5 Things to Start Your Week


Here are five news stories and events to start your week, from the editors at Military.com:

Over 300 Killed by Blast in Somalia's Capital

Via Abdi Guled at The Associated Press: "The death toll from Saturday's truck bombing in Somalia's capital is now over 300, the director of an ambulance service said Monday, as the country reeled from the deadliest single attack it's ever experienced. Dr. Abdulkadir Adam of Aamin Ambulance service said more people had died of their wounds in the past few hours. Funerals began, and the death toll was expected to rise again."

SecAF to Present Air Force Cross to Afghanistan Veteran

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson plans to present the Air Force Cross, the service's second-highest valor award, to Staff Sgt. Richard Hunter on Tuesday at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Hunter was a combat controller patrolling with U.S. Army soldiers and Afghan troops in Kunduz Province on Nov. 2, 2016, when they were ambushed by Taliban forces. Hunter acted decisively and repeatedly exposed himself to danger to help save his teammates. In total, he called in 31 airstrikes from AC-130 gunships and AH-64 Apache helicopters. The strikes, some of which landed less than 10 feet away from his own team's positions -- killed 27 enemy fighters.

Retirees, VA Disability Recipients to Get Biggest Pay Raise Since 2012

Via Jim Absher at Military.com: "Military retirees and those who receive disability checks and some other types of pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs will see a 2 percent pay raise in their monthly paychecks in 2018. It is the biggest cost of living (COLA) increase since 2012, equaling as much as $310 a month for those at the top of the retirement pay charts. Thanks to the increase, the average military retirement check for an E-7 with 20 years of service will go up by $46 a month, while an O-5 with the same time in uniform will see an $88 monthly increase."

Ken Burns to Discuss Vietnam War Documentary at Pentagon

Filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick plan to discuss their new documentary series, "The Vietnam War," on Tuesday at the Pentagon with current and former military officials, including former Air Force Chief of Staff (and acting secretary) Merrill Anthony "Tony" McPeak, who appears in the PBS series. Military.com's entertainment editor, James Barber, has described the work, which aired last month and is available for streaming on PBS apps and the website, as "a towering achievement, definitely the best film they've ever made and quite possibly the finest program ever made by PBS."

Chief Master Sergeant Pleads Guilty in Sexual Misconduct Case

Via Oriana Pawlyk at Military.com: "A former 12th Air Force command chief master sergeant pleaded guilty to 17 Uniform Code of Military Justice charges, including two sexual misconduct charges, in front of a military judge Thursday. Chief Master Sgt. Jose A. Barraza was sentenced to 10 months' confinement, reduction in rank to E-4 and a reprimand, according to a release from Air Combat Command. Barraza's court-martial was held this week at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in front of Col. Shelly W. Schools, the judge who handed down his sentence."

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

Story Continues