military

The Olympic Peninsula was Charles Nelson’s best medicine.

The Army veteran had served during 1990s conflicts in Somalia and Kuwait before returning home to Seattle. Nelson couldn’t cope with daily life as a civilian. Something as common as an unexpected car-door slam gave him a shiver of fear. Doctors diagnosed him with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He joined a group of veterans who took weekly hikes deep into the rainforest.

“It was better therapy for me than anything else I’ve really been through,” Nelson said.

Biologist Adrian Wolf searches the ground for something camouflaged in the dry prairie grass. Then he spots it: a baby streaked horned lark.

Wolf’s hands tremble as he puts a tiny silver identification band on its leg.

“I have an endangered species little life in my hand,” he says, and then places the bird back in its nest.

Only about 2,000 streaked horned larks are left on the planet. Wolf is trying to prevent the native Northwest songbirds from going extinct. But that’s not an easy task considering the dangers nearby.

Growing up, Paul Skirvin milked a lot of cows.

“Dad went and borrowed the money,” he says. “And before we was through milking cows, we was milking about 60 head.”

This was outside of Portland in the 1930s and '40s. Skirvin was too young to fight in World War II. Soon after it ended he received a quick lesson in economics when he and his brother were hired to log off their neighbor’s land.

“We milked those cows all month and about the same as we’d make in a week logging.” he says.

AP Images

In addition to a request to provide US Military personnel for firefighting duty in the Northwest, fire officials says they have an option to get more aircraft to use as tankers. 

Flickr

The suicide rate among recent veterans is about 50 percent higher than non veterans with similar demographics. But a study published Wednesday found that deploying to a war zone didn't necessarily increase a service members' suicide risk.

The U.S. Department of Defense study examined data from nearly 4 million service members who served between 2001 and 2007. It found that of the 5,041 suicides by 2009, the service members who deployed were no more likely to kill themselves than those who had not deployed.

U.S. Pacific Fleet / Flickr

The USS Michigan will be the first submarine to allow enlisted women to serve onboard. It’s part of the Navy's plan to have women doing 20 percent of the jobs on mixed gender submarines by 2020. The Michigan is an Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine stationed at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.

The Navy began allowing female officers on subs three years ago. Lieutenant Commander Brian Bandura says allowing enlisted woman is the next step in the Navy’s plan to a fully integrated submarine force.

PEOSoldier / Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/peosoldier/)

In the past two years, four law enforcement departments in Washington state have been suspended from the military surplus program known as 1033.That’s the government program that issues surplus military gear to state and local municipalities who show a need, but some of those weapons have gone missing.

Under the program law enforcement agencies can apply to receive everything from shop Vac’s to Mine Resistant Vehicles. They only need to pay for the cost of shipping.

GAO Finds Bergdahl Prisoner Swap Broke Federal Law

Aug 21, 2014
United States Army / Flickr

An independent government investigation out Thursday finds that the Pentagon broke the law when it swapped five members of the Taliban for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl of Idaho. The Government Accountability Office said officials should have given Congress a 30-day notice.