Author Jill Laster

I don’t know about y’all, but from this end I can tell you –  it’s been a long week. And, corny as it is, nothing makes me feel better than adorable photos or viral videos of animals. So I was delighted this morning to discover via the website Reddit  several decades of photos featuring U.S. troops in the war zone  with dogs and cats. So, for your Friday viewing pleasure, here they are: photos of American service members with puppies and kittens. (My coworker Joe Gould from Outside the Wire insisted that I remind y’all that even though they are…

I’m not saying that whatever is in your average sortie isn’t cool, but it’s hard to beat 17 tons of shipwrecked treasure worth at least half a billion dollars. Airmen at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., will help return 594,000 coins and other artifacts to Spain later this week, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. The treasure is going back to Europe  on two Spanish C-130s  after a five-year legal battle. According to the AP, the treasure is believed to be from Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a galleon sunk in 1804 by British warships traveling in the Atlantic Ocean. More…

Call me nerdy, but all this budget news about the U-2 is making me think about the plane’s storied past – specifically the 1960 incident in which an American pilot operating a CIA U-2 was shot down while conducting a recon mission over the Soviet Union. The incident strained an already tense relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, happening just two weeks before a planned East-West summit in Paris. Powers was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison during what is largely considered in the West to be a show trial. However, he ended up serving a…

Stars & Stripes posted a  nice story Wednesday on Staff Sgt. Charles McDaniel, who created a freestyle rap to the beat of a heart monitor to help relax his pregnant wife. The video, posted above, has done well on YouTube, with over 100,000 hits as of Wednesday afternoon.  Stripes’ Geoff Ziezulewicz reports that McDaniel has also  done interviews with his hometown radio station and other stations have offered to buy the video’s rights. More good news: He has a new son, Kingston, whom McDaniel said is doing well.

Go through basic over the last 50 years? You may have met this guy, Lester West, who  has been cutting Air Force recruits’ hair for more than half a century. West works in the Air Force Basic Military Training’s  Clipper Cuts barber shop, which cuts the hair of more than 500 recruits every day.  In this video, you get to hear West’s perspective on his long career as a barber and see what it’s like for brand- new recruits at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The video was posted Wednesday by On Patrol, the USO’s magazine; the Air Force released…

If your youngster watches  “iCarly” (or maybe you watch it on your own – as a secret  fan of  “Teen Mom,” I hardly feel fit to judge),  you’ll be able to see a special guest in a little over a week. First lady Michelle Obama is set to appear on the Nickelodeon show on Jan. 16, The Associated Press is reporting. Per the AP: “Nickelodeon and the White House are joining forces to bring awareness to the ways kids can support U.S. military families. “iCarly” is a good fit for Mrs. Obama to make an appearance because Cosgrove’s character is…

Top Pentagon leaders are preparing to unveil a new and “balanced” U.S. military strategy on Thursday, with reverberations expected to hit every military service. The news conference by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey will “be parsed by allies and adversaries to assess where the U.S. may be pulling back, by military personnel wary of benefit cuts and by defense investors attempting to predict which contractors may benefit or lose out from the new priorities,” according to Bloomberg. But what exactly will it mean for the Air Force – and the military as a…

Ever want a military aircraft of your own? All it might take  – apparently – is to know the right member of Congress. Foreign Policy has reported an interesting story about Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who has  introduced an amendment ordering an Arizona museum to give up an F-105 “loaned” to it by the Air Force in 1984. Where would the plane go? To an unnamed individual who wants to restore the Thunderchief and fly it “to honor veterans of the Vietnam War through memorial flights and for the education and enjoyment of future generations of Americans.” But the F-105…

In case you missed the GOP national-security debate last night – the seven millionth debate so far in this election cycle –  here’s the consensus online: You didn’t miss much. Still want the blow-by-blow? Check these stories out to get some of the basics: Time’s handy “Cliff’s Notes” version of the debate. My favorite line, from former Speaker Newt Gingrich: “All of us will be in danger for the rest of our lives.” Oh, the good times just keep on comin’, America. (Battleland) If you prefer watching clips of the debate – including some interesting sparring on Afghanistan, Pakistan and…

If you’re freaked out about the possibility of reduction-in-force boards taking your job and looking for something outside of the Air Force, you may be in luck. A new career posted on USA Jobs may be right up your alley. NASA has just added an opening for astronaut candidates, who would support missions to the International Space Station. The bad news, for some airmen at least: You need to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. That degree needs to be followed by “at least 3 years of related, progressively responsible, professional experience OR at…

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