Browsing: Capitol Hill

One of the Marine Corps’ biggest advocates in Congress is facing a tough re-election fight, and a former commandant has lent his name to the campaign with hopes it will swing some votes in a district teeming with active-duty Marines and veterans. Voters in eastern North Carolina head to the polls Tuesday to determine whether Republican Rep. Walter Jones survives what’s been a heated primary contest with challenger Taylor Griffin, who worked for the Treasury Department during George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House. The race has generated significant buzz beyond North Carolina thanks to Griffin’s powerful connections, including to former…

In the wake of a wave of controversy spurred by comments Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett made at a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing, a congressman who served in the Marine Corps is coming to his defense. At a hearings of SASC’s subcommittee on personnel last week, Barrett said Marines were more interested in equipment modernization and readiness than they were in benefits and entitlements, and said a lower pay raise and cuts to certain benefits in the coming year would improve their spending discipline. “I truly believe it will raise discipline,” he told the lawmakers. “You’ll have better…

The years-long push to award fallen Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Medal of Honor seemed ended for good in February, when Chuck Hagel became the third Defense Secretary to decline to seek the higher award for the Marine, who allegedly saved the lives of fellow Marines in his final moments by pulling a live grenade under him during a fight with insurgents in Fallujah in 2004. Peralta received the Navy Cross, the military’s second-highest honor, in 2008. Since then, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., has spearheaded a series of efforts to see him receive a higher award, unearthing new evidence and witnesses…

On the viral YouTube video beat, check out this showdown between a former Marine grunt and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) In the video, Bryan Bates, who identified himself as a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who also worked as a private security contractor with the Army Corps of Engineers, stands up at a Sept. 5 town hall in Tucson, Ariz., to ask McCain a tough question about military involvement in Syria. ” I am no stranger to Al Qaeda, their affiliates and the people of the region near Syria. I am here to tell you that I completely oppose any military…

Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, reassured Marines in Hawaii last week that he was committed to keeping the distinctive MARPAT camouflage pattern for Marines, even as lawmakers consider adopting one single camo pattern for all the services. Amos has so far been quiet regarding the proposed changes, even as Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has come out in support of a common camouflage–or at least a reduction from the ten-plus patterns now being utilized across the services. But on July 15 he had some folksy fighting words regarding a change for troops aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. “We…

Marines, of course, are trained to take the hill. Then there’s a group of leathernecks who actually have taken that mission to a different level, as in Capitol Hill. The lists of senators and representatives include Marines who served on active duty or in the reserves, and some saw combat. They bring a familiarity with the military, and the Marine Corps in particular, to a Congress whose members with military service represent less than 20 percent of both houses. In fact, the number of veterans serving in the House or Senate has hit its lowest since World War II. But veterans continue…

Congress is taking a vacation next week — on the eve of what’s been called the biggest potential fiscal disaster to hit the nation in decades, when massive, across-the-board budget cuts begin wreaking havoc on the Pentagon and all other federal agencies. Talk about whistling past the graveyard. The sequestration ax adds big drama to this particular hiatus. But it’s hardly unusual for House and Senate lawmakers; the congressional work schedule has withered on the vine for years. At this writing, there have been 32 regular “workdays” so far this year — Monday through Friday, federal holidays excluded. The House…

And so, it’s come to this. The top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, is now firmly ensnared in retired Gen. David Petraeus’ sex scandal. It’s widely reported this morning that Allen’s career is in jeopardy for “inappropriate communications” to Jill Kelley, the Tampa socialite whose complaints to an FBI agent about anonymous harassing email led to the revelation that Petraeus had an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Already, that’s a lot to process. Allen’s involvement in the scandal, however hazy, led to the decision to table his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday for what had been his presumed next…

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter continues to feverishly pursue the Medal of Honor for fallen Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who scooped a grenade under his body to save other Marines in Fallujah, Iraq on Nov. 15, 2004, according to Marines who saw him do it. He was awarded the Navy Cross – even though the Marine Corps recommended him for the Medal of Honor – after the Defense Department convened its own panel which concluded the evidence for the nation’s highest award for combat valor was not sufficient. Peralta’s family rejected the Navy Cross. Hunter has doggedly pursued the higher…

First Lt. Josh Waddell ordered his men to take out an insurgent last fall in Afghanistan, and that decision has come back to bite him pretty badly. Now, the 25-year-old finds himself at the center of a contentious debate over the rules of engagement and the potentially disastrous career implications for those deemed to have violated them. When the incident occurred, Waddell was the executive officer for his company with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, which oversaw security in the Sangin district of Helmand province. He was subsequently fired from that job, given a lousy fitness report and told he would…

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