Marine Vet Ranted On Facebook Before Ambush Killing Of 2 Florida Police Officers

Kissimmee Police officer spent his Saturday afternoon scrubbing the blood of his fallen colleagues off the pavement of Palmway Street.

“I just don’t want to see this every time I drive by,” Sgt. Matt Koski said as he splashed soapy water onto the road.

The night before, Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard and Officer Matthew Baxter were fatally shot during a routine stop near Cypress Street. Marine veteran Everett Glenn Miller, 45, opened fire on the officers about 9:30 p.m. They didn’t have a chance to fire back.

“It looked like they were surprised,” said Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell.

Baxter reportedly stopped Miller minutes earlier in a group of three people he deemed “suspicious,” O’Dell said. Howard was in the area and decided to come help as back up.

Investigators are still working to determine exactly what happened in the moments before the shooting, but the chief said a “scuffle” may have broken out.

Baxter died Friday night shortly after the shooting. Howard died Saturday afternoon.

Miller fled to Roscoe’s Bar at 2344 N. Orange Blossom Trail, where Osceola County Sheriff’s Office detectives found him about 11:30 p.m. When the officers approached him, Miller reached for his waistband — but a fast-acting deputy tackled him and arrested him, O’Dell said.

“Extremely brave and heroic actions by the deputy — there were other people in the vicinity,” he said. “They went hands-on, tackled him to the ground and secured him [and] located a 9mm and .22 revolver on his person.”

When officers took Miller to the Osceola County Jail on Saturday, they placed Baxter’s handcuffs on his wrists, O’Dell said. He faces charges of first-degree murder, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon.

Photo via Kissimmee Police Department

Everett Glenn Miller

The Sheriff’s Office recently took Miller into custody under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows involuntary commitment of people in mental health crises. Miller, who has no criminal record in Florida, was enlisted in the Marines from 1989 to 2010, according to military records.

O’Dell said the community needs to work with law enforcement. Social media posts showed Miller threatening law enforcement, he said, “but we never got a call on that.’’

A Facebook page believed to be Miller’s is filled with posts expressing anger over racism, slavery and the KKK. In one post, he shared a meme encouraging people to “shoot back” with a photo of Martin Luther King Jr.

“You can poke a tie [sic] up dog for so long,” he wrote.

The officers — who were wearing body armor underneath their uniforms — were on proactive patrol in an area historically plagued by crime. In 2008, law enforcement led a crackdown on drugs and violence that “ravaged the McLaren Circle area,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Officers arrested 19 people during that operation, and witnesses in subsequent court cases testified crime was so rampant that mobile businesses such as FedEx, UPS, pizza delivery and taxis “refused to enter the area to provide services to residents.” Even the U.S. Postal Service stopped deliveries in the neighborhood for a time.

Residents flocked to Kissimmee Police headquarters Saturday, bringing food and shaking the hands of officers to express their condolences. At 5:35 p.m., they had a moment of silence near a memorial for fallen officers outside.

O’Dell said the news is especially difficult for members of his agency, as they must press forward while suffering the loss of two coworkers and friends.

“We do not get to stop and cry for someone we’ve lost or mourn our hero,” he said. “At the time we go through it, the men and women of law enforcement are required to continue working and bring this individual to justice.”

Baxter, 27, was married to a fellow Kissimmee Police officer and had four small children, O’Dell said. Howard, 36, had one child.

“They are both wonderful men, family men. They are both very committed to the community,” the chief said. “They were the epitome of what you ask for in law enforcement officers.”

O’Dell praised other police agencies, including the Osceola and Orange sheriff’s offices and the Orlando Police Department, for their help.

“Everyone came to the scene without being asked,” he said.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence said on social media that their “thoughts and prayers” were with the Kissimmee Police.

A prayer vigil will be held at the Hope Mission Church, 1431 Palmway St., at 3 p.m. Sunday. The church sits at the intersection where Howard and Baxter were shot.

The City of Kissimmee has set up an account with SunTrust Bank for individuals who wish to make donations to help Howard’s and Baxter’s families. Donors can go to any SunTrust Bank location beginning Monday to contribute, a city spokeswoman said.

The Kissimmee Police Department has more than 100 officers. O’Dell took over the department in August 2016. Before Friday, the last Kissimmee officer killed on the job was shot in 1983.

