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Hagel, Dempsey defend Obama military strategy

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's top military leader says strikes against Islamic extremists in Syria will be persistent and sustainable as President Barack Obama expands the military campaign to combat the terrorist threat.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that the airstrikes will not resemble the "shock and awe" bombardment of the Iraq war that began in March 2003.

Dempsey said the Islamic State militant group is not organized. He said the strikes will degrade the group.

Joining Dempsey was Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who defended Obama's strategy. Hagel said the U.S. is at war with the extremists as it is with al-Qaida. He said the fight will not be easy or brief.

Anti-war protesters filled the front rows at the hearing.

Guam military exercises to draw 18,000 US forces

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) -- American forces are converging on the strategically important U.S. territory of Guam this month for a week of sophisticated military exercises involving two aircraft carriers.

Servicemen and women will practice searching for submarines, stopping suspect vessels at sea and using a new missile defense system recently set up on Guam.

They'll work through issues like how Navy F-18 pilots might talk to Air Force F-16 or F-15 pilots.

Most personnel will be from the Navy and the Air Force.  Marines and Army soldiers will also join the drills, which are called Valiant Shield.

Altogether 19 ships, more than 200 aircraft and about 18,000 personnel will participate in the drills that start Monday and are scheduled to last a week.

Only U.S. forces will participate.



Hagel: US needs to maintain military superiority

NEWPORT, Rhode Island (AP) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. military's technological superiority is being challenged by other nations, including China and Russia. He is telling defense industry leaders that in order to maintain its dominance America must be more innovative in how it develops and buys new technologies.

Hagel says that unsophisticated militaries and terrorist groups are acquiring destructive weapons, and Moscow and Beijing are modernizing their armed services, including their electronic warfare and special operations capability. He was speaking to members of the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance at a conference on defense innovation.

He says unless the U.S. takes these challenges seriously, American troops could face advanced weapons and technologies on the battlefield that will put their lives at risk.

Air Force instructor convicted in sex scandal dies

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The first Air Force instructor convicted of rape in a sex scandal at one of the nation's busiest military training centers has died in prison.

Staff Sgt. Luis Walker died at a hospital Sunday night after being found unresponsive two days earlier in his cell at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Prison spokeswoman Denise Haeussler says the cause of death is being investigated.

She says no further details will be available until the Army criminal investigators have completed their work. It's unclear how long that will take.

A military jury in 2012 found Walker guilty of 28 counts, including rape and aggravated sexual assault.

Walker's was the first trial following a scandal in which dozens of instructors from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio were accused of preying on female recruits.


Air Force Academy on al-Qaida list of targets

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- An English-language al-Qaida publication that promotes "lone-wolf" terrorist attacks includes the Air Force Academy in Colorado on a list of possible terrorism targets.

The Gazette reported on Friday that the list in the online magazine al-Malahem also includes casinos and night clubs in Las Vegas, Times Square and Britain's Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as well as "tourist resorts where Israelis, Britons or Americans stay."

Academy officials say they're aware that the school is mentioned in the magazine and remain vigilant and aware of existing and emerging threats.

North Las Vegas resident’s dream job takes him to new heights

North Las Vegas resident now part of the elite Thunderbirds team.

Every two years, 12 individuals have the opportunity to be officers of an elite air demonstration squadron known for performing aerobatic formations. This honor comes as part of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, most commonly known as the Thunderbirds.

Read more in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Money raised for airman to replace car washed away in floods

LAS VEGAS -- A few weeks ago, a group of airmen made a daring rescue in flood waters. As a result,  the vehicle belonging to one of the airmen was destroyed by the floodwaters.

Airman Tyler Webb has just replaced his totaled car.

"It's an 06 Honda Accord, I got it because it was a good price and less than 60,000 which is pretty good for an 06," Webb said.

His former car was sent down U.S. 95 when it became a river a few weeks ago during major flooding. Although, Webb has replaced his car, there is something that was special about his previous ride.

"My grandmother was sick and she died on Thanksgiving and less than 24 hours later my grandfather died, and they left me the car,"

Webb's car was trapped in the median as he tried to make his way around the floodwaters while coming home from Creech Air Force Base.