Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are officially working on a new WWII-inspired series with star director, Cary Joji Fukunaga.
He is signed on to direct the first three episodes of the 10-part series. Fukunaga is also in the midst of working on the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die, which has been put off to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Masters of the Air is the name of the series, which is based on the Donald L. Miller book of the same name. It follows American bomber pilots of the U.S. Eighth Air Force who aimed to bring the fight straight to Hitler inside the borders of Nazi Germany. It’s considered to be the third installment of the Band of Brothers and The Pacific set of World War II miniseries.
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD (Aug. 8, 2022) — Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to showcase its newest conservation and preservation site August 8 at the Washington Navy Yard.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, who attended the ground-breaking ceremony two years ago, spoke at the event for the new Naval History and Research Center (NHRC).
“History shows that the Navy that adapted better, learned faster and improved faster gained warfighting advantages over the long haul,” said Gilday.
“Stories of the past help us heed the warnings of history while helping us to reflect on and sustain our legacy as the world’s premier maritime force.”
Gilday explained, “This building and the stories and artifacts within will preserve the experiences and lessons of the past; use the Navy’s legacy of valor and sacrifice to inspire current and future generations of Sailors; and let those who serve today know that their sacrifice will always be remembered, honored, and valued.”
The new site, made up of two former ordnance factories and warehouses, has now been refurbished into a single state-of-the-art, 2-floor structure that maintains the building’s national historic district status.
“The Washington Navy Yard is significant to the early history of the U.S. Navy, the development of Washington, D.C., and the nation for its role in the manufacturing of ship equipment, advances in ordnance, and naval administration,” said NHHC Director Sam Cox. “Not only will this building continue to be a historic site, but it will be dedicated to preserving all our future naval artifacts.”
NHHC and Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Washington began collaborations in 2018 to convert the two adjoining buildings. The NHRC will now house NHHC’s Navy Art Collection and Underwater Archeology Branch (UAB) of the Collection Management Division and Histories and Archives Division, including the Navy Library and Archives Branch.
These divisions have long served researchers and the public in their research and inquiries about naval history.
NHHC is entrusted to protect and present naval art, artifacts, and archeological collections to the public, and these renovations have modernized the command’s artifact protection capabilities. The upgrades also comply with mandates to create a facility that can preserve artifacts and restore pieces for future generations.
The building complies with Navy Facilities Criteria (F.C.) 4-760-10N (“Navy Museums and Historic Resource Facilities”), and the archives now meet National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Directive 1571 for archival requirements for temperature, humidity, and daylight control.
“[UAB] is thrilled to be moving into the renovated spaces,” said Kate Morrand, Director, Archaeology and Conservation Laboratory. “The archaeological collections recovered from U.S. Navy sunken and terrestrial military crafts will benefit considerably from these improved facilities and an updated curation environment. These buildings will contribute to each branch’s mission and long-term preservation of the Navy’s unique and irreplaceable cultural resources.”
Since the early 1800s, the Washington Navy Yard has been a collection point for naval artifacts and trophies. In this effort, the two buildings were converted from munitions storage facilities where they will house artifacts for years to come.
“One building was built in the 1850s and the other in the late 1800s,” said Gregory Rismiller, NHHC’s facilities program manager. “Although the buildings had renovations throughout the years, they were never built to store, preserve, or conserve our artifacts. So these artifacts were in danger of disintegrating.”
Building 46 was originally constructed in 1851-52 as a Copper Rolling Mill and was enlarged in 1899 to function as a Cartridge Case Factory. It is significant for its architectural qualities as a critical component of the integrated industrial system at the Navy Yard and its role in producing ordnance for the Naval Gun Factory. Building 67 was constructed from 1899 to 1917 as a series of additions to Building 46.
NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for preserving, analyzing, and disseminating U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC comprises many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, 10 museums, the USS Constitution repair facility, and the historic ship Nautilus.
When the inaugural issue of U.S. Veterans Magazine hit the stands — and the internet — Gary Sinise was on the cover.
He’s back, and for good reason.
Sinise, best known as Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, has devoted his life to serving veterans.
What’s the author of the New York Times best-selling Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service have to say 10 years down the road?
