Peace Time: October 14, 1999

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The US Navy is concerned about a continued freeze on bombing and live-fire shelling of Vieques near Puerto Rico. For decades, the Navy has bombed and shelled this island on the way to patrols in European waters; it is the only place where Atlantic Fleet ships can conduct this type of training. Bombing at Vieques was suspended after a civilian contractor was accidentally killed by a stray round. Puerto Rico wants the US Navy to take its bombing and shelling elsewhere (and wanted this long before the man was killed). The Navy is concerned that if does not regain access to Vieques, it will be sending ships on patrol to the Mediterranean without live-fire gunnery and bombing en route.--Stephen V Cole

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Britain violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights when it kicked four members out of the British military for being homosexual. Britain has suspended all further actions on such matters pending a review of its policy toward homosexuals in the military.--Stephen V Cole

The Italian Parliament voted on 29 Sept to allow women to volunteer for the military; the first branch to accept them will be the Carabinieri. Women will only be allowed to serve in non-combat jobs. Italy is having trouble keeping its military up to strength as it moves from conscription to an all-volunteer force.--Stephen V Cole

Twelve National Guard troops have become the first to be trained by "distance learning", having taken the maintenance training course for the UH60 Blackhawk helicopter by video-conference. They took the training at two locations (Columbus OH, Salina KS). The Army expects this system to be heavily used in the future to save money in training soldiers.--Stephen V Cole

 


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