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Thursday, January 4, 2018

#Veterans Military

#Veterans Military


The Marine Corps Is Ending The ‘Assaultman’ Infantry MOS. Here’s Why

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 02:07 PM PST

In the last year, the Marines have seen a lot of changes: the graduation of the Corps' first female infantry officer; the addition of a fourth phase to boot camp; the service's first supply of M320 grenade launchers; and news that the M27 will likely replace the M4 as the infantryman's go-to rifle. Just three days into 2018, there's more:

So long, assaultmen.

The Marine Corps plans to do away with the 0351 military occupational specialty — infantry assaultman — and phase out assault sections within rifle companies, Military.com's Hope Hodge Seck reported today. The change is part of an effort to free up manpower for Marines to join other job fields.

Beginning in October, the Marine Corps "will no longer be producing 0351s" at either of its Schools of Infantry, Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesman for the Marine Corps Training and Education Command, told Task & Purpose.

Assaultmen are tasked with tankbusting and breaching, which often means schlepping demolition charges, a 20-plus-pound Mk 153 Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW), and its 16-pound rocket across the battlezone. But nowadays "There's no armor in Iraq and Afghanistan, so our original purpose just isn't there," Rylan McCollum, a former Marine assaultman who served with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines — first in Garmsir, Afghanistan, in 2008 and then in Marjah in 2010 — told Task & Purpose.

That dwindling niche role has made assaultmen something of a mystery to their fellow Marines. "I would say probably 99% of Marines don't know what assaultmen are until they get to SOI," McCollum said. "Nobody enlists as assaultmen. That's not a thing you dream about as a kid."

U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Sarah Fiocco

Marines with Weapons Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, fire a Shoulder-Launched, Multipurpose Assault Weapon as part of a movement-to-contact training evolution during Exercise Koolendong, Australia, Sept. 3, 2013.

While grunts may be losing a job field centered around slinging rockets at enemy fortifications and armor, the Marine Corps won't be losing that capability, Military.com reports. Future rifle companies will have a contingent of combat engineers attached to handle breaching and demolition — and they'll also be packing SMAWs, until the Corps replaces the weapon system with the more versatile Carl Gustaf 84mm recoilless rifle.

As for the assaultman currently serving, they'll likely be shuffled to another infantry field — something scores of 0351s have already been doing for years.

"I was essentially a reclassed rifleman who happened to carry around a fancier version of the AT4 that I never got to shoot," McCollum said.

Though Marine infantrymen have traditionally been sorted into five core specialties — rifleman, machine gunner, mortarman, assaultman, and anti-tank guided missileman — the first few weeks of SOI training are the same across the board for all enlisted Marines in the 0300 field. Given the fast tempo at the nine-week Infantry Training Battalion course — and the overlap in training — assaultmen can learn the job of a machine gunner or rifleman with relative ease once they get to the fleet and begin prepping for a deployment.

Flexibility, of course, has always been an 0351's job requirement. "We got turned into a mobile truck platoon," Ian Miller, a former assaultman with 1/6 who did two downrange deployments, told Task & Purpose. "I was a .50 cal gunner for the first half, then when we pushed Kajaki, I got turned into a dismount, and I was involved in some of those firefights as an assaultman. But I never had a chance to fire my SMAW when I could have just used my rifle."

The odd-job reputation of assaultmen — spend X months during pre deployment training on Y, then 7 months overseas doing Z — has been lampooned by members of the field for years, serving as fodder for disgruntled smoke pit sessions by 0351s who saw their mission being handed off to Marines in other specialties.

Related: The M320 Grenade Launcher Is Finally In The Marines' Hands »

"I don't know if it was just underutilized at the time, or if it was systemic of the Marine Corps, but we didn't do that job at all," McCollum said. "We were trained at a very high standard at SOI, and then never utilized. And part of it was probably like, 'Oh, we have engineers, and that's part of their job.'"

The Marine Corps has been keen to ramp up its force size, shooting for a 12,000-troop increase this year — though the actual numbers, even with a boost from the 2018 defense budget, are closer to just 4,000, Military.com reports.

That's where decisions like dissolving the 0351 field come in. By closing the MOS, the Marines can free up some 500 assaultmen for other infantry billets — and that means the service can focus on recruiting more Marines for MOS fields that take years of training, like cyber, intelligence, aviation, and ground vehicle maintenance.

The change is expected go into effect between 2021 and 2023. The Marine Commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, confirmed the plan to Military.com in December: “It’s part of the calculus on anything you do, is how hard is it to bring it back if you cadre it."

However, for those grunts who spent their dwell-time stateside prepping breaching charges or lugging rockets over uneven terrain in deserts abroad, the news that their career field will be closing its doors — at least temporarily — brings some understandable angst.

"That's all well and fine, get rid of the MOS — but then you're getting rid of all that grandfathered knowledge, learning, and experience," McCollum told Task & Purpose.

"Sure, I didn't do my job-specific thing very often, but I bet you could look back and see how many days mortarmen used their weapons," Miller said. "I  think it's kind of short-sighted to say, 'Assault doesn't do their job, so it's not useful.'"

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The post The Marine Corps Is Ending The 'Assaultman' Infantry MOS. Here's Why appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Should Presidents Be Required To Physically Murder An Aide In Order To Launch Nukes?

