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Today is spouse appreciation day for the military. Since 1984, the Armed Forces have set aside a special day to acknowledge the significant contributions of military spouses. The day is designed to acknowledge the unique challenges that face military families and spouses. Whether here stateside or thousands of miles away, the members of the military are well aware that the hardships that many of the face would be much greater if weren't for the spouse.
War games next month for the Missile Defense Agency. The game --simulate a missile attack from Iran. The Pentagon says the agency will use its newest missile-killing technology. The test reportedly will involve a fake intercontinental ballistic missile launch from Iran. The fake missile will actually take off from the Missile Defense Agency's launch facility in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, while the interceptor will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The pen can be a weapon --especially for members of the military who want to vote but find themselves far away from their hometown polls. The Department of Defense says it's making improvements to make it easier for service members and their families to register to vote when they move to a new base. The policy change means service members are to be offered voter registration materials and assistance whenever they are deployed or transferred between bases.
The medical examiner says an autopsy on the man who opened fire at the Pentagon nearly two weeks ago died from gunshot wounds to his head and arm. Thirty-six-year-old John Patrick Bedell approached a Pentagon security checkpoint on March 4 and started shooting. Three officers returned fire fatally wounding Bedell, who had a history of mental illness. Internet material reportedly posted by Bedell indicated he may have been upset about the suicide of a U.S. military officer that he felt was really a murder.
State media complained bitterly about the a $6.4 billion dollar military package for Taiwan. The Chinese say the sale will complicate U.S./Sino relations. China claims Taiwan is it's own, but the 14 thousand sq mile Island of 23 million people says it has no master. China is threatening sanctions against U.S. companies, but for the U.S. those threat pale by comparison against an even bigger threat --a military showdown between the U.S. and China over Taiwan.
Medical source information suggests that Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan, who was shot after opening fire at Ft.Hood in Killeen, Texas on Thursday, is a psychiatrist who worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington until leaving for Ft. Hood. According to the Virginia Board of Medicine, he finished his residency at Walter Reed in 2007 and then did a Fellowship in "Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry" in 2009. He has a number of board certifications. Texas Senator Kay bailey Hutchinson says she was told Hasan was upset about being deployed to Iraq and the military has released a statement saying they're not sure about the motive, but they don't believe political terrorism was involved.
Iraq's government said at least 85,000 people were killed from 2004 to 2008, officially answering one of the biggest questions of the conflict - how many perished in the sectarian violence that nearly led to a civil war. The Associate Press reports that what remains unanswered is how many died in the 2003 U.S. invasion and in the months of chaos that followed it. A report by the Human Rights Ministry said 85,694 people were killed from the beginning of 2004 to Oct. 31, 2008 and 147,195 were wounded. The figures included Iraqi civilians, military and police but did not cover U.S. military deaths, insurgents, or foreigners, including contractors. And it did not include the first months of the war after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Military retirees will pay slightly more for their health care starting Saturday, and more cost increases are on the way.
Two days after repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy against gays serving openly in the military, the Obama administration was in court Thursday opposing a lawsuit seeking full severance pay for those dismissed under the law.