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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/military (Page 4)

US still pondering military options in Venezuela

The Trump administration ended a week of pointed but vague threats of a military response to the Venezuelan political crisis with a meeting at the Pentagon to consider its options, though there was still no sign any action was on the horizon.

Shortly after Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and other senior officials reviewed options in light of a failed effort earlier this week by Venezuelan opposition leaders to fuel an uprising, President Donald Trump said he discussed the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump, whose administration is seeking the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro and has recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as president, said he and Putin share the goal of a peaceful end to the crisis.

“He is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela, other than he’d like to see something positive happen for Venezuela,” Trump said. “And I feel the same way. We want to get some humanitarian aid. Right now people are starving.”

Trump’s reference to a hands-off Russian approach stands in contrast to assertions by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Russia is part of the problem in Caracas. Pompeo said earlier this week that Maduro was set to flee Venezuela until Russia persuaded him to stay.

In its description of the Trump-Putin conversation, the Kremlin said Putin stressed the need to respect Venezuelans’ right to determine their own future. He told Trump that outside interference in internal affairs and attempts at forceful regime change in Caracas undermine the prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.

The Pentagon has no direct role in Venezuela but has been consulting with the White House on ways it can support U.S. diplomacy and prepare for contingencies that could arise, including a crisis that endangers Americans in Venezuela.

In an interview with a small group of reporters Friday, Shanahan said Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, flew to Washington to meet with him and other senior officials, including Pompeo and John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser.

The session highlighted the administration’s effort to suggest the possibility of military action, perhaps as a way of increasing public pressure on Maduro, although there appears to be little likelihood of direct U.S. military intervention.

They reviewed and refined military planning and options for responding to the crisis, Shanahan said. He declined to provide details and gave no indication they made decisions to take any military action.

“We have a comprehensive set of options tailored to certain conditions, and I’m just going to leave it at that,” he said. Pressed to say whether the options include direct military intervention, he said, “I’ll leave that to your imagination. All options are on the table.”

Faller’s area of responsibility includes Venezuela, and U.S. air and naval forces in the region are capable of conducting surveillance that could support intelligence collection inside Venezuela. The Trump administration’s emphasis has been on diplomatic and economic pressure to try to compel Maduro to step aside.

Asked whether Venezuela poses a national security threat to the United States that would justify using U.S. military force, Shanahan said Russia, China and Iran are involved in Venezuela, and then added, “Right now it’s about Maduro and his illegitimate regime, and Guaidó and making sure that the people of Venezuela have the environment and the conditions to correct for all these humanitarian shortcomings.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, wrote on Twitter, “Where is our aircraft carrier?” Asked to comment on that suggestion, Shanahan told reporters, “All (options) would include all.”

Shanahan said he wanted an update on the situation in light of this week’s developments in which Guaidó called for a military uprising two days earlier. The attempted uprising failed to push Venezuela’s military into rebellion but was followed by deadly clashes between protesters and police in cities across the country.

“This was really a true review, and then making sure we’re all in alignment” within the administration, he said.

Asked whether the failed attempt to spark an uprising to oust Maduro suggests faulty U.S. intelligence, Shanahan said, “I feel very confident in the quality and the accuracy of the information that we’re getting.” He added, “I don’t feel like we have an intelligence gap.”

Pompeo told Fox News on Thursday evening that he remained hopeful that Venezuelans will rise up.

“The military didn’t fracture in the way that we would hope, but it’s just a matter of time,” he said. “It’s the case that Maduro may rule for a little while longer, but he’s not going to govern. Structurally, there’s no way he stays in power. It’s time for him to leave, and we need the Cubans and the Russians to follow him out the door.”

Also attending the Faller briefing were Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Shanahan canceled a trip to Europe this week to remain in Washington for meetings on Venezuela.

