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Beth Ford Roth

Stories by Beth Ford

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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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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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 2

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.


The Mercedes, filled with what turned out to be 200 pounds of explosives, smashed into the Humvee. The blast incinerated both vehicles. The only part of the Humvee that remained was its sizzling engine block.

The force of the explosion knocked Carlos unconscious ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Part 1

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.


“It wasn’t the best idea.”

Carlos Cruz was part of a three-vehicle convoy patrolling the scorching, silent Iraqi desert.

Carlos, a Marine lance corporal at the time, was in the rear of the convoy, lying down in the back seat of a ...

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Even The Devil Can't Fool A Dog - Prologue

“A man, well, he'll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the devil can't fool a dog.” -Earl Hamner, Jr.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) have been called the hallmark wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to a 2008 Rand study, one in five American service members who’ve been deployed in the post-9/11 wars suffer from ...

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Artists And Illustrators Wanted...By The US Navy (Video)

Did you know the U.S. Navy has an art collection of more than 20,000 paintings, illustrations, and engravings? According to Naval History and Heritage Command:

The Navy Art Collection collects, documents, preserves and exhibits art that is significant to the history of the Navy for both the public and service personnel.

Gale Munro, Naval History and Heritage Command Navy Art Collection head curator, wants to add to that ...

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Blind Camp Pendleton Marine Vet Competing In Marathon Via Wheelchair (Video)

Staff Sgt. James Carey enlisted in the Marines when he was just 20-years-old. He served in Afghanistan. His future in the Marine Corps looked bright, until July 2009, according to the Patriot Guard Riders website:

[J]ust prior to his next deployment, he was training for Special Recon group for Navy Seals when he [almost] drowned in a pool among 40 marines.

He was brought back to life but unfortunately ...

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Was Navy Jet's UC Berkeley Fly-By A Brotherly Shout-Out? (Video)

A Navy jet's fly-by the UC Berkeley campus last week left babies crying, dogs barking, and a baffled community in its wake. Now, it turns out the pilot may have been trying to give his brother a shout-out before moving to Texas.

The kerfuffle began on Jan. 27, according to the Navy Times, when the pilot of an F/A-18E Super Hornet flew over campus during a training flight ...

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Life In Prison For Airman Convicted Of Murdering Navy Broadcaster

It's life behind bars for the airman convicted of killing a Navy broadcaster in a convoluted tale of greed and adultery.

A panel of ten service members sentenced Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver to life in prison, with the possibility of parole, for killing Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov, according to Stars and Stripes:

Oliver, who was found guilty Wednesday of murder with intent to kill, was ...

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5,000 Pizzas Headed To Afghanistan For Super Bowl Sunday (Video)

The nonprofit group Pizza 4 Patriots is sending 5,000 pies to troops stationed in Afghanistan, so they can enjoy a slice or two (or five) while watching the Super Bowl. And despite Pizza 4 Patriots' name, service members who are Seahawks fans will get their fair share of the pies, too.

Retired Master Sergeant Mark Evans is the founder of Pizzas 4 Patriots. He said in a news release ...

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Camp Pendleton Marine Veteran Killed In Libya Hotel Attack (Video)

The only American killed in Tuesday's attack on a luxury hotel in Libya was a Marine Corps veteran who'd served at Camp Pendleton.

According to CNN, David Berry was one of ten people killed when gunmen stormed the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli. Five of dead were Libyans, four French, and Berry the sole American who lost his life.

Cliff Taylor, who is CEO of Crucible (a private security ...

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Could Your Dog Be The 2015 Military Pet Of The Year?

Time is running out to enter Dogs on Deployment's "2015 Military Pet of the Year" contest.

The deadline to enter your pooch in the contest is Jan. 31.

Click here for more info on how to enter.

Dogs on Deployment is a non-profit group that helps find temporary homes for the beloved canines--and kitties--of troops during their deployments. The folks there explain the purpose of the annual contest this ...

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Airman Found Guilty Of Murder In Killing Of Navy Broadcaster

After just five hours of deliberation, a military panel found Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver guilty of unpremeditated murder in the killing of Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov.

Stars and Stripes reports the panel (the military's version of a jury) had the option of finding Oliver guilty of premeditated murder, but chose instead the lesser charge.

Oliver testified during his court-martial that while he choked Chepusov ...

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US Marine's Bid To Get Murder Charges Dropped In Death Of Transgender Filipina Rejected

An attempt by U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton to get murder charges against him dropped in the death of a transgender Filipina has failed. The Associated Press reports the Philippines Department of Justice rejected Pemberton's appeal in the murder case of Jennifer Laude.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports the Department of Justice wrote in a 12-page resolution:

“After a judicious scrutiny of the evidence on record, we ...

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US Army To Charge Bowe Bergdahl With Desertion, News Outlets Claim

U.S. Army will charge Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion, according to NBC News.

"Senior defense officials" have told NBC News the charges could come down this week:

[T]he desertion charges would be based on allegations that Bergdahl abandoned his remote outpost in June 2009 to avoid hazardous duty or important service, which are grounds for charges of desertion under the Uniform Military Code of Justice, or UCMJ.

NBC ...

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USS Green Bay Leaves San Diego For New Home In Japan (Video)

USS Green Bay (LPD 20) left San Diego on Monday for its new home of Sasebo, Japan.

The USS Green Bay, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, will replace the decommissioned USS Denver (LPD 9), an Austin-class amphibious transport dock ship.

The USS Green Bay will become part of the 7th Fleet's Forward Deployed Naval Forces.

And while the ship has always been homeported in San Diego, the ...

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Military Commissaries Facing Budget Axe Once Again?

Military commissaries would have to shut their doors to shoppers by up to two days a week, under a draft Defense Department budget document obtained by the Military Times.

The document lists proposed cuts to the Defense Commissary Agency's budget for fiscal 2016:

[T]he Defense Commissary Agency [must]... meet a DoD mandate to come up with $322 million in annual savings — nearly one-fourth of DeCA's annual baseline ...

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Two Camp Pendleton Marines Killed In Helicopter Crash ID'ed

The two Camp Pendleton-based Marines killed Friday when their 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing UH-1Y Huey helicopter crashed have been identified as Capt. Elizabeth Kealey, 32, and 1st Lt. Adam Satterfield, 25.

Both Marines were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 169.

Kealey, known as Betsy, was from the town of Indiana, Pa. According to a news release from the 3rd MAW, she commissioned in the Marine Corps May ...

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Two Camp Pendleton Marines Killed In Helicopter Crash At 29 Palms

Two Marines assigned to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing at Camp Pendleton were killed Friday when their UH-1Y Huey helicopter crashed aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

A news release from the 3rd MAW reports the crash took place at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday during a training exercise.

The military has not yet released the identities of the two fallen Marines.

3rd MAW Commanding ...

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Therapy Dogs Would Help Veterans With PTSD Under New Bill

Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder could help train therapy dogs for other veterans under a pilot program being considered by Congress.

The Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act, introduced by Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, would put in place a pilot program at several VA medical facilities. These VA facilities would then connect veterans suffering from PTSD with organizations that train therapy dogs for physically disabled vets.

Stivers said in a ...

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Scandal Over Gitmo Head's Firing Includes Rumors Of Adultery, Suspicious Death

U.S. Navy Captain John Nettleton lost his job as commanding officer of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay after NCIS discovered he was allegedly having an adulterous affair with a woman named Lara Tur.

According to The New York Daily News, the relationship between Nettleton and Lara Tur came to light when NCIS began investigating the death of Christopher Tur - Lara's husband.

U.S. officials have told The Associated Press ...

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Army Team Deploying To Ramona To Investigate Helicopter Crash (Video)

A team from the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center in Alabama is deploying to Ramona to take the lead on the investigation into what caused a California Army National Guard helicopter to crash on Tuesday evening.

Both the pilot and co-pilot were able to emerge safely from the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter after they were forced to land the aircraft during a routine training flight, according to the California ...

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USS Carl Vinson Crew Member Advises Aspiring Blue Angels (Video)

The Blue Angels are hiring new crew members. But exactly what does it take to make the Navy's elite flight demonstration squadron? One former Blue Angel now serving aboard the USS Carl Vinson has some words of advice for those aspiring to make the team.

Navy Lt. Holly Taylor works as the USS Carl Vinson's personnel officer. She served as administration officer for the Blue Angels from Sept ...

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FakeBabyGate: The 'American Sniper' Movie Controversy (Video)

Progressives say the movie "American Sniper" is war propaganda. Conservatives contend the film honors a great patriot. But there is one matter both sides seem to agree on: That is one super fake-looking baby Bradley Cooper is holding in the movie.

Jason Hall, the man who wrote the "American Sniper" screenplay, put in his two cents. The Hollywood Reporter quotes him as explaining in a since-deleted Tweet:

"Hate to ruin ...

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California Army National Guard Helicopter Crashes At Ramona Airport

The pilot and co-pilot of a California Army National Guard helicopter suffered minor injuries when the chopper crashed Tuesday evening at the Ramona Airport.

Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser told UT-San Diego the helicopter crash-landed on its side at about 6 p.m.

The pilot and co-pilot were able to get out of the aircraft on their own and were later taken to the hospital as a precaution, according to ...

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Camp Pendleton's Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green Chosen As Top Enlisted Marine (Video)

I Marine Expeditionary Force Sergeant Major Ronald L. Green, who is based at Camp Pendleton, will serve as the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.

The new position will make Green the senior enlisted leader of the Marines.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford made the announcement on Tuesday, saying of Green:

“His dynamic leadership is well known throughout the ranks of our Corps. His wide range ...

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Supreme Court: Electrocution And Burn Pit Lawsuits Can Proceed

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the attempt by military contractors KBR Inc. and Halliburton Co. to block lawsuits against them that deal with electrocution and burn pits on bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to The Associated Press reports. The contractors hoped to curtail the lawsuits with appeals.

One of the lawsuits concerns the 2008 death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth in Iraq, who was electrocuted while taking ...

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Male Model And West Point Grad Killed By Train (Video)

George "Greg" Plitt Jr. wasn't your typical male model. The 37-year-old who called Southern California home was a West Point graduate who'd served five years in the Army, according to The Associated Press.

On Jan. 17, Plitt was hit and killed by a train while filming a workout video on railroad tracks in Burbank.

Burbank Police Sgt. Scott Meadows told People magazine investigators believe Plitt's death was ...

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Seat At State Of The Union Reserved For Imprisoned Camp Pendleton Marine Veteran

As President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20, a seat will be empty in the House chamber. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, reserved the chair for Marine Corps veteran Amir Hekmati, who has been held in an Iranian prison for more than three years.

Hekmati's family lives in Michigan, and Kildee represents them in Congress. Kildee told the Marine Corps Times he wants ...

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USS Peleliu Decommissioning Ceremony Slated For March

The U.S. Navy will hold a special decommissioning ceremony for the USS Peleliu on the morning of March 31, at Naval Base San Diego's Pier #7.

The Peleliu is the last ship of its kind (a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship) and has been in service for almost 35 years.

During that service, the Peleliu embarked on 17 deployments, and covered more than one million miles.

According to the ...

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Bombshell Confession Video Opens Navy Broadcaster Murder Trial

An interrogation video in which Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver reportedly confesses to strangling Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov was prosecutors' first piece of evidence in the court-martial of Oliver, according to Stars and Stripes.

The military newspaper reports Oliver admitted to choking Chepusov in the video:

He said he intended to knock him out, not to kill him.

Oliver maintained in his statement to investigators that ...

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Oscar Nominations For Chris Kyle Biopic 'American Sniper' And Star Bradley Cooper

"American Sniper" — the movie based on Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's bestselling memoir of the same name — has been nominated for Best Picture by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Bradley Cooper, who portrayed Kyle in the movie, got a nomination for Best Actor.

Kyle's widow, Taya, wrote recently on Facebook about what it was like for her to watch "American Sniper":

"I guarantee you will see ...

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AirAsia Search Ends For San Diego Ships USS Sampson and USS Fort Worth

As news comes that Indonesian navy divers have discovered the fuselage of AirAsia Flight 8501, so does the announcement that the USS Sampson and USS Fort Worth have concluded their participation in the search effort.

According to the U.S. Navy, the San Diego-based ships spent more than 650 search hours in the hunt for wreckage and bodies from the plane, which crashed into the Java Sea on Dec. 28 ...

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No-Cost Tax Filing Service For Military Families

Does the mere thought of having to do your taxes fill you with dread? Well, if you're part of a military family, there's a way to make tax season less painful. The Department of Defense and H&R Block are teaming up to offer no-cost tax preparation for service members and their families.

According to DoD News, the military information program Military OneSource is offering the free tax ...

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Prisoner Swap For Camp Pendleton Marine Veteran Held In Iran?

Amir Hekmati, a Marine Corps veteran who served at Camp Pendleton, has been held against his will in Iran for more than three years. Now his Michigan-based family says Iranian officials want to free him as part of a prisoner swap - an idea they oppose.

The New York Times reports Hekmati wrote a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, made public by his family, that details what he says are ...

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Navy SEAL Killed In Skydiving Training Accident (Video)

The Navy is investigating the death of Petty Officer 1st Class William "Blake" Marston, 31, a Navy SEAL who died Jan. 11 during a skydiving training exercise. reports a 911 caller saw Marston free-fall between 60 and 90 feet to the ground when it appeared his parachute malfunctioned:

"Is his parachute open?" the 911 dispatcher asked.

"Yeah, his parachute is open, but it's dangling over a fence ...

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Murder Trial Of Slain Navy Broadcaster Begins; Airman Pleads Not Guilty

The court-martial of Air Force Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver, who has been charged with killing Navy Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov, started Monday at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

Stars and Stripes reports the trial started off with a not guilty plea from Oliver. He faces life in prison if found guilty of murdering Chepusov.

A little background on the case: Both Chepusov and Oliver worked for American ...

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AirAsia Search Through The Eyes Of A San Diego-Based Helicopter Crewman (Video)

When Naval Aircrewman 1st Class Joseph Jiardina departed San Diego on Oct. 31 aboard the USS Sampson for a scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific, there was no way he could've known he'd become a critical part of the search for wreckage and bodies after the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 in the Java Sea on Dec. 28.

Jiardina is assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Three Five ...

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How War Brings About Medical Advances - Part V

So, military doctors wondered, how to relieve the pressure within the soldier’s skull without killing him? The answer was something called a craniectomy. The inventor was an Army neurosurgeon named Col. Rocco Armonda.

All Armonda ever wanted was to be an officer in the Army Medical Corps. At age 17 he joined the Army by attending the United States Military Academy at West Point. He earned his medical degree ...

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How War Brings About Medical Advances - Part IV

So, how did medicine evolve so rapidly that the chance of dying in the war in Afghanistan shrank to ten percent?

Most medical advances in war usually happen by accident, with a military doc facing a traumatically injured patient he’s not sure how to fix, according to Dr. Fred Mading, a Navy veteran (and my brother-in-law). Fred told me the doctor or medic tries everything he or she can ...

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Military Families Stationed Overseas Find Commissary Shelves Empty

Military families stationed in Europe and the Pacific are finding it difficult to get the food and supplies they need from their local base commissaries.

A military wife who chose to remain anonymous described the scene at the RAF Lakenheath commissary to the Military Times:

"No lettuce, no salad, no orange juice, no chicken, no bread, hardly any yogurt and cheese, and half the fruits and vegetables were gone."

In ...

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