military

The Pentagon says it’s working to complete background checks for noncitizens who want to join the U.S. armed forces. It’s part of a controversial program that tried to recruit certain medical or language skills into the ranks.

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Oklahoma City in early 2018, and we're bringing you some of the stories that were recorded here. Locally recorded stories will air Wednesdays during Morning Edition and All Things Considered on KOSU.

Technological enhancements have made it easier for soldiers at war to communicate with loved ones back home, but it wasn't always easy. Bob Ford and Gean Atkinson came to the StoryCorps mobile booth in Oklahoma City and reflected on efforts to stay in contact with their families while serving in the Vietnam War.

It may seem counter-intuitive and head-scratchingly odd, but Congress nearly always approves defense spending bills before the armed services committees — which actually oversee the Pentagon — vote on how the money will be spent.

Not this year.

Updated at 3 a.m. ET on Thursday

The purported remains of Americans who died in the Korean War arrived in Hawaii on Wednesday, escorted in a solemn ceremony onto U.S. soil 65 years after the conflict ended.

They'll be analyzed in hopes of providing a new sense of closure for families who lost loved ones in the war that ended with a cease-fire in 1953. But it could be weeks or years before the identities of any Americans are confirmed.

Chris Ferrari was just 18 the first time he balanced a rocket launcher on his right shoulder and aimed it at a practice target.

"Your adrenaline's going and you're trying to focus on getting that round to hit, and then you go to squeeze that trigger and, you know."

Boom!

The report is loud enough to burst the eardrums of anyone not wearing military-grade hearing protection. And the blast wave from the weapon is so powerful it feels like a whole-body punch.

Panshu Zhao moved to the U.S. from China about eight years ago to study. It was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

Since then, he has completed a graduate degree and is now pursuing a doctorate in geography at Texas A&M University. In describing his life to NPR's Steve Inskeep on Friday, he divided it into two parts: his life in China and his American life.

The Department of Defense plans to start building tent encampments on two military bases in Texas to house migrant families apprehended at the border. Construction is expected to begin after the July 4 holiday.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the Department of Homeland Security asked the Defense Department to house and care for an "alien family population" of up to 12,000 people.

The Pentagon is being asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide temporary beds for up to 20,000 undocumented children. That bed space would be needed beginning in July and running through the end of the year.

Officials tell NPR that four bases are expected to provide space, including the Army's Fort Bliss base in El Paso, Texas. It's uncertain if there would be enough barracks space, so officials say that tents likely would have to be put up.

The USS Arizona Memorial off Honolulu's coast is closed for repairs. Jay Blount, a spokesman for the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, told Hawaii News Now that the edge where the visitor ramp meets the memorial has fissures on its exterior and the loading ramp is not being properly supported.

More than a dozen U.S. Air Force airmen were linked to a drug ring at a base that controls America's nuclear missiles and have faced disciplinary actions – including courts martial, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

Military investigators cracked the ring in 2016, after one of the service members made the mistake of posting drug-related material to social media.

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