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Pentagon launches review of Fort Hood shooting

WASHINGTON (Nov. 19, 2009) -- Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today announced the Defense Department will conduct a broad review of the Nov. 5 Fort Hood, Texas, shooting that left 13 dead and dozens injured. Former Army Secretary Togo West and retired Navy Adm. Vernon Clark, former chief of naval operations, will head the initial 45-day review, which will inform a follow-on investigation expected to last four to six months. "The shootings at Fort Hood raise a number of troubling questions that demand complete but prompt answers," Gates said during a Pentagon briefing.

USS Chosin Rescues Three Yemeni Fishermen in the Gulf of Aden

USS Chosin (CG 65), the Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 flagship, rescued three stranded Yemeni fishermen in the Gulf of Aden Nov. 17. According to the fishermen, they were left stranded in the water after 12 suspected pirates hijacked their vessel. The fishermen also said that the pirates gave them an ultimatum to either jump overboard with only a wooden plank as a flotation device or be killed. After surviving for three days with only a few bottles of water, a passing merchant vessel spotted them in the water.

Combat Assault Battalion provides one-of-a-kind support

Combat Assault Battalion's motto says it all, "Sui Generis," which is Latin for one of a kind. CAB, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, is the only battalion-sized combat assault unit in the Marine Corps. The battalion provides 3rd MarDiv with engineers, amphibious assault vehicle support and light armored reconnaissance vehicle support as well as motor transport, heavy equipment, communications and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense Marines. "CAB provides the engineers, LARs and AAVs for the entire division," said Lt. Col.

At Least 19 Reported Dead in Pakistan Blast

Pakistani officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 19 people outside a court building in Peshawar Thursday, in the latest attack to strike the northwestern city. The bombing was the sixth in less than two weeks in and around Peshawar.  Officials say the attacker blew himself up when guards were trying to search him at the court's gate. They say three policemen were among the dead.

Media Rights Groups Call for Probe Into Shooting of VOA Reporter in Puntland

International media rights groups are expressing shock and concern over reports a journalist working for VOA's Somali Service in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland may have been deliberately shot by the police.   Tuesday's shooting of reporter Mohamed Yasin Ishaq in the Puntland-administered part of Galkayo in central Somalia has sparked alarm among international media groups already distressed by deteriorating working conditions for journalists in Somalia.

Foiled Pirate Attack Encourages Defense Officials

Defense Department officials are pleased with the Maersk Alabama's successful defense against suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. Four suspected pirates in a skiff used small-arms weapons in an attempt to board the U.S.-flagged ship, but were unsuccessful. The ship's security team responded with evasive maneuvers, acoustic devices and small-arms fire, which deterred the attack without assistance from U.S.

Operational Update, Nov. 19: Afghan-International Security Forces Detain, Kill Taliban Militants in Kandahar and Ghazni Provinces

An Afghan-international security force detained several suspected militants in northern Kandahar province Wednesday while pursuing a senior Taliban commander.
The joint security force targeted two vehicles near the village of Sahabey in Ghorak district after intelligence indicated militant activity.

44th Iraqi Army captures Baghdad Kata’ib Hezbollah member

Soldiers from the 44th Iraqi Army arrested a Kata’ib Hezbollah cell member during a joint security operation conducted in northeastern Baghdad today. Iraqi Army and U.S. advisors searched a building for and found the Kata’ib Hezbollah member, who allegedly leads a sniper and missiles group in addition to being part of a media cell that records attacks against security forces in Iraq.   Based on preliminary questioning and evidence found at the scene, 44th Iraqi Army soldiers identified and arrested the Kata’ib Hezbollah member.

EODMU 5, MSRON 7 Sharpen Rappelling Skills

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 hosted training with Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 7 at a rappelling exercise Nov.

Army North: Americans helping Americans

Two U.S. Army North leaders peered intently Nov. 7 as members of their command's Civil Support Training Activity met with leaders of the Ohio National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, which is located near Butlerville, Ind. Although Lt. Gen. Thomas Turner, the commanding general of Army North, and Command Sgt. Maj.

Recon learns lifesaving lessons

Medical awareness was an essential element to accomplishing the mission for reconnaissance Marines of Company B, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, as they scrutinized their response to improvised explosive devices during convoy training operations at K-2 Combat Town, Nov. 12.

M/V Maersk-Alabama Repels Suspected Pirate Attack

Four suspected pirates in a skiff came within 300 yards of M/V Maersk-Alabama and used small arms weapons in an attempt to board the ship. The security team embarked aboard Maersk-Alabama responded to the attack by using evasive maneuvers, Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) and small arms fire, causing the suspected pirates to break off their attack. "Due to Maersk Alabama following maritime industry's best-practices such as embarking security teams, the ship was able to prevent being successfully attacked by pirates," said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, U.S.

Rwanda Praises German Arrest of Hutu Rebel Leader

The Rwandan government is praising the arrest Tuesday of a Hutu rebel leader and his deputy who were living in Germany.

Some Niger Delta Residents Call for Troops Withdrawal

A growing number of residents of Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta are demanding the immediate withdrawal of government troops from the region following a successful amnesty and cessation of hostilities. Troops have maintained a high-profile presence in the Niger Delta despite a halt in militant attacks on oil facilities and personnel in the past four months. Soldiers can still be seen at security checkpoints.

Generals respond to insurgent attack

Wounded Afghan civilians, who were attacked by insurgents while in the Tagab market in Kapisa province yesterday, were reassured the Afghan National Army will find the insurgent responsible.
"I promise you all and the Afghan people, we (the Afghan National Army) will meet the insurgent, really soon," said General Paikan Zamaray, 3rd Brigade, 201st Afghan National Army Corps Commander, during a press conference here today. The insurgent attack took place