It has been a dangerous year for law enforcement in Central Florida. Lt. Debra Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department, was killed in a gunfight in a Wal-Mart parking lot while trying to arrest Markeith Loyd, a suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon. Loyd was later captured after a nine-day manhunt.

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Norman Lewis, a motorcycle officer, also was killed that day during the pursuit for Loyd.

Dixon and Loyd joked about killing an officer in a video posted on social media that was taken during a traffic stop the month before her death.

Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order Saturday that transferred Miller’s case from Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s office, who has refused to seek the death penalty, to State Attorney Brad King of Ocala. This is the 27th case he has transferred.

“I am using my executive authority to reassign this case to State Attorney Brad King to ensure the victims of last night’s attack and their families receive the justice they deserve,” he said in a statement.


©2017 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The post Marine Vet Ranted On Facebook Before Ambush Killing Of 2 Florida Police Officers appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Read more

From Shell-Shock To PTSD: A Century Of Invisible War Trauma

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

In the wake of World War I, some veterans returned wounded, but not with obvious physical injuries. Instead, their symptoms were similar to those that had previously been associated with hysterical women – most commonly amnesia, or some kind of paralysis or inability to communicate with no clear physical cause.

English physician Charles Myers, who wrote the first paper on “shell-shock” in 1915, theorized that these symptoms actually did stem from a physical injury. He posited that repetitive exposure to concussive blasts caused brain trauma that resulted in this strange grouping of symptoms. But once put to the test, his hypothesis didn’t hold up. There were plenty of veterans who had not been exposed to the concussive blasts of trench warfare, for example, who were still experiencing the symptoms of shell-shock. (And certainly not all veterans who had seen this kind of battle returned with symptoms.)

We now know that what these combat veterans were facing was likely what today we call post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. We are now better able to recognize it, and treatments have certainly advanced, but we still don’t have a full understanding of just what PTSD is.

The medical community and society at large are accustomed to looking for the most simple cause and cure for any given ailment. This results in a system where symptoms are discovered and cataloged and then matched with therapies that will alleviate them. Though this method works in many cases, for the past 100 years, PTSD has been resisting.

We are three scholars in the humanities who have individually studied PTSD – the framework through which people conceptualize it, the ways researchers investigate it, the therapies the medical community devises for it. Through our research, each of us has seen how the medical model alone fails to adequately account for the ever-changing nature of PTSD.

What’s been missing is a cohesive explanation of trauma that allows us to explain the various ways its symptoms have manifested over time and can differ in different people.

Nonphysical repercussions of the Great War

Once it became clear that not everyone who suffered from shell-shock in the wake of WWI had experienced brain injuries, the British Medical Journal provided alternate nonphysical explanations for its prevalence:

A poor morale and a defective training are one of the most important, if not the most important etiological factors: also that shell-shock was a “catching” complaint. – (The British Medical Journal, 1922)

Shell-shock went from being considered a legitimate physical injury to being a sign of weakness, of both the battalion and the soldiers within it. One historian estimates at least 20 percent of men developed shell-shock, though the figures are murky due to physician reluctance at the time to brand veterans with a psychological diagnosis that could affect disability compensation.

Soldiers were archetypically heroic and strong. When they came home unable to speak, walk or remember, with no physical reason for those shortcomings, the only possible explanation was a personal weakness. Treatment methods were based on the idea that the soldier who had entered into war as a hero was now behaving as a coward and needed to be snapped out of it.

shell shock ptsd historyPhoto via Otis Historical Archives

Electric treatments were prescribed in psychoneurotic cases post-WWI.

Lewis Yealland, a British clinician, described in his 1918 “Hysterical Disorders of Warfare” the kind of brutal treatment that follows from thinking about shell-shock as a personal failure. After nine months of unsuccessfully treating patient A1, including electric shocks to the neck, cigarettes put out on his tongue and hot plates placed at the back of his throat, Yealland boasted of telling the patient, “You will not leave this room until you are talking as well as you ever did; no, not before… you must behave as the hero I expect you to be.”

Yealland then applied an electric shock to the throat so strong that it sent the patient reeling backwards, unhooking the battery from the machine. Undeterred, Yealland strapped the patient down to avoid the battery problem and continued to apply shock for an hour, at which point patient A1 finally whispered “Ah.” After another hour, the patient began to cry and whispered, “I want a drink of water.”

