A video that shows a mix of U.S. coalition and Iraqi aircraft bombing two large masses of fleeing Islamic State vehicles has gone viral, not least because of graphic content that shows modern warfare at its most brutal and high-tech.
At least 150 IS vehicles were destroyed, killing as many as 250 militants, plus an untold number of civilians, as they escaped from the outskirts of Fallujah, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense posted footage online Wednesday showing what appears to be at least one Mi-28 Havoc gunship firing unguided rockets and its cannon into a mass of vehicles south of Fallujah. Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said the convoy was nearly seven miles long and made up of vehicles containing Islamic State leaders and their families – raising concerns that women and children may be among the dead.
As far back as the Revolutionary War, the United States military has trumpeted its gleaming, brassy bands as a point of pride and a critical soft power weapon in its arsenal. But in an era of budget cuts and troop reductions, Congress is signaling that it may be time for one of the largest employers of musicians in the world to turn the music down, according to the New York Times.
The Pentagon fields more than 130 military bands worldwide, made up of about 6,500 musicians, and not just in traditional brass and drum corps like the kind that will march in many Fourth of July parades on Monday. There are also military rock acts with artsy names, conservatory-trained military jazz ensembles, military bluegrass pickers, even a military calypso band based in the Virgin Islands.
All of this cost about $437 million last year — almost three times the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts.
In June, the House of Representatives passed bills that would force the military to give a detailed accounting of the bands’ activities and expenses and limit where and when the bands could perform. The House Armed Services Committee inserted a line in the latest National Defense Authorization Act saying the committee “believes that the services may be able to conserve end strength by reducing the number of military bands.”
The Navy has announced it had broken the second major cheating ring in three years, disciplining 31 independent duty corpsman students at the San Diego Surface Warfare Medical Institute for cheating on school exams over the last year.
Military.com is reporting the students were kicked out of the program, and administrative measures were taken to make sure they will not become independent duty corpsmen, Navy Medicine Education and Training Command officials said in a statement. Another 13 students have been recommended for separation from the Navy.
Navy brass became aware of the cheating problem when a student whistleblower came forward to tell staff at the San Diego school that the students were sharing test questions. The report prompted an internal command investigation, launched in February according to the announcement. This was followed by a more in-depth probe.
Officials said the second investigation was overseen by Navy Medicine Education and Training Command and was completed in May. It yielded evidence of an organized system of cheating by students and “compromised” tests.
The Marine Corps is investigating allegations of hazing, physical abuse, assault, and oversight failures among 15 drill instructors based at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, officials said.
News of this sweeping new probe comes on the heels of the March 18 death of Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old Muslim-American recruit who had been at boot camp just 11 days when he died from a reported fall from the fourth floor of a barracks building.
All drill instructors under investigation are attached to 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, to which Siddiqui was assigned, Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, said in a statement. The investigation was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
"During the course of the Recruit Siddiqui death investigation, facts revealed a drill instructor was improperly placed in charge of recruits while he was subject to an ongoing investigation," Pena said in the statement. "Existing orders, policies and procedures to prevent improper assignments were not followed. Interim corrective actions have already been taken."