“I’ve been honored to be featured, and it’s an honor and a pleasure to be featured again,” he said. “I did not serve. One way I can serve is by shining a light on those who do serve. U.S. Veterans Magazine does that.”
The 67-year-old husband and father of three has been busy for the past couple of years. He continues supporting veterans through the Gary Sinise Foundation, and the Illinois native moved from California to Nashville, Tenn.
“I was looking for a change, and there are so many veterans groups from that part of the country,” he said, adding that his foundation — which supports veterans and their families by building homes for wounded warriors (as part of its R.I.S.E. program), hosting day-long festivals at military medical bases and serving meals to deploying troops — is in its 11th year. “We’re poised and positive to do so much of service to the men and women of our military.”
He said he’s looking forward to Veterans Day and a salute to veterans ceremony at the National World War II museum in New Orleans, La. That week, he’ll be giving away another house to a wounded veteran, as well.
When Forrest Gump first played in theaters in 1994, Lt. Dan — Gump’s no-nonsense platoon leader in Vietnam — resonated with veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam. One oft-cited scene, which critics have called a classic in American film, involves Lt. Dan climbing to the top of the mast on Gump’s shrimping boat during a lashing storm, shaking his fist and hollering at God.
“Never once did he think that either one was going to happen, that he was going to lose his legs and also suffer PTSD and tremendous guilt,” Sinise said. “This is not an uncommon thing, and then he isolates, drowning himself in alcohol and drugs.
“That scene is an absolute metaphor for wrestling those demons… That was the story of many Vietnam veterans.
“And he wins. It’s the story of a Vietnam vet that we hadn’t seen before.”
After the storm, Lt. Dan is seen floating on his back in the calm waters of Bayou La Batre. Later, at Gump’s wedding, he shows up with what Gump calls “magic legs.” Lt. Dan has received prosthetics. He is newly married and clearly sober and happy.
Sinise, a rock and roller from the Chicago area (he’s a lifelong Bears and Cubs fan), didn’t anticipate the attention that would come his way.
But it did, and quickly.
It was a pivot point in Sinise’s life. He said he was so deeply moved that he felt compelled to turn his emotions into action.
Around the turn of the new century, that’s what he did. One strategy he employed was to introduce himself as Lt. Dan when trying to make inroads with organizations.
“They’d patch me right through,” he joked in an earlier interview.
In time, the bass player formed the Lt. Dan Band, which has put on more than 500 concerts for veterans who get to revel for a few hours in the 13-member group’s covers of Adele, Stevie Wonder, Bruno Mars, Charlie Daniels and others.
Said one Marine, who asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons: “Upon returning from my first tour in Afghanistan, the loss of more brothers than I’d like to remember was taking its toll. I saw a poster that the Lt. Dan Band was performing in my area and decided to attend. I like to believe that one show kept me from doing the unthinkable. Thank you for all you do.”
Sinise’s work on behalf of the military is described in detail in Grateful American, which includes, Sinise said, “hilarious things about my childhood.”
Mostly, it’s about his transformation.
“The book continues to sell three years later,” he said. “It’s an interesting journey from self to service.”
None other than Clint Eastwood said about the 254-pager: “The book is called Grateful American, and I promise you after you read it, you will be grateful for what Gary has accomplished and contributed to our country.”
Forrest Gump won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Zemeckis) and Best Actor (Tom Hanks). Hanks and Sinise went on to team up in two other classics, Apollo 13 and The Green Mile.
“We hit it off,” Sinise said.
Hanks has joined Sinise on several occasions in efforts to benefit veterans.
“Tom’s been a good supporter of mine and what I’m trying to do,” Sinise said.
Sinise has also starred in Of Mice and Men (which he directed), Reindeer Games, Snake Eyes, Ransom, Mission to Mars, The Stand and Impostor.
In 2004, he began his first regular television series with the crime drama CSI: New York, in which he played Detective Mac Taylor. He was credited as a producer from season two onward and wrote the storyline of an episode.
In 2008, he was the narrator for the Discovery Channel’s miniseries, When We Left Earth.
Sinise was the executive producer — along with David Scantling — of the Iraq War documentary Brothers at War. The film features an American military family and the experiences of three brothers.
