Navy naming ship after gay rights activist:

The Navy is set to name a ship after the gay rights icon and San Francisco politician Harvey Milk, according to a Congressional notification obtained by USNI News.

The July 14, 2016 notification, signed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, indicated he intended to name a planned Military Sealift Command fleet oiler USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO-206). The ship would be the second of the John Lewis-class oilers being built by General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, Calif.

The Secretary of the Navy’s office is deferring releasing additional information until the naming announcement, a Navy official told USNI News on Thursday.

Mabus has said the John Lewis-class – named after civil rights activist and congressman Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) – would be named after civil rights leaders.

Other names in the class include former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren whose court ruled to desegregate U.S. schools, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, women’s right activist Lucy Stone and abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth.

It’s like Ray Mabus wakes up every day and thinks to himself, “How can I show how much of a weiner I am this week?” First, the guy completely disregards an exhaustive study showing that female Marines are way below the capability of male Marines, and allows females in the infantry. Then, he decides to arbitrarily end decades of USMC tradition by changing numerous job titles in the Corps, all with full approval from Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Never before in the history of the United States has the military been controlled by three social justice warriors, but here we are. It’s like the country is being run by the faculty lounge at UC Berkeley.

Now, I will say this: At least Harvey Milk actually served in the Navy, so I don’t have a huge problem with it, I suppose. Lately, this administration has been naming ships after political cronies, like former United States Senator Carl Levin, who was never in the military. And in that case, Ray Mabus chose to honor a greasy politician by naming a DESTROYER after him. A ship of war, named after a man who was never in the Navy, or anywhere else in the military. That, to me, is MUCH more of a problem than the Harvey Milk oiler ship.
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This goes beyond Harvey Milk. The Navy has decided to name the entire class of oilers after Congressman John Lewis. Now, I recognize that John Lewis is famous for his work in the civil rights movement, even as he’s devolved into someone anxious to destroy the Second Amendment more recently. I’m surprised that the Navy has chosen to honor him by naming ships after the man, who, again, was never in the Navy or the military in any way. But naval traditions are a funny thing. If you look at the names of the battleships, they’ve all traditionally been named after states. Our current aircraft carrier lineup is named after either former U.S. presidents or high-ranking naval leaders, when, in the past, they were named after great battlefields. Things obviously change.

Back to Harvey Milk. Like I said, at least he was in the Navy, and by all accounts had an honorable term of service. But as much as a gay-rights icon that Milk may have been, he was kind of…NASTY in his personal life. It was common knowledge that Milk had frequent sexual encounters with youthful teenage boys. I mean, at 33 years old, he took as a lover a 16-year-old runaway boy named Jack McKinley. Blecccccch. So we’re going to plaster that name on a United States ship? Whatever. Just don’t put it on a warship.

It’s not like there is some dearth of Marine/Navy heroes to honor with ship names. On the other end of the spectrum, we have this:

MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON — A new Navy destroyer was named for a Marine Medal of Honor recipient who assumed command of his rifle company during the Vietnam War and led them out of an intense firefight when their leader was killed in combat.

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Navy Secretary Ray Mabus led a ceremony here Thursday to name the Arleigh-Burke class destroyer DDG 124 after retired Col. Harvey C. Barnum Jr. The surface combatants complete vital missions across the globe including guarding aircraft carriers and ballistic missile defense. They are armed with guns, missiles and torpedoes.

See, that’s more like it. THAT is the type of person we should be naming ships after. If Ray Mabus needs some suggestions for some Navy heroes, here’s a list of corpsmen who have been killed in action that he could start with. Being Ray Mabus, he of course had to offer some bland, meaningless bureaucratic words at the dedication ceremony:

“Destroyers are kind of like the person we’re honoring here today,” Mabus said. “They’re incredibly versatile, and they can do a lot of things at once.”