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 12:57 PM PST

So I got to thinking last night, as I do every couple of years: What if, in order to access the codes he needs to authenticate his identity and order a launch of nuclear missiles, the president of the United States of America had to personally kill a man with a meat cleaver?

No, seriously, this is a possibility that the military has considered before. Bear with me.

Pretty much ever since North Korea became a nuclear power in 2005, started underground testing, and crowned a new, squat dictator, Americans have lived again with a once-quaint Cold War idea: Unprecedented nuclear devastation could begin whenever an unpredictable, undeterrable rogue world leader wanted it. And that was before last night, when President Donald Trump tweeted his now-notorious boast to Kim Jong Un about the size of the presidential, uh, nuclear button.

Trump being Trump and Twitter being Twitter, that tweet sent pundits — professional and armchair alike — into frantic swoons about brinkmanship and U.S. nuclear command authority. They have a point: America is the most powerful (and powerfully armed) nation in human history, and in this interconnected society of 320 million citizens, built over a quarter-millennium of constitutional rule, we invest the power to literally blow up civilization in a single human: namely, whichever dark-suited, heavily bankrolled character wins the most purplish states in an election every four years.

That flurry of media angst sent me back to an old idea I'd first learned about in a grad-school study of nuclear strategy, put forward in a 1981 speech by arms negotiator Roger Fisher, reprinted that year in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Fisher, who'd crewed a B-17 bomber in World War II and later advised NATO military officers on strategic decision-making, was no wilting flower when it came to war — but he feared leaders who seemed aloof to war's costs. So he floated "an early arms control proposal" to counter what he called "the problem of distancing" that a president might have when considering the nuclear option:

There is a young man, probably a Navy officer, who accompanies the President. This young man has a black attaché case which contains the codes that are needed to fire nuclear weapons. I could see the President at a staff meeting considering nuclear war as an abstract question. He might conclude: "On SIOP Plan One, the decision is affirmative, Communicate the Alpha line XYZ." Such jargon holds what is involved at a distance.

My suggestion was quite simple: Put that needed code number in a little capsule, and then implant that capsule right next to the heart of a volunteer. The volunteer would carry with him a big, heavy butcher knife as he accompanied the President. If ever the President wanted to fire nuclear weapons, the only way he could do so would be for him first, with his own hands, to kill one human being. The President says, "George, I'm sorry but tens of millions must die." He has to look at someone and realize what death is—what an innocent death is. Blood on the White House carpet. It's reality brought home.

It may sound bizarre as hell, but this idea bubbles up in the national conversation every couple of years, whenever someone starts talking about using nukes as a serious policy instrument. A lot of commentators believe that Fisher's proposal would be horrible for the credibility of American nuclear deterrence; at least, that's how the first U.S. military planners responded when he told them about it:

When I suggested this to friends in the Pentagon they said, "My God, that's terrible. Having to kill someone would distort the President's judgment. He might never push the button."

The Pentagon planners' assumption is clear: Most presidents couldn't bring themselves to cleave a man's chest cavity with their own hands… or, at least, they'd need a couple of minutes and a stiff drink. The notion of physically bludgeoning someone to death in cold blood and then mutilating the body really bothers most people.

Good, Fisher seems to say to that: If close-in murder bothers you so much, then maybe immolating millions with fission reactions and salting the earth with cesium-137 should bother you, like, at least that much. It's supposed to be a little absurd, like Jonathan Swift's old 1729 essay, "A Modest Proposal," a master class on satire in which he argues that to end Irish overpopulation and poverty, everybody should eat Irish babies.

All in all, I think Fisher's proposal is a good exercise in circumspection about nuclear conflict. I used to think it was a pretty good idea to put into practice, too, for the same reason I also once favored televising executions: a belief that Americans would be more educated — and circumspect, if not hesitant — about killing in their name if they had to witness it, participate in it. But in an era where our kids make a YouTube millionaire out of an idiot who goes hunting for the corpses of suicides, I've had to seriously lower my expectations of humanity.

Maybe you were already thinking about this stuff months ago, when the penultimate episode of HBO's The Leftovers aired. In that episode, viewers see "the Fisher protocol" in action when a president has to hack into the heart of his twin to get his atomic apocalypse on:

How did that POTUS resolve the sticky situation? Uh, well…

What's your take on the "Fisher protocol": Useful moral exercise, urgently needed safeguard, bleeding-heart fantasy, or an invitation to elect presidents with an urge for meat-sculpting where their scruples should be? Tell us what you think — in the comments below, or with an email to editor@taskandpurpose.com.

The post Should Presidents Be Required To Physically Murder An Aide In Order To Launch Nukes? appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Colorado Shooter Escaped From VA Hospital In 2014 After Being Held For Psychotic Episode

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 12:49 PM PST

The gunman who Sunday killed a Douglas County sheriff's deputy had escaped from a veterans mental health ward in 2014 during a multiweek stay for a psychotic episode, according to new report provided to Congress by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The one-page document, obtained by The Denver Post on Jan. 2, does not detail the nature of the psychotic episode or how Matthew Riehl escaped from the veterans facility in Wyoming and was apprehended.

