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Guardsmen train for urban conflict

More than 200 soldiers from the newly formed 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment of the Missouri Army National Guard came to Camp Clark from across the state on Saturday, March 14, to take part in training in several different combat scenarios. This is the first time Missouri has had an infantry unit in more than 35 years.

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Blackwater still works for U.S. in Iraq

The U.S. State Department re-signed the security firm formerly known as Blackwater despite Iraq saying it didn't want the company there, records show.

The State Department said $22.2 million deal signed with Blackwater, since renamed Xe, in February was a contract modification concerning aviation work, The Washington Times first reported. The contract expires in September, months after its contract for work in Baghdad was to have run out.

One observer said the deal raises questions about why the United States would want to pay a contractor for work in Iraq if the government won't approve its operating license.

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Military rape reports rise, prosecution still low

More people came forward to report sexual assaults in the military last year, but a significant percentage wouldn't give crucial details needed for an investigation.

The Pentagon said it received 2,923 reports of sexual assault across the military in the 12 months ending Sept. 30 2008. That's about a 9 percent increase over the totals reported the year before, but only a fraction of the crimes presumably being committed. Among the cases reported, only a small number went to military courts, officials acknowledged.

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Oath Keepers: Orders We Will Not Obey

Oath Keepers is a non-partisan association of currently serving military, reserves, National Guard, peace officers, and veterans who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic … and meant it.

Our oath is to the Constitution, not to the President, and that oath will be kept. We won’t “just follow orders."

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Pentagon knowingly exposed troops to cancer-causing chemicals, document shows

A newly leaked military document appears to show the Pentagon knowingly exposed US troops to toxic chemicals that cause cancer, while publicly downplaying the risks exposure might cause.

The document, written by an environmental engineering flight commander in December of 2006 and posted on Wikileaks (PDF) on Tuesday, details the risks posed to US troops in Iraq by burning garbage at a US airbase. It enumerates myriad risks posed by the practice and identifies various carcinogens released by incinerating waste in open-air pits.

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Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices

A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money.

VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.

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Brain-injured troops may reach 360,000

The number of US troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said yesterday.

The estimate of the number injured - the vast majority of them suffering concussions - represents 20 percent of the roughly 1.8 million men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where blast injuries are common from roadside bombs and other explosives, the doctors said.

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