Life in the Military


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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Peralta Family Accepts Navy Cross For Their Late Son At Camp Pendleton

The family of Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta accepted their late son's Navy Cross Monday, even though they would have preferred the Medal of Honor.

San Diegan Peralta was killed in Falluja, Iraq in 2004. He was shot in the head and then, his fellow combatants say he smothered a grenade with his body to absorb the blast.

A host of veterans, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., pushed to have ...

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'American Sniper' Widow Comes To San Diego To Discuss Life, Loss

“American Sniper” widow Taya Kyle is in San Diego this week to share her experience with life and loss.

Kyle, who documents her experience in the memoir, "American Wife: Love, War, Faith and Renewal," was celebrated Monday at the USS Midway Museum. The book covers her relationship with “American Sniper” Chris Kyle, their family life and how she is dealing with his death.

Chris was a highly decorated U.S ...

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Pentagon Grapples With Retaliation In Sex Assault Cases

It's not against the law or military regulations to choose not to sit with someone in the dining hall or to unfriend them on Facebook, but in the traumatic aftermath of a sexual assault, a victim could interpret those moves as retaliation.

In these days when a tweet or Instagram photo can be wielded as weapons, the Pentagon is struggling to define retaliation and rein in bullying or other ...

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Midday Edition From The Midway: Special Coverage To Mark End Of Vietnam War

Midday Edition is taking its Friday show to the USS Midway Museum in downtown San Diego. The show starts at noon and is part of KPBS’ special coverage of the fall of Saigon, an event that marked the end of the Vietnam War on April 30, 1975.

In the final hours of the war, a helicopter airlift brought thousands of Americans and South Vietnamese from Saigon to safety aboard the ...

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Vietnam War Ended 40 Years Ago But Lives On For MIA Families

It has been more than four decades since Elaine Zimmer Davis got the knock on her door that no Marine wife wants to hear.

“And I didn’t want to open it because I knew, I knew what was coming,” she said.

Her husband’s F4 Phantom plane had been shot down over a remote mountainside in Vietnam on Aug. 29, 1969. Witnesses described a fiery crash. Capt. Jerry Zimmer ...

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Building Civilian Career Is Challenge For National Guard Members

Building a career is no easy task for those in the National Guard who have to balance their commitment to be available for military training with a civilian job.

The National Guard can be mobilized at any moment in a crisis, but its members have to support themselves by working in the civilian workforce. While many veterans find it challenging to transition from military to civilian life, those in the ...

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San Diego-Based Troops Named On ISIS 'Hit List'

Dozens of U.S. troops, including some based on the USS Carl Vinson from San Diego, were named on a "hit list" by the self-proclaimed Islamic State terror group, according to the Marine Corps Times.

ISIS reportedly posted what it says are the names, photos, U.S. addresses and military positions of 100 men and women and called on its supporters to attack the individuals.

"It is quite extraordinary for ...

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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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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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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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