But it does show a pattern of mental illness that began to plague Riehl, an Iraq war veteran and lawyer, as recently as April 2014. That month he was hospitalized at a VA facility in Sheridan, Wyo., and admitted to another veterans center in Rawlins.

"Office of Security and Law Enforcement reports that during the inpatient stay in April 2014, the Veteran escaped/eloped from the Mental Health Ward, was located and brought back, and placed on a 72 hour mental health hold," noted the report. It was not immediately clear from which VA facility Riehl escaped.

After that episode, Riehl had an "urgent contact for Mental Health" on July 22, 2015, and another "mental health assessment" on Aug. 26, 2015.

He skipped a Nov. 3, 2015, appointment and was called in August 2016 to "reschedule an internal medicine clinic" — but he declined, according to the report.

Riehl graduated with a law degree from the University of Wyoming in 2010 and joined a law firm. He opened his own practice four years later, but by October 2016, he had withdrawn his membership in the Wyoming State Bar.

Authorities say Riehl, 37, opened fire on a group of Douglas County sheriff's deputies responding to a report of a disturbance early Sunday at his Highlands Ranch apartment complex. Deputy Zackari Parrish was killed. Riehl also died in the encounter.

Riehl wounded Douglas County sheriff's Deputies Mike Doyle, 28, Taylor Davis, 30, and Jeff Pelle, 32, and Castle Rock police Officer Tom O'Donnell, 41. Two residents in adjacent apartments also were wounded.

Riehl used social media to livestream the confrontation leading up to the shooting. Riehl filmed himself calling 911 early Sunday and telling a dispatcher that he was the victim of domestic violence, according to a Periscope recording.

When two deputies arrived and explained why they were there at 3 a.m., Riehl yelled through the door: "I'm coming out! I don't have any guns on me. I'll be a minute. Just give me a second," according to the video posted on Periscope. Riehl opened the door and spoke with the deputies briefly.

"I just feel you are very upset," one of the deputies told Riehl.

"Yeah, I am. I was assaulted, and you didn't help me," Riehl replied and added that the assault happened that night. Riehl added that it's possible to be assaulted without physical contact.

When the deputy told him he needed to file a civil complaint, Riehl replied that he already said he wanted to file a civil complaint. He added: "They lied."

Douglas County authorities said deputies left the apartment after concluding that no crime had been committed. They returned on another call shortly after 5:30 a.m., Riehl's roommate met them outside and gave them a key. At some point shortly afterward, Riehl retreated to his bedroom.

He began yelling at the deputies to "Go away!"

According to the Periscope recording, Riehl can be heard warning deputies: "Go away! Go away! Don't come in. I warn you!"

He then yells, "Identify! What's your name?"

Almost immediately a fusillade of gunshots could then be heard on the recording. He  eventually would fire more than 100 shots at officers from a rifle. A smoke alarm can be heard beeping. On the Periscope recording, Riehl said he had obtained 1,000 rounds of ammunition from Walmart.

"What? Get the (expletive) out of here. … Get out! Leave me alone! Why are you here? You don't have a warrant. Go away! Leave me alone!. Go! Get out!" an increasingly frantic Riehl shouts before firing another round of shots.

"They broke my door! They broke my door! They broke my door! They broke my door! They broke my door in! Oh, my God. Why? Why? Why?" Riehl shouts. "Leave me alone!"

Riehl continued to shout: "I said go away! I pay rent! I want civil! Get me civil! Look what they did to my door!"

Riehl then shouts, "Somebody's dead out there. …You broke in, you're dead. … I told you, where's your warrant? Where's your warrant?"

Several people saw the video as it was live-streamed and called the sheriff's office. The video was taken off the Periscope website.

Denver7 on Tuesday obtained a report from University of Wyoming police showing Riehl's behavior in the months leading up to Sunday's shooting had become a concern for friends and family.

According to the television station, the report shows the suspect's brother told investigators that Riehl was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and recently suffered a "manic breakdown," refusing all contact with his family.

Also in the university police report, obtained by Denver7:

• His mother said he was working at a Walmart in Highlands Ranch last she knew.

• A supervisor at Walmart told investigators that Riehl walked off the job and filed an unsubstantiated complaint against the store.

• His mother said Riehl would use his law degree to intimidate people and often threaten lawsuits, although he never made violent threats.

• Riehl had filed a false report with Lone Tree police stating that his mother and brother were in a suicide pact.

• Friends were concerned when they reached out to in November to Riehl, who texted back gibberish.

• University of Wyoming police had documented issues with Riehl dating to 2008. A dean at the law school also said he was a problem while he was a student there.

Wyoming authorities had warned Lone Tree police about Riehl after he made a series of veiled threats against professors at the UW law school. (Riehl had also posted anti-police rants online before the shooting.)

Riehl's mother told authorities that her son had post-traumatic stress disorder from his Iraq war deployment and was refusing to take his medication to treat the condition.

Riehl enlisted in the Army Reserves in 2003, and in 2006 he joined the Wyoming Army National Guard. He deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom from April 2009 to March 2010. He was honorably discharged in 2012.

His last rank was specialist, and he was classified as a medic.