Yealland reported this encounter triumphantly – the breakthrough meant his theory was correct and his method worked. Shell-shock was a disease of manhood rather than an illness that came from witnessing, being subjected to and partaking in incredible violence.

Evolution away from shell-shock

The next wave of the study of trauma came when the Second World War saw another influx of soldiers dealing with similar symptoms.

It was Abram Kardiner, a clinician working in the psychiatric clinic of the United States Veterans’ Bureau, who rethought combat trauma in a much more empathetic light. In his influential book, “The Traumatic Neuroses of War,” Kardiner speculated that these symptoms stemmed from psychological injury, rather than a soldier’s flawed character.

Work from other clinicians after WWII and the Korean War suggested that post-war symptoms could be lasting. Longitudinal studies showed that symptoms could persist anywhere from six to 20 years, if they disappeared at all. These studies returned some legitimacy to the concept of combat trauma that had been stripped away after the First World War.

shell shock ptsd history vietnam Photo via DoD/Creative Commons

As veterans returned home from the war in Vietnam, combat trauma became less stigmatized.


Vietnam was another watershed moment for combat-related PTSD because veterans began to advocate for themselves in an unprecedented way. Beginning with a small march in New York in the summer of 1967, veterans themselves began to become activists for their own mental health care. They worked to redefine “post-Vietnam syndrome” not as a sign of weakness, but rather a normal response to the experience of atrocity. Public understanding of war itself had begun to shift, too, as the widely televised accounts of the My Lai massacre brought the horror of war into American living rooms for the first time. The veterans’ campaign helped get PTSD included in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-III), the major American diagnostic resource for psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians.

The authors of the DSM-III deliberately avoided talking about the causes of mental disorders. Their aim was to develop a manual that could simultaneously be used by psychiatrists adhering to radically different theories, including Freudian approaches and what is now known as “biological psychiatry.” These groups of psychiatrists would not agree on how to explain disorders, but they could – and did – come to agree on which patients had similar symptoms. So the DSM-III defined disorders, including PTSD, solely on the basis of clusters of symptoms, an approach that has been retained ever since.

This tendency to agnosticism about the physiology of PTSD is also reflected in contemporary evidence-based approaches to medicine. Modern medicine focuses on using clinical trials to demonstrate that a therapy works, but is skeptical about attempts to link treatment effectiveness to the biology underlying a disease.

Today’s medicalized PTSD

People can develop PTSD for a number of different reasons, not just in combat. Sexual assault, a traumatic loss, a terrible accident – each might lead to PTSD. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 13.8 percent of the veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan currently have PTSD. For comparison, a male veteran of those wars is four times more likely to develop PTSD than a man in the civilian population is. PTSD is probably at least partially at the root of an even more alarming statistic: Upwards of 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

Therapies for PTSD today tend to be a mixed bag. Practically speaking, when veterans seek PTSD treatment in the VA system, policy requires they be offered either exposure or cognitive therapy. Exposure therapies are based on the idea that the fear response that gives rise to many of the traumatic symptoms can be dampened through repeated exposures to the traumatic event. Cognitive therapies work on developing personal coping methods and slowly changing unhelpful or destructive thought patterns that are contributing to symptoms (for example, the shame one might feel at not successfully completing a mission or saving a comrade). The most common treatment a veteran will likely receive will include psychopharmaceuticals – especially the class of drugs called SSRIs.

shell shock ptsd history Photo via DoD

The military is working on incorporating virtual reality with exposure therapy for PTSD sufferers.

Mindfulness therapies, based on becoming aware of mental states, thoughts, and feelings and accepting them rather than trying to fight them or push them away, are another option. There are also more alternative methods being studied such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing or EMDR therapy, therapies using controlled doses of MDMA (Ecstasy), virtual reality-graded exposure therapy, hypnosis and creative therapies. The military funds a wealth of research on new technologies to address PTSD; these include neurotechnological innovations like transcranial stimulation and neural chips as well as novel drugs.

Several studies have shown that patients improve most when they’ve chosen their own therapy. But even if they narrow their choices to the ones backed by the weight of the National Center for PTSD by using the center’s online Treatment Decision Aid, patients would still find themselves weighing five options, each of which is evidence-based but entails a different psychomedical model of trauma and healing.

