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A soldier from northern Virginia has been killed in a helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan. According to the Associated Press, the Pentagon says that 51-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 5 John C. Pratt of Springfield was one of two soldiers who died Saturday in Kabul from injuries sustained in the crash. Also killed was 26-year-old Capt. John "Jay" Brainard II, of Newport, Maine, who was a helicopter pilot. Officials said the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter crashed while on patrol. Authorities were investigating the cause of the crash, but initial reports indicated there was no enemy activity in the area at the time the helicopter went down. The soldiers were assigned to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade in Ansbach-Katterbach, Germany.
The U.S. is returning to its maritime roots. The words Secretary Defense Leon Panetta used at the Naval Academy graduation yesterday. He said "one of the key projects that your generation will have to face is sustaining and enhancing American strength across the great maritime region of the Pacific," There were a total of 1,099 graduates, including 877 men and 222 women. 810 were commissioned as naval officers. 267 commissioned as officers in the Marine Corps, and some as officers in the Air Force and Coast Guard.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to make the case for the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. The United States is the only major nation yet to sign the 1982 treaty. It establishes a system for resolving disputes in international waters and recognizes sovereign rights over a country's continental shelf out to 200 nautical miles.
The U.N. Security Council on Friday imposed a travel ban on five leaders of an April 12 military coup in Guinea-Bissau and threatened an arms embargo and financial sanctions if the tiny West African coastal state does not return to civilian rule. The 15-member council "demands that the Military Command takes immediate steps to restore and respect constitutional order, including a democratic electoral process, by ensuring that all soldiers return to the barracks, and that members of the 'Military Command' relinquish their positions of authority."
The U.S. military is going to give Israel an additional $70 million in the coming months for its short-range rocket shield, known as the "Iron Dome." The news came after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta met with his Israeli Ehud Barak counterpart on Thursday. So far, the United States has provided $205 million to support the Iron Dome, manufactured by Israel's state-owned Raphael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The system uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up in midair Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of 5 km (3 miles) to 70 km (45 miles), as well as mortar bombs.
Army leaders say a combat brigade will be assigned to the Pentagon's Africa Command next year in a pilot program that will send small teams of soldiers to countries around the continent to do training and participate in military exercises. The Associated Press reports, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's chief of staff, says the plan is part of a new effort to provide U.S. commanders around the globe with troops on a rotational basis to meet the military needs of their regions.
New flight restrictions on the F-22 and summoned help from Navy and NASA experts. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is backing up Air Force efforts to figure out why some F-22 pilots have experienced dizziness and other symptoms of an oxygen shortage while flying. His personal intervention signaled a new urgency. A secretary of defense typically does not get involved in a service-specific safety issue unless it is of great concern.
The Pentagon is sending military trainers back into Yemen for what it calls "routine" cooperation with Yemeni security forces. Yemen is a key battleground in the conflict with al-Qaida...A U-S military training program in Yemen was suspended last year -- after then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh was badly injured in a militant attack. The new president has requested increased U-S counter-terrorist cooperation.
A House panel has unveiled a $608 billion defense spending bill that restores some of the programs the Pentagon wanted to cut next year and provides nearly $1 billion for Israeli missile defense programs. The House Appropriations Committee released the bill on Monday that includes $519.2 billion for the fiscal 2013 base budget and $88.5 billion for the war in Afghanistan and other counterterrorism activities. That's $1.1 billion more than the current level and $3.1 billion more than President Barack Obama requested.
The Pentagon is investigating the death of an Army officer while he was chatting with his wife via Skype recently. DoD says Capt. Bruce K. Clark, 43, Spencerport, N.Y., died May 1, in Tarin Kowt, Afghanistan. The military says the circumstances of his death are not immediately available. Clark was assigned to A Company, Troop Command, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas. Clark was a nurse who grew up in Michigan. Clark's body was returned Thursday to Dover Air Force Base.