Deidre Forster, a spokeswoman for the Wyoming Army National Guard, said she wasn't aware of any discipline leveled against him or any issues surrounding his service. She also said she didn't know whether he saw any combat.

"I'm not aware that he did," Forster said. "I don't believe he did."

Forster said he served during Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 2nd Battalion of the 300th Field Artillery.

"I don't have the name of the base where he was stationed, but I believe it was in Kuwait," she said.

On Tuesday, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office announced that funeral services for Parrish have been set for 11 a.m. Friday at Cherry Hills Community Church.

———

©2018 The Denver Post. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The post Colorado Shooter Escaped From VA Hospital In 2014 After Being Held For Psychotic Episode appeared first on Task & Purpose.

DoD Identifies Green Beret Killed In Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 11:57 AM PST

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

The Department of Defense has identified the Army Special Forces soldier killed in a Jan. 1 firefight in Afghanistan as Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin, making him the first U.S. combat death of 2018.

Golin, a native of Fort Lee, New Jersey, died after being wounded by small-arms fire when enemy forces attacked his dismounted patrol in Nangarhar Province, according to a Jan. 3 press release from the Pentagon.

Golin, 34, was assigned to the Army‘s 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Fort Carson, Colorado.

A military statement issued on Jan. 2 said four other troops were wounded in the Jan. 1 battle in the Achin district of Nangarhar province. Two of the wounded were in stable condition, and the other two have returned to duty, according to the statement.

Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, expressed condolences, saying, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own.”

The firefight that resulted in Golin’s death is under investigation.

Related: The US's First Combat Loss Of 2018 May Be A Sign Of More To Come »

Golin was originally born in Riga, Latvia, according to an Army press release. He moved to the United States in October 2004 and enlisted in the Army on Jan. 5, 2005.

Golin served in 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, according to the Army release.

He then volunteered for Special Forces training and graduated from the Army’s Special Forces Qualification Course in November 2014. He was assigned to 10th SFG (A) as a Special Forces weapons sergeant.

Prior to his September 2017 deployment to Afghanistan, Golin participated in three other deployments. He deployed once to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from September 2006 to November 2007, and twice to Afghanistan from February 2009 to February 2010 and from December 2011 to October 2012, both in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, according the Army press release.

Golin’s awards include the Purple Heart Medal with one oak leaf cluster; Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Special Forces Tab; Ranger Tab; Combat Infantryman Badge; Expert Infantryman Badge; and the Parachutist Badge, according to the Army release.

Related: 8 Years After My Last Deployment, I Returned To Afghanistan As A Reporter. Here's What I Found »

The United States formally concluded its combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 but still carries out operations against the Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate, both of which are active in Nangarhar.

On April 13, the Air Force dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military’s arsenal against the Islamic State in that province. The 21-000-pound GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB, is nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs. It was the first ever combat use of the massive ordnance.

Despite the MOAB’s destruction, enemy activity in the province continued.

Two Army Rangers were killed there April 26 in a fierce gun battle with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-Khorasan.

Sgt. Joshua “Josh” Rodgers and Sgt. Cameron Thomas of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, were killed by small-arms fire, according to a Pentagon press release.

In the April incident, about 50 U.S. Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos were inserted by helicopter into the Mohmand Valley.

A three-hour firefight ensued, resulting in U.S. special operations forces killing several senior ISIS-K leaders along with about 35 ISIS operatives, U.S. military officials maintain.

A statement at the time from U.S. officials said there was a “possibility” that Rodgers and Thomas were killed by friendly fire and that U.S. Forces Afghanistan is investigating the incident.

Those at the scene report close-quarters fighting and enemy fire coming at them from 360 degrees, U.S. officials said.

This story originally appeared on Military.com

Read more from Military.com

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The post DoD Identifies Green Beret Killed In Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province appeared first on Task & Purpose.

The Marines Just Took A Big Step Toward Broader Adoption Of The Beloved M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:37 AM PST

The 5.56mm M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle has remained a favorite rifle of the Marine Corps for the better part of this decade. Based on the Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifle and adopted in 2011 to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, it's widely considered more versatile and accurate over a longer range than the average weapon — so much so that the Corps has even discussed replacing every infantry Marine's M4 carbine with an IAR variant in coming years.

Now, it seems the beloved M27 is getting a deadly update. The Corps is reportedly testing a specialized version of the IAR, the M38 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle, according to photos published by the Department of Defense. (Distinct from a sniper, who is typically trained to operate independently, the squad designated marksman moves with his infantry fireteam and fulfills its sharpshooting needs.) Adapting an M27 variant for that role could be a major step towards broader adoption across the Corps.

m27 infantry automatic rifle M38 Squad Designated Marksman RifleU.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory

U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment fire the M38 Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle during a live-fire weapons exercise at range F-18 on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 8, 2017. The M27 has been introduced to different units throughout the Marine Corps within the last six months.

DoD photos published in early December show Marines with 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment conducting live-fire weapons exercises with the M38 at Camp Lejeune on Dec. 8. Soldier Systems first surfaced the photos late last month, identifying the weapon's optics as a Leupold TS-30A2 Mark 4 2.5-8x36mm Mid-Range/Tactical Illuminated Reticle Scope, a vast improvement over the fixed 3.5x magnification of the Trijicon TA11SDO-CP Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) sights atop the M27s that the Corps has previously tested.

m27 infantry automatic rifle M38 Squad Designated Marksman RifleU.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory

U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment fire the M38 Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle during a live-fire weapons exercise at range F-18 on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Dec. 8, 2017. The M27 has been introduced to different units throughout the Marine Corps within the last six months.

