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Rights of same-sex military spouses vary by state

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Two years after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," gay and lesbian members of the U.S. military are serving openly, getting married and starting families.

Though the federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages, about two-thirds of active-duty personnel in the U.S. are based in states that don't. That leaves thousands of service members, their spouses and their children missing out on legal rights they would have had if Uncle Sam stationed them elsewhere.

An example is 28-year-old Marine Corporal Nivia Huskey, whose wife is expecting the couple's first child. When the baby boy is born at the on-base hospital at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina law will bar the military policewoman from having any parental rights. The space on the baby's birth certificate marked "Father" will be left blank.

 

BREAKING NEWS: US95 is closed at Creech AFB

LAS VEGAS -- U.S. 95 is closed in both directions at Creech Air Force Base, north of Las Vegas due to a military training exercise on the base.

Nevada Highway Patrol closed the highway as a precaution in case a plane needs to use the road as a landing strip. There is no word on how long the closure will last.

 

Air Force: 'So help me God' in oath is optional

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Air Force officials say they're changing their policy on enlistment oaths and will allow airmen to omit the words "so help me God" if they choose.

The decision comes after an airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada struck out the words on his Department of Defense reenlistment paperwork and ran up against a policy that prohibits omissions.

The case went up to the Department of Defense General Counsel, which issued an opinion Wednesday saying the language could be left out if the airman preferred.

Attorney Monica Miller of the American Humanist Association is representing the airman, who she says has requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Miller says the airman was told by his commanders Aug. 25 that he must swear to God or leave the Air Force.

 

Air Force: 'So help me God' in oath is optional

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Air Force officials say they're changing their policy on enlistment oaths and will allow airmen to omit the words "so help me God" if they choose.

The decision comes after an airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada struck out the words on his Department of Defense reenlistment paperwork and ran up against a policy that prohibits omissions.

The case went up to the Department of Defense General Counsel, which issued an opinion Wednesday saying the language could be left out if the airman preferred.

Attorney Monica Miller of the American Humanist Association is representing the airman, who she says has requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Miller says the airman was told by his commanders Aug. 25 that he must swear to God or leave the Air Force.

 

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.