US Navy submariners may have to work on their New Years resolution a little harder this year if they’re smokers. As of January 1st, the Navy will no longer allow smoking on submarines, as it announced earlier this year. Submarines are typically out of port for months at a time, and the submariners lack some of the ‘chemical assistance’ other Sailors might have:
Although many Sailors rely on prescription medication to help them quit — Zyban and Chantix are two popular options — they aren’t available for submariners, because psychotropic drugs are forbidden for the 11,600 Sailors assigned to subs.
Most media stories on military conscientious objection revolve around those who are in trouble for missing movement or suing over their denial. (Approved CO applications hover around 50%.) On Slate, Kathryn Schulz interviews a young man named Josh Stieber who was recently discharged as a CO.
His logic is sometimes strained and much is based on personal perception rather than fact, but that is often the case in situations like this. Ultimately, too, it is difficult to tell Continue reading →
A local news channel interviewed interviewed US Army Chaplain (Col) Lance Kittleson as he described his role as a spiritual support for Soldiers:
As a chaplain in the army, [Kittleson is] the senior pastor and administrator of a military congregation of more than 5,000 soldiers at bases all over Iraq.
“My job is to make sure the commander is informed on religious implications of his mission as well as provide direct support to our soldiers: Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, whatever they may be,” Col. Kittleson said.
FoxNews caught up to the previous article here on the 18 December launch of a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet with the EMALS. The EMALS is an electromagnetic launch system designed to replace the steam driven systems currently in operation. Interestingly, the article notes
Newer, heavier and faster aircraft will require more force to catapult from the carrier decks than steam-powered systems can supply. Electromagnets will be able to deliver, and allow for smooth acceleration at both high and low speeds, increasing the carrier’s ability to launch aircraft, the Navy said in a press release.
Presumably, that’s a reference to the F-35, the only substantial new aircraft slated to enter naval service in the reasonable future.
When the media mentions “military” and “missionary” in the same sentence, it often causes a near cacophony of criticism from conspiracy theorists about attempts at religious world domination. Recent accusations of impropriety make the sensitivity of the subject evident.
A few decades ago, it wasn’t so.
General Douglas MacArthur, one of the few men to reach the nation’s highest military rank of General of the Armies, was the American face of reconstruction of post-war Japan. The self-proclaimed “soldier of God and the republic” famously encouraged the influx of “a thousand missionaries” into Japan in the hopes that Christianity would overcome Shinto Buddhism in the Japanese isles. Documents from the Truman library reportedly indicate the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of the Army, and Truman himself supported MacArthur in this endeavor. (Most modern summaries indicate the “Christianization” of Japan largely failed.)
Such an emphasis was likely influential on military members themselves. A recent article in The Deseret News of Utah highlights the Mormon soldiers who “spread the gospel in post-war Japan.” Among those is the current President of the Mormon church, Continue reading →
A recent study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology “revealed” that those who waited until they were married before having sexual relations had higher relationship stability, among other factors.
This study is completely unrelated to the military, but there’s an important detail: The behavior in this study had nothing to do with religion. (In fact, it was “controlled” out of the study.)
While some are quick to dismiss calls for supporting “moral” conduct as so much bad couscous, there can be (and are, according to this study) secular “benefits” to conduct or characteristics often attributed to a “religious” origin.
Websites belittling Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Amos are increasingly referring to his religion — some in an “off-hand” manner, others directly, as if it has something to do with current issues.
Interestingly, the “source” for General Amos’ faith is listed as this site. The June 2010 article on his nomination for Commandant noted his speech at the 2009 National Day of Prayer. Since then, that article has been cited in a variety of sources, including the ever reliable Wikipedia, as proof Amos is “born again.” In fact, a web search for Amos’ faith reveals only two sources: this site, and a more recent derogatory citation by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Chris Rodda, with an uncredited copy of a personal photograph of the same event she likely learned about through this site.
Ultimately, however, Amos’ faith is irrelevant. It would be folly to assert Continue reading →
FoxNews had a headline article on Christmas highlighting “Christmas in Afghanistan.” One of the more interesting parts of the article:
Afghans who support the coalition troops respect the holiday, [US Marine Chaplain (Capt) William] Kennedy said.
“We’re in a Muslim country, but the Muslims venerate Jesus as a prophet and the people I’ve met, whether it’s the locals or ANA (Afghan army), the mullahs, they respect the fact that we’re a religious people,” Kennedy told AFP.
(In a contrast to the Chaplain’s supportive perceptions of the local population, an activist group once tried to claim public American military celebrations of Easter were “convinc[ing] the Muslims we’re on a crusade.”)
While Americans celebrated freely in Afghanistan, local Iraqi Christians “toned down” their Christmas celebrations in Iraq over fear of attacks. It appears American military Continue reading →
Chris Rodda, research assistant for Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation, recently guest-posted the MRFF’s latest salvo against “Cadets for Christ,” an Air Force Academy Christian cadet group Weinstein wants banned. The self-described Research Director can’t even get basic facts correct.
The MRFF apparently has copies of emails sent from Don and Anna Warrick asking the recipients to send letters of support for Cadets for Christ to the Chaplains at USAFA. The USAFA Chaplains had indicated they had received letters both supporting and criticizing the group. Rodda summarizes: Continue reading →
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found the pilots’ brains were more likely than the controls to have enhanced responses to both relevant and irrelevant stimuli…
Senior author Masud Husain said…”We were interested in the pilots because they’re often operating at the limits of human cognitive capability — they are an expert group making precision choices at high speed.”
One of the oft-cited reasons for joining the US military is that it allows a person to see parts of the world they never would have otherwise. They get to experience cultures and see sights few Americans do. Such motivations have driven tours of Biblical lands by Soldiers deployed to the Middle East, trips to the Black Madonna in the Balkans, and even a paid hajj in the US Navy.