In 2009, Sinise narrated the highly acclaimed World War II in HD on the History Channel. In 2010, he narrated the World War II documentary, Missions That Changed the War on the Military Channel.
He has been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and with the Presidential Citizen Medal — given to him by President George W. Bush for helping the military and Iraqi children.
But for all his fame and accolades, Sinise is that rare celebrity whose off-screen work might turn out to be his greatest legacy.
His foundation faced a major challenge when the United States withdrew from Afghanistan in 2021, ending the longest war in American history.
“That was a tragic withdrawal,” he said. “To watch the Taliban raise their flag was difficult for our military members to watch… We found ourselves reaching out to a lot of Afghanistan veterans and letting them know they have our support.”
The impact of Sinise’s foundation (garysinisefoundation.org) on the lives of veterans, first responders and their families is evident in the math.
To date, the foundation has built, modified or retrofitted 77 homes for severely-wounded heroes, dished out 771,144 meals to the nation’s defenders, donated 12,020 pieces of essential equipment to the military and first responders and provided supportive experiences and resources to 11,181 children of fallen servicemen and women.
“It is upon us to give back to our heroes to ensure they have the tools and resources to deal with their physical and invisible wounds,” he said. “It’s up to us to give them comfort. To give them support. To give them hope. I believe while we can never do enough for our nation’s defenders and the families who sacrifice alongside them, we can always do a little more.”
Since relocating to the former Fort McPherson Army base in Atlanta in 2015, Tyler Perry Studios has become an even-greater force in the entertainment and commercial production industry, promising enormous employment potential for military veterans in Georgia.
“Cooperation with this powerful studio at the center of Atlanta’s burgeoning place in motion picture, television and commercial production is huge for Vets2Set and provokes us to launch a major recruiting effort in the South,” reports David Cohen, president and co-founder of Vets2Set. “When employers enrolled in our organization search our database to staff a production, we want them to find production assistants matching their every need from Covid Compliance Officers to disciplined and well-trained veterans familiar with electronics, flying drones, driving trucks, security and construction, among other skills. The majority of our veterans live in New York and California, but the opportunities in the South are tremendous now thanks to Tyler Perry.”
Cohen hopes to recruit new candidates in the Atlanta area in part through cooperation with Vetlanta, an organization providing veterans with business networking services.
Chief Operating Officer of Tyler Perry Studios, Robert Boyd II and President of Original Programming, Angi Bones, spoke with Cohen to discuss how Vets2Set operates and within a few days, the studio was signed up and ready to hire.
Tyler Perry Studios occupies 330 acres in the city of Atlanta, offering 12 state-of-the-art sound studios and a large backlot with prepared sets for a baseball field, farmhouse, prison yard, bank and the White House, among others. Creative options are endless, and the opportunity for career development for veterans is extensive. Cooperation with Vets2Set is a logical extension of Tyler Perry’s commitments and successes as a writer, actor, producer, director and philanthropist. Tyler Perry Studios joins more than 200 other employers working with Vets2Set to launch military veterans in civilian careers in production. Other cooperating producers include Walt Disney Television, Warner Brothers, MLB Network, NBCUniversal, RSA Films, Shutterstock Studios and advertising agencies, including BBDO Atlanta.
When staffing a shoot, cooperating producers have access to the contact details and skills profiles of hundreds of military veterans around the country. The Vets2Set database can be searched by zip code, state, city and skills. Producers then hire military veterans to fill already budgeted positions the same way they would hire any other production assistants. The contact between employer and veteran is direct. As a not-for-profit organization, Vets2Set takes no fees for developing and promoting use of its database but rather runs entirely on volunteer labor and donations from corporate sponsors and private donors.
Military veterans and media employers can enroll in this veteran employment program at vets2set.org. For further information contact email@example.com.
More than 35 years since his career in the U.S. Marine Corps began, Lt. Gen. Michael Langley could reach one of the highest ranks of the military.
Langley faces a confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. If confirmed by the Senate, Langley will become the first Black four-star general in the Marines’ 246-year history. He will lead all U.S. military forces in Africa as chief of U.S. Africa Command.
He assumed command of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa last year, “after his predecessor was removed amid allegations of using a racial slur for African Americans in front of troops,” according to Stars and Stripes.