Jesus, Ray. A Chesty Puller/General Patton rousing speech-giver, you are NOT. I fell asleep halfway through that sentence. How about, “They’re kind of like the person we’re honoring here today: They are fearless, charge into battle, and are the hardest-dick warfighters we have in our freedom-fighting arsenal that straight-up do some gangster-ass shit to the enemy.” Or something to that effect. Work on it. I’m available as a speech writer, so call me.

Follow me on Twitter for shrewd election observations:

Yes, they were. I talked at length about the DNC, as well as the daily routine at the pararescue indoctrination course in this week’s podcast, which you can check out right here if you’d like.

Shoulda kept it in yer pants, General:

WASHINGTON — Military officials have relieved a senior officer from a key post in Europe after determining he had misused government resources while having an extramarital affair, the Army has confirmed.

Army Maj. Gen. David Haight had been in charge of operations for U.S. European Command, the Pentagon’s principal command for confronting a resurgent Russia with the 28-nation NATO alliance.

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Haight was removed from his post earlier this summer without an announcement and reassigned to Army headquarters at the Pentagon. He is listed as a special assistant to the director of the Army staff. Typically, the military reassigns senior officers suspected of misconduct to such positions as investigations unfold. Military law prohibits extramarital affairs.

Haight has been issued a letter of reprimand, a move that effectively ends his career.

Haight, what were you thinking, man? No piece of ass is ever worth your entire career. I can’t understand these guys, who have so much to lose, being so reckless with their junk. On the other hand, he was a major general. Maybe he was ready to retire. Well, he’ll probably be doing that at a lower pay grade. He’ll probably be busted down a rank. Well, that’s still a pretty good retirement. He’ll still have to deal with the wife, though.

West Point grad dies during first day of Ranger school:

Michael Parros of Walnut Creek died Wednesday on the first day of training at the Army’s legendary Ranger School, which is known for its grueling mental and physical demands.

“He was a quiet leader, he lead by example,” said retired football coach Bob Ladouceur. “He took on every challenge always at the front of the pack.”

The 21-year-old took those leadership qualities to West Point where he played football, hockey, and soccer.

The Army says at Ranger School he developed hyponatremia, which is an abnormally low level of sodium in the blood.

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“Very often it’s related to an imbalance of water intake,” said Alta Bates Emergency Room Chief Ronn Berrol.

According to Berrol, drinking too much water can dilute the amount of sodium in the body and that can put lethal stress on the brain, kidneys and heart.

“You’re not replacing the other important electrolytes and the other values,” he said. “You’re only taking in water, so in those circumstances that’s when you get hyponatremia.”

Man, that is so shitty. It’s only in recent years that the military has really stepped up their recognition of hyponatremia. In the old days, it was constantly stressed to drink water, drink water, and then drink some more water. But, as the doc said, they started figuring out when kids at basic training were dropping dead that this was the wrong way to go about hydration.

Understand that the electrical pathways of our hearts need potassium, sodium, and calcium (AKA electrolytes) in order to fire and keep the heart beating. Over-hydration with only water will flush the system of these electrolytes, leading to irregular heartbeat and heart failure. That’s why athletes use either Gatorade or some form of oral rehydration salts to prevent this from happening. I can’t believe this happened on the first day, either. Must have just been a combination of extremely shitty luck. RIP Parros.

SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP:

Quick, tell me how many bodies the “far right” in Germany is responsible for in the last couple of years. To the Times, guys sending out Tweets or marching in a protest parade is the “far right.”

This story is getting tiresome. Because, with the ongoing carnage and cultural clash underway in Germany, there eventually WILL be some violent pushback. And it won’t be from the “far right,” but Germans who are tired of having their women sexually assaulted and being attacked with axes on trains. And since the authorities won’t do anything about it, someone will. Then, the NY times can crow about the “far right.” See how it works?

Army vet tortured by Houthi rebels in Yemen:

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Tribune News Service) — Houthi rebels tortured and killed a Chesapeake man in Yemen last year after detaining and accusing him and another American contractor of being spies after they arrived in the war-torn country on a United Nations plane, according to a federal lawsuit by the men’s families.

