News Briefs – July 14, 2017


Remains of Vietnam MIA set for Montana arrival

More than 48 years after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, a Montana man is coming home.
The Montana Standard reports Air Force Capt. Robert Edwin Holton of Butte, whose remains were excavated from the crash site earlier this year and recently verified, are in a sealed casket in Honolulu and will soon be on their way to Butte.
Bill Holton, Robert’s brother, confirmed Robert’s casket would be flown from Honolulu and arrive in Bozeman, Mont., July 21. It will be driven from there to Butte later that day.
Robert Holton, a fighter pilot, was Butte’s lone service member missing in action from Vietnam. People have worn MIA bracelets in his honor, some dating back to 1969 — the year his plane went down. AP

Chinese warships conduct live-fire drills in Mediterranean

In a demonstration of the Chinese navy’s expanding global reach, the country’s latest-generation warships conducted live-firing drills in the Mediterranean Sea this week while en route to joint exercises with the Russian navy, the defense ministry said July 12.
The destroyer Hefei, frigate Yuncheng and support ship Luomahu took part in the July 10 drills involving the ship’s deck guns and small arms, the ministry said in a notice on its website.
“Maintaining a strict schedule of targeted exercises accomplishes transit, training and improvement en route, raising the flotilla’s training levels and capabilities,” it quote flotilla commander Liu Hui as saying.
The ships will next take part in the “Joint Sea 2017” exercises in waters off the Russian cities of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, part of growing cooperation between the countries’ militaries.
China’s navy is the world’s second-largest behind the U.S. and is increasingly operating in the Mediterranean, aided by the construction of a naval logistics base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.
Two naval ships departed July 11 from the southern Chinese port of Zhanjiang with personnel to man the facility, China’s first overseas military base.
While China says the base is needed to support peacekeeping, anti-piracy and other missions in the region, Beijing’s rivalry with the U.S. is considered a key driving force behind the country’s military expansion.
“The U.S. Navy is also more combat ready because it has been actively participating in joint drills and regional wars for decades,” the official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial July 12.
“This means China has to work harder to become a major naval power that can better defend its territorial rights and sovereignty,” it said.
On July 11, China’s sole operating aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, departed Hong Kong after a visit aimed at inspiring patriotism among citizens of the former British colony that reverted to Chinese rule 20 years ago. Taiwan’s defense ministry said it was monitoring the progress of the carrier and its escorts as they traveled northward along the western portion of the Taiwan Strait. AP