He also holds multiple advanced degrees, including masters in National Security Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
As of last year, Langley was one of only six Black generals in the Marines, Stars and Stripes reported.
Diversity in the military has been a long-standing issue, and one some leaders have been attempting to address in recent years.
Lee, a native of Mounds View, Minnesota, will join the ranks of countless other women who have served in other capacities with the Blue Angels for the last 55 years, the Navy said in a press release. She will serve the Blue Angels alongside three other women currently on the team serving as a flight surgeon, public affairs officer and event coordinator.
Lee, who is currently assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106, also has another notable first attached to her resume. She participated in the first all-female flyover in 2019 as part of the funeral service for retired Capt. Rosemary Mariner, the first woman to command a naval aviation squadron.
“When I come into the ready room right now, I’m a pilot first, a person second, and my gender really isn’t an issue,” Lee said in a Navy press release at the time. “It’s people like Capt. Mariner that have paved that way for us, so it’s really a huge honor.
I’m super humbled to be a part of this flyover in her honor.”
Navy and Marine jet pilots with an aircraft carrier qualification and a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours are eligible to fly jets Number 2 through 7, while Number 8 is reserved for a naval flight officer or naval aviator who has finished their first tour.
Marine pilots selected to fly the C-130J Hercules aircraft, affectionately called “Fat Albert,” must be an aircraft commander with at least 1,200 flight hours. There are currently 17 officers serving with the Blue Angels, according to the team’s website.
ESPN presented the Pat Tillman Award for Service to Gretchen Evans during The 2022 ESPYS presented by Capital One on July 20 on ABC.
Author, athlete, and retired Army Command Sergeant Major Gretchen Evans was honored with the Pat Tillman Award for Service presented by MassMutual at The 2022 ESPYS, which aired live on Wednesday, July 20 on ABC. The award is given to an individual with a strong connection to sports who has served others in a way that echoes the legacy of the former NFL player and U.S. Army Ranger.
Evans is a highly decorated veteran. After suffering a life-altering injury while serving in the Army, Evans founded Team UNBROKEN, an adaptive racing team of mostly veterans who have experienced life-altering injuries, illness, or traumas to compete in World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji. The non-stop, multi-day expedition competition sees teams traverse mountains, jungles and seas. The team’s creation grew out of Evans’ involvement with a number of veteran advocacy groups where she mentored and coached fellow veterans with stories that echo her own extraordinary path.
“Members of Team Unbroken have had numerous doors shut in their faces and have been told they could not participate in certain activities,” said Evans. “People saw us as broken due to our injuries, but we are not broken, we are UNBROKEN. We set out to be an example of inspiration and hope for the mixed-ability community. It is an honor to accept the Pat Tillman Award for Service, and I can only hope that this serves as an inspiration for others. We believe that disabilities do not define who you are or what you can accomplish. If members of our team can compete in the ‘World’s Toughest Race,’ other individuals with traumatic brain injuries, who are deaf, live with Type 1 diabetes, or face some other challenge of body, mind or spirit can overcome obstacles and achieve their own goals and dreams in their lives.”
After joining the Army in 1979 to help pay for her education, Evans quickly realized, as she says, military life was her calling. During her 27 years of service she worked her way up to Command Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned officer rank in the military. In 2006, she was deployed in Afghanistan when she was severely injured by a rocket blast, landing her in an Army hospital in Germany. When she awoke, Evans learned that she had suffered total hearing loss and a traumatic brain injury, which would end her military career. In the months to come, suffering from severe depression and PTSD, Evans struggled to find her footing, but then found a path forward through mentoring and competition.
Evans has since become a nationally known motivational speaker, and been inducted into the U.S. Army Women’s Hall of Fame and U.S. Veteran Hall of Fame – all on top of a military career that saw her win numerous medals and awards from the Bronze Star to a Presidential Unit Citation Medal, several Global War on Terrorism ribbons, and six Meritorious Service Medals.
“Gretchen Evans incurred life-changing injuries that ended her storied military career, but found strength to overcome through the help of No Barriers,” said Marie Tillman, board chair and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation. “Since leaving the Army, Gretchen serves on the boards of several veterans’ and educational organizations, fundraises for MaineVet2Vet, shares her story through motivational speaking engagements through Women Veterans Speak, and authored Leading from the Front. Gretchen’s commitment to serving after service mirrors the mission of the Pat Tillman Foundation as well as Pat’s example of leadership and passion for serving others.”
