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DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Jane Austen gives your weekend safety brief

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jane austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single company in possession of a good four day pass, must be in want of a safety brief.

However little known the feelings or views of such a company may be on first entertaining the notion of such an enterprise, the truth is so well fixed in the minds of the first sergeant and commander, that they are considered the rightful property to some one or another of their mandatory briefings.

“My dear first sergeant,” said his commander to him one Wednesday, “Have you heard that we are to have a four day pass, at last?”

First Sergeant replied that he had not.

“But it is,” returned he; “For Maj. Long has just been here from battalion, and she told me all about it.”

First Sergeant made no answer.

“Do you not want to know who is on the pass?” cried Capt. Bennet impatiently.

“YOU want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it,” replied the first sergeant, amenably.

That was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear first sergeant, you simply must know, Maj. Long says that we are to have a four day pass and it is to be, command being delighted with us, the whole company! Indeed, I agreed immediately with Maj. Long, and we are to take possession of this leave at once. Oh! And we are to have a special guest, I am assured, to present to us our mandatory briefings on how to keep our soldiers unsullied by the blemishes of vice.”

“What is this guest’s name?”

“Capt. Bingley.”

“Is he staff or line?”

“Oh! Staff, my dear, to be sure. A staff officer of the highest virtue. What a fine thing for our company!”

“How so? How can it affect them?”

“My dear first sergeant,” replied his commander, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of the integrity and virtue of our troops, and this briefing can only further their happy fancies.”

“Is it his design to settle in for a long brief to them?”

“Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he MAY take a fancy to the company and give the whole of the safety brief, and therefore you must attend to him upon his arrival.”

“I see no occasion for that. You and the XO may go, or you may go yourself, which perhaps will still be better, for as you are as capable as any of them, Capt. Bingley may like you the best of the party.”

“My dear first sergeant, you flatter me. I certainly HAVE had my share of excellent evaluations, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When an officer has a full company, he ought to give over thinking of his own career.”

“In such cases, an officer has not often much of a career to think of.”

“First Sergeant, how CAN you abuse me in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves.”

“You mistake me, my dear sir. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least.”

First Sergeant was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to make officers understand his character. THEIR minds were less difficult to develop. They were of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When discontented, they fancied themselves nervous. The business of their lives was to make life more complex for their troops; its solace was found in PowerPoint and doctrine.

An invitation to the safety brief was soon dispatched; and already had the commander planned the order of briefs, by type and length and topic, that were a credit to his organizational style. Thus when Capt. Bingley entered the assembly area — accompanied by a Capt. Darcy, a fine and handsome man — the entire company was gathered in rows pleasing to the eye. That had been the work of first sergeant. The company remarked quietly to itself on its vexation and the disagreeable circumstances that required it to be there, rather than a pleasant and noble romp to the horseless carriages, whence they would speed to the public houses, surely to blemish themselves and sully their names.

Capt. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with the company; he was lively and unreserved, briefed every brief, was angry that the safety brief closed so early, and talked of giving one himself back at battalion. What a contrast between him and his friend! Capt. Darcy briefed only once, and that badly, with a forbidding and disagreeable countenance, and the company hoped that he would never come there again. Indeed, the company hoped never to see another staff officer again, although all agreed upon what a fine and striking countenance that Capt. Bingley had.

“Tell me for once and for all, shall you engage in vice or drive as to endanger your very whole and perfect selves or put off the good and cleansing garment of the yellow belt?” asked Capt. Bingley of the assembled company.

“We will make no promise of the kind,” came back the company, throwing distasteful looks towards the ground.

“Company, I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a reasonable troop. But do not deceive yourselves into a belief that I will ever recede. I shall not go away till you give me and the safety office the assurance I require.”

The company was of a good and solid stock that did not distress itself over the feelings of officers, nor did it hold truth to be of a sacred nature when speaking with said creatures, and so assented readily to Capt. Bingley’s entreaties. The company cast sidelong glances at each other and then to the ground, mirthful with delight.

Captains Bingley and Darcy departed and scarce could Bingley contain himself over the merits and virtues of the company. Both men were quiet on their return to battalion; Bingley thinking of the pleasant qualities and wholesome nature of the company, and Darcy thinking of breakfast.

Happy for all his feelings was the day on which the commander got rid of his deserving company for the weekend. With what delighted pride he afterwards told the first sergeant, may be guessed. I wish I could say, for the sake of the Army, that the accomplishment of his earnest desire in the final safety brief for his company produced so happy an effect as to make them sensible, amiable, and well-informed soldiers; though perhaps it was lucky for the first sergeant, who might not have relished domestic felicity in so an unusual form, that the company still bound itself to being loutish, loud, and decidedly without common sense.