The new optics aren't the only added muscle tacked onto these IARs. Each M38 appears to be decked out with a suppressor to cut muzzle noise. The Marines have already experimented with suppressing all the weapons in a deployed infantry company, so they know it can be done. But in an era where  Secretary of Defense (and mythologized former devil dog) James Mattis says more conventional troops will be doing more special-ops-style work, there are other interesting possibilities, too. Last June, the Corps carved out an "uber squad" in Camp Lejeune's 1st Battalion, 6th Marines for a 18- to 20-month experiment with… suppressor-equipped M27s, as well as Ops-Core helmets typically reserved for U.S. special operations forces.

So is the Corps turning all Marine infantrymen into operators? Not exactly. But the Marines sure seem interested in giving more of them the flexible capabilities that a 17-year-old, broadening War on Terror so often demands.

"In Iraq, the daily routine of patrolling in dense urban areas demonstrated a need for fast, but precision rifle fire against fleeting targets," Joseph Trevithick writes in The War Zone. "In Afghanistan, militants often initiated engagements beyond the effective range of standard infantry weapons, especially those without magnifying optics. Repurposing the M27 with a new scope is a relatively easy way to provide this type of capability."

Related: T&P’s Coverage Of The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle »

And don't forget: It's still, like, a squad machine gun, even if it doesn't immediately look the part. Some of the first Marine automatic riflemen to receive M27s noted, for example, that the M27's upper and lower receiver profile blend in nicely with everybody else's M4s — so "if you come into contact, the enemy won't know who the machine gunner is," one satisfied grunt told Marine Corps Times back in 2012.

So maybe there's a new corollary coming to the old maxim, "Every Marine is a rifleman": With the M27/M38, it's possible every rifleman is a machine-gunner and sniper, too.

The Marine Corps and Heckler & Koch did not immediately respond to request for additional information. We will update this story with new details as they become available.

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The post The Marines Just Took A Big Step Toward Broader Adoption Of The Beloved M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle appeared first on Task & Purpose.

5 Qualities To Highlight When Interviewing With Gartner

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 07:26 AM PST

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a job opportunity at Gartner. Committed to filling its ranks with talented members of the military community, Gartner is a Hirepurpose client. Learn more here.

Minutes into my conversation with Gartner Executive Vice President of Human Resources Robin Kranich, I find myself nodding my head to the beat of her enthusiasm. Her passion for the work that the world-renowned innovative research and advisory company does is contagious; it's no wonder she's served with the company for more than 23 years.

Courtesy photo

Gartner Executive Vice President of Human Resources Robin Kranich

"What we do at the most simple level is help leaders across the entire enterprise make better decisions, get access to better advice and help grow their businesses," Kranich explains with excitement in her voice.

"What we do is inherently good," she continues. "What we do is help people."

She goes on to describe the essence of Gartner as one of sustainable growth and sustained success. "Every year, we want to grow in double digits. What are the kinds of people that flourish in sustained double digits?"

As head of human resources, Kranich's goal is to answer this question while building a mutually beneficial partnership between Gartner and its new recruits.   

"One of the things I'm most passionate about is: We want people to grow with Gartner," Kranich reveals.

In 2018, the company plans to hire 4,000 new employees, and four of its expanding locations are in cities with high populations of veterans, including Dallas, Texas; Stamford, Connecticut; Arlington, Virginia; and Fort Myers, Florida. Kranich has her eye on candidates with prior military experience.

"We recognize veterans as a group of people who have made sacrifices at the highest level that intrinsically come with great leadership skills," she says.

See all jobs with Gartner »

In addition to outstanding leadership skills, Kranich reveals five qualities she recommends veterans highlight when interviewing with Gartner.

1. The ability to adapt.

Kranich understands service members know how to adjust and re-adjust as quickly as necessary in order to maintain a tactical advantage over adversaries.

"In particular, that military behavior — evolve and adapt — is essential as a trait in any environment with sustained growth," she says. "The world is complex; things are always changing and you are going to have to adapt."

2. Sound judgement.

Savvy decision-making is also vital to Gartner's model of success.

"You have to hire people that have a growth mindset and a real sense of purpose. People that have the kind of traits to be successful," she says. "They are smart, bright, and have good judgement that's honed through experiences."

"We really like to study what people do, what best companies do and what best practices are," Kranich explains. "Veterans are trained to very quickly try best practices."

3. General manager mindset.

Military training also sharpens executive presence and comfort in command. Kranich refers to this as a "mindset of ownership."

"I tend to think of a hotel manager getting off the elevator and straightening a picture on the wall. That sense of accountability is extremely important," she explains.

4. Team-player personality.

While having an ownership mindset is valuable, Kranich also stresses the importance of being comfortable operating within a client-centric team.

She elaborates further by using a successful football team as an analogy for the Gartner-customer relationship.

"The client sits in the middle, but we build a team. You can't have a team with 11 quarterbacks," Kranich explains.

