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Training Accident Leaves 15 US Marines Injured at Camp Pendleton

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A total of 15 US Marines were injured Wednesday during a training exercise that involved an amphibious landing vehicle at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, according to the Marine Corps.

Though the vehicle was engulfed in flames, all of the Marines involved were able to escape, the marines said in a statement. The landing-accident took place at approximately 9:33 a.m. local time when troops were in the middle of a scheduled battalion training.

The Marines are currently being treated for injuries.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Marines and their families as they receive medical care,” the statement added.

This is the latest in a string of accidents for the US military. Back in July the US Marine Corps canceled all flights for the KC-130T Hercules Transport planes after a crash killed one sailor and 15 Marines in Mississippi.

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Combat vets say tattoo policy is big barrier to re-enlistment to Marine Corps

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Time may be the biggest factor causing combat veterans to leave the Marine Corps, but there’s another reason that should not be underestimated, some vets say: the Corps’ tattoo policy. Jeff Schogol wrote an article on Marine Corps which describes problems that combat vets have with Marine Corps tattoo policy.

Brian Davenport was barred from re-enlistment in 2015 because two of his tattoos were so close together that they were considered to be one tattoo that was too big under the Marine Corps’ tattoo policy at the time, he said. He and other Marines have a similar story: When the Marine Corps stopped deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan in large numbers, tattoos became a career killer for them, even if they had ­combat experience.

“As soon as we got back from Afghanistan and we found out we weren’t going to be going back, everything just did a complete 180,” Davenport told Marine Corps Times. “It was more stressing the little things: your uniform, appearances.”

Where have all the combat vets gone?

The Marine Corps is facing a drain of battle-tested Marines. Davenport deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 as a machine gunner, but he felt the Marine Corps did not value his combat experience after he returned, he said.

“You had leaders saying, ‘We don’t care that you’re a combat veteran,’” he said. “I had a second lieutenant, he was brand new and he’s like: ‘No one cares about Afghanistan. That’s over. We’re moving on. There’s a new Marine Corps.’”

Davenport’s return from Afghanistan coincided with the Marine Corps’ drawdown from 202,000 to 182,000 ­active-duty Marines that was driven by cuts to defense spending. On the day that Davenport found out that he could not re-enlist because of his tattoos, he went straight to an Army ­recruiter, who was able to get him into the Army two days after he left the Corps, he said.

During the drawdown from 202,000 Marines a few years ago, the Corps ratcheted up its enforcement of tattoo policies. Starting in 2014, Marines were required to submit photographs of their tattoos for re-enlistment.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. ­Robert Neller has explained the reason for the Corps’ tattoo policy: “We are not in a rock and roll band. We are ­Marines. We have a brand. People expect a ­certain thing from us,” he told Marine Corps Times in February 2016.

Marine veterans often look to get jobs as police officers, but local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are very strict on whether applicants can have visible tattoos, Neller added.

In June 2016, the Marine Corps announced an updated tattoo policy, which allows visible tattoos to extend further on Marines’ upper arms and thighs. Although some Marines would have ­preferred a more lax policy, Neller certainly listened to their opinions on the matter, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green said at the time.

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NATO requests help for Urban Warfare combat scenarios

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SOF operators on Russian border - NATO forces

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is adapting its future combat strategy to prepare for changing demographic trends that show most population growth over the next 15 years will occur in urban areas and developing countries.
NATO’s Norfolk, Virginia base ended bidding among the private defense contractor industry on Monday for new ‘NATO Concept’ for close-quarters combat, Stars and Stripes reports.

According to the request for proposals posted on NATO’s Allied Command Transformation website, NATO “is not sufficiently organized, trained, or equipped to comprehensively understand and execute precise operations across the maritime, cyberspace, land, air, space dimensions/domains in order to create desired effects in an emergent complex,” especially an environment where a “dense, interconnected” population resides.

After berating NATO on the campaign trail as “obsolete,” US President Donald Trump changed his tune during a news conference with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House in April. “I complained about [NATO’s counterterrorism activities] a long time ago. Now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete,” the president said.

NATO anticipates that moving forward, roughly 80 percent of the population will live within 100 kilometers from a coast will continue, comparable to current estimates of population dynamics.

Urbanization poses a “potential instability situation for NATO,” according to the RFP. “The world as a whole passed the 50 percent urban mark seven years ago. Estimates are that five billion people live in cities with two billion of these living in slums. It is also estimated that 1.4 million people worldwide migrate to cities each week,” NATO states.

One benefit for the contract winner is that it won’t have to pay any taxes on income earned from the contract award. “In accordance with the agreements Article VIII of the Paris Protocol dated August 25 1952, goods and services under this contract are exempt from taxes, duties and similar charges,” the RFP says. An award sum is not listed. NATO seeks a minimum of 600 billable contract hours’ worth of work with an option for 1500 additional hours.

The final concept will be presented at the end of 2018 when military planners will assess how to adjust the NATO Urban doctrine.

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