The first sergeant did not miss his company exceedingly; his affection was for his bottle of bourbon, which drew him oftener from home than anything else could. He delighted in going to the tavern, especially when he was least expected.

Army

Army not looking forward to prostate exam after 244th birthday

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WASHINGTON—The Army will celebrate its birthday today with the rite of passage every service endures once it reaches a certain age, the dreaded prostate exam, sources say.

Over the past 244 years, the Army has enjoyed relatively good health, with the exception of a few minor hiccups post-Vietnam and after the Gulf War, the Army recently told Congress. “Unfortunately, recent tensions with Iran, Russia, China, and Venezuela—along with recurring flare-ups in Iraq and Afghanistan—have left the Army concerned about the health of its aging combat systems, aching readiness numbers, and our likely basketball-sized prostate,” it said.

“I can’t seem to ‘force-flow’ troops into theater, if you know what I mean,” the Army told the Duffel Blog. “So I guess it’s time for the old finger sweep. I just hope the doc doesn’t have massive sausage fingers. I don’t want to walk around for the rest of the day looking stiff and constipated like the Marine Corps.”

Sources close to the Army say it has been secretly looking forward to the exam ever since its finger accidentally broke through some MRE toilet paper during its last deployment.

Nor will this be the first time the Army has had an invasive procedure involving its rectum. During the past several years of sequestration, the House and Senate Armed Service Committees have given the Army multiple unwanted colonoscopies, aimed at finding out why it was so bloated.

“Turns out I was just backed up with wasteful acquisition programs and a bunch of officers and NCOs who had never deployed,” the Army chuckled. “The colonoscopy prep flushed out most of it out and I took care of the rest with a few rounds of retention boards. Unfortunately, it looks like I will have chronic DCGS-A and a few other maladies for years to come.”

The Army has an appointment with the same doctor it saw at the Military Entrance Processing Station back in 1775, who sources say looked to be about 90-years-old back then. Though it will continue to face readiness health challenges as it ages, Army says  it will be ready to fight and win the nation’s wars—given enough warning and several billion more dollars than whatever Congress is currently appropriating.

Duffel Blog reporters Addison Blu and WT Door contributed to this article.

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Chaplain’s wife drives to different state in disguise to buy dildo

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A person disguised in a ghillie suit

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—The wife of Army Chaplain Mike Phillips, Amy, has just been spotted entering a dildo store 350 miles from her home, sources confirm.

According to anecdotal reports, it is often difficult for spouses of the clergy to indulge in their love of cock, due to the busybody nature of congregants and parishioners. Spouses in need of “marital aids,” costumes, and restraints must travel far outside the Fort Hood area to procure the items required for a satisfying, make-you-weep orgasm.

Mrs. Phillips declined to comment to Duffel Blog reporters, but another chaplain’s wife offered some thoughts on condition that her real name not be used.

“It’s tough, it’s true,” said “Danielle,” the wife of Protestant Chaplain Steve White, the brigade chaplain of Panther Brigade, 82d Airborne Division, “because many of your husband’s flock think that you shouldn’t have needs and desires like a normal woman”

She continued, “Like just because your husband nurtures and shepherds young soldiers in their spiritual lives, you’re somehow supposed to be above just needing a thick tool slammed up in your clam.”

Danielle paused to adjust her Carmen Sandiego disguise while glancing furtively around the parking lot outside The Toybox, the best-Yelp-reviewed dildo store in Des Moines, Iowa—more than 1,000 safe miles away from Fort Bragg.

“Honestly, we have children, so they know we’ve had sex at least twice. I need a little more than man-on-top missionary once in a while, gosh darnit,” she added. “He is deployed all the time, and it’s only the Catholics and Mormons who are against self-pleasuring. I just need a little release, for crying out loud.”

Sources further confirmed that Mrs. Phillips was unfortunately thwarted in her attempt to covertly make her purchase (a 7 inch veiny Caucasian-color rubber vibrator that features “realistic squirting,” and several brand-associated refill vials of fake semen) when she ran into the wife of her husband’s head deacon, also in a beret and fake mustache, at the cash register. She was forced to ninja-roll under a rack of feather boas and fair-trade leather whips and dive out the window like Bruce Willis.

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Army

Staff Officers hope for war with Iran to end Bronze Star drought

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A Massachusetts bronze star license plate

THE PENTAGON — Many U.S. military staff officers are hoping for war with Iran, Duffel Blog has learned. These officers cite two reasons, sources familiar with the subject report: First, the U.S. has already gone to war with two of Iran’s neighbors and is familiar with the region. Second, many strategists believe the Iranian military machine will be defeated quickly, leading to a quick award of bronze stars before an even quicker departure from the ancient country.