Gartner is looking for employees who have a "true sense of collaboration and understanding of the unique resources that are available and when leveraged can play a huge advantage in winning."

5. Humility.

Going a step further, Kranich reveals the worth of employees willing to put the team before self, a trait that is asked of every man and woman in uniform.

"I value people who try to do the right thing, who care about doing the right thing, and who come prepared with some humility," she says.

It is apparent that Kranich believes in hiring candidates with the right qualities over applicants boasting specific skills. At Gartner, the chief focus is on "identifying people with the learner's mind and the mindset for growth, and then building the infrastructure to support them."

Kranich's encouragement to veterans who are unsure how to translate specific skills and qualities is to, "Quite simply, be you. Embrace the experiences you've had and look to us to leverage those. We'll build the system to support you."

In addition to building a support system, Kranich looks forward to helping professionals who have served in the military serve and grow with Gartner in another way.

"Gartner will be an even better place with more veterans," she says.

See all jobs with Gartner »

The post 5 Qualities To Highlight When Interviewing With Gartner appeared first on Task & Purpose.

Vietnam Vet’s Claim Of 9 Purple Hearts Launches Yearlong Investigation Into His Military Record

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:01 AM PST

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Times Free Press in November 2016 published a story that included information about Vietnam veteran Stephen D. Holloway, who was speaking at a Veterans Day event in Pikeville, Tennessee, and claimed to be the most-decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. Holloway’s public claims were challenged by veterans of Vietnam and other conflicts, and the Times Free Press has spent more than a year investigating his military record. To date, Holloway maintains his claims are accurate, though few of his medals and awards have convincing documentation. This is part 1 of a two-day series.

Silver Star. Bronze Star.

Prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Nine Purple Hearts.

Sounds extraordinary, but that’s what 69-year-old Vietnam veteran Stephen Douglas Holloway claims.

For three of those claims, the Hixson resident’s DD-214 — the official document every military veteran who serves is given when discharged from duty — backs it up.

One of Holloway’s multiple DD-214s, anyway.

If Holloway’s Purple Heart claims are true, veterans who study military awards, documents and records say, he would be the most decorated service member to serve in the Vietnam War.

But so far, the Times Free Press has been unable to verify any of those claims through military channels, or through Holloway himself.

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On Nov. 10, 2016, the Times Free Press interviewed Holloway by telephone before he spoke at dedication ceremonies for the new Veterans Park in Pikeville, Tennessee.

Holloway said he had spent that morning talking with students at a Bledsoe County elementary school about the upcoming Veterans Day and his military service.

In the first interview, the Nebraska native said he was “Airborne Special Forces, U.S. Army 101st Airborne,” reaching the rank of major, and later was a prisoner of war, captured by the Viet Cong.

That was how Holloway was introduced at the dedication, where he also claimed to be a “DMZ tunnel rat.” Holloway said nothing in his short speech about his Purple Hearts or other medals, but he praised fellow veterans for their sacrifices and thanked those who turned out.

But in an interview the previous day, Holloway said he also worked for an agency “that you cannot talk about.”

He also claimed he earned more than 50 medals in all, including a second Silver Star, three Army Commendation Medals, three presidential citations and scores of others.

“I’ve got 57 medals,” Holloway proudly proclaimed, remarking that some were pinned to his chest by President Lyndon B. Johnson himself.

“And I hated President Johnson,” Holloway said. “Johnson was the one who gave me these. He pokes you every time he puts them on.”

But not all of those 50-plus medals were listed in a DD-214 and other documents obtained by the Times Free Press from the National Personnel Records Center, part of the National Archive.

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Holloway’s claim of earning nine Purple Hearts is far too impressive to overlook, but also too easy to believe for anyone not familiar with military jargon or how rare it is for anyone to earn such multiple medals. To receive a Purple Heart, one must be wounded or killed in battle.

The day the story ran, and for days afterward, more than a dozen veterans from the Chattanooga area and across the nation challenged Holloway’s claims. Holloway and a family member asked the Times Free Press for a retraction of the portion of the story claiming he was a POW. An audio recording of Holloway’s interview contains several minutes of Holloway describing details of his “torture” at the hands of “a couple of slant-eyed-looking people,” his weight loss, and eight fellow captives. Holloway, however, accused the newspaper of “making it up.”

The official documents draw as much scrutiny from veterans as Holloway’s claims.

A primary release paper, the DD-214, is given to all military service members when they are discharged. Holloway has two DD-214s filed in the National Archive for his first enlistment. They’re identical, except one lists the Purple Heart awards and the other does not.

Holloway has at least those two, and possibly as many as four, DD-214s on file with the National Personnel Records Center that bear the same dates and other similar details of his record but with a startling difference.

One of the National Archive copies and a matching copy provided to the Times Free Press by a family member state Holloway received a National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal, and that’s it.

But Holloway says, and another DD-214 filed with the National Archive states, he also earned those nine Purple Hearts, the Bronze and Silver stars and an Army Commendation Medal for valor. Holloway has verbally claimed far more medals than those.

Both DD-214s for his first enlistment say Holloway worked as a supply clerk and was involved in managing traffic but don’t describe a combat position.

