Browsing: Washington

For all their saltiness, most Marines love dogs. That statement is backed by nothing other than five years of experience covering the Marine Corps and the war in Afghanistan. Still, I’ll go out on a limb and say new photographs released by Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., will be a hit. Depicted in them is Chesty, a 9-week-old English bulldog who will soon take over as the Marine Corps mascot, serving at a variety of ceremonies and functions in the region, officials said. First, however, the puppy must attend obedience school and “recruit training.” I can only assume the drill instructors…

Congress is taking a vacation next week — on the eve of what’s been called the biggest potential fiscal disaster to hit the nation in decades, when massive, across-the-board budget cuts begin wreaking havoc on the Pentagon and all other federal agencies. Talk about whistling past the graveyard. The sequestration ax adds big drama to this particular hiatus. But it’s hardly unusual for House and Senate lawmakers; the congressional work schedule has withered on the vine for years. At this writing, there have been 32 regular “workdays” so far this year — Monday through Friday, federal holidays excluded. The House…

When in doubt, expect a child to steal the show. That eternal truth was on display again Monday at the White House, as the son of former Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha wandered on stage before his father’s Medal of Honor ceremony. The Associated Press video here captures it best: You’ve got to love the Marine captain ushering little Colin off the stage without incident. For more coverage of today’s ceremony, check out Army Times’ story.

Pentagon leaders announced last week that they were rescinding the 1994 Combat Exclusion Policy that kept women out of ground combat units, raising a host of questions about what will change for rank-and-file service members. This week, Marine Corps Times addresses many of those concerns. Our cover story is splashed across four pages inside the magazine, and includes interviews with Lt. Gen. Robert Milstead, deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett, and other senior leaders. By now, it seems safe to assume that nearly all of our readers are aware of the…

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey announced yesterday that they were lifting the 1994 Combat Exclusion Policy that bans women from serving directly in the infantry and other ground combat units. The move has been greeted with mixed reaction, with some hailing it as a victory for equal rights and others saying it will weaken the U.S. military. I’ve spent most of the last 24 hours working on a full-length cover story that will be published soon addressing what the change means for Marines. In particular, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike…

It’s now widely reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will announce today that he is lifting the Pentagon’s ban on women being assigned to combat units. A briefing will be held with the media this afternoon, with Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, taking questions from the press. Make no mistake, women have served in combat for years. They’ve earned valor awards, led convoys through hostile countryside and given their lives at times in service to our nation. Still, there’s a variety of questions that must be addressed as the Pentagon and the individual branches of…

Virtually anyone who watched the presidential inauguration Monday agreed: singer Beyonce’s performance of the national anthem was chilling. As good as it was, however, it’s now controversial. Multiple reports today suggest that she wasn’t actually singing the national anthem, but lip syncing as the U.S. Marine Band’s music played. Interestingly, it appears the Marine band itself has confirmed the lip syncing. From Washingtonian’s blog: “We don’t know why Beyoncé decided to use prerecorded music,” a spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band told us this morning. “All music [for inaugural ceremonies] is prerecorded as a matter of course, and that’s something…

Last month, President Obama nominated Gen. Lloyd Austin to succeed Gen. James Mattis as the head of U.S. Central Command. The choice and its timing immediately raised questions about Mattis’ future, particularly given his standing as one of the most revered military leaders of his generation. Mattis was typically stoic when I approached him for a response. “I’ll remain focused on my job at CENTCOM for now and figure out the rest later,” he said in an email. U.S. military officials have speculated for months that Mattis could leave his CENTCOM post by this summer and join civilian life. Now,…

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus reinforced the Navy Department’s longstanding support for fallen Sgt. Rafael Peralta receiving the Medal of Honor on Monday, creating a wave of news coverage as defense officials review new evidence in the case. The decision to give Peralta the nation’s top valor award rests with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Mabus told reporters after a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where three Marines and a sailor were honored for heroism in Afghanistan in 2010. Mabus’ support for Peralta receiving the Medal of Honor has been consistent, he said. The comments come more than eight years after Peralta,…

And so, it’s come to this. The top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, is now firmly ensnared in retired Gen. David Petraeus’ sex scandal. It’s widely reported this morning that Allen’s career is in jeopardy for “inappropriate communications” to Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite whose complaints to an FBI agent about anonymous harassing email led to the revelation that Petraeus had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Already, that’s a lot to process. Allen’s involvement in the scandal, however hazy, led to the decision to table his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday for what had been his presumed next…

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