The Pat Tillman Award for Service was established in 2014 to honor Tillman’s life and legacy. Evans was presented with the award during The 2022 ESPYS in conjunction with the Pat Tillman Foundation, which unites and empowers veterans and military spouses as the next generation of leaders. Past honorees include U.S. Paralympic gold medal sled hockey player and Purple Heart recipient Josh Sweeney (2014), and former Notre Dame basketball player, Iraq war veteran and Purple Heart recipient Danielle Green (2015), U.S. Army Sgt. and Invictus Games gold medalist Elizabeth Marks (2016), and Purple Heart recipient and Invictus Games gold medalist Israel Del Toro (2017), Navy-Marine Commendation Medal recipient, Sergeant and founder of Team Rubicon Jake Wood (2018), former Marine and founder of the Kristie Ennis Foundation Kristie Ennis (2019), healthcare worker and boxing champion Kim Clavel (2020), and Manchester United football player Marcus Rashford (2021).
The ESPYS help to raise awareness and funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the charity founded by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano at the first ESPYS back in 1993. ESPN has helped raise more than $165 million for the V Foundation over the past 29 years. The ESPYS are co-produced by Full Day Productions.
ABOUT THE PAT TILLMAN FOUNDATION The Pat Tillman Foundation identifies remarkable veterans and military spouses as the next generation of leaders and helps them scale their impact as they enter their next chapter of service beyond self through academic scholarships, lifelong leadership development, and a global community of peers and supporters. For more information on the Pat Tillman Foundation and the impact of the Tillman Scholars, visit pattillmanfoundation.org.
Miles Teller did a deep dive into war and its consequences in the 2017 movie, Thank You for Your Service. However, his most recent project: facing the challenges of Tom Cruise’s bootcamp, including grueling physical workouts, flying in F-18 Super Hornets and withstanding G-force? A different animal.
Teller, 35, plays Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw in Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. Top Gun: Maverick centers on Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell with 30-plus years of service. Maverick is put in charge of training a group of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission under the orders of his fellow naval aviator, friend and former rival, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer), who is the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Rooster, the son of Maverick’s late best friend “Goose,” is one of the trainees.
The film stars Cruise, Teller, Jon Hamm and Jennifer Connelly, among others. “Good morning, aviators,” Teller tweeted on March 29, along with the film’s trailer.
Cruise might be 36 years older than when he jetted across big screens in the original Top Gun, but he’s as driven as ever, according to Teller and other costars.
Teller told reporters he was transformed into a “mini-Tom.” “You’re not just going into the gym and lifting some weights,” Teller told reporters. “We did flight training for three months before we started filming… We got put through the wringer.”
Teller is uniquely driven in his own way, due in part to the near miracle that he’s alive.
In 2007, the then-20-year-old was in a car crash — as a passenger — that hurtled him through a window and onto a road. The experience has not stopped the star from pursuing his passions with V-8 force. In that way, he’s not unlike his film father Goose, who in the original film responded to Maverick’s “I feel the need” with the now iconic phrase, “The need for speed!”
Managing the care and services for a family member with special needs is more manageable with the right support. The goal of the Exceptional Family Member Program is to help your military family with special needs thrive in military life. EFMP is more than just one program or connection point. It’s the work of three components: identification and enrollment, assignment coordination and family support. The resources, tools and services that are available to support your journey are organized as part of the EFMP Resources, Options and Consultations or EFMP ROC.
If your spouse, child or other dependent family member is in need of ongoing medical or educational services, your first step is to enroll them in the Exceptional Family Member Program. Enrollment is mandatory but once enrolled, you will have access to the services, support and information you need to become your family’s best advocate.
Each branch of service has its own mission and history with EFMP. However, there has been a focus over the past several years on creating more standardization across services to make it easier for families to find what they need, when they need it. We can minimize misperceptions and increase satisfaction by helping families understand how the system works and what to expect.
What is EFMP?
The EFMP is a Department of Defense program implemented by all service branches. The EFMP has three components all working together.