There is at least one more DD-214 for Holloway’s second tour of duty — he signed up for a four-year stint but was discharged after a year — but those military records were apparently part of a records requested by another government agency and have been unavailable for months.

Holloway’s DD-214 bearing “(9) PURPLE HEARTS, BRONZE STAR, ARCOM W/V, SILVER STAR” is suspicious for two reasons: the wording is “incorrect nomenclature” for military decorations and the claim of nine Purple Hearts is outrageously high, said Bruce Kendrick, a member of Ernie Pyle Chapter 1945 of the Military Order of Purple Hearts.

Kendrick said the incorrect nomenclature raises red flags because the document should read “Purple Heart with one Silver Oak Leaf Cluster and three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.”

U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno shakes the hand of a Soldier after presenting him with the Purple Heart medal during a ceremony at Forward Operation Base Zangabad, Afghanistan Sept. 18, 2012.

The paperwork from the National Archives held copies of “2-1” jackets, manila document holders with an index listing some of the awards in handwritten and typewritten entries. Those entries match wording on the DD-214 that Kendrick points out. But, although the 2-1 includes all nine Purple Hearts, the box for listing “wounds” is empty, despite Holloway’s claims of being wounded in combat nine times.

The Times Free Press recently submitted a follow-up request in an attempt to gather remaining records.

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A fake Purple Heart claim flies in the face of the people who have legitimately received them.

“There’s only one person that’s been awarded nine Purple Hearts. His name was [Albert L.] Ireland. He was a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps. And he has officially been awarded nine Purple Hearts. No one else in history has,” said Kendrick, who received the Purple Heart three times and has the documents to prove it.

And Kendrick doesn’t mind being asked for proof of his awards. He said most veterans don’t.

Holloway initially offered to provide a copy of his DD-214, but he never produced it after repeated requests.

When Holloway was contacted in mid-June and again in October and November seeking documentation of his Purple Hearts citations and other awards, he didn’t offer proof. He offered excuses.

“I’d have to look,” Holloway started. “I I threw when I came back from ‘Nam, I threw everything away, so I’ve got a few things and I’ll have to.”

After being told that Kendrick and others believe he faked the DD-214 bearing the long list of awards, Holloway dodged.

He said he was going out of town said he would call when he got back, but he never called.

In October, he again said he’d thrown everything away, adding that he was being treated for cancer.

In November, as another Veterans Day passed, Holloway still had not proved his claims. He said he was being treated for prostate cancer, was in line for knee replacement surgery, had kidney failure and bleeding behind his eyes and now was going blind.

Did he maintain his claim to the nine Purple Hearts?

“Yes, just leave me alone and let me get this stuff done and I will do it for you,” Holloway said on Nov. 14.

The Times Free Press extended an ongoing offer to seek the documentation with Holloway’s permission, but he declined again.

“No, because you can’t find nothing about me, do you?” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to tell you. You’re not finding nothing about me.”

Why is that?

“I don’t know,” he said.

Asked if he was lying about his record, Holloway bristled, “No, and I’m getting tired of talking to you about it, actually.”

On Nov. 28, Holloway didn’t answer his phone or return the call after a message was left.

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News that the 2016 Veterans Day event keynote speaker was being challenged on his military record left the veterans in Pikeville almost at a loss for words.

Ray Evans and John Hargis, two former members of the Bledsoe County Veterans Park board of directors and U.S. military veterans themselves, said they believed Holloway when he told them about his military record. Holloway produced an award-laden DD-214 to prove his claims, they said.

Hargis was shocked, especially since he’d seen the DD-214 and believed Holloway’s verbal claims of being a “DMZ tunnel rat” and a prisoner of war. He said he believed Holloway and didn’t question the document he showed them.

Evans also was stunned.

“I thought he was telling the truth,” he said. “I accepted him at his word.”

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©2017 the Chattanooga Times/Free Press (Chattanooga, Tenn.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Task & Purpose Kicks Off 2018 With Big Additions To Our Editorial Team

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 05:00 AM PST

In 2014, we founded Task & Purpose on the belief that the military and veterans' communities needed a publication that delivered news they care about, reported by people who have firsthand personal and professional experiences with conflict and its aftermath. This year, we're reinforcing our commitment to community-driven investigative reporting, story-telling, and analysis of culture and current affairs by bringing on two seasoned journalists who embody our mission.

Thomas Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and bestselling author, will join Task & Purpose  as senior columnist, and Jeff Schogol comes aboard as senior Pentagon reporter. Additionally, James Clark, a general assignment reporter for T&P since 2015, will shift his attention to policy as our dedicated veterans reporter based in Washington. These moves will help us expand our reporting on the people, policies, and politics that shape the lives of service members and veterans and their families.

On Jan. 16, we'll launch The Long March With Tom Ricks, a daily column from Ricks and his contributors that will cover news and analysis of military policy, strategy, culture, and history. Ricks' career as a military reporter has spanned four decades, including positions at The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, working on Pulitzer-winning teams at both papers. He is the author of six books, including his recent bestseller, Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (May 2017). He also serves as a national security advisor for Washington think tank New America and a military history columnist for The New York Times Book Review. Ricks was previously a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, the home of his previous daily blog on military affairs, Best Defense.