This buffet of treatment options lets us set aside our lack of understanding of why people experience trauma and respond to interventions so differently. It also relieves the pressure for psychomedicine to develop a complete model of PTSD. We reframe the problem as a consumer issue instead of a scientific one. Thus, while WWI was about soldiers and punishing them for their weakness, in the contemporary era, the ideal veteran PTSD patient is a health care consumer who has an obligation to play an active role in figuring out and optimizing his own therapy.

The ConversationAs we stand here with the strange benefit of the hindsight that comes with 100 years of studying combat-related trauma, we must be careful in celebrating our progress. What is still missing is an explanation of why people have different responses to trauma, and why different responses occur in different historical periods. For instance, the paraylsis and amnesia that epitomized WWI shell-shock cases are now so rare that they don’t even appear as symptoms in the DSM entry for PTSD. We still don’t know enough about how soldiers’ own experiences and understandings of PTSD are shaped by the broader social and cultural views of trauma, war and gender. Though we have made incredible strides in the century since World War I, PTSD remains a chameleon, and demands our continued study.

MaryCatherine McDonald, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Old Dominion University; Marisa Brandt, Assistant Professor of Practice, Michigan State University, and Robyn Bluhm, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Conversation

The post From Shell-Shock To PTSD: A Century Of Invisible War Trauma appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Read more

The Navy Is Getting A ‘Game-Ghanging’ Upgrade That Could Turn The Tables On China And Russia

The Navy today faces a devastating missile gap between its two biggest rivals, Russia and China, but a new upgrade could quite literally blow the two competitors out of the water.

The Navy’s destroyers and cruisers field advanced missile defenses and far-reaching land-attack cruise missiles, but the Harpoon, the current anti-ship missile first fielded in 1977, has been thoroughly out-ranged by more advanced Chinese and Russian systems.

China’s YJ-18 and YJ-12 each can fly over 240 miles just meters above the surface of the ocean. When the YJ-18 gets close to the target, it jolts into supersonic speed, at about Mach 3. When the YJ-12, also supersonic, approaches a target, it executes a corkscrew turn to evade close-in ship defenses.

Russia’s anti-ship Club missiles can reach 186 miles and boosts into supersonic speeds when nearing a target.

The Navy’s Harpoon missile is subsonic and travels just 77 miles. Simply put, these missiles would chew up a U.S. carrier strike group, with destroyers and cruisers protecting an aircraft carrier. Launching F/A-18s off a carrier could out-range and beat back a Russian or Chinese attack, but the missile gap remains palpable and a threat to the US Navy’s highest-value assets.

Recognizing this serious shortfall, the Navy will sign a deal with Raytheon to upgrade the Block IV Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles aboard destroyers and cruisers to hit moving targets at sea, U.S. Naval Institute News reports.

missile upgrade navy china russia

A UGM-109 Tomahawk missile detonates above a test target in 1986.

“This is potentially a game-changing capability for not a lot of cost. It’s a 1,000-mile anti-ship cruise missile,” Bob Work, the deputy secretary of defense, said after a successful test of the upgraded TLAM in 2015, USNI News reported at the time. “It can be used by practically our entire surface and submarine fleet.”

With missiles out-ranging China and Russia’s fleets many times over, the US could engage with targets and hold them at risk far beyond the horizon. Similarly, this could help break down anti-access and area-denial zones established by Russia in the Baltics and the Black Sea, and China in the South China Sea.

While China and Russia have the U.S. beat on offensive range, don’t expect their ship-based missile defenses to hold a candle to the U.S.’s Aegis system in the face of a Tomahawk attack.

But also don’t expect the upgrade to change the balance of power soon.

“We’re signing the contract now, there will be a couple of year development effort to determine the configuration of the seeker to go into the missile and a couple of years to take it out and test it to accurately know what the performance is so the fleet will have confidence in the system,” Capt. Mark Johnson of Naval Air Systems Command told USNI News.

USNI estimates the game-changing missiles could be in service by the early 2020s.

More from Business Insider:


The post The Navy Is Getting A ‘Game-Ghanging’ Upgrade That Could Turn The Tables On China And Russia appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Read more

DoD Is Taking Steps To Keep White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis Out Of The Armed Forces

To avoid enlisting neo-Nazis, skinheads and other white supremacists, military recruiters are told to watch for tattoos showing barbed wire, hobnailed boots and hammers. Also to look for tattoos of lightning bolts, skulls and swastikas.