“Finding excuses to write myself up so the colonel can sign a bronze star citation is difficult without a legitimate war,” Army Maj. James Forsyth said. “I don’t really want to do anything overtly valiant, because that could also be career threatening.”

“I just want people to see my bronzie license plate and assume that I did.”

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have wound down, staff officers have been searching for ways to earn the once-prestigious decoration. Forsyth and his generation of officers joined too late for the Great Medal Giveaways of Aught-One and Aught-Three. Back then, simply doing your job was often enough. Citations include actions such as organizing mundane resupply convoys or reporting semiaccurate intelligence to the brigade commander on enemy strength and disposition.

Present-day lieutenant colonels and above earned their bronze stars in the early days in OIF when the bar was incredibly low—even serving on brigade staffs that never left Kuwait.

For enlisted personnel, the minimum bar has always been tied to valorous action. At present, and against all common sense, even officers have to storm a strongly defended trench full of, say, ISIS fighters for consideration. But sadly, such trenches have been increasingly hard to find as ISIS fighters are killed off by drone strikes conducted by “pilots” who received the “distinguished warfare medal.”

While many company-grade officers want decorations, enlisted troops are hoping to get the combat pay that will finally pay for expensive modified trucks and muscle cars to manage their three-mile commutes from base housing to work.

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Army

‘Call for Fyre Festival’ dupes Millennials into enlisting

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The Fyre Festival documentary from Netflix

FORT SILL, Okla.—Millennial recruits and their helicopter parents are demanding answers after the Army’s “Call for Fyre Festival” failed to deliver on its promises of extravagant music performances, celebrity appearances, and unrestricted free-fire zones.

The festival began as a recruiting gimmick to attract Millennials, but ballooned into a social-media phenomenon, enticing the nation’s youth to sign away years of their lives they would otherwise have been spent aimlessly racking up student debt.

Call for Fyre guaranteed access to exclusive clubs, such as Navy Federal Credit Union and the USO. The festival even offered premium packages for longer enlistments. For a six-year commitment, the High Value Individual, or “HVI,” package included an an AC-130 airstrike and a selfie with a captured ISIS commander’s corpse.

“Kids these days just aren’t into duty, or selfless service, or endless war,” said the festival’s co-founder, Sergeant First Class Will McFarland. “But they love flashy shit like Coachella. So that’s what we gave them. Coachella. With bombs.”

Trouble for the festival began when the U.S. withdrew its firebases from Northern Iraq, causing the festival’s location to change from Kurdistan to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Unwilling to visit middle-America, social-media influencers such as Nancy Pelosi started cancelling appearances. And in the coup de grâce, the USO only managed to book music performances by one member of the Spin Doctors and Uncle Kracker.

Thanks to new Army policy allowing cell phones during training, millennial recruits are fighting back in the only way they know—hashtags and harsh language.

“THIS IS #FyreFRAUD! I was promised Cardi B and A-10’s, not dilapidated howitzers and washed up B-list bands,” tweeted Private Mark Marino.

The Army responded to the controversy on its official Instagram page: “The U.S. Army reminds its volunteers that you can’t sue your recruiter, but we will try to book some better artists for #CallforFyre2020.”

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Army

Soldier travels back in time to prevent his own wedding

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FORT HOOD, Texas—Sgt. Freddy Heflin, 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry Regiment (“Head Hunters”), and his bride-to-be, Miss Adrienne Pickens, of the Pickens family from Cut and Shoot, Texas, were flummoxed on Saturday when their wedding was interrupted by an intruder calling himself “Freddy from the future,” witnesses say.

According to a specialist who was acting as ring bearer, just as minister Rev. Jack Carter of the Second Baptist Church of Huntsville asked the assembly if there were any objections to the union, a bright flash lit the Comanche Chapel and a man appeared, screaming for the proceedings to halt. Witnesses say he resembled Heflin, although approximately ten years older and with “crazy eyes.”

The man dashed up onto the dais, tastefully appointed by Miss Pickens with teal and pink primroses at great cost to her father, and yanked the groom’s hand away from the bride’s.

“Don’t do it!” he yelled. “Freddy, it’s me! You—I mean, it’s us! I worked so hard to travel back in time to tell you! Do not marry this woman!”

Best man Sgt. Barney Ross attempted at that point to eject the intruder, but Heflin stopped him.

“Wait,” Heflin said. “Let him speak.”

“She takes everything from us!” the man continued, pointing at Pickens. “She makes you stop playing video games—I wasn’t even allowed to get the Xbox Infinity, so I can’t play Halo 9 or PlayerUnknown’s Sex Battle! She never wants to have sex but won’t speak to me for days if she catches me jerking off or watching porn.”