In addition to Ricks' role at Task & Purpose, as senior Pentagon reporter, Schogol will cover breaking news related to national defense and Department of Defense policy. A seasoned military journalist, Schogol comes to Task & Purpose from Marine Corps Times, where he reported on the Marines United nude-photo-sharing scandal, hazing at Parris Island, and crackdowns on toxic commanders. Throughout his 15-year career, Schogol has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq and Haiti and worked at a variety of publications, including Air Force Times and Stars and Stripes. A graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Schogol will join Task & Purpose on Jan. 8.

In addition to adding new staff, Task & Purpose remains committed to being a platform for veterans, service members, and family members who have stories to tell. If you'd like to write for us, visit our Submissions page for details on sending us your ideas.

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Stolen Valor: Fake Green Beret Forced To Shut Down Honor Guard Group

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 04:42 AM PST

Papotia Reginald Wright started the 8th Special Forces Regiment New York Honor Guard more than a year ago to perform burial services for veterans. But according to investigations by multiple groups, the supposed Special Forces veteran vastly inflated his military service, including medals for valor, and his group has since shut down.

Wright claimed to be a retired command sergeant major from Special Forces and used his fraudulent claim to run a veterans service organization with no official nonprofit status in Brooklyn, N.Y., according the state Attorney General's office. Military records seen by Stars and Stripes show he served in the Army from 1982-90 as a truck driver who never ranked higher than a specialist – a far cry from his claims of combat service.

Photographs show Wright in full dress uniform at promotional events including a New York Giants game. Most of his decorations – a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and others – are allegedly fake, according to Steve Antson from Guardians of the Green Beret, a watchdog group that works to expose people pretending to be part of Special Forces.

According to federal law under the Stolen Valor Act, it is a crime to lie about military awards for monetary or other tangible benefits.

Wright, who goes by "Reggie," told Stars and Stripes that his rank is honorary, not an attempt to mislead.

"Because I started the unit (the Honor Guard), I was the top NCO there," he said. Wright has said he never claimed to be in Special Forces specifically, but that he drove trucks for the 75th Ranger Regiment and 5th Special Forces Group as an attachment.

As part of the Army's Authorized Provider Partnership Program, organizations like Wright's can perform military honors for funerals of former military personnel or honor guard ceremonies for events. "When they couldn't take up the slack, we were called," Wright said of the Army.

According to its now-defunct Facebook page, the "8th Special Forces Regiment New York Honor Guard is a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) that renders final honors to Veterans with an Honorable Discharge or General Discharge with Honorable conditions." It is based at the Park Slope Armory building on 8th Avenue in Brooklyn.

The name is an apparent reference to the 8th Special Forces Group, which conducted counterinsurgency operations and training in the backdrop of the Cold War in Latin America. The unit was disbanded in 1980.

The Guardians of the Green Beret said they have been aware of the Honor Guard for about two months, after being alerted by another watchdog organization called Guardian of Valor that Wright was exaggerating his military service to promote the Honor Guard.

Wright claimed he had been part of the "Black Hawk Down" incident in Mogadishu in 1993 that led to the deaths of 18 U.S servicemembers, Antson said. Wright's service ended in 1990, according to his personnel record.

Multiple people confirmed to Antson that Wright told the story of an enemy fighter who snuck up behind him and cut his kidney out. "He's saying he is walking around with half a kidney," he said. Wright never received a Purple Heart, according to his military records.

An official at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, who wasn't permitted to talk on the record, said no one questioned Wright's rank and credentials at the base, and he used that to gain access to government vehicles "for whatever reason."

Jeffrey Johnson, a former Army major, joined the Honor Guard to help veterans, he said. Wright immediately asked Johnson to work promotional events with him.

The pace was frenetic, Johnson said. They attended an annual Heroes Gala event by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America where he met former Army Gen. David Petraeus and other well-known military figures. He worked with Wright at a New York Giants game and at the Nov. 10 reopening of the Times Square recruiting station after its renovation.

"I got caught up so quickly in the events," he said, eventually leaving the group because of the time commitment it required.

He said he was "crushed" by the revelations about Wright's inflated service record and self-promotion.

"I believed in the organization. It was a feeling of pride to put on the uniform again since I was always proud of my military service," he said. "It sunk my heart."

The Honor Guard website was taken down after accusations of fraud were made. Its Facebook page states in its last post on Nov. 29 that "information has been posted on the Internet which we were not aware of until this month of November 2017. As a result we will look into the matter, therefore we will be closing our social media until further notice."

The post was signed by Maj. Tammy Feliciano from the group's S-1 office, referring to personnel management sections in Army headquarters units.

The Guardians of the Green Beret claim they have been able to find no evidence that Feliciano served in the military after a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Personnel Records Center.

"She is calling herself a major. She was not active duty, she was not in the Guard, she was not in the Reserves," Antson said. Wright says Feliciano is a civilian and the title was honorary. "She's never been in the military and she's never portrayed herself to be in the military."

She could not be reached by Stars and Stripes for comment.

The 8th Special Forces New York Honor Guard is officially defunct, Wright told Stars and Stripes in December.

"If people don't want us to bury veterans, that's a shame. That is what our mission was," he said.

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©2018 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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