“There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller said Tuesday.

Those comments, like those of the other service chiefs who denounced bigotry following the “Unite the Right” rally that brought white men bearing torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us” to Charlottesville, Va., reaffirmed military policies forbidding extremist advocacy or participation.

“The Department of Defense’s strength comes from those that serve their nation every day honorably and with distinction,” Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, a Pentagon spokesman, told Stars and Stripes. “Association or participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind violates the Department of Defense’s core values of duty, integrity, ethics, honor, courage and loyalty. We take any and all allegations of misconduct very seriously.”

Yet the leader of white supremacist group Vanguard America at the Aug. 11-12 Charlottesville rally was until earlier this year a Marine staff sergeant in good standing.

Dillon Ulysses Hopper was a Marine from 2006 through January, his service record states. He became the leader of Vanguard America last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremist groups. Hopper spent more than two years with the Marines as a recruiter.

Vanguard America is a white supremacist group that opposes multiculturalism and “believes that America is an exclusively white nation,” the Anti-Defamation League stated. “Using a right-wing nationalist slogan, Blood and Soil, VA romanticizes the notion that people with ‘white blood’ have a special bond with ‘American soil.’”

Meanwhile, an armed security detail composed of military veterans assisted the white nationalist groups gathered in Charlottesville, according to “Vice News Tonight” reporter Elle Reeve. “They have a circle of mostly Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who now do security for Richard Spencer and other white nationalist groups,” Reeve told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Persistent infiltration efforts

There have been longstanding concerns about right-wing extremists in the military, about such groups seeking to infiltrate the services to gain tactical knowledge and about troops’ radicalization after they’ve joined.

A 2008 FBI assessment titled “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel since 9/11” found just over 200 identifiable neo-Nazis with military training.

Military experience “ranging from failure at basic training to success in special operations forces” was evident throughout the white supremacist movement, the report said.

“FBI reporting indicates extremist leaders have historically favored recruiting active and former military personnel for their knowledge of firearms, explosives, and tactical skills and their access to weapons and intelligence in preparation for an anticipated war against the federal government, Jews, and people of color,” the report added.

In 2009, a security analyst with the Department of Homeland Security, Daryl Johnson, alerted local police departments to a rising risk of terrorist attacks by the extremist right. The department “is concerned that right-wing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities,” the report said.

Johnson’s report, issued just after the election of Barack Obama, set off a conservative media firestorm that claimed it disparaged troops and law-abiding conservatives. The report was pulled and Johnson’s office was shut down.

The same year, the Southern Poverty Law Center, another group that tracks extremist groups, compiled a list of 40 users of a white supremacist social networking website who identified themselves as active-duty military and asked Congressional committees to pressure the Pentagon to crack down.

“In the wake of several high-profile murders by extremists of the radical right, we urge your committees to investigate the threat posed by racial extremists who may be serving in the military to ensure that our armed forces are not inadvertently training future domestic terrorists,” group co-founder Morris Dees wrote to the legislators.

Haverstick said it’s important to remember that “the overwhelming majority of servicemembers are honorable, law-abiding, disciplined patriots who represent the very best of America’s population.”

No anti-extremist group has disputed that assertion. Still, military veterans have been conspicuous in some of the most horrific right-wing extremist attacks, from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people to the 2012 killings of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

Johnson, now a security consultant, said that the number of military white supremacists is relatively small. But he said veterans comprise a significant part of the militia movement that sprung up after the Obama election.

Militia recruiting

Militia membership for servicemembers is a grayer area than that of clearly known hate groups. In some cases military rules against espousing racialism can trump the constitutional right of assembly.

Haverstick declined to talk broadly about whether joining a militia would violate anti-extremism policy.

“There are a lot of organizations that use the word militia to define them, so I cannot speak to all of them,” he wrote in an email.

Heavily armed militias have engaged in standoffs with federal officials, turned up as self-appointed armed guards at military recruiting centers and patrolled the streets in Ferguson, Mo., and Charlottesville.

“They’re attracted to that movement and they fit into that movement,” Johnson said. “I’d say half to three-quarters of militia members have ties to the military. They’re also a counterintelligence threat, in my opinion.”

