USS San Diego Returns After Seven-Month Voyage

The amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego returned to its namesake home port Wednesday following its maiden deployment with two other vessels.

The San Diego, amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island and dock landing ship USS Comstock carried troops of the Camp Pendleton-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit on a seven-month voyage to the Western Pacific and Middle East.

Commissioned in May 2012, the San Diego sailed 26,000 nautical ...

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Aspire Center For Veterans Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Aspire Center in Old Town celebrated a significant milestone on Tuesday. The center, which celebrated its one year anniversary, is San Diego's first and only residential treatment center for young veterans suffering from brain injury and post-traumatic stress.

"We are serving the wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan, so we see primarily combat veterans," said the center's director Debbie Dominick. "We are also very focused on being able ...

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National Photo Exhibit Honoring Fallen Heroes Comes To Alpine

A traveling photo exhibit made a stop on Monday in Alpine to honor military members who died in combat since the 9/11 terror attacks.

Tom Williams is a Camp Pendleton Marine whose parents came up with the idea for the photo exhibit as a way to thank those who voluntarily gave their lives to serve this country.

"We should talk about them — say their names because you can bet ...

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Camp Pendleton Tests Ability To Deploy 50,000 Troops

Camp Pendleton Marines are testing their ability to deploy 50,000 troops in the event of a combat emergency.

The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, usually deploys on a much smaller scale, such as the 2,200 Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit returning to San Diego on Monday, or the Special Purpose Ground Air Task Force of 2,300 currently in the Middle East ...

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Michigan Marine Dies In Training At Camp Pendleton

The family of a southeastern Michigan Marine says the 25-year-old was killed in a training accident at Camp Pendleton in California.

The Monroe News says that Pfc. Clinton James of Maybee was a 2008 graduate of Dundee High School.

Jessica Horton says her stepbrother died after the accidental discharge of a weapon during training this week. She says the family hasn't yet learned details about James' death.

The Associated ...

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USS Vandegrift Decommissioned At Naval Base San Diego

The guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift was decommissioned Thursday at Naval Base San Diego.

Frigates are being phased out in favor of littoral combat ships, which are maneuverable vessels designed for fighting in coastal waters.

The 30-year-old Vandegrift returned to San Diego in December from a deployment to fight narcotics smuggling in Central America. The crew intercepted nearly 20,000 pounds of cocaine and disrupted numerous other illegal drug shipments, according ...

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San Diego-Based Troops On USS Carl Vinson Launch Daily Airstrikes Against ISIS

Every day, warplanes roar off the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson in the northern Arabian Gulf to strike terror targets in Iraq and Syria. On board the massive aircraft carrier are 5,300 San Diego-based troops and 65 fighter jets.

"We bring an awful lot to the fight," said Capt. Karl Thomas, the ship's commanding officer.

"The ship's force is there to provide all the services ...

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22 Marines Hurt In Training Accident At Twentynine Palms

Military officials say 22 Marines have been treated for exposure to fire retardant gas at the desert base in Twentynine Palms after an extinguishing system accidentally went off in an assault vehicle during a training exercise.

Base spokesman Dave Marks says an equipment malfunction caused the release of halon Thursday afternoon at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. There was no fire or explosion.

The Marines were treated at ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 12

Carlos had also to come to terms with the fact that his life after the Marine Corps looked nothing like he thought it would when he enlisted as a kid.

“In Chicago I was a punk teenager, and I needed change. The Marine Corps was a way out. Where I was headed in my life, it was a bad route. I joined the Marine Corps to stay alive. I was ...

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Obama Signs Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill

Acknowledging the struggles of the nation's veterans, President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation intended to reduce a military suicide epidemic that is claiming lives by the day.

"If you are hurting, know this. You are not forgotten," Obama said, addressing soldiers and veterans as he prepared to affix his signature to the law.

The law requires the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department to submit to independent reviews of ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 11

Our sleepy, overcast Sunday morning eased into a sunny afternoon, and Carlos and Logan were headed off to see a Padres baseball game in downtown San Diego - an invitation from a fellow Marine.

Carlos told me he and Logan had been to only one public sporting event since he returned from Iraq. It was another Padres game, and the experience drained him.

“It’s not easy. I don’t go ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 10

As our conversation at the Carlsbad coffee house winded down, a palm frond fell from a tree onto a nearby table.

The loud bang quieted the patio of voices, until the embarrassed laughter of diners being scared over nothing broke the silence.

I turned back to face Carlos. He was looking down at his hands. Logan had moved from his comfortable position beneath the table, and was now resting his ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 9

Meribeth Russell sited a statistic about Freedom Dogs of which she is most proud.

“Nothing is guaranteed, and there are always people you wish you could’ve done a little more for. They’re like family and we follow them for life. But I can tell you we’re 100 percent in one regard- not one of our participants has committed suicide.”

I found this statistic particularly impressive, considering the ...

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3 Navy Rear Admirals Reprimanded In Corruption Scandal

Three Navy rear admirals linked to a massive bribery scandal that cost the government at least $20 million have been reprimanded but will not face criminal charges, the Navy announced Tuesday.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus issued secretarial letters of censure to Michael Miller, Terry Kraft and David Pimpo, a Navy statement said.

The letters are considered career-ending reprimands. The three are seeking retirement and the letters could affect their benefits ...

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San Diego Supervisors Chairman Horn Declares 2015 ‘Year Of The Veteran'

North County Supervisor Bill Horn, appointed this year by his colleagues to chair the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, wants to enhance the county’s support for those who’ve served in the military.

"These men and women have made sacrifices that often take terrible tolls on their personal lives. As a county and as a community we have a responsibility to take care of our veterans,” Horn said ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 8

When Carlos first started attending training sessions at Freedom Dogs, he felt he didn’t fit in. Big reason: Carlos was afraid of dogs. He didn’t like them, and he believed they didn’t like him. In the tough, gang-infested Chicago streets where Carlos grew up, dogs were treated more as weapons than pets.

A big part of Freedom Dogs is getting a shell-shocked troop to trust him or ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 7

A critical care nurse and veteran’s daughter named Meribeth Russell started Freedom Dogs in 2006.

Russell got the idea when she participated in a hospital study that found obese children who were able to bond with a therapy dog had an easier time losing weight.

Russell decided to translate that study into something that could help the disabled veterans returning from Iraq. She pleaded with the leadership at Camp ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 6

Without the distractions of combat, symptoms of PTSD began plaguing Carlos’s everyday life. He began to drink heavily to blot out the depression and anxiety he was feeling.

And the guilt.

When Carlos was in Iraq, he didn’t know the villagers were mostly uneducated and illiterate. The Iraqis traveling the road it was his job to protect couldn’t read the signs posted by the American military.

The ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 5

In the days following the suicide car bombing in 2004, Carlos didn’t feel angry. He didn’t feel frightened. He didn’t even mourn the men who were so brutally killed that day. Carlos didn’t feel anything at all. He was completely numb.

He learned to detach himself from his own well-being. He accepted what he assumed was his impending death; it was clear to him he would ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 4

There was a shyness about Carlos, despite his intimidating appearance. Muscles earned from years of required physical fitness bulge under his black shirt, his sleeves pushed up to his elbows to reveal a maze of tattoos covering both of his forearms.

Shiny rhinestones rested in each of his earlobes, and a steal post pierced the area below his lower lip.

Carlos nodded bashfully, and greeted me in a quiet voice ...

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