The complaint filed this month in Washington accuses the Syrian and Iranian governments of sponsoring terrorism by providing material support to the Houthis, a Shiite rebel group.

The court document provides the first detailed account of John Hamen’s capture and death, which first was made public in November when his wife posted on Facebook that the Army veteran and father of seven had died in captivity within weeks of arriving in the Middle Eastern country as a State Department contractor.

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This is an absolutely brutal story. For all of you aspiring contractors out there, you have to do your due diligence when it comes to these overseas gigs. There are contract jobs that are pretty high profile and secure, and then there are the ones where you are pretty much on your own. You never really know what you’ll be getting into. This sounds like one of the latter.

I’ve had plenty of friends who have told me stories about contracts they were on where they were assured plenty of safety, security, and backup if things ever went wrong. Everything from security jobs to transporting gravel through Iraq. They get a lot of smoke blown up their asses on how safe it is, then they land on the ground, get a rusty AK-47 and a house with half the roof caved in, and are then told they have to drive three hours down a highway through Fallujah or something. No thanks. So be careful, because it sounds like McAlister was thrown into a bad situation—one that got even worse once he got snatched up:

McAlister was kept in inhumane conditions for the duration of his captivity, with no contact with anyone other than his captors who interrogated him for hours each night, the lawsuit says. He was locked in a 12-by-9½-foot concrete cell with no light and a hole in the floor for a toilet. The Houthis allowed McAlister to go outside to the prison yard three times during his captivity – the only times he saw sunlight.

The lawsuit says McAlister was forced to wear the same clothes for six months, use the bathroom without toilet paper and subsist on a bare-minimum amount of food and water. While confined, McAlister lost so much weight his ribs and backbone were clearly visible, the lawsuit says.

“He was repeatedly interrogated, threatened, intimidated and psychologically and physically abused, deprived, and manipulated,” the lawsuit says.

McAlister and his family seek $319 million in damages. Hamen’s family seeks more than $350 million.

Syria and Iran – which do not have embassies in the United States – have not responded to the lawsuit.

Brutal. I feel bad for the family. They say later in the story that they don’t really expect to get anything from Iran and Syria; this is more to raise awareness of the danger inherent in these sorts of jobs. Be very, very careful in working overseas.

Air Force raising age for enlistees:

WASHINGTON — Thanks to a new Air Force policy announced Tuesday, enlisted recruits can now experience the joys of basic training in their late 30s.

The Air Force raised the maximum age for enlisted accession from 27 to 39, meaning it may now be the best choice for those who feel the call to military service later in life.

The maximum age for Army enlisted recruits is 35, while the Navy and Marines cap recruit ages at 34 and 28, respectively.

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Under federal law, the oldest recruit any military branch can enlist is 42, although each service sets its own policy within that limit.

Annette Crawford, a spokeswoman for the Air Force Recruiting Service at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, said officials would be watching to see whether the aches and pains of approaching middle age are too much for older recruits.

“With the change, if we see a higher initial training attrition or increased physical injuries … the Air Force recruiting commander can set a more restrictive age if necessary,” she said.

The increased maximum age is for all Air Force enlisted occupations rather than being targeted at increasing accessions in certain areas, she said.

I’m all about this. I didn’t enter the military until I was a little older (I was still in my 20s), and I actually think it helped me out quite a bit being a little older. Having already been through a little adversity in life, I was well prepared for the cultural shock of being in the military.

And this isn’t like a hundred years ago. You have guys in their 50s deadlifting three times their bodyweight, for Chrissakes. I think they can handle the rigors of Air Force basic training. Not to mention they will bring the experience of their years and a sense of maturity into the squadrons. It’s a wonder that this hasn’t happened already. It’s not surprising that the Air Force, the most intelligent of all branches, was the first to implement this. I wouldn’t be surprised to see others follow.

Luke Aikens, you magnificent bastard:

This was unbelievable to watch. Aikens jumped from 25,000 feet into a net measuring 100 feet by 100 feet. If that sounds large to you, watch Aikens’s helmet cam as he looks down at that net, which looks like a little tiny postage stamp. Balls. Of. Steel.

Army medic’s court-martial for murder now includes child porn, gay prostitution:

HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — An Army medic facing a murder charge in civilian court for the stabbing death of his wife is scheduled to go to court-martial trial today on child pornography and prostitution charges.

Sgt. Michael Walker, who was assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center, elected to be tried by a military judge at Wheeler Army Airfield’s courtroom, the Army said.

Walker previously pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in civilian court in the killing of Catherine Walker, 38, who was found stabbed to death in November 2014 in their Aliamanu Military Reservation home.

A federal grand jury indicted Michael Walker in November on charges of aiding and abetting and conspiring to commit first-degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing. He was 36 at the time…

We’ve been following this case at the News Roundup since it first came on our radar back in 2014. If this is the first time you’ve heard of it, here’s the down and dirty: Michael Walker was cheating on his wife, Catherine, with a woman named Ailsa Jackson. Jackson has already pleaded guilty to the charge of murder, and now they are trying to use her to nail Walker, who has pleaded not guilty. Basically, his defense is that this chick Jackson is cray as hell:

..Walker’s attorney on the murder charge, Birney Bervar, said his client didn’t want his wife dead and that he’s innocent of the charge. Jackson had said in court that she was taking medication for psychosis.

BIRNEY BERVAR. Now that’s a shyster attorney name if I’ve ever heard one. Not sure how they’re planning on getting around the text messages exchanged between the two that basically showed Walker giving Jackson the green light to kill his wife:

According to the indictment, Jackson sent Walker an email on Nov. 3, 2014, in which she said, “I will not act until you need my help. Until your permission is given.” Walker responded, “I understand. I know we need to talk. And you have my permission. The sooner the better.”

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I’m sure Birney Bervar will try some shit like saying Walker thought Jackson was talking about washing his car or something. I’ve heard enough. GUILTY. That won’t stop Birney Bervar from throwing up all kinds of shit against the wall to see what sticks:

“The crazy gal that he was seeing for a purely sexual affair, if you will, killed her,” Bervar said. “She pled guilty to it, and she’s got some serious psychological mental issues.”

The child pornography and prostitution accusations arose during the investigation of the killing.

“He (Walker) was hooking up for sex with people on the internet, Craigslist, women and men,” Bervar said. “Some of the men, he charged them some money — 50, 100 bucks.”

In the course of the investigation, some images of child pornography were found on his laptop computer, “and he denies that (charge),” Bervar said.

SO GROSS. Ah, maybe I’m being too hard on the guy. After all, child porn could just appear on all of our computers, right?:

“He’s (slated) to go to trial on that,” Bervar said. “He denies that. He claims that, ‘Look, I was over in Iraq, and we were swapping out hard drives and everything — I don’t know what got on my computer, but I didn’t know about it.’”

Riiiiiiiight. Good luck, Walker. See you in Hell.

Sir, step out of the Mazda 3:

COLONIE —— Officers watched a 53-year-old naked man from Clifton Park masturbate in his car outside the parking lot of the L.L. Bean store in Colonie Center, town police said.

Police went to the parking lot after shoppers at the mall, including a nine-year-old girl and her mother, spotted Carmen Cicarelli touching himself while he sat in his Mazda 3 sedan and called authorities, police said.

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Cicarelli was naked inside his car at the time of the arrest, police said.

Once in custody, Cicarelli admitted he was masturbating, police said.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten aroused outside an L.L. Bean store. I mean…have you seen those catalogues??? BABES.

Pro tip, Cicarelli: If you’re going to masturbate in public, maybe keep some of your clothes on. You skyline yourself if you’re completely naked. Ah, there’s always next time. And I’m sure there will be a next time. Dude is 53. You think this is the first time he’s done this?

@BKactual on Twitter.