Forcing a bread and water diet on Navy personnel is now illegal

Good news everybody! If you're in the Navy or Marines, it's now illegal to throw you in the brig and feed you nothing but bread and water as a punishment.

Yes, The American military is still into this sort of bullshit.

From Task & Purpose:

As Navy Times’ Geoff Ziezulewicz reports, the Obama-era Military Justice Act of 2016 and subsequent Trump administration amendment in March 2018 will outlaw the archaic punishment after Jan. 1, 2019.

The military’s Uniform Code of Military Justice previously allowed Navy commanders to confine personnel in the grade of E-3 and below who were attached or embarked upon a vessel to receive only bread and water for up to three consecutive days.

“Rations furnished a person undergoing such confinement shall consist solely of bread and water. The rations will be served three times daily at the normal time of meals, and the amount of bread and water shall not be restricted,” the order reads.

In order to offset the lack of nutrients, personnel that were subjected to the all-you-can-eat penal buffet (get your minds out of the gutter) were, as part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice's deal, to be excluded from any sort of duties or physical exercise. So that's nice.

From what I understand, the punishment was a rare one--but not that rare. According to The Navy Times, the Commanding Officer of the USS Shiloh submitted the cruiser's sailors to it so often that the Shiloh's crew, the base it sailed out of, and even taxi drivers plying their trade in and around the base knew the ship as the "USS Bread & Water."

That the punishment is coming to an end has got to be a good thing: convicted civilian criminals get Nutraloaf when they're locked down for misbehaving. Read the rest

This little known government agency is responsible for bringing the remains of missing or captured U.S. soldiers home to rest

Founded after the Joint P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Command and the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office were folded into a single agency, the Defense P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Agency (D.P.A.A.) is an incredibly important part of the United States military. They're responsible for the locating and identification of the remains of soldiers who were deemed to be Missing in Action or who died as prisoners of war.

Sometimes, the task of identifying and repatriating remains can be conducted with immediacy. In other cases, the realities of war--that a body can be torn asunder, rendering it near unidentifiable--or discovering the remains of skeletal remains of a soldier decades after they died, can slow this process down. In such cases, forensic experts are brought in to assist in identifying the dead.

This past August, the North Korean government allowed the U.S. military to repatriate 55 coffins full of the mixed skeletal remains of American soldiers who died in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. That nothing's left of these soldiers but bones would make identifying them difficult enough. When the bones are mixed in with one another? That's a puzzle that few people are qualified to deal with. Dr. Paul Emanovsky is one of those few. He's a forensic anthropologist that's worked to bring closure to the lives of the loved ones of missing military personnel since 2002. If you're interested in a fascinating, morbid read, the New York Times recently published an interview with Dr. Emanovsky, where he talks about his work and the recovery projects that the D.P.A.A. Read the rest

The United States Marine Corps is kicking ass when it comes to equality


The United States Marine Corp’s equality science is tight. This month alone, the number one reason not to screw with America has seen two firsts, from women in their ranks who have had the intelligence, grit and determination to move into leadership positions.

First, let’s talk ground pounders.

According to Task & Purpose, on June 23rd, a female Marine graduated to become the second woman ever to complete the Corps’ 13-week Infantry Officer Course (IOC). It’s a notoriously tough slog of a training program that a good number of candidates wash out due to its grueling physical and psychological demands. Thirty other Marines, including two women, were unable to complete the training that the successful female candidate did.

As an IOC graduate, she’s qualified to lead an infantry platoon into combat. But that’s not what she’ll be doing. Instead of fulfilling a role she worked her ass off to earn, she’s moving on to serve in a different capacity by enrolling in and training to become a Ground Intelligence Officer. Once she’s finished with this, she’ll be the first female Ground Intel Officer in the Marine Corp. As such, she’ll be qualified to command a recon or scout sniper platoon. For the time being, Marine Corps media relations types aren’t releasing her name. I love this: they’re not holding the IOC graduate up as something special: She’s a part of the machine, like any other junior officer, as it should be.

If this isn’t awesome enough, a female lieutenant colonel was just made the first ever female commander of a Marine Corp ground combat unit. Read the rest

Documentary of Marine Corps boot camp training

This cinéma vérité style documentary follows a Marine Corps drill instructor and his crew of fresh recruits in San Diego during the 13-week training program known as boot camp.

From Wikipedia:

In Helmet for My Pillow, his World War II memoir, journalist Robert Leckie wrote of Marine Corps Recruit Training that, "It is a process of surrender. At every turn, at every hour, it seemed, a habit or a preference had to be given up, an adjustment had to be made. Even in the mess hall we learned that nothing mattered so little as a man's own likes or dislikes ... Worst in this process of surrender was the ruthless refusal to permit a man the slightest privacy." Read the rest

Why are breast cancer rates so high among US troops?

In Marine Times, a Gannett newspaper targeting people in the Marine Corps and their families, an article for "Pinktober" (pink-ribbonny breast cancer awareness month, bleargh) about the high rate of breast cancer among men and women in the military. There are a number of theories as to why the breast cancer rates are so high, and a cluster of the disease affecting males at Camp Lejeune are a particularly vexing science mystery. "Researchers with the CDC are preparing a study that will try to determine whether contaminated drinking water at the Marine Corps’ largest base on the East Coast caused dozens of male Marines, sailors and family members to get breast cancer." Read more: Alarming breast cancer rates among troops (Marine Corps Times). Mother Jones covered this in a recent issue, also. Read the rest