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Tuesday, Jul 23rd

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Army searching for missing soldier who did not report to Southern California base

PFC Espinola missing

U.S. Army investigators are asking for the public's help in searching for a soldier who did not report for duty last week from training in Southern California.

According to a press release issued Sunday by officials at Fort Irwin National Training Center in San Bernardino County, U.S. Army PFC Alejandro Espinola of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) failed to report for duty on Thursday.

Officials said he was last seen on Friday at Monrovia Canyon Park outside of Los Angeles, about 140 miles southwest of the base.

"The health and safety of our soldier is our number one concern," Col. Kevin T. Black, commander of the 11th ACR said in the release. “The chain of command is actively communicating with PFC Espinola’s family to keep them informed of ongoing search efforts.”

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US military ends Gaza floating pier mission to bring aid to Palestinians by sea

US military removes pierThe U.S. military announced on Wednesday that its mission to install and operate a temporary, floating pier off the coast of Gaza was complete, formally ending an extraordinary but troubled effort to bring humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

The pier, announced by President Joe Biden during a televised address to Congress in March, was a massive endeavor that took about 1,000 U.S. forces to execute. Aid began flowing via the pier to Gaza in May, an operation aimed at helping avert famine after months of war between Israel and Hamas.
But bad weather and distribution challenges inside Gaza limited the effectiveness of what the U.S. military says was its biggest aid delivery effort ever in the Middle East. The pier was only operational for about 20 days.
"The maritime surge mission involving the pier is complete. So there's no more need to use the pier," Navy Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, the deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, told a news briefing.

Navy exonerates 256 Black sailors unjustly punished after deadly 1944 port explosion

Navy exonerates Black sailors

The Navy on Wednesday exonerated 256 Black sailors found to be unjustly punished in 1944, after a deadly California port explosion revealed racial disparities in the military, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro announced.

The explosion, which took place exactly 80 years ago on July 17, 1944, at Port Chicago Naval Magazine outside San Francisco, killed 320 people and injured 400 others when munitions being loaded onto a cargo ship detonated.

After the blasts, white supervising officers at Port Chicago were given hardship leave while the surviving Black sailors — at the time, barred from nearly all seagoing jobs in a segregated force — were ordered back to work clearing debris and removing human remains from the critical World War II ammunition supply site.

As it was yet unknown what had caused the explosion and no changes had been made to improve safety, 258 Black sailors refused to resume ammunition handling. The Navy threatened disciplinary action, after which 208 of the men returned to work, but the service still subsequently convicted all 208 at a summary court-martial for disobeying orders.

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2 Union soldiers awarded Medal of Honor for Confederate train hijacking

Descendents of Civil War heroesPresident Biden on Wednesday awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry to two Union soldiers who stole a locomotive deep in Confederate territory during the Civil War and drove it north for 87 miles as they destroyed railroad tracks and telegraph lines.

U.S. Army Pvts. Philip G. Shadrach and George D. Wilson were captured by Confederates and executed by hanging. Biden recognized their courage 162 years later with the country's highest military decoration, calling the operation they joined “one of the most dangerous missions of the entire Civil War.”

“Every soldier who joined that mission was awarded the Medal of Honor except for two. Two soldiers who died because of that operation and never received this recognition," Biden said. “Today, we right that wrong.”

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US military raises terror alert at European bases: Reports

Terror threats at US military bases

Multiple U.S. military bases in Europe are under a heightened state of alert for a terrorist attack against U.S. military personnel or facilities, multiple media outlets reported Sunday.

The bases include the U.S. Army garrison in Stuttgart, Germany, where the U.S. European Command headquarters is located, which raised its alert level to Force Protection Condition “Charlie” on Sunday, two U.S. officials told CNN.

This level is raised “when an incident occurs or intelligence is received indicating some form of terrorist action or targeting against personnel or facilities is likely,” per the U.S. Army.

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Military pier in Gaza to be taken offline again: US official

Aid pier taken down againThe U.S. military pier in Gaza will be taken offline again on Friday and moved to the Israeli port of Ashdod due to high seas, according to a U.S. official.

“I don't have a date of when the pier would be reinstalled,” Defense Department deputy spokesperson Sabrina Singh told reporters Friday, noting that Centcom will assess the sea conditions over the weekend.

As the pier was moved away Friday, two U.S. officials told ABC News that officials are considering not re-installing the pier until the humanitarian aid that it brought to Gaza gets distributed. More than 19 million pounds of aid has been delivered to Gaza via the pier but it’s now piling up at the staging point at the edge of the pier, Singh said.

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Biden pardons thousands of veterans convicted under military law that banned gay sex

Biden pardons veeterans banned for being gayPresident Joe Biden is issuing a proclamation pardoning thousands of U.S. veterans who were convicted under a military law that banned gay sex, making them eligible to apply for previously withheld benefits.

In a statement early Wednesday announcing the clemency actions, Biden said he was "righting an historic wrong" to pardon former service members "who were convicted simply for being themselves."

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