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April 3, 2013

News Briefs April 3, 2013

At least 2,063 U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan since 2001

As of April 2, 2013, at least 2,063 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 1,713 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 119 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, 18,360 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

New Mexico to hire military veterans to fight wildfires

New Mexico plans to hire 40 military veterans to serve as firefighters during the upcoming wildfire season as part of a pilot program by Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration.

The governor said April 1 the veterans will be trained and form four crews to fight wildfires across the state.

New Mexico is bracing for a difficult fire season because of lingering drought conditions.

State Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said the military veterans will be in addition to about 250 seasonal firefighters the state typically hires. Starting pay is $17.40 an hour, and some firefighting training starts next week.

Ware said crews of military veterans could be assigned to help fight fires outside of New Mexico after the wildfire season ends in the state. AP

China says two pilots killed in Su-27 fighter crash

China’s Defense Ministry says two air force pilots were killed when their Russian-made Su-27 fighter crashed during a training mission.

The ministry said in a news release April 1 that the plane went down on a beach near the coastal city of Rongcheng in the northern province of Shandong. It did not offer any reason for the May 31 crash and said there were no reports of damage or injuries to people on the ground.

China began purchasing Su-27s in the early 1990s and many of the planes are near the end of their expected lifespans. China also manufactured a copy of the plane. The secretive People’s Liberation Army and its air force have overhauled their training in recent years to make exercises more realistic, and details about accidents are rarely released. AP




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Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

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Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

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