AP Diplomatic writer Matthew Lee, AP writer Jill Colvin and AP Radio correspondent Sagar Meghani contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group a8c365b2-ContentBroker_contentid-3a625ab749d9437a9f8253ec777cbe4f US still pondering military options in Venezuela ROBERT BURNS fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 80b15833-a021-5405-9d17-e7e20776b5e0   Westlake Legal Group a8c365b2-ContentBroker_contentid-3a625ab749d9437a9f8253ec777cbe4f US still pondering military options in Venezuela ROBERT BURNS fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fnc/us fnc Associated Press article 80b15833-a021-5405-9d17-e7e20776b5e0

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AP Exclusive: US missed chance to woo Venezuela generals

Westlake Legal Group ap-exclusive-us-missed-chance-to-woo-venezuela-generals AP Exclusive: US missed chance to woo Venezuela generals JOSHUA GOODMAN fox-news/us/military fnc/us fnc Associated Press article a508d609-306b-5e84-9d9a-7a4d5a8ff15c

Around May 2017, an unusual request from a prominent Venezuelan general made its way to the White House: Gen. Ivan Hernández, head of both the presidential guard and military counterintelligence, wanted to send his 3-year-old son to Boston for brain surgery and needed visas for his family.

After days of internal debate, the still young Trump administration rejected the request, seeing no point in helping a senior member of a socialist government that it viewed as corrupt and thuggish but wasn’t yet prepared to confront.

That decision, revealed to The Associated Press by a former U.S. official and another person familiar with the internal discussions, might have gone unnoticed if National Security Adviser John Bolton hadn’t admonished Hernandez this week on live TV as one of three regime insiders who backed out of a plan — allegedly at the last minute — to topple President Nicolás Maduro.

It might also have been one of several missed opportunities to curry favor with Venezuela’s normally impenetrable armed forces.

The U.S. also rebuffed a back channel to the alleged ringleader of the would-be defectors, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez.

Bolton said Hernández, Padrino and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maikel Moreno chose to stick with Maduro at the moment of truth: when opposition leader Juan Guaidó appeared Tuesday on a highway overpass surrounded by a small cadre of armed troops ready for what he said was the “final phase” of a campaign to rescue Venezuela’s democracy known as Operation Freedom.

Little is known about the extent of support for the plot. Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez said Thursday he had been speaking for weeks with military commanders while under house arrest. U.S. special envoy Elliott Abrams said there was even a document with the outlines of a transitional government that top officials had agreed to.

“I am told the document is long —15 points, I think — and it talks of guarantees for the military, for a dignified exit for Maduro, and Guaidó as interim president,” he told Venezuelan online TV network VPItv.

The three officials haven’t directly denied they were in talks with the opposition, but they have reaffirmed their loyalty to Maduro and remain in their posts. A fourth, Gen. Manuel Figuera, head of the feared SEBIN intelligence agency, did break ranks and has since disappeared.

But some analysts doubt top military officials who have amassed immense power under Maduro, and are sanctioned by the U.S., ever seriously considered betraying him. Instead, they speculate that the opposition — and by extension, the U.S. — may have been duped by Cuban intelligence agents in Venezuela.

“They try to buy us as if we were mercenaries,” Padrino said Thursday in remarks alongside Maduro.

One clue to the military officers’ apparent reluctance to join any U.S.-backed plot may be found in the story of their past, failed dealings with senior American officials.

The former U.S. official and two other people agreed to discuss details of the previously undisclosed interactions on the condition they not be identified because of the sensitive nature of what were private, high-level talks inside the Trump and Obama administrations.

For years, U.S. officials tried to identify ways to engage the military, the traditional arbiter of political disputes in Venezuela. But after Hugo Chavez’s thorough scrubbing of U.S. influence in the armed forces, opportunities were limited.

That’s why, with the benefit of hindsight, Hernandez’s visa request stood out.

A letter addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela from Boston Children’s Hospital states that Hernandez’s son had been authorized for surgery on March 14, 2017, for which the family had made a $150,000 deposit. It states that it is “in the child’s best interests” if both Hernandez and his wife were granted visas to accompany the child during what was expected to be a two-month convalescence. The letter was provided to the AP by one of the people familiar with the matter.

After the request for humanitarian visas was rejected, a former senior Venezuelan official cooperating with U.S. law enforcement appealed to his contacts in Washington on Hernandez’s behalf. However, once again the request fell on deaf ears, reflecting what one of the sources viewed as a lack of strategic thinking by top policymakers in the White House and State Department.

