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Military to get guidelines for Trump transgender ban 'soon,' reports say

Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017 @ 10:12 AM

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) talks to Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis as they watch the Inaugural Parade from the main reviewing stand in front of the White House on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Donald J. Trump was sworn in today as the 45th president of the United States.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) talks to Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis as they watch the Inaugural Parade from the main reviewing stand in front of the White House on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Donald J. Trump was sworn in today as the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)(Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The White House is expected to give the Defense Department the authority to bar transgender people from enlisting in the U.S. military in the coming days, one month after President Donald Trump announced the ban on Twitter, according to multiple reports.

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The White House memo would also give Defense Secretary James Mattis discretion over whether transgender troops can stay in the military, based on a service member’s ability to deploy, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Journal was the first to report on the memo Wednesday night.

The guidelines would give Mattis six months to enforce the ban, The New York Times reported. An unidentified source told the newspaper that the contents of the memo were not finalized as of Wednesday night.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Pentagon officials said they had yet to receive formal guidance from the White House on how Trump’s announced ban would work.

"The (Defense) Department continues to focus on our mission of defending our nation and ongoing operations against our foes, while ensuring all service members are treated with respect," the statement said.

>> Related: Joint Chiefs: Transgender policy won't change until Pentagon gets it in writing from Trump

Gay and lesbian service members have been able to openly serve in the military since 2011, according to NPRCurrent Department of Defense policy allows for transgender people to serve openly and says individuals “can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals.”

Trump announced the ban in a series of tweets last month.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump wrote on July 26. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

The announcement came as a surprise to military leaders and politicians. In a letter to top military officials, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, wrote that there would be “no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance.”

>> Related: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military

Estimates on the number of transgender troops in the military vary, although a 2016 report from the Rand Corp. estimated that as many as 6,300 transgender service members are on active duty.

Trump: Transgender People Won't Be Allowed In The Military

U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 on board crashes into Pacific: Live updates

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 8:09 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 12:29 PM

U.S. Navy Aircraft Crashed into Pacific with 11 On Board

A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday.

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Air Force pilot killed, 1 injured in crash near Texas’ Laughlin Air Force Base

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, lands a T-38C Talon after a formation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)
Airman 1st Class Benjamin Valmoj/47th Flying Training Wing Public
Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, lands a T-38C Talon after a formation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)(Airman 1st Class Benjamin Valmoj/47th Flying Training Wing Public)

One pilot died and another was injured Monday when an Air Force T-38 Talon crashed in Del Rio, Texas, according to officials.

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The T-38 crashed around 4 p.m. about 14 miles northwest of Laughlin Air Force Base, where the jet was assigned, base officials said.

Authorities did not immediately identify the pilots, citing the need to notify their families.

According to Air Force officials, “the T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying.”

>> Related: Veteran laid to rest with military honors thanks to kindness of strangers

The circumstances surrounding the crash were not immediately clear. Base officials said a board of officers will investigate the crash.

“Our biggest priority at this time is caring for the family and friends of our Airmen,” Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, said in a news release. “We are a close-knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs every member of the U.S. Armed Forces feels it. Our people take top priority, and we are committed to ensuring their safety and security."

Navy plans operation pause, calls for review of collisions in the Pacific

Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

Damage to the portside is visible as the Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) steers towards Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The USS John S. McCain was docked at Singapore's naval base with
Damage to the portside is visible as the Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) steers towards Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The USS John S. McCain was docked at Singapore's naval base with "significant damage" to its hull after an early morning collision with the Alnic MC as vessels from several nations searched Monday for missing U.S. sailors. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/U.S. Navy photo via AP)(Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/AP)

The U.S. Navy will take a one-day operational pause in the coming weeks to “ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measure to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world,” Navy Adm. John Richardson, who is chief of naval operations, said on Monday.

The pause was announced on the same day officials said they were launching a broad investigation into the Pacific fleet in light of recent accidents, including Monday morning’s collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship in the waters of Southeast Asia.

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Ten sailors remained missing Monday, hours after the USS John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer, and the 600-foot Alnic MC collided off the coast of Singapore, Navy officials said. Five other sailors were injured.

A search for the missing sailors was ongoing Monday.

"This is the second major collision in the last three months, and is the latest in a series of major incidents, particularly in the Pacific theater,” Richardson said in a video statement released Monday. “This trend demands more forceful action.”

The USS John S. McCain, named for Republican Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both Navy admirals, was pulled on Monday evening to Changi Naval Base in Singapore. The crash left the ship with significant hull damage, allowing water to flood into nearby compartments, naval officials said.

“I don't want to speculate how the incident happened, but this area -- it's a busy area, considering the two vessels are about to enter the traffic separation scheme,” said Adm. Datuk Zulkifili Abu Bakarthe, head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, according to The Navy Times.

The newspaper reported that about 80,000 vessels travel the strait each year.

>> Related: 10 sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with tanker

A defense official told The Associated Press earlier Monday that Richardson directed Adm. Phil Davidson, head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces, to lead the investigation.

The unnamed official told the AP that “Richardson wants to ensure there aren’t bigger problems that may be masked by the high pace of ship operations in the Pacific region.”

Richardson said the investigation would include “trends in operational tempo, performance, maintenance, equipment and personnel,” along with “surface warfare training and career development, including tactical and navigational proficiency.”

Monday’s crash was the second major collision involving a U.S. Navy warship from the 7th Fleet in two months, according to The Navy Times. It is the fourth accident involving a naval vessel in the Pacific this year, according to The Washington Post.

Seven sailors died and three others were injured on June 17 when a merchant vessel and the USS Fitzgerald collided in the Philippine Sea, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Officials determined that the collision was avoidable and dismissed the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief after the crash.

Bringing Tiny home: Remains of WWII hero arrive in Florida

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 4:19 PM

The remains of US Army Sgt. Richard Sowell are moved to a hearse by the US Army Honor Guard after arriving at PBIA Wednesday, November 8, 2017. “Tiny” Sowell’s buddies saw the popular Palm Beach High grad be blown to bits by Japanese explosives on Saipan, but they couldn’t get to his mangled body to bring him home. It would take seven decades, and 21st century technology, and a persistent nephew, but Tiny finally is coming home.
Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post
The remains of US Army Sgt. Richard Sowell are moved to a hearse by the US Army Honor Guard after arriving at PBIA Wednesday, November 8, 2017. “Tiny” Sowell’s buddies saw the popular Palm Beach High grad be blown to bits by Japanese explosives on Saipan, but they couldn’t get to his mangled body to bring him home. It would take seven decades, and 21st century technology, and a persistent nephew, but Tiny finally is coming home.(Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

Tiny came home Wednesday, three-quarters of a century after he left, bearing the same grin that made him a darling of Palm Beach High’s Class of 1941 and filled with ardor to save the world — or die trying.

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Which is what U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Gordon Sowell did, fighting in the Pacific in 1944.

With the military unable to make a firm identification of his shattered remains, they laid him in a numbered grave with those of others until authorities used 21st-century technology to make a match. And finally send him home.

He will be buried at 11 a.m. Friday— the day before Veterans Day — in a family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in West Palm Beach.