Heavy ops tempo this week my friends. That, plus the inevitable post-election hangover means a light News Roundup. Back to it next week.—BK 

USAF combat controller doing work:

SAN ANTONIO — An Air Force combat controller credited with protecting a 100-man special operations unit with precision airstrikes during an intense Afghanistan firefight received a Silver Star on Wednesday for his actions.

Staff Sgt. Keaton Thiem, a 27-year-old Austin, Texas native, said during a roundtable with reporters that he was humbled to join a long list of special tactics airmen who have received the award, but noted countless moments of battlefield heroism that went unrecognized.

“There are guys who didn’t get the recognition I’m getting,” said Thiem, who is assigned to the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Thiem’s Silver Star is the 36th awarded to a special tactics airman since 9/11, which accounts for more than half of Silver Star recipients in the Air Force since 2001, according to Capt. Katrina Cheesman, an Air Force spokeswoman. The Silver Star is the third highest award recognizing battlefield heroism.”

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…In the chaos of triaging the wounded, coalition troops realized a nightmare scenario: four Afghan commandos were still missing after a head count.

Thiem, while coordinating precision strikes, orchestrated drone surveillance of the battlefield to locate three of the commandos, who were pinned down and wounded.

He led a recovery team on foot with an AH-64 Apache escorting the movement, calling in runs to rake enemy positions with the Apache’s 30-millimeter chain gun as he held one side of a litter filled by a wounded commando.”

Follow me on Twitter as I engage with a possible future governor (shudder) of CA:

(He really did that. Look it up!) Also, if you haven’t gotten to it yet, be sure to catch the podcast this week with my buddy Swole. The former Army Ranger/Golden Knight parachutist and I talk Ranger School, HALO jumping, and the time he got caught rubbing one out while FaceTiming with his wife. Comedy GOLD. You can find it right here on SoundCloud, or go to the iTunes Podcast store and search for “BK.”

Even British arguments are weird:

A raucous night out turned sour when a woman smashed a Royal Marine in the face with a glass, breaking his teeth, after she saw him kissing a male comrade, a court heard.

Annabel Littlemore was spared jail despite the attack, which left Marine Aaron Vandenberg with teeth like “crazy paving,” Exeter Magistrates Court heard.

Littlemore had praised the two for being openly gay despite being marines, on a night out in Exmouth, Devon, in southwest England.

The marines told Littlemore they were not gay and were in fact married to women.

An argument developed in which Vandenberg said Littlemore was “self-righteous” because she lived in a richer part of the surrounding area.

While attempting to pour beer over the commando, Littlemore hit him in the face, breaking two teeth.

She was given a 12-week suspended sentence, 120 hours of community service and was told to pay £500 (US$620) in compensation for the injuries.”

Mind the post:

Sir, I’m going to need to see your DD-214:

Medic09 sends us a link to the resurgence of phony Chuck Hoelzel who was busted years ago at POW Network and now he’s resurfaced at SOCNET. He alternates between pretending to be SEAL and pretending to be a Beirut Marine.

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The truth is that he was in the Navy for 15 months from 1982 – 1983, he got out of the Navy a month after the Beirut barracks bombing.

Please check out this great group of veterans helping fellow vets transition to civilian life:

Yes times a billion:

The retired 4-star Marine Corps general who memorably said “it’s fun to shoot some people” is a leading candidate to become Team Trump’s Secretary of Defense.

Teams of lawyers on Capitol Hill wrestled on Friday with how to allow retired 4-star Marine General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, 66, to take up the post, ahead of his scheduled meeting with President Elect Donald Trump in New York on Saturday. Mattis would add to a cabinet of national security super-hawks and signal a return to a more aggressive defense of U.S. interests abroad.

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“I’m a great admirer of Gen. Mattis,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain with a grin, refusing to confirm that the blunt-speaking general is in the running, but warmly endorsing the idea.

