We've Never Been the Same: A War Story

May 24, 2015
Some of Delta 187 Rakassans
Adam Piore /

All wars are the same, it is said; only the scenery changes. And the repercussions are pretty much the same too. At Fort Campbell before deployment, Delta was a ragtag bunch, the “leftovers” as one of their fellow soldiers put it, but on the night of March 18th, 1968, they became heroes.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss the escalating situation between Israel and Palestine, both the real and potential impact of host nation Brazil’s loss this week in the World Cup.

Then a conversation with national security analyst Linda Robinson about her book One Hundred Victories: Special Ops and the Future of American Warfare. She spent two years in Afghanistan joining U.S. Special Forces on combat missions, while still knowing when to stay out of the way.

Sgt. David Russell / U.S. Army

The so-called “light footprint strategy” has been a hallmark of President Obama’s military engagement strategy as he pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq and winds down the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. That drawdown of massive units of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilian support staff means a stronger reliance on smaller, more elite military groups.

A United States Air Force AWACS does touch and go's over Midwest City - October 2013.
Kool Cats Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

A reserve unit housed at Tinker Air Force Base that performs Airborne Warning and Control System missions would be deactivated if lawmakers pass the fiscal year 2015 defense budget.

The 513th Air Control Group partners with active duty military to provide crews and personnel during the AWACS missions. Unit commander Col. David Robinson says 345 citizen Airmen would be affected by the cuts.

In the two-year, $2 trillion budget deal that cleared the Senate last week, one item, worth just one-sixth of 1 percent of that total, was the reason many senators said they voted against it.

That item would produce some $6 billion in savings by shaving a percentage point off annual cost-of-living adjustments, and it would apply only to military pensions. Not all military pensions — just the retirement paid to veterans younger than 62.

Eric Highfill spent five years in the Navy, fixing airplanes for special operations forces. His discharge papers show an Iraq campaign medal and an Afghanistan campaign medal, a good-conduct medal, and that he's a marksman with a pistol and sharpshooter with a rifle.

None of that matters, because at the bottom of the page it reads "Discharged: under other than honorable conditions."

Feb. 6, 2013
Jacque Braun / tumblr

As Congress tries to avoid a looming set of sharp, across-the-board spending cuts that would strike the Pentagon and domestic agencies in just two weeks, a former State Department official says the Department of Defense could avoid “clumsy” automatic cuts by starting with personnel.

“In World War II, we had fewer flag and general officers than we do now,” said retired U.S. Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson. “Wow. People are anywhere from 50-60 percent, depending on whose records and analysis, of the DoD budget. They are so expensive.”

Wilkerson served as former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff from 2002-2005.