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News stories tagged with "army"

Rep. John mcHugh meeting with soldiers at Ft. Drum.
Rep. John mcHugh meeting with soldiers at Ft. Drum.

McHugh faces questions, assurances at confirmation hearing

Congressman John McHugh took mostly polite questions in a two and a half hour hearing today to become the next Secretary of the Army. The North Country Republican gave a somber assessment of the Army. He spoke about high suicide rates and deployment stress, recruitment challenges, and the future of "don't ask, don't tell". The toughest questions came from fellow Republican, John McCain, who criticized some of McHugh's campaign contributions. Still, members of the Senate Armed Services committee promised a swift confirmation. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
John McHugh during a trip to Iraq (File photo)
John McHugh during a trip to Iraq (File photo)

McHugh's moderate path to the Obama Administration

During his years on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. John McHugh has wrestled with plenty of thorny issues, from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to Abu Ghraib. He's viewed as a moderate Republican, willing to tangle with leaders of both parties. As Army Secretary, he will also have to help sort out a controversial ban on open homosexuals serving in the military. Brian Mann has this political profile.  Go to full article
Rep. McHugh with President Obama on Tuesday at the White House
Rep. McHugh with President Obama on Tuesday at the White House

McHugh supported Bush on conduct of Iraq War, and raised questions

Congressman John McHugh will need Senate approval before taking over as Secretary of the Army. The North Country Republican has been a passionate supporter of the military during his nine terms in Washington. As Brian Mann reports, McHugh has taken nuanced -- and sometimes conflicted -- positions on defense policy.  Go to full article
Captain Phillip Esposito, who was murdered in Iraq, with daughter Madeline and wife Siobhan (Photo provided)
Captain Phillip Esposito, who was murdered in Iraq, with daughter Madeline and wife Siobhan (Photo provided)

A double homicide in Iraq slows the rise of New York top general to national post

The top soldier in New York state is facing new questions and new scrutiny following his nomination by President Obama to head the Army National Guard. Major General Joseph Taluto, who lives in Fort Ann in Washington County, had been expected to win easy confirmation by the U.S. Senate. But now the widow of one of his officers killed in Iraq says General Taluto mishandled discipline and morale during a deployment in 2005. Brian Mann reports.  Go to full article

Ft. Drum debuts buffer program

As Fort Drum continues to grow, it's using more and more of its sprawling military reservation for live-fire training. That can be a problem for civilian neighbors just outside Drum's boundaries. So the military is buying easements on land just off Fort Drum to prevent people from building more houses or businesses there. It's called the Army Compatible Use Buffer program, (ACUB). The land will be managed by the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust. Fort Drum's announcing the signing of its first three easements in Philadelphia and LeRay in Jefferson County at a ceremony tomorrow. David Sommerstein spoke with Betty Jones, Fort Drum's community planner, about the land deals.  Go to full article

Facing rising soldier suicide rate, vet groups call for more mental health help

Last week, the U.S. Army announced 2008 saw the highest soldier suicide rate on record. Now, the news is even worse. The Army believes 24 more soldiers committed suicide just last month, six times the number from January 2008. One Army official told CNN, "this is terrifying, we do not know what's going on." Inside the Army and out, experts agree back-to-back deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a devastating toll on mental health among soldiers. The Army has been trying to catch up on treating post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Tom Tarantino says it's still not enough. Tarantino is an Iraq veteran and is a policy associate for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The group was lobbying Capitol Hill last week for more mental health care for veterans. Tarantino told David Sommerstein there is still a stubborn stigma among soldiers attached with seeking help.  Go to full article

Advocate: after 7 years of war, military families need more support

America's military has been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq for seven years. The long campaign has brought new strains to soldiers and service-members. But the pressure is also growing on military families and children. Advocates are pushing for more financial support, better mental health programs, and better housing. Brian Mann was in Washington DC last week for a conference on the future of military families, hosted by National Public Radio. He spoke with Michele Joyner. She's a military spouse herself and works with the National Military Families Association.  Go to full article
First Sergeant JR Williams with her daughter Reilly's artwork Photo: Brian Mann)
First Sergeant JR Williams with her daughter Reilly's artwork Photo: Brian Mann)

Military mom says choices about children and career are closely intertwined

This week, soldiers from Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division are heading back to Iraq for another 15-month deployment. We've been talking with First Sergeant Jennifer Rebecca Williams, who goes by "JR", about the growing demands on military families. Sgt. Williams is leaving behind her husband and her 3-year-old daughter Reilly. She told Brian Mann that balancing her military career and her role as a mom is tough. And Williams says the Army could do more to support military moms.  Go to full article
Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Rebecca Wiliams, who goes by JR, with her daughter's artwork. Photos: Brian Mann
Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Rebecca Wiliams, who goes by JR, with her daughter's artwork. Photos: Brian Mann

For Fort Drum's military moms, deployment means extra duty and extra doubts

This week, soldiers from Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division are heading back to Iraq for another 15-month deployment. Their families face a tough and nerve-wracking year of separation. The challenge is especially tough for military women, some of them leaving behind very young children. Brian Mann sat down to talk about life as a military mom with Sergeant First Class Jennifer Rebecca Williams. Her own daughter, Reilly, is three years old. Sgt. Williams is deploying with the Headquarters Company of the 10th Mountain Division. She says balancing family with military duty is getting harder as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stretch on.  Go to full article
Fort Drum is replacing World War II barracks like the one above with modern dormitory-style barracks below. Photos:  Brian Mann
Fort Drum is replacing World War II barracks like the one above with modern dormitory-style barracks below. Photos: Brian Mann

Fort Bragg barracks scandal triggers inspection at Fort Drum

Fifteen months after the Pentagon faced a scandal over living conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a new controversy has erupted. Earlier this week, a video surfaced on the YouTube. It showed a squalid barracks at the Fort Bragg Army base in North Carolina. The video was posted by a soldier's father and it sparked a nation-wide review of Army housing conditions. Officials at Fort Drum, near Watertown, say they don't have unsafe barracks like those at Fort Bragg. But as Brian Mann reports, hundreds of soldiers are still living in conditions described as substandard.  Go to full article

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