Metro-East News

Roger That: Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., to house 400 refugee kids

Mike Fitzgerald
Mike Fitzgerald

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services, has directed Holloman Air Force Base to provide temporary housing for up to 400 refugee children from Central America beginning in January, according to the Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News.

The children are currently being cared for by the DHHS’ Administration for Children and Families. The Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for the well-being and support of these children and is working in close coordination with base officials.

Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce President Mike Espiritu said the chamber will be the primary point of contact for any information regarding the housing of the children.

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The New York Times is reporting that, beginning in 2016, four enlisted women who completed an intensive basic enlisted submarine course in October will become the first to be integrated into the crew of a U.S. Navy submarine. This summer, 38 enlisted women became the first selectees for a program to begin integrating submarine crews, and in January the next round of selectees is scheduled to be announced.

In October, the Atlantic Fleet’s top enlisted submariner said they were still working on instructions to govern the integration. “We are revising our instruction that was — no kidding — 49 pages long of excruciating detail on what you wear on the treadmill…” said Force Master Chief Wes Koshoffer.

The Navy wants women to make up 20 percent of the crews of seven of the 18 Ohio-class submarines by 2020, at which point they plan to begin integrating women into Virginia-class attack submarines.

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An Afghan trucking company owner has been charged with giving soldiers bundles of $100 bills to obtain U.S. supply contracts as part of a multimillion-dollar corruption case, according to court documents, Stars and Stripes is reporting.

A criminal complaint filed Dec. 23 in federal court in North Carolina charges Hikmatullah Shadman with conspiracy and bribery related to payments made to two soldiers in 2009.

The charges follow efforts by the Justice Department to freeze more than $63 million in bank accounts controlled by Shadman, with authorities alleging the money was fraudulently obtained from the government through inflated trucking contracts, according to a 2013 news release from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

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The Air Force has restored to flight status three instructor pilots who were reprimanded and grounded over text messages they sent containing lyrics referencing drug use, according to the Air Force Times.

The pilots’ careers were nearly ended after investigators found references to “Molly” — also known as the illegal drug “ecstasy” — in text messages on their personal cell phones. The pilots, who are at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas, said they were referencing songs that mentioned drugs, such as Miley Cyrus’ “We Can't Stop.”

Lawmakers Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., took up the cause of the pilots and told Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh in a Sept. 15 letter that their pop culture references had been “painfully misunderstood by investigators.” Welsh promised to look into the case.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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