates ruled in 2008 that Peralta was not conscious when his body smothered a grenade in Iraq in 2004, saving the lives of other Marines.
The case was reopened this year after Hunter obtained a video of the battle action and a new forensics report that the lawmaker says prove Peralta’s actions were intentional.
Hunter’s office says defense officials found the new evidence was not sufficient. AP
Vermont governor in Florida to hear F-35 noise
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has traveled to Florida to get a firsthand opinion about how loud the F-35 fighter jet is compared to an F-16 as the Air Force considers basing F-35s in Vermont.
The Burlington Free Press reports that Shumlin said he was “shocked at how quiet the F-35 is” as he stood near the runway at Eglin Air Force Base Dec. 12.
Some residents have worried about the noise from the planes.
Shumlin, who supports having the aircraft with the Vermont Air National Guard, flew to Florida with the mayors of Burlington and Winooski to hear the aircraft.
The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. AP