Metro-East News

Roger That: Air Mobility Command begins assistance program for civilian workers

The Air Mobility Command, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, will launch a new program this month called the Federal Occupational Health Employee Assistance Program, according to an AMC statement.

The program is a free, anonymous resource available 24/7 to assist federal civilians and Non-Appropriated Fund employees assigned to HQ AMC and subordinate units with emotional, spiritual, social and physical needs.

“The goal is to improve health and functioning as well as workplace performance by providing prevention and intervention tools for civilian employee’s problems,” said Patricia McDonald, AMC chief of personnel programs.

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The pilots of a Black Hawk military helicopter that crashed last March, killing all 11 servicemembers aboard, had disobeyed direct orders by flying into worsening weather, an investigation report states, according to Stars and Stripes.

The military said in June the crash was caused when the pilots became disoriented at night off the Florida coast. The training took place as dense fog rolled in from the Gulf of Mexico.

The full report, obtained by The Associated Press late Thursday through a public records request, said the pilots were not authorized to fly in such bad weather, and others failed to challenge the overconfidence of the lead pilot.

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Despite claims from conservative critics, President Barack Obama’s veto of the 2016 defense authorization bill will not hold up next year’s military pay raise, according to Military Times.

The Thursday veto will jeopardize a host of other specialty pays and bonuses and has inflamed an already bitter budget standoff between Obama and congressional Republicans.

But it does not alter plans for a 1.3 percent raise for troops effective Jan. 1, which is ensured regardless of how the veto fight shakes out.

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The Islamic State rakes in up to $50 million a month from selling crude from oil fields under its control in Iraq and Syria, part of a well-run industry that U.S. diplomacy and airstrikes have so far failed to shut down, according to Iraqi intelligence and U.S. officials, according to Military.com.

Oil sales — the extremists’ largest single source of continual income — are a key reason they have been able to maintain their rule over their self-declared “caliphate” stretching across large parts of Syria and Iraq. With the funds to rebuild infrastructure and provide the largesse that shore up its fighters’ loyalty, it has been able to withstand ground fighting against its opponents and more than a year of bombardment in the U.S.-led air campaign.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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