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Ospreys Make Debut in Thailand, Prepare for Cobra Gold 2013

Video by III Marine Expeditionary Force

REPUBLICANS CAVE, HAGEL CONFIRMED

71-27 Vote Kills Filibuster
By Harold Hutchison

Former Senator Chuck Hagel was confirmed by the United States Senate after a Republican filibuster was broken. The 71-27 cloture vote removed the only obstacle to Hagel’s confirmation, which became very rocky after the former Senator badly stumbled during his confirmation hearings.

Of the 41 no votes for confirmation, at least 14 voted for cloture. Had those who voted no on the nomination held firm in the filibuster, Hagel’s nomination would have failed.

USS FREEDOM TO DEPLOY AGAIN

First Littoral Combat Ship to Make Second Deployment
By Harold Hutchison

USS Freedom is slated to make a second deployment later this year, the U.S. Navy announced. The littoral combat ship’s first deployment in 2010 was highlighted by four drug busts.

The second deployment is slated to occur around Singapore. The vessel will be taking part in multi-national exercises and exhibitions. Despite a successful initial deployment, some teething problems have occurred with the ship, including cracks.

WHILE OBAMA SLASHES OUR MILITARY…

…Our Enemies Build Theirs Up
By Harold Hutchison

AN ALARMING REPORT
Recent news about the effects of the sequester have been damning: One carrier’s deployment has been delayed, and another carrier’s overhaul is on hold. The Army and Air Force are making their own cutbacks, and the term “hollow force” is becoming a topic of conversation again.

NEW POLICY PUTS WOMEN UNDER FIRE

What Will It Mean for the Troops?
By Harold Hutchison

A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT
On 24 January, 2013, outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat down at a press conference to announce a major change in the Department of Defense’s policy on women in combat. Women would now be allowed to serve in direct ground combat units.

AIR FORCE RELEASES MEDAL CRITERIA

Distinguished Warfare Medal Requirements Set Forth
By Harold Hutchison

The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced on 15 February will be awarded to Airmen for actions not involving valor that still have a significant impact on combat operations, according to Air Force officials who spoke about the criteria being set to earn the new medal.

CIVIL WAR SAILORS TO BE INTERRED

Casualties from USS Monitor Sinking
By Harold Hutchison

The Department of the Navy announced that members of the public are invited to attend the interment of two crewmen recovered from the wreck of USS Monitor. The sailors were killed when the vessel sank on 31 December, 1862.

SOLDIER RECOGNIZED FOR HEROISM

Rapid Response Earns Soldier’s Medal
By Harold Hutchison

Staff Sgt. Tyrone A. Mitchell was running an errand on 20 May, 2012 when he came across an overturned vehicle. A surrounding haze lead to the belief that there might be a possible fire. But he did not hesitate.

Making his way to the vehicle, Mitchell broke open the rear window, got into the car, and then pulled the unconscious driver to safety. Emergency personnel arrived to treat the injured driver. SSG Mitchell also suffered lacerations while carrying out the rescue.

31st MEU Learns Jungle Survival From Thai Marines

Video by 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

DOD PREPARING FOR FURLOUGHS

Notification Sent to Congress
By Harold Hutchison

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has sent notice to Congress that DOD will be furloughing civilian employees should sequestration pass.

“In the event of sequestration, we will do everything we can to be able to continue to perform our core mission of providing for the security of the United States,” Panetta wrote in a memo to Congress, “but there is no mistaking that the rigid nature of the cuts forced upon this department, and their scale, will result in a serious erosion of readiness across the force.”

A NEW MEDAL FOR NEW TIMES

We Need the Distinguished Warfare Medal
By Harold Hutchison

A NEW MEDAL STIRS THE POT
It is the year 2025 – America is at war with China due to treaty commitments to Japan and the Philippines. On the opening day of the war, an Air Force Technical Sergeant working at the National Security Agency is able to halt a Chinese cyber-attack targeting the Ground-Based Interceptors based in California and Alaska. As a result, China’s effort to wipe out the Pacific Fleet’s carriers in San Diego with an ICBM strike is halted.

31st MEU Executes Boat Raid with Thai Marines

Video by 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

COBRA GOLD GETS STARTED

Annual Exercise Kicks Off in Thailand
By Harold Hutchison

The 32nd iteration of Operation Cobra Gold 2013 has begun in Thailand. The joint exercise in Southeast Asia kicked off with 15 nations participating.

CARRIERS RECEIVE BATTLE “E”

Two Carriers Receive Honor
By Harold Hutchison

The United States Navy awarded two carriers the Battle “E” award. USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) were recognized for their service over the last year.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower received its award after a year in which it carried out a six-month deployment to the Fifth Fleet, during which it supported Operation Enduring Freedom. The carrier’s awards in 2012 also included a dozen departmental efficiency awards.

HAGEL FACES FILIBUSTER

GOP May Have 41 Votes to Block Nomination
By Harold Hutchison

Former Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination may not have enough votes to defeat a filibuster by Senate Republicans, Senator David Vitter said. The nomination is the first of a Defense Secretary to be filibustered in history. In 1989, the nomination of Senator John Tower was defeated.