“There’s legitimate skepticism on the part of the U.S. to engage given the amount of Cuban coaching of the Maduro government,” said Douglas Farah, a national security expert on Latin America and president of IBI Consultants.

“But clearly a humanitarian request can break through a lot of ideological barriers and pay major dividends down the road,” added Farah, who had no direct knowledge of the episode.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

But the former U.S. official disputes the view the visa request was never seriously considered. While he said there was some sympathy for Hernandez, he noted that for years top civilian and military loyalists have enjoyed unfettered access to the U.S. — where billions stolen from Venezuela’s state coffers are invested — and nonetheless showed no interest in working with the American government to restore the rule of law in the oil-rich nation.

Further, for almost two decades of socialist rule and until summer 2017, when the Trump administration toughened its stance in response to Maduro’s crackdown on protests, regime change hadn’t been the U.S. policy goal. So White House officials didn’t want to be seen as encouraging a barracks revolt and were wary of interacting with officials facing U.S. investigations for drug trafficking or corruption.

“If any senior official is going to join a plot, it’s because of a cool assessment of its chances of success, not because their son got medical treatment in the U.S. two years ago,” the former U.S. official said.

A year before Hernandez was rebuffed, his boss, Defense Minister Padrino Lopez, also sought contact with the U.S., according to the two other sources familiar with the matter.

In early 2016, a trusted associate, retired Gen. Jimmy Guzman, traveled to Washington for a meeting with a senior official from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. Over lunch at a Georgetown hotel, Guzman expressed Padrino’s interest in opening a channel of communications with the U.S. and Maduro’s opponents after the opposition’s upset victory in December 2015 congressional elections.

But after Guzman returned to Caracas, the Americans abruptly cut off communications, according to the two people, when socialist party boss Diosdado Cabello identified the two Venezuelan exiles who brokered the meeting, accusing them on TV of working with the U.S. to carry out a coup.

One of the sources said the U.S. feared Padrino had been feigning interest in order to collect information for Maduro about what the Americans were up to.

Padrino had long been viewed as a potential white knight. He’s one of the last active-duty officers who studied in the U.S., having been trained in psychological operations at the School of the Americas — a familiar Chavez boogeyman for its role in training generations of right-wing military dictators — and then at the Army Infantry School, both located at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Former classmates remember him as an exemplary student who enjoyed his two years in the U.S. in the 1990s, renting a town house off base and starting a family. His two children have U.S. passports, one source said.

He surprised many in the U.S. and opposition by taking a conciliatory stance in the tense hours following the 2015 elections in which speculation swirled that Maduro wouldn’t recognize the opposition’s win. Surrounded by the entire military command, he urged calm in a televised address and celebrated the still-unannounced results as a victory for Venezuela’s democracy.

More recently, the U.S. has hardened its position toward both men. After the Trump administration at the start painstakingly avoided targeting the military, in the hopes of giving it space to pressure Maduro, it slapped financial sanctions on Padrino in September. A few months later, it was Hernandez’s turn. The U.S. Treasury accused him of commanding a state intelligence operation blamed for “brutal beatings, asphyxiation, cutting soles of feet with razor blades, electric shocks, and death threats.”

___

Follow Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APjoshgoodman

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f3ab906d4ce34a40899de29fdec711ee AP Exclusive: US missed chance to woo Venezuela generals JOSHUA GOODMAN fox-news/us/military fnc/us fnc Associated Press article a508d609-306b-5e84-9d9a-7a4d5a8ff15c   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-f3ab906d4ce34a40899de29fdec711ee AP Exclusive: US missed chance to woo Venezuela generals JOSHUA GOODMAN fox-news/us/military fnc/us fnc Associated Press article a508d609-306b-5e84-9d9a-7a4d5a8ff15c

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Florida senators say Venezuela is national security issue

Westlake Legal Group florida-senators-say-venezuela-is-national-security-issue Florida senators say Venezuela is national security issue fox-news/us/military fnc/us fnc Associated Press article ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON 99160e15-b7d4-5222-983c-812e8e186b21
Westlake Legal Group og-fox-news Florida senators say Venezuela is national security issue fox-news/us/military fnc/us fnc Associated Press article ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON 99160e15-b7d4-5222-983c-812e8e186b21

Florida’s U.S. senators are increasing pressure on the Trump administration to act on the crisis in Venezuela, calling it a national security matter.

