Tag: Military

Pentagon: Transgender Service Members Are Able to Re-Enlist

UNITED STATES  —  Transgender members of the military will be able to re-enlist for service while President Donald Trump’s directive barring transgender recruits is under review, the Pentagon has confirmed.

“Transgender service members whose term of service expires while the interim guidance is in effect, may, at the service member’s request, re-enlist under existing procedures,” US Army Col. Rob Manning, a Department of Defense spokesman, told reporters Friday. “Current transgender service members will continue serve throughout the military and continue to receive necessary medical treatment as prescribed by their medical provider in accordance with the Military Health System guidance.”

This is the first time the Pentagon has explicitly acknowledged that transgender service members will be able to re-enlist while it reviews Trump’s ban on transgender recruits.

In late-August, Trump issued a directive to the Pentagon banning transgender people from enlisting in the military. The directive left a lot of questions unanswered, including what it would mean for transgender people already serving in the military. Transgender troops have been openly serving in the military since June 2016.

Days after Trump’s directive, Defense Secretary James Mattis announced the creation of a panel to “provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the President’s direction,” Mattis’ statement said.

Manning emphasized Friday that the “same current policy and procedures” remain in place on transgender service members while the review takes place.

Mattis released interim guidance Thursday calling for the development of a plan to implement the directives in the President’s memorandum on transgender military service.

A bipartisan group of senators also introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday that would prevent the Defense Department from removing transgender people from military service.

Republicans John McCain of Arizona and Susan Collins of Maine, along with Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, introduced the legislation, which would also “express a sense of Congress that individuals who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be eligible to serve,” a statement on the amendment read.

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Governor Signs Ag Proclamation, Supports Equality in Military Service

IOWA  --  Governor Kim Reynolds showed appreciation for agricultural entrepreneurs on Monday morning.

She signed the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Week Proclamation, which is meant to show an appreciation for the impact agricultural entrepreneurs add to the state and Iowa's legacy in helping create world changing technologies, products, and services.

Following Monday morning's signing, reporters asked the governor about her position on President Trump's transgender military ban. Governor Reynolds said anyone willing to serve in the military deserves the nation's respect.

"So less than 1% of Americans today sign up to serve and to defend those liberties and freedoms. And I think that anybody that signs up to serve our country and defend those liberties and freedoms deserves our utmost appreciation and respect," she said.

The governor said she and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst are both in agreement on the issue.

National Guard at the Ready After Trump’s Afghanistan Announcement

JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  After a Monday night address from President Trump outlining a new policy for the war in Afghanistan, those in the armed forces are talking about what it means for them.

The president provided few details, leaving out any numbers about additional U.S. troops needed in Afghanistan and not revealing specifics of his war plans. That leaves branches of the military, like the Iowa National Guard, doing what they have done for years: preparing as if they’ll be called on tomorrow.

“Those who have served in the military for a while understand that whatever words are said takes a while to translate into action,” said Colonel Greg Hapgood. “If that changes for us, our units will be ready when they're called up. That's the very least we can do and that's the number one thing we do, is to make sure our readiness is at the top level.”

The policy shift from President Trump has no effect on the National Guard's planned deployment at the end of August.

“We'll have one unit that will have a sendoff up in Waterloo and then we have a second unit that looks imminent that they'll deploy later this year,” said Hapgood.

Meanwhile new recruits are paying attention, knowing that a U.S. presence in the Middle East will be the policy for the foreseeable future.

“I honestly think we need to get out of it. I just think we've lost too many lives over there and I don't think we should lose any more,” said Navy Recruit Preston Lee.

However, Lee says personal feelings get pushed to the wayside for service of the country.

“I think the biggest thing is I'm going to miss my family, but I know that I'm doing what's right,” he said.

Hapgood expects the National Guard will announce another deployment sometime in September.