Identification and Enrollment is the point of entry into the EFMP. Enrollment in the EFMP is mandatory for active-duty military members who meet enrollment criteria. When a family member is identified with special medical or educational needs, those needs are documented through enrollment. Members of the National Guard or reserve may enroll according to service-specific guidance.
Assignment Coordination ensures the family’s special needs are considered during the assignment process. The EFMP makes every effort to help keep families together and support the service member’s career. The final decision for duty station selection will always be determined based on mission need.
Family Support enables the family to become its own best advocate by helping them identify and connect with resources, expert consultations, education and community support. EFMP Family Support provides in person support as well as virtual self-service support through online information and resources available on Military OneSource and through Military OneSource EFMP ROC specialty consultations.
Ways EFMP can help your service member’s family
Each installation has an EFMP Family Support office staffed with providers who can help your service member and their family in the following ways:
Find and tap into community resources, services and programs that will meet their needs.
Provide information and referrals and help your service member’s family develop a family services plan.
Offer training and other support to help your service member’s family be their own best advocate.
Provide a warm hand-off to EFMP Family Support at the next installation when your service member PCSs.
Tools and resources for families with special needs
EFMP and offers a number of tools and resources to support military families with special needs. Your service member and their family can tap into these to stay in the know and connect with the services they need.
EFMP resources, options and consultations provides enhanced support by phone or video. Special needs consultants can connect your service member and their family with experts in education, the military health care system and TRICARE, special needs financial planning, and more.
EFMP & Me is an online tool that allows your service member and their family to navigate services for military families with special needs, create customized checklists and stay organized.
The Exceptional Advocate is a quarterly e-newsletter that focuses on updates and information from the Exceptional Family Member Program.
The EFMP & Me podcast series covers all things EFMP and other topics of interest to military families with special needs, like caregiving, legal and long-term financial planning, PCSing with a family member with special needs and more.
Everything is easier when you have a network of support. EFMP can help your service member pull together the information, services and resources that will allow their family to thrive.
The Senate on Thursday passed historic legislation that would help millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service.
A wide bipartisan majority approved the long-awaited bill by a vote of 84-14. It will now go to the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to move quickly and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. The bill is an amended version of the Honoring Our PACT Act that passed the House earlier this year.
“Today is a historic, long awaited day for our nation’s veterans,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a floor speech on Thursday ahead of the vote. “In a few moments, the Senate is finally going to pass the PACT Act, the most significant expansion of health care benefits to our veterans in generations.”
Schumer continued, “The callousness of forcing veterans who got sick as they were fighting for us because of exposure to these toxins to have to fight for years in the VA to get the benefits they deserved — Well, that will soon be over. Praise God.”
Burn pits were commonly used to burn waste, including everyday trash, munitions, hazardous material and chemical compounds at military sites throughout Iraq and Afghanistan until about 2010.
A 2020 member survey by the advocacy organization Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America found that 86% of respondents were exposed to burn pits or other toxins. The VA has denied approximately 70% of veterans’ burn pit claims since 9/11, according to previous statements by Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican and ranking GOP member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The legislation is years in the making, and, once signed into law, would amount to a major bipartisan victory.
President Joe Biden on Thursday nominated Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley to lead U.S. forces in Africa, teeing him up to become the first Black four-star Marine Corps general.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the president’s decision to nominate Langley as head of AFRICOM. Langley currently heads Marine Forces Command and Marine Forces Northern Command and is the commanding general of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia.
Langley has served in Afghanistan, Somalia and Okinawa. He also has worked at the Pentagon and CENTCOM, which oversees US forces in the Middle East. Should the Senate confirm Langley, he will replace Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, who has led AFRICOM since July 2019. AFRICOM oversees U.S. troops dispersed throughout Africa, including in conflicts zones such as Somalia, where Biden recently reinstated troops to expedite airstrikes for counterterrorism operations. The command is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany.
Former President Donald Trump’s administration briefly sought to scale down the U.S. troop presence in Africa while merging AFRICOM with European Command (EUCOM), which is also based in Stuttgart. However, the plan stalled amid strong bipartisan rebuke in Congress.
The New York Times first reported last month that Langley would receive the nomination, and quoted former Defense Secretary James Mattis — himself a former four-star Marine general — effusively praising him.