After a Friday discussion with Venezuelan, Cuban and Nicaraguan exiles, Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio chastised Cuba for aiding socialist president Nicolas Maduro in a standoff with U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

The Cuban government denies accusations that it has troops in Venezuela.

The U.S. and more than 50 nations view Maduro’s re-election last year as illegitimate because of fraud.

Rubio mocked reports that Maduro was defeating Guaidó three days after the opposition leader called for a military uprising on Tuesday that failed to push Venezuela’s military into rebellion.

“This notion that Maduro is winning is ridiculous,” he said. “This is a peaceful movement of civil disobedience.”

Rubio said there are no questions there’s a real threat to the U.S. Rubio said the U.S. government must be prepared to face Venezuela, and suggested the militant Hezbollah group is present in the South American nation. The leader of Lebanon’s militant group has denied the claim.

Scott said the U.S. military must deliver humanitarian aid to stop what he called a “genocide,” caused by shortages of food and medicine. He warned Venezuela could become the next Syria.

“You look at all the bad players and see what happened there. You got Russia, you got Iran, you got Hezbollah. They are all there,” Scott said. “To think that we are not going to have Syria in this hemisphere if we don’t deal with this now. It’s going to happen, it’s just when it happens.”

The lawmakers met with Romy Moreno, the wife of Guaidó’s chief of staff Roberto Marrero. Marrero was jailed last month by Venezuelan authorities, who accuse him of being involved in a scheme to overthrow Maduro.

Also on Friday, the Trump administration ended a week of pointed but vague threats of a military response to the Venezuelan political crisis with a meeting at the Pentagon to consider its options, though there was still no sign any action was on the horizon.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Microsoft teams up with the VA to help wounded warriors

Westlake Legal Group microsoft-teams-up-with-the-va-to-help-wounded-warriors Microsoft teams up with the VA to help wounded warriors fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech fox-news/newsedge fox news fnc/tech fnc David Nath article 79682cc6-8de9-5994-a507-ffaad2b9467f
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6032650628001_6032644422001-vs Microsoft teams up with the VA to help wounded warriors fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech fox-news/newsedge fox news fnc/tech fnc David Nath article 79682cc6-8de9-5994-a507-ffaad2b9467f

Microsoft is teaming up with the Veteran’s Administration to help our wounded warriors – using video games.

As part of a new pilot program, 22 VA facilities around the country will be receiving a gift from Microsoft: X-Box Adaptive Controllers, which are specially designed for gamers with mental or physical disabilities. “We owe so much to the service and sacrifice of our Veterans, and as a company, we are committed to supporting them,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a press statement. “Our X-Box Adaptive Controller was designed to make gaming more accessible to millions of people worldwide, and we’re partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to bring the device to Veterans with limited mobility.”

The military hospitals will be using them to help rehabilitate wounded warriors, and X-Box chief Phil Spencer says if it’s successful – the program could expand. The collaboration aims to improve rehabilitation and recreation for veterans by challenging muscle activation and hand-eye coordination, and encouraging greater participation in social and recreational activities. That will include participation in e-sports as well as traditional solo gaming.

X-Box and the VA are ultimately hoping this new form of therapy will eventually help rebuild skills for veterans with both physical and psychological injuries, putting an emphasis on making a full and complete recovery, not just getting soldiers ‘back on their feet.’ One of those veterans, Mike Monthervil, sustained a spinal injury during a training exercise in Afghanistan. He says “I think gaming is helping soldiers like myself getting back into playing and doing what they love and bringing joy back to their life.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6032650628001_6032644422001-vs Microsoft teams up with the VA to help wounded warriors fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech fox-news/newsedge fox news fnc/tech fnc David Nath article 79682cc6-8de9-5994-a507-ffaad2b9467f   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6032650628001_6032644422001-vs Microsoft teams up with the VA to help wounded warriors fox-news/us/military fox-news/tech fox-news/newsedge fox news fnc/tech fnc David Nath article 79682cc6-8de9-5994-a507-ffaad2b9467f

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Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people

Westlake Legal Group navy-petty-officer-sentenced-to-nearly-10-years-in-prison-for-dui-crash-that-killed-four-people Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7

A U.S. Navy petty officer was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for a 2016 San Diego crash that left four people dead.

Richard Sepolio, 27, was found guilty in February of driving under the influence causing injury but he was acquitted of the more serious charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He also was acquitted of reckless driving and driving over the legal alcohol limit causing injury.

FLORIDA BRIDGE-COLLAPSE VICTIMS WOULD RECEIVE UP TO $42M IN TENTATIVE DEAL WITH BANKRUPT BUILDER

Prosecutors said Sepolio had been drinking on Oct. 15, 2016, and was arguing with his girlfriend — now his wife — by cellphone when he tried to speed past another car on the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. He lost control of his pickup truck, which crashed through a concrete barrier and plunged 60 feet off the span into a crowd celebrating a motorcycle rally and festival at Chicano Park.

Westlake Legal Group Richard-Sepolio-AP Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7

Richard Sepolio stands in court after Judge Charles G. Rogers released the jury after delivering a guilty verdict, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 in San Diego. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

The truck crushed vendor booths where people were standing. Four people died and seven were injured.

Sepolio faces a maximum of nine years and eight months in state prison.

Sepolio, who wore his Navy uniform during his sentencing Wednesday, apologized to the families of the victims.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

“I don’t know why I survived,” Sepolio said, according to NBC 7 San Diego. “I wish I could trade places with them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Richard-Sepolio-AP Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7   Westlake Legal Group Richard-Sepolio-AP Navy petty officer sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for DUI crash that killed four people Jake Grate fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military fox-news/us/crime/trials fox news fnc/us fnc article 7e31d051-b88f-5722-beb8-e45667052ab7

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US.-based Afghan pilot training program ends after nearly half of pilots go AWOL

Westlake Legal Group us-based-afghan-pilot-training-program-ends-after-nearly-half-of-pilots-go-awol US.-based Afghan pilot training program ends after nearly half of pilots go AWOL Louis Casiano fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 1c4e4ab7-695d-5358-965c-29358cf0798d

A U.S.-based program to train Afghan attack pilots has shuttered after nearly half of trainees went absent without leave, or AWOL, resulting in only one graduating class, according to a government report released this week.

The program taught Afghan Air Force pilots to fly the AC-208 light attack combat aircraft. It was disbanded after more than 40 percent of those enrolled left in the middle of training, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in its quarterly report.

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“Those students that did not go AWOL were pulled back to Afghanistan to complete their training: as a result, only one class graduated from the U.S.-based program,” the report stated. The remaining classes will finish their training in Afghanistan.

The pilots were trained at Meacham Airport in Fort Worth, Texas by advisers called the Train Advise Assist Command-Air. The instructors are part of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

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SIGAR did not indicate whether the AWOL pilots were found. Foreign trainees going AWOL is not uncommon. Nearly half of all foreign military trainees — 152 out of 320 — gone AWOL since 2005 were from Afghanistan, SIGAR reported in 2017. Some claim asylum after being apprehended, according to the Times.

Westlake Legal Group Afghan-pilots US.-based Afghan pilot training program ends after nearly half of pilots go AWOL Louis Casiano fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 1c4e4ab7-695d-5358-965c-29358cf0798d   Westlake Legal Group Afghan-pilots US.-based Afghan pilot training program ends after nearly half of pilots go AWOL Louis Casiano fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 1c4e4ab7-695d-5358-965c-29358cf0798d

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Army vet, a Korean War POW, laid to rest in US after remains return from North Korea

Westlake Legal Group army-vet-a-korean-war-pow-laid-to-rest-in-us-after-remains-return-from-north-korea Army vet, a Korean War POW, laid to rest in US after remains return from North Korea Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 5e1813fa-1e65-5d68-ada2-8b5594d0cd16

A funeral was held this week for a Korean War veteran nearly 70 years following his death in a prisoner-of-war camp after he was captured during the war.

The family of U.S. Army Sgt. Frank J. Suliman was able to hold funeral services in New Jersey on Tuesday after his remains were retrieved by the U.S. government as part of President Trump’s agreement with North Korea that provided 55 boxes containing the remains of 55 American soldiers who were missing in action.

