Life in the Military

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Veterans Choice Medical Program Troubled From Start

Amanda Wirtz started her six-year Navy career in 1997. She served aboard a destroyer off Bosnia and during combat off Iraq in 1998.

When she developed a rare tumor, Wirtz, 37, was discharged in 2003 and began using the Department of Veterans Affairs Health System in San Diego. For the most part, she has been happy with her care.

Then last year, Wirtz began having headaches. When the VA couldn ...

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Navy Posthumously Promotes SEAL Killed In Iraq

The San Diego-based SEAL killed in Iraq last week will be posthumously promoted to chief petty officer, the Navy announced Wednesday.

Petty Officer First Class Charles H. Keating IV, 31, was fatally shot in a May 3 battle with Islamic State forces in Tall Usquf, Iraq. According to the Navy, ISIS broke through the front lines north of the city of Mosul, and Keating's SEAL team and air support ...

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Navy Seal Killed In Iraq ID'd; US Vows To Strengthen Fight Against Islamic State

An international coalition leading the military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq agreed Wednesday to accelerate their contributions but did not publicly specify what those would be. The group also called on Iraqi leaders to reconcile political differences.

A day after a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in small arms fire with Islamic State forces, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that as the war ...

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San Diego Nonprofit Trains Veterans For Manufacturing Jobs

More than three dozen San Diego military veterans graduated Friday from Workshops for Warriors, a Barrio Logan nonprofit that for free trains and certifies veterans in manufacturing jobs, including welding, machining and fabrication.

The school has graduated more than 200 veterans since 2011 using funding from grants and donations.

“It’s been amazing to be able to come here to the school for free and be able to be taught ...

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Women Marines Signing Up For Combat Duty

It’s been more than four months since Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that all ground combat jobs would be open to women who qualify. The Marines had asked for a partial exemption for areas that included infantry and machine gunner, but Carter said no. He wanted all four military branches treated the same.

A few women are now signing up for jobs in the war zone, including Marines at ...

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Miramar National Cemetery Has Room To Grow

San Diego is home to nearly a quarter million veterans. And as they age, they inevitably die.

Rex Kern, director of Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries, reassured veterans Wednesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs is making room for their graves at Miramar.

Kern said there will be no more burials at Fort Rosecrans.

“Rosecrans as beautiful as it is, is completely buried out,” Kern said. “There is no ...

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Marine From Temecula Killed In Iraq

The U.S. Department of Defense said a coalition service member killed Saturday by enemy fire in northern Iraq was a Marine from Temecula.

Officials said in a news release Sunday that Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin died from wounds suffered when his unit was hit by rocket fire. The incident is under investigation.

A Pentagon official said several other Marines also were wounded in the attack and were being ...

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4,500 Marines, Sailors Deploy With USS Boxer Group From San Diego

About 4,500 Marines and sailors left San Diego Friday morning aboard three combat ships that will take them to the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.

The combat-ready service members are assigned to the 13th Expeditionary Unit at Camp Pendleton and the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. The force includes ground combat troops, helicopter squadrons and assault aircraft teams.

The routine deployment comes amid rising tensions across the globe ...

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Marines, Sailors Adjust To New Maternity Leave Policy

After years of giving women in the military six weeks of maternity leave, the Defense Department has changed the policy and will allow them to take off up to 12 weeks when they have a baby. The aim is to retain more women in the military.

For women in the Navy and Marines, 12 weeks is a step back. Last July, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, recognizing the retention problem, decided ...

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ATV Stolen From Wounded Vet

A wounded vet who just received his dream home is now coping with the theft of his modified ATV.

As a Marine in Afghanistan, Nick Kimmel lost two legs and an arm to an IED. His life recently took a major turn for the better when he received a fully-furnished, new home in Fallbrook, adapted to his needs. It was provided through the Gary Sinise Foundation.

Kimmel's excitement was ...

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Military Seeing Cutbacks In Housing Allowance

Lt. Daniel Burke and his wife Gloria have learned that in San Diego, you keep your fingers crossed when you search for a place to rent. They’ve been searching since June, after he got word that the Navy was relocating him to Point Loma. In their last posting in Connecticut, they just set up a few appointments before deciding on a place. San Diego was a different story.

“It ...

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Volunteers Make A Home For Disabled Vet In Fallbrook

One disabled veteran will be able to live on his own, after receiving a little help from a lot of volunteers in Fallbrook.

Just over four years ago, Nick Kimmel was a Marine sergeant serving in Afghanistan. He lost his legs and most of his left arm to a roadside bomb explosion near the Kajaki Dam. It changed his life forever, and so did having a home of his own ...

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Injured Marine Veteran Rolls To Finish Line At Washington, D.C., Marathon

Riding a handcycle almost 4,000 miles from San Diego to Washington, D.C., would seem like a lofty goal for even the most adventurous. Ret. Marine Sgt. Toran Gaal, who accomplished that feat last summer, didn’t stop there. He returned to the nation’s capital this month to tack on another 26.2 miles in the 40th annual Marine Corps Marathon.

“(This race is) special to me — we ...

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Women Make History At Camp Pendleton, Train For Combat Roles

On a recent morning at a Camp Pendleton beach, Marine Sgt. Zarina Flemming hoisted a 200-pound tow bar with a fellow Marine.

She normally serves in an administrative role, but the 27-year-old wife and mother of a toddler is part of a yearlong experiment to determine whether women have what it takes to serve in ground combat roles.

She has spent the past 12 months with massive armored amphibious vehicles ...

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