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June 5, 2013

News Briefs June 5, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,097

As of June 4, 2013, at least 2,097 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 1,738 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 124 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, 18,610 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department. AP

House aims to ease hurdles on vets’ abuse claims

The House has passed legislation aimed at helping more veterans obtain financial compensation for injuries or illness linked to sexual abuse while in the military.

About 4,000 veterans last year sought compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder and other illness connected to military sexual trauma.

The Department of Veterans Affairs says about half of such claims were approved, but lawmakers say the rate should be higher.

The House bill recommends that the VA update its guidelines for approving disability claims related to sex abuse. Until it does, the VA must meet extensive reporting requirements, including a monthly report to all veterans who submit a disability claim connected to military sexual abuse.

Lawmakers say the current requirements have proven too onerous given that most sexual assault and harassment cases go unreported. AP

Two British soldiers convicted of abusing Afghans

A British soldier has been fined and an officer demoted after admitting abusing civilians in Afghanistan.

A 22-year-old serviceman who has since left the army admitted two charges of breaching service discipline during a 2011-12 tour. In one incident he pulled the hand of an Afghan child toward his crotch while saying ìtouch my special place.î In another he verbally abused an Afghan boy.

A judge accepted there was no sexual motive, and the soldier was cleared of more serious charges.

A 23-year-old officer, photographed next to an Afghan man carrying a racist sign, admitted a racially aggravated offense and had his rank reduced.

Neither soldier was identified for security reasons.

Britain’s Press Association news agency reported that the pair pleaded guilty June 4 at a court- martial in Sennelager, Germany. AP

Five Southern California Marines face dismissal for fraternizing

Five Marines are facing dismissal for fraternizing with an enlisted woman at San Diego’s Camp Pendleton.

The Los Angeles Times says Marine officials announced June 3 that five male staff sergeants fraternized with a lance corporal in the 1st Marine Logistics Group over a period of several months.

Fraternization – meaning improper relations between different ranks – is banned under military law because it can affect discipline.

One man received a bad conduct discharge. Three others were recommended for administrative separation but they can fight that at hearings.

Four of the men are married but three were found not guilty of adultery at their courts-martial.

The fourth pleaded guilty to fraternization and adultery but waived his right to an administrative hearing.

The woman is not facing charges. AP




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