Witness say Future Heflin spoke quickly, telling Heflin, “I can’t go out with the guys every once in awhile, but she has ‘book club’ once a week, which is really just an excuse for her and her friends to gripe about their husbands and drink shitty wine. I can’t watch football anymore, she made me throw out my comic books, and she makes fun of me whenever I watch Firefly.

“Oh yeah,” Future Heflin added, “they renew Firefly.” He and Current Heflin then high-fived.

“This is an outrage!” Pickens cried. “Get this insane person out of here!”

“It gets worse,” said Future Heflin. “She cheats on you. She refuses to let you discipline our children—they were obese by the time they hit kindergarten. And speaking of weight, she’s going to gain 80 pounds in the next five years. Eighty. You think this is the real Adrienne? Last year she got double bronchial pneumonia and almost died. She was in the hospital and lost half her body weight. I didn’t realize it—you don’t realize it—but think about it: We’ve never seen pictures of her from high school.

“Have you been spying on us?” yelled Mr. Pickens at that point, rising to his feet. “Somebody call the cops. Reverend, please do something!”

“Want proof that I’m from the future?” Future Heflin continued. He pointed at Sergeant Ross. “She fucked your best friend. Not two weeks ago. It was when you had that fight over the groom’s cake, when she said it was childish to have a Dallas Cowboys cake. Remember that?”

The groom’s aunt reports that at this point, Ross hung his head, and said, “I’m sorry, Fred. She came over to ask my advice and brought a bunch of wine, and the next thing you know we’re both drunk and then she pushed me down on that Dinosaucers bedspread I have and pulled my pants down …”

Future Heflin reportedly also described a future war in Ukraine. “When you get back from your second Ukraine deployment in 2027—that’s right, I said second—she will empty your bank account, leave the kids with your mom, and be off in San Juan de Allende with Ray Breslin, her boyfriend from tenth grade,” he said, according to witness. “Who I almost feel sorry for, by the way, because she slowly made him throw out all his favorite things, too. I’m telling you. Walk out of here right now and don’t look back. Save the future: Dump this bitch.”

The witnesses added that “the weirdness didn’t stop there.”

The chapel apparently was lit by a second flash of light, and an obese woman appeared, wearing an “Army Wife—Hardest Job In The Army” t-shirt, blue leopard-print yoga pants, and flip flops, shrieking like a harpy.

“Fred!” she allegedly screamed. “What are you telling them? Don’t listen to him! He’s a liar! I only sucked Ross off because he made me drink a bunch of my favorite wine, which I only bought on the way to his place because it was on sale. We didn’t even really have real, actual, sex, only for like 20 or 30 minutes. And the kids are fine, lots of eight-year-olds weigh 220 pounds. Just do a Google Image search!”

“Oh, Christ,” Future Heflin said. He turned to Pickens. “This is who you become. You happy now?”

“Oh my fucking sweet Lord,” exclaimed Current Heflin.

Maid of honor Chelsea Houston denied reports that she muttered “Wow, Adrienne, she looks just like your senior pictures, but, like, plus-20 years” at this point.

“Listen, buddy, I’m not pissed at you if this is who she was all along,” Current Heflin said to Ross. Witnesses agree that at this point, Heflin turned to the groom side of the Chapel and said, “Well, there’s still a conference center out in Belton with a shitload of finger foods and booze. Who wants to get the hell out of here?”

“Baby, no! This is all some kind of lie! This isn’t who I become! I love you!” Pickens allegedly cried tearfully.

“I make you into a better person, not a childish moron, and this is how you thank me?” Future Pickens yelled.

Current Heflin, Future Heflin, and guests then departed the chapel, leaving the bridal party and her family in what some called “stunned silence.”

Neither family agreed to comment on the record.

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Army

Pentagon senior executive fired for inadvertently making a decision

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WASHINGTON – Pentagon officials fired a senior bureaucrat after he accidentally made a decision, breaking decades of tradition and spurring fears that the building may become more efficient, sources confirmed today.

Donald Witherspoon, a Senior Executive Service (SES) civilian on the Army staff, began working at the Pentagon after he retired as a colonel weeks before he was supposed to deploy for the first time.

Sources say Witherspoon began his day like any other: by crying in the shower, screaming “you are a man” at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, and donning an ill-fitting suit before driving to work. Little did he know, his role in the Pentagon was about to come to an end.

The incident occurred when Witherspoon returned from a meeting and mistook a staff action packet for a coloring book. After keeping mostly within the lines, he was so pleased with himself that he signed the document and handed it to his executive officer. The unwitting bureaucrat became the first SES since 1952 to make a decision in the Pentagon.

“So many processes had to fail for this to happen,” said Witherspoon’s executive officer, Col. Stephen Newell.  “This system is designed to delay decisