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USMCFormer Marine Sentenced to Federal Prison

A former Marine staff sergeant who accepted $150,000 from military contractors while deployed in Iraq was sentenced Friday to more than five years in federal prison.

Gilbert Mendez, 37, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., pleaded guilty last December to conspiracy to defraud the United States.

In handing down the 63-month sentence, U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino told Mendez that he “breached his honor and his integrity” and that his conduct impacted not only the Marine Corps but every U.S. taxpayer.

Read more: http://oceanside-camppendleton.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/former-marine-sentenced-to-federal-prison_935ce177

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Department of DefenseDoD personnel chief: New job-specific physical standards being drafted

Opening up the combat arms career fields for women will result in a new array of job-specific physical standards that will apply to both men and women, the Pentagon’s top personnel and readiness official said Tuesday.

“You, as the man or woman, need to carry your load. So when we develop the standard, the standard is not just going to be for the females. The standard is going to be the standard,” said Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Wright is overseeing the process of opening up all military jobs to women by 2016, including more than 200,000 billets that make up the core of the ground-level combat forces in the Army and Marine Corps. The four services are developing a new set of job-specific physical standards.

Read more: http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20131029/NEWS05/310290024/DoD-personnel-chief-New-job-specific-physical-standards-being-drafted

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James AmosCommandant Accused of Asserting Unlawful Influence

A group of 27 retired and former Marine Corps and Navy judge advocates and officers are asking Congress to investigate allegations that Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos used his power to improperly influence legal proceedings following a scandal that arose after a group of Marines were filmed urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan in 2011.

Read more: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/10/25/commandant-accused-of-asserting-unlawful-influence.html?comp=7000023435630&rank=6

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USAF SealAir Force lawyers draw fire over sexual assault policy

Top Air Force lawyers are under fire after urging subordinates to rally  against a Senate proposal that would overhaul the military’s sexual assault  policies.

A letter obtained by POLITICO shows Lt. Gen. Richard Harding,  the Air Force judge advocate general, and Col. Jeffrey Rockwell, urging their  fellow military lawyers to take sides against a Senate amendment expected to  come up for a floor vote before Thanksgiving that removes the command chain from  major criminal prosecutions.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/air-force-lawyers-sexual-assault-policy-99099.html

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Susan HelmsLawmaker sustains 6-month hold on 3-star’s nomination

For six months, a prominent Democratic lawmaker has blocked Lt. Gen. Susan Helms’ nomination to be vice commander of Space Command, making it unlikely that she will ever be confirmed.

Helms continues to serve as commander of 14th Air Force. Lt. Gen. John Hyten has already been confirmed to replace her, but the Air Force is waiting for Helms to be confirmed before moving forward, Air Force spokesman Capt. Adam Gregory said. Helms’ nomination will expire in January 2015.

Both Helms and Hyten declined to comment for this story, Gregory said.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri first objected to Helms nomination in April and then reaffirmed her stance in June, citing Helms’ decision to overturn the sex assault conviction of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in February 2012.

Read more: http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20131027/NEWS05/310270007/Lawmaker-sustains-6-month-hold-3-star-s-nomination

Marine Corps Veteran Justin Eldridge Died by Suicide in Connecticut Home; Battled PTSD & TBI After Deployment to Afghanistan (October 29, 2013)

Justin Eldridge

Justin Eldridge, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran (Photo: Obituary)

Marine Corps veteran Justin Eldridge was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Waterford, Connecticut home on October 29, 2013. Justin served in the Marine Corps for 8 1/2 years. After a deployment to Afghanistan he battled with both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. As a result he was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 2008. Justin was married with four children at the time of his death. Justin’s wife Joanna has continued the fight for our soldiers and veterans. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) honored Justin Eldridge on the Senate Floor and co-sponsored a veteran suicide prevention bill in his name. Joanna attended the 2015 State of the Union and a bipartisan suicide prevention bill was signed into law in March 2015.

His final message, posted on his Facebook Page at about 9 p.m., “theres only so much bashing someone can take before they react………” –Waterford Patch (October 29, 2013)

Senator Richard Blumenthal Honors US Marine Justin Eldridge:

In a Senator Floor speech today, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal honors the heroism of United States Marine Justin Eldridge of Waterford, tragic victim of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who took his own life two days ago. (October 30, 2013)

Related Links:
Justin Eldridge Obituary
Justin Eldridge’s Battle With PTSD Ended In Tragedy Last Night
For Waterford veteran, battling PTSD was too tough a fight
Man who killed himself in Waterford was ex-Marine
Former Marine’s suicide in Waterford standoff shocks friends
Marine’s Family Decides To Talk Openly About His Suicide
PTSD cases in veterans on the rise
Why One Man’s Death Is A National Tragedy
U.S. Marine’s Suicide Magnifies Veterans Needs, Says Acclaimed Cowboy Singer R.W. Hampton
In Senate Floor Speech, Blumenthal Honors Heroism Of U.S. Marine Justin Eldridge Of Waterford
Senator Blumenthal honors US Marine Justin Eldridge
Widow continues Marine veteran’s fight
Study: Younger vets have higher suicide risk
Blumenthal wins on veteran suicide prevention bill
Blumenthal-backed veterans suicide prevention bill wins approval
Senate approves Blumenthal’s veteran suicide prevention bill
New Generation Of Veterans Has Higher Suicide Risk, Study Finds
Widow of Connecticut Marine to Attend State of the Union Address
Preventing suicide to save veterans’ lives
Bipartisan veterans suicide prevention act signed into law

Update on Exemption for PTSD (MST) Counseling on Security Clearance

Office of Director of NSAActive Duty: Please be warned that the counseling for Military Sexual Trauma was only exempt from the security clearance questionnaire as interim guidance. This means that the ruling was only temporary. We need you to contact Representative Chellie Pingree and Senator Jon Tester and let them know that the National Intelligence Agency needs to make this policy permanent. There is no reason that it should not be included as an exemption with the counseling for combat PTSD, spousal counseling, and grief counseling.

September 17, 2013: Letter to DNI Clapper (10/24/13 03:29 PM PST)

Read more: http://pingree.house.gov/press-releases/tester-pingree-question-intelligence-director-over-security-clearance-reversal2/