Metro-East News

Roger That: NCO Council at Scott collecting water for Flint, Mich.

The Scott Air Force NCO Council will be collecting donations of cases of water to take to Flint to help their residents that do not have safe water to drink, cook or even bathe in. The group aims to alleviate a two-year water contamination crisis and help replenish their depleting supply levels.

If you would like to make any monetary donations or drop off water before March 26, contact Staff Sgt. Demetrius Brooks at demetrius.Brooks@us.af.mil, or Staff Sgt. Jericho Blanchard at jericho.blanchard@us.af.mil to coordinate dropping off at Bldg 52 Contracting Office.

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Two controversial directors involved in a hiring-system scheme at the Department of Veterans Affairs were back on the job Monday, after a decision to reassign them was overturned by an appeals board.

Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson announced the reinstatement of Philadelphia VA Regional Office director Diana Rubens and St. Paul, Minn. VA Regional Office director Kimberly Graves. Gibson visited Philadelphia to hold two town hall meetings with employees, according to an internal memo obtained by Stars and Stripes.

A VA Inspector General’s report found that Rubens and Graves manipulated the hiring system to get moved to positions of lesser responsibility while maintaining the same salary. The VA disputed those allegations and instead found the women guilty of the less serious offense of not recusing themselves from the relocation process, in which they received about $400,000. The VA ordered the women demoted and reassigned.

However, the Merit Systems Protection Board overturned the VA’s punishment, part of a growing battle between the federal employee appeals board and the department.

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The Pentagon’s Inspector General has launched an investigation into the response by American troops to allegations that Afghan military and police officials were involved in the sexual abuse of children, according to Military.com.

The investigation will seek to determine what role American service members should serve in curtailing the sexual abuse of children and whether they properly responded to such allegations, Deputy Inspector General Kenneth Moorefield wrote in a memorandum to senior defense leaders dated Feb. 19.

The investigation also seeks to determine what legal authorities American troops have on bases in Afghanistan to intervene or to use force if they witness or are informed of sexual abuse of a child, Moorefield wrote.

Sexual abuse of children, especially young boys — commonly called “bacha bazi” or “boy play” — has long been an open secret in Afghanistan and documented in film and videos as the subject of “dancing boys.” Last summer, the issue was propelled into American headlines when Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland, an American green beret, told lawmakers that he was being discharged after he beat an Afghan police commander who admitted he raped a boy.

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It is perhaps the most iconic photo of America’s participation in World War II: Seventy one years ago today, Marines raised the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi and AP photographer Joe Rosenthal captured iconic moment.

The first raising is actually not the one depicted in the now-famous picture. The first flag was taken down, and Rosenthal took a picture as a second flag was raised.

“It cost us 7,000 American lives to take Iwo Jima,” veteran Frank Matthews told CBS News.

He was an 18-year-old private when he went ashore on the first day in relief of a 900-man regiment that had virtually been wiped out.

They lost 750 in one five hour stretch,” said Matthews. “Every inch of that beach and everything around it had been pinned down and zeroed in by the Japanese guns.”

70 years later Matthews is a guide at the Marine Corps Museum where the actual flag the Marines raised on Mount Suribachi is on display.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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