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January 7, 2013

News Briefs – January 7, 2013

U.S. troops arrive in Turkey for Patriot missiles

The U.S. military says troops are arriving in Turkey to man Patriot missiles.

Germany, the Netherlands and the United States are deploying two Patriot surface-to-air batteries each to boost NATO ally Turkey’s air defenses against any possible spillover from Syria’s civil war.

The U.S. European Command said Jan. 4 that U.S. personnel and equipment had started arriving at Turkey’s southern Incirlik Air Base. Some 400 personnel and equipment will be airlifted to Turkey over the coming days, while additional equipment would reach Turkey by sea later in January.

More than 1,000 troops from the three nations are to be based in Turkey to operate the batteries. NATO says the Americans will be based at Gaziantep, 31 miles north of Syria. AP

2010 Pentagon shooter deemed schizophrenic

The ex-Marine who fired shots at the Pentagon and Marine Corps museum in 2010 has been classified as schizophrenic by government doctors, but prosecutors still want to enforce a plea deal that requires a 25-year prison sentence.

Twenty-five-year-old Yonathan Melaku of Alexandria, Va., pleaded guilty last year to firing shots at several military-related targets. No one was injured. He was caught months later, only after he was discovered trying to desecrate graves in Arlington National Cemetery.

He struck a plea deal last year requiring a 25-year prison sentence. After making the plea bargain, his family hired new attorneys who questioned Melaku’s mental health.

In court filings Jan. 4, federal prosecutors in Alexandria said Melaku has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. They want him to serve his sentence in a prison hospital. AP

Construction complete in California on military airship

Construction is complete in Southern California on a massive blimp-like airship that the military hopes to use to carry cargo around the globe.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a first flight for the 36,000-pound aluminum and carbon fiber Aeroscraft could come in the next few months.

It was built by Montebello-based aircraft maker Worldwide Aeros, under a $35 million contract from the Pentagon and NASA. Construction took place inside a 17-story wooden blimp hangar at the former military base in Tustin.

The newspaper says the Aeroscraft is a new type of hybrid aircraft that combines airplane and airship technologies. The 230-foot airship has piston engines that allow it to move vertically and a new type of buoyancy control system.

The company says it will ultimately carry up to 66 tons. AP

70 years later, ‘temporary’ Navy Annex coming down

Washington’s Navy Annex is coming down, more than 70 years after it was built as a temporary warehouse.

Crews have begun tearing down the walls of the annex, which later served for more than 50 years as Marine Corps headquarters. Demolition is expected to be completed by September and the 42-acre site will then be turned over to neighboring Arlington National Cemetery to provide additional grave sites.

William Brazis, director of the Pentagon’s Washington Headquarters Service, told The Washington Post that the complex isn’t architecturally pleasing. Brazis says it was built to be a warehouse and it showed.

Seven four-story wings at the Annex once were home to 6,000 workers. An eighth wing was torn down in 2004 to make room for the Air Force Memorial. AP




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Coast Guard photograph

Navy demonstrates unmanned helicopter operations aboard Coast Guard cutter

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