Some militias espouse white supremacist ideology or operate alongside such groups, while others avoid public racial stances. The largest militia group is Oath Keepers, formed in 2009 by a former paratrooper and Yale graduate, which openly recruits active-duty military and veterans, police and medics.

The group, which claims tens of thousands of members, is “one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today,” stated the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has also detailed clashes with neo-Nazis who criticize Oath Keepers for lacking racism.

“While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.”

Oath Keepers, which posts on its website a variety of military unit insignias and patches of members, did not respond to a request for comment.

Oath Keepers declare that they will not obey unconstitutional orders “such as orders to disarm the American people, to conduct warrantless searches, or to detain Americans as ‘enemy combatants’ in violation of their ancient right to jury trial.”

Right-wing extremist activity usually falls during Republican administrations, Johnson said.

“But in this administration, it isn’t the case. Ideas I saw on Stormfront and other white supremacist websites 10 or 15 years ago — building a wall, mass deportations, banning Muslims — that’s policy now,” he said. “I feel it’s emboldened these extremists.”

DoD forbids extremist group participation, tattoos, tweets

Servicemembers can be disciplined or discharged for actively advocating for or participating in “supremacist, extremist or criminal gang ideology or causes.”

Groups that advocate “illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity or national origin” are forbidden to military troops. So are groups that advocate “the use of force, violence or criminal activity or otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.”

Active participation includes fundraising, demonstrating, rallying, recruiting, training, organizing or leading members; distributing material, including posting online; and having tattoos associated with such gangs or organizations, according to Lt. Col. Paul Haverstick, a Defense Department spokesman.

Penalties are up to commanders and can include reprimand, loss of security clearance or discharge from the service. Servicemembers do not have the same free-speech rights as civilians do, military courts have ruled.

“(A) lower standard for dangerous speech unprotected by the First Amendment pertains in the military context,” the military’s highest court ruled in 2008, “where dangerous speech is that speech that interferes with or prevents the orderly accomplishment of the mission or presents a clear danger to loyalty, discipline, mission or morale of the troops.”

Navy Reserve intelligence officer Lt. j.g. John Michael Posobiec, who goes by “Jack,” recently had his security clearance suspended over such issues.

Posobiec promulgated debunked conspiracy theories on social media, including that Democrats ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor and that former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered. In June, he posted video of himself rushing a stage presentation of “Julius Caesar” and shouting that theatergoers were “Nazis like Joseph Goebbels.”

He told NBC News that he wasn’t told why his clearance was suspended but suspects it was because he had become “more outspoken on Twitter.”


©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The post DoD Is Taking Steps To Keep White Nationalists, Neo-Nazis Out Of The Armed Forces appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Read more

Wreckage Of Sunken WWII Warship USS Indianapolis Discovered 18,000 Feet Under The Sea

The Navy announced on Saturday that the wreckage of the USS Indianapolis was found in the Philippine Sea at a depth of more than 18,000 feet below the water’s surface.

The Indy sunk just past midnight on July 30, 1945, days after the ship delivered to the Island of Tinian the components used to build the atomic bomb that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

U.S. Navy photo

The Portland-class heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA 35) in port at the Mare Island Navy Yard, in Northern California following its final overhaul.

The Indianapolis, with roughly 1,200 people aboard, was on its way to the Philippines when torpedoes from a Japanese submarine struck the ship, causing it to sink in about 14 minutes. Nearly 300 people went down with the ship and of the 900 who abandoned ship, only 317 would survive after four to five days in the water suffering exposure, dehydration, drowning and shark attacks.

“The largest casualty at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy was the sinking of the USS Indianapolis,” noted survivor Edgar Harrell, who published an account of the harrowing episode in “Out of the Depths.”

A team of civilian researchers led by entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul G. Allen announced that they had found the wreck resting on the floor of the North Pacific Ocean, according to a Navy news release.

“To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling,” Allen is quoted as saying in the Navy release. “As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances. While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming.”

While others have searched for Indianapolis in the past, the Navy release said Allen used a  250-foot R/V Petrel with state-of-the-art subsea equipment capable of diving to more than 19,600 feet.

The Navy said the exact location of the ship will remain confidential and restricted.