NORTH KOREA RETURNED 1 DOG TAG WITH 55 SETS OF SOLDIER REMAINS, US OFFICIAL SAYS

The soldier’s two sisters, who are the only surviving members of his family, said they learned earlier this year that their brother’s remains were identified by the authorities and they were thankful he could finally receive a proper burial.

“The last thing I received from him was a letter and the ending of it was, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas.’ And he came home. Not the way he expected. But anyway, he’s home,” says Suliman’s sister, Olga Anderson, told News 12 New Jersey.

“The last thing I received from him was a letter and the ending of it was, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas.’ And he came home. Not the way he expected. But anyway, he’s home.”

— Olga Anderson, sister of U.S. Army Sgt. Frank J. Suliman

Suliman died in the war when he was just 21 years old after he was captured by enemy forces and held captive.

He was a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, fighting against members of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces in North Korea, according to a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency statement.

On Dec. 1, 1950, a convoy of trucks Suliman was riding in was stopped and the soldiers were told to flee the vehicles and start walking.

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But others soon reported that Suliman was captured and taken to the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces prisoner-of-war camp at Pukchin-Tarigol, North Korea. He died there from dysentery and pneumonia in March 1951.

“This is a sad day for our town as Army Sgt. Frank Suliman, a native of Edison’s Bonhamtown section, is finally laid to rest with honor and dignity on American soil. I am thankful that Sgt. Suliman’s family now has the closure and peace-of-mind they deserve,” Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey said in a statement, according to the Bridgewater Courier News.

“This is a sad day for our town as Army Sgt. Frank Suliman, a native of Edison’s Bonhamtown section, is finally laid to rest with honor and dignity on American soil. I am thankful that Sgt. Suliman’s family now has the closure and peace-of-mind they deserve.”

— Edison, N.J., Mayor Thomas Lankey

“I am proud of our township police officers who escorted Sgt. Suliman’s remains from Newark Airport to Edison on Sunday; who stationed a 15-officer Honor Guard at the Boylan Funeral Home today, and escorted the sergeant to his final resting place in Wrightstown,” Lankey added. “I hope our officers were a comfort and source of strength to Sgt. Suliman’s family members.”

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Despite the agreement between the U.S. government and North Korea, more than 7,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Westlake Legal Group suliman Army vet, a Korean War POW, laid to rest in US after remains return from North Korea Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 5e1813fa-1e65-5d68-ada2-8b5594d0cd16   Westlake Legal Group suliman Army vet, a Korean War POW, laid to rest in US after remains return from North Korea Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 5e1813fa-1e65-5d68-ada2-8b5594d0cd16

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Army vet, a Korean War POW, laid to rest in US after remains return from North Korea

A funeral was held this week for a Korean War veteran nearly 70 years following his death in a prisoner-of-war camp after he was captured during the war.

The family of U.S. Army Sgt. Frank J. Suliman was able to hold funeral services in New Jersey on Tuesday after his remains were retrieved by the U.S. government as part of President Trump’s agreement with North Korea that provided 55 boxes containing the remains of 55 American soldiers who were missing in action.

NORTH KOREA RETURNED 1 DOG TAG WITH 55 SETS OF SOLDIER REMAINS, US OFFICIAL SAYS

The soldier’s two sisters, who are the only surviving members of his family, said they learned earlier this year that their brother’s remains were identified by the authorities and they were thankful he could finally receive a proper burial.

“The last thing I received from him was a letter and the ending of it was, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas.’ And he came home. Not the way he expected. But anyway, he’s home,” says Suliman’s sister, Olga Anderson, told News 12 New Jersey.

“The last thing I received from him was a letter and the ending of it was, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas.’ And he came home. Not the way he expected. But anyway, he’s home.”

— Olga Anderson, sister of U.S. Army Sgt. Frank J. Suliman

Suliman died in the war when he was just 21 years old after he was captured by enemy forces and held captive.

He was a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, fighting against members of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces in North Korea, according to a Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency statement.

On Dec. 1, 1950, a convoy of trucks Suliman was riding in was stopped and the soldiers were told to flee the vehicles and start walking.

TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT: FAMILIES OF KOREAN WAR POW URGE PRESIDENT TO DEMAND ANSWERS

But others soon reported that Suliman was captured and taken to the Chinese People’s Volunteer Forces prisoner-of-war camp at Pukchin-Tarigol, North Korea. He died there from dysentery and pneumonia in March 1951.

“This is a sad day for our town as Army Sgt. Frank Suliman, a native of Edison’s Bonhamtown section, is finally laid to rest with honor and dignity on American soil. I am thankful that Sgt. Suliman’s family now has the closure and peace-of-mind they deserve,” Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey said in a statement, according to the Bridgewater Courier News.

“This is a sad day for our town as Army Sgt. Frank Suliman, a native of Edison’s Bonhamtown section, is finally laid to rest with honor and dignity on American soil. I am thankful that Sgt. Suliman’s family now has the closure and peace-of-mind they deserve.”

— Edison, N.J., Mayor Thomas Lankey

“I am proud of our township police officers who escorted Sgt. Suliman’s remains from Newark Airport to Edison on Sunday; who stationed a 15-officer Honor Guard at the Boylan Funeral Home today, and escorted the sergeant to his final resting place in Wrightstown,” Lankey added. “I hope our officers were a comfort and source of strength to Sgt. Suliman’s family members.”

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Despite the agreement between the U.S. government and North Korea, more than 7,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Korean War.

Westlake Legal Group suliman Army vet, a Korean War POW, laid to rest in US after remains return from North Korea Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 5e1813fa-1e65-5d68-ada2-8b5594d0cd16   Westlake Legal Group suliman Army vet, a Korean War POW, laid to rest in US after remains return from North Korea Lukas Mikelionis fox-news/world/conflicts/north-korea fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/military/army fox-news/us/military fox news fnc/us fnc article 5e1813fa-1e65-5d68-ada2-8b5594d0cd16

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Military sexual assaults rise by 44% among females in ranks: Pentagon report

Westlake Legal Group military-sexual-assaults-rise-by-44-among-females-in-ranks-pentagon-report Military sexual assaults rise by 44% among females in ranks: Pentagon report Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc article 431b3a85-ed85-596e-bf10-646b6f8d4d60
Westlake Legal Group iStock-troops Military sexual assaults rise by 44% among females in ranks: Pentagon report Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc article 431b3a85-ed85-596e-bf10-646b6f8d4d60

Military sexual assaults reported by its female members rose by 44 percent between 2016 and 2018, according to a new Pentagon report released Thursday.

In 2018, 6.2 percent of female military members reported being the victim of sexual assault based on a military-wide anonymous survey. In 2016, 4.3 percent of females in the military reported being sexually assaulted.

The rate of sexual assault for women ranged from 4 percent in the Air Force to 11 percent in the Marine Corps. Nearly 1 in 4 of all women experienced an “unhealthy climate” because of sexual harassment, the report states.

Overall, the survey found that more than 20,000 service members said they had experienced some type of unwanted sexual contact — with only approximately one-third of those filing a formal sexual assault report. The survey total is about 38 percent higher than two years ago when the last survey was carried out.

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More than 85 percent of victims reportedly knew their attacker, and alcohol was involved in 62 percent of the assaults.

The Pentagon said in a statement it was “disturbed” by the findings, especially after years of implementing steps to stop sexual assault in the ranks.

“While we see some continued progress over the ten years since we started assessing, we are disturbed by many areas of the report. The results indicate a rise in sexual assault and sexual harassment for our youngest servicewomen, ages 17-24, as well as junior enlisted women. We know these are consistent problems and we are doing everything we can to get after these issues across the military,” the Pentagon said, per the report.

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In a memo to the Pentagon’s top brass, acting defense secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said: “It is clear that sexual assault and sexual harassment are persistent challenges.”

“To put it bluntly, we are not performing to the standards and expectations we have for ourselves or for each other. This is unacceptable. We cannot shrink from facing the challenge head on,” he added.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, said: “the department must accept that current programs are simply not working.”

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“Congress must lead the way in forcing the department to take more aggressive approaches to fighting this scourge,” she urged.

Fox News’ Chris Irvine and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-troops Military sexual assaults rise by 44% among females in ranks: Pentagon report Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc article 431b3a85-ed85-596e-bf10-646b6f8d4d60   Westlake Legal Group iStock-troops Military sexual assaults rise by 44% among females in ranks: Pentagon report Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/us fnc article 431b3a85-ed85-596e-bf10-646b6f8d4d60

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Retired military leaders to lawmakers: Don’t ‘sacrifice funds’ for F-35 jets

Westlake Legal Group retired-military-leaders-to-lawmakers-dont-sacrifice-funds-for-f-35-jets Retired military leaders to lawmakers: Don't ‘sacrifice funds’ for F-35 jets Talia Kaplan fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc d66e2a1d-af1c-59e4-8719-5d6540f77185 article

More than 100 retired military leaders sent a letter to members of Congress on Tuesday urging them not to “sacrifice funds from the F-35 program,” adding that the F-35, the military’s newest fighter jet, is “essential to countering emerging threats.”

The letter included 128 signatures from retired admirals and generals, including four former Air Force chiefs of staff and a former chief of naval operations.

It was sent on the same day that the Air Force announced it had used its variant of the F-35 aircraft in combat for the first time, taking out an Islamic State (ISIS) tunnel network and weapons cache in Iraq.

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Defense News reported that according to Air Forces Central Command, Tuesday’s airstrike occurred at Wadi Ashai, in northeast Iraq. A news release from U.S. Central Command six days before said ISIS fighters “have been attempting to move munitions, equipment and personnel” to the area in order to “set conditions for their resurgence,” prompting a counteroffensive by Iraqi Security Forces.

The website reported that more information about the event, including whether the strikes were successful, was not immediately available.

The letter, sent to members of the House and Senate, said, “As former U.S. Flag Officers who have served in times of sequestration and military conflicts, we know the impact cutting costs from vital programs has on defense readiness.

“With China and Russia aggressively ramping up efforts to improve and modernize weapons, maintaining air superiority is essential to countering emerging threats both at home and abroad.”

Westlake Legal Group F-35-Lightning-II- Retired military leaders to lawmakers: Don't ‘sacrifice funds’ for F-35 jets Talia Kaplan fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc d66e2a1d-af1c-59e4-8719-5d6540f77185 article

The F-35 Lightning II (iStock)

The letter said the U.S. must “advance both capacity and capability of our fighter force with continued procurement of the world’s most advanced fighter, the F-35 Lightning II,” in order to maintain “a competitive edge in the skies.”

According to Defense News, the F-35 program has been threatened by cost and schedule overruns since its start about two decades ago, and the Government Accountability Office estimates that the program will cost more than $1 trillion.

ISRAEL SAYS IT’S THE FIRST COUNTRY TO USE F-35 STEALTH FIGHTER JETS IN ‘OPERATIONAL ATTACK’

The retired admirals and generals sent the letter to the chairman and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees as well as the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense, to stress the importance of these fighter jets.

“As the only 5th-generation aircraft in production, the F-35 ensures air advantage over emerging peer adversaries through cutting-edge technologies,” the letter said.

“It is with the nation’s security interest in mind that we join the nearly 130 U.S. House and Senate Congressional members to request that the Congress increase the procurement rate of the F-35 within the Fiscal Year 2020 defense authorization and appropriations.”

The letter went on to say, “It is essential that our Congress does not sacrifice funds from the F-35 program in favor of new 4th generation, legacy fighter programs with little operational relevance in a near peer conflict.”

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Fox News contacted the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, as well as the Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense; all did not immediately return requests for comment.

Westlake Legal Group F-35-Lightning-II- Retired military leaders to lawmakers: Don't ‘sacrifice funds’ for F-35 jets Talia Kaplan fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc d66e2a1d-af1c-59e4-8719-5d6540f77185 article   Westlake Legal Group F-35-Lightning-II- Retired military leaders to lawmakers: Don't ‘sacrifice funds’ for F-35 jets Talia Kaplan fox-news/world fox-news/us/military fox-news/us fox-news/topic/fox-news-flash fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc d66e2a1d-af1c-59e4-8719-5d6540f77185 article

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