“I think one of the reasons why it would be good to have him is that he has recent combat experience in both theaters (Iraq and Afghanistan). So he really understands complex situations on the ground,” McCain told The Daily Beast, on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum. McCain’s committee must confirm roughly 50+ defense-related posts for the new administration, chief among them the defense secretary.

The USMC body bearers are the best of us:

V.A. says no to controversial gender reassignment surgeries (for now):

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has reneged on its proposal to provide gender confirmation surgeries for transgender veterans. The VA is currently prohibited from conducting the procedure, but a proposed rule change was denied because of lack of funding, according to a VA spokesperson.

This is devastating news for the estimated 134,000 veterans who are transgender(!!!!!!!!). Transgender people can feel significant emotional distress when the gender they identify with doesn’t match the gender on their birth certificates. That distress is called gender dysphoria, which can cause anxiety, depression, and even lead to suicide. Treatments include “counseling, cross-sex hormones, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender,” according to the latest edition of the handbook for psychiatric diseases, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders.

The VA currently covers hormone therapy, mental health care, preoperative evaluations, and long-term post-surgery care. But it denies gender-altering surgeries because of a 1999 ban prohibiting the VA from providing the procedures. Transgender veterans have been fighting back against the ban, and Dee Fulcher and Giuliano Silva petitioned the VA to lift it last spring. “The Department’s exclusion for sex reassignment surgery was not supported by medical evidence when it was implemented in 1999, and it is even more indefensible today,” the two transgender veterans wrote in the petition.

The start of a beautiful friendship?

(CNN) President-elect Donald Trump will find himself with an unlikely ally if he makes good on his promise to be an economic populist challenging corporate America, Bernie Sanders said Thursday.

If Mr. Trump has the guts to stand up to those corporations,” said the former Democratic presidential candidate, “he will have an ally with me.”

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The willingness on the part of Sanders, a longtime democratic socialist, to work with Trump on a series of economic issues underscores the unorthodox and strikingly populist message that Trump used during his stunning victory over Hillary Clinton.

Sanders, speaking with reporters at a Christian Science Monitor sponsored breakfast, said he is ready to embrace Trump on a handful of campaign promises. Those include protecting Social Security and Medicare, negotiating for lower drug prices, raising the minimum wage to $10, imposing tariffs on companies that ship jobs overseas, and re-regulating Wall Street by re-establishing Glass-Steagall.

Looks like we’re all just going to be assholes to each other now, Part One:

“Hamilton,” the hit Broadway musical about colonial rebels shaping the future of an unformed country, took an even more political turn at the end of its performance on Friday night.

With Vice President-elect Mike Pence attending the show, the cast used the opportunity to make a statement emphasizing the need for the new administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump, a Republican, to work on behalf of all Americans.”

It was a deeply felt and altogether rare appeal from the stage of a Broadway show — and it drew a surprisingly sharp rebuke from Mr. Trump on Saturday morning. The president-elect wrote in a post on Twitter that the “Hamilton” cast had “harassed” Mr. Pence by making the statement and had been “very rude.”

When Mr. Pence entered the Richard Rodgers Theater in Manhattan, he was greeted with a mix of clapping and booing, according to theatergoers who posted on Twitter.”

Looks like we’re all just going to be assholes to each other now, Part 2:

As reported by BroadwayWorld, Friday night Vice President-Elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Hamilton on Broadway, where he was met with disdain from audience members. Following the curtain call, the cast of the production addressed Pence directly via a speech made by cast member Brandon Victor Dixon. Despite the fact that the speech was a call for unity and representation, Donald Trump has condemned the cast on Twitter, accusing them of “harassing” Pence, and demanding an apology.

Now, BroadwayWorld has learned that a Trump supporter interrupted the Saturday evening performance of Hamilton in Chicago. An audience member seated in the balcony allegedly shouted “We won! You Lost! Get over it! F*ck you!” during the number “Dear Theodosia.”

One Twitter user who attended the show alleges that the audience member also shouted profanities and had an altercation with security before being removed from the auditorium.

One Facebook user wrote “At the end, the performers were crying… so was I. They didn’t break characters once. They still sang their hearts out.”

Airman has interesting side gig:

LAYTON, Utah (ABC4 Utah)- Police say the man responsible for robbing a credit union on Nov. 10th is an active member of the Air Force.

On Nov.10th around 3 p.m. Layton Police tweeted a robbery had recently occurred at the Washington Federal Credit Union at 1840 North Hillfield Road.

Friday, they tweeted the suspect, 20-year-old Sonny West, was arrested on Hill Air Force Base.

Lt. Travis Lyman confirmed to ABC4 West is in the Air Force.

People are scum, Part 1:

STOCKTON, Calif. (Tribune News Service) — The father of a soldier who was killed last weekend in Afghanistan was disappointed and hurt after airline passengers booed him and his family as they flew to meet his son’s remains.

Stewart Perry, a retired Marine who lives in Stockton, said the ordeal left him feeling disrespected.

“It was really disgusting on the passengers’ part,” he said Friday.

His son, Sgt. John Perry, was one of two killed in an explosion at a United States airbase on Nov. 12. He was honored at a memorial service in Lodi on Thursday and will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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For unknown reasons, Perry said, the flight to Phoenix was 45 minutes late. The crew feared the delay might cause the Perrys to miss their connecting flight.

So, when the plane landed in Phoenix, the captain made an announcement for all passengers to remain seated and to let a “special military family” exit the aircraft first, Perry said.

Several passengers in first class began to boo and complain, Perry said.

“Some people were saying ‘This is just baloney,’ and ‘I paid for first-class for this?’ ”

People are scum, Part 2:

MINNEAPOLIS — Police say a woman tried to hang a 16-month-old boy at a Minneapolis daycare before she threatened to jump from a freeway overpass.

Assistant Police Chief Kris Arneson of Minneapolis Police Department says a parent arriving at the daycare Friday rescued the boy, who was then transported to a medical centre for treatment. Arneson confirmed he is “doing fine.”

Nataliia Mykhaylivna Karia, 42, the operator of Uptown Daycare, was arrested and also taken to the hospital for medical treatment, police said in a statement.

Arneson says Karia initially fled the scene in a gold van, and within minutes struck a bicyclist and ran over a pedestrian. The pedestrian was standing outside his vehicle when he was hit, police said, and he was dragged a “significant distance.” Both the pedestrian and bicyclist suffered broken bones.

The woman later went to the Park Avenue overpass above Interstate 94 and threatened to jump, but was stopped and detained by passersby until police arrived.

Thai recruit motivation seems shitty:

The Brits should be ashamed of this bullshit:

An Army intelligence officer who threatened to expose an Iraqi insurgent as a pedophile has told of his outrage at finding himself at the center of an investigation into child sex offences.

The retired interrogator was disgusted to be accused of distributing indecent images of children – found on the mobile phone of the Iraqi prisoner – by showing them to three members of his team…

…The incident occurred in 2006 when the Iraqi was detained by British troops. Intelligence officers discovered child pornography on the insurgent’s phone and threatened to distribute leaflets containing the child abuse images as well as a photograph of the suspect if he did not disclose details of his terror cell.

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The leaflet was shown to just four people, according to the intelligence officer, but he has now been accused of making and distributing child pornography…

…The 39-year-old officer, who is happily married, was ordered to attend an interview at Charing Cross police station in February this year. He was then quizzed for four hours by civilian investigators working for the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat), the controversial unit accused of conducting a witch hunt against war veterans.

Screaming naked man attacks cops, rides the lightning:

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Newly-released video shows what happened when Bellingham Police tased a naked man last month.

Police responded to a call of a man attacking cars on Ellis Street.

The man ran at the first arriving officer, who tased him (WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO).

A roommate tells police the man was under the influence of “some kind of narcotic.”

The officer was treated for an injury to his nose.

Back to it next week. @BKactual