©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The post Wreckage Of Sunken WWII Warship USS Indianapolis Discovered 18,000 Feet Under The Sea appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Read more

7 Post-9/11 Generals As Characters On ‘Game Of Thrones’

Since the military kicked off its global campaigns in 2001, war has turned ordinary officers into heroes. Well, some of them anyway. The same can be said of the wars of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Over the course of seven seasons, we’ve seen war tear apart Westeros, making boys into men, enemies of brothers, and traitors of honorable soldiers. And winter is only just arriving. For the hundreds of thousands who have served in the Global War on Terror, much the same has happened, making the careers of some like James Mattis, and breaking the careers of others like Mike Flynn.

But what if the U.S. military generals were warriors on Game of Thrones? Here’s our take on seven post-9/11 generals as characters on the show.

Alliser Thorne, Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn

Ser Alliser Thorne was once a great warrior, defending Castle Black as master-at-arms of the Night’s Watch. But after Jon Snow welcomed the free folk beyond the wall, Thorne turned on him and stabbed him in the heart. U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn had a similar experience. Valued for his military prowess, he was given multiple leadership roles by both Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But a dalliance with Russia before Trump’s inauguration left him out in the cold. At least for Flynn, betrayal didn’t end the way it did for Thorne.

Ned Stark, Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly

When duty calls, Ned Stark answers, no matter what. Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly is cut from the same cloth. Despite losing his son and fellow Marine to a landmine in Sangin, Afghanistan, in 2010, Kelly continued to serve in the military for six more years before becoming a Trump cabinet member. Now he serves as Trump’s White House chief of staff after a short stint overseeing the Department of Homeland Security. Ned Stark, we imagine, would do the same. He followed his king, Robert Baratheon, all the way to his grave.

Tormund Giantsbane, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal

Tormund, Jon Snow’s left-hand man, lacks a filter. But we’re okay with it because he says what needs to be said. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal does the same. It got him into hot water when he divulged too much information about troop numbers in Afghanistan during a Rolling Stone interview in 2009, which forced his resignation shortly thereafter. But he was allowed to retain four stars when he retired despite not meeting the requisite three years served to hold that rank.

Grey Worm, Navy Adm. John Richardson

Like Grey Worm, Adm. John Richardson is even-tempered but efficient. Grey Worm is soft-spoken but incredibly deliberate in his actions. One of the few post-9/11 admirals still on active duty, Richardson uses this demeanor to helm the Navy as chief of naval operations. In dealing with crises, Richardson greets them with poise, whether it’s in dealing with health issues among Navy pilots or offering transparency with mishaps like the USS Fitzgerald crash. As evidenced in his addresses to sailors, he speaks quietly but powerfully — much like Grey Worm when offering war counsel to Daenerys.

Jorah Mormont, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster

Ever-torn between serving his country and serving his queen, Jorah Mormont struggles to find the balance between doing what he is told and what is right. Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster whose illustrious career from the Gulf War through GWOT precedes him — with fellow Gen. Martin Dempsey calling him “our best Brigadier General” in 2011 — faces an uphill battle between protecting the country and appeasing Trump while serving as his national security advisor. Like we do with Mormont, we hope the best is yet to come for McMaster, who is still on active duty despite serving the president.

Stannis Baratheon, Army Gen. David Petraeus

A battle-tested warrior with strategic intelligence to boot, Stannis Baratheon was undone by the Red Woman, Melisandre. Though he held Storm’s End during his brother Robert’s rebellion, he lost the war of Five Kings, and his life. Army Gen. Petraeus too fell from grace after having an affair with his biographer with whom he also shared classified information. Petraeus was so focused on counterinsurgency in Afghanistan that he didn’t realize it could fail, much like Stannis’ blinded by the prophecies from the Lord of Light.

Luckily for Petraeus, there was no Brienne of Tarth to seek retribution, though we imagine his wife wasn’t nearly as supportive of his affair as Stannis’ was.

Jon Snow, Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis

Ever-the-favorite Jon Snow was a warrior turned politician-King in the north. Legendary Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, we think, is similar. Though he never intended to get involved in politics, Mattis accepted the position of Secretary of Defense, but he doesn’t play the game. Instead, he continues to speak truth to power, much like Jon Snow to Daenerys and everyone else who just can’t seem to wrap their heads around the fact that winter is coming. Mattis continues to be an integral part of Trump’s cabinet, by being frank about the U.S. military’s position on things like North Korea and Russia.


The post 7 Post-9/11 Generals As Characters On ‘Game Of Thrones’ appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Read more