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January 29, 2014

News Briefs January 29, 2014

Navy: Jet crash pilot listed in good condition

The Navy says the condition of a fighter pilot whose jet crashed off the coast of Virginia is improving.

Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman Mike Maus said Jan. 28 that the pilot is listed in good condition. He was originally listed in critical condition by medical staff after being flown by Navy helicopters to a civilian hospital in Norfolk on Jan. 15. The pilot has since been transferred to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

The pilot was on a routine training mission in an F/A-18E Super Hornet when something went wrong and he ejected about 45 miles off Virginia Beach.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The name of the pilot has not been released. AP

Lawmakers revisit COLA cut for military retirees

Congress is revisiting its decision to cut annual cost-of living adjustments to pensions for most working-age military retirees in the wake of outrage from veterans groups and others.

The budget agreement approved this month reduced those adjustments by 1 percent.

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says it was wrong to single out military retirees in the effort to reduce the deficit. Not a single member of the committee voiced disagreement.

The COLA change is scheduled to take effect at the end of 2015.

Pentagon officials asked Congress not to make any more changes to military pensions until a commission completes an extensive review of compensation and retirement benefits. That report is due February 2015. AP

Environmental groups sue Navy, fisheries service

More environmental groups are challenging the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to allow the Navy to inadvertently harm whales and dolphins while conducting sonar and other training off Hawaii and Southern California.

Groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit against the fisheries service and the Navy in federal court in San Francisco Jan. 27.

The fisheries service last month issued the Navy a permit for the training.

Navy officials estimate its activities would have a negligible impact on marine mammal populations. But the NRDC argues sonar is responsible for population declines in marine mammal populations.

The lawsuit comes a several weeks after Earthjustice and other environmental groups filed a similar lawsuit in federal court in Honolulu. AP

Marine Corps to retry sergeant in Iraq war case

The Marine Corps has decided to retry a sergeant whose murder conviction from the Iraq war has been overturned twice by military courts.

Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Kloppel announced Jan. 27 that the military branch had determined that the seriousness of the crime warranted a retrial of the case of Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins.

Hutchins led an eight-man squad accused of kidnapping retired Iraqi policeman Hashim Ibrahim Awad from his home in April 2006, marching him to a ditch and shooting him to death in the village of Hamdania.

The military’s highest court overturned his murder conviction and ordered Hutchins released from the brig last year after ruling there were errors in his case.

Hutchins has had had his conviction overturned twice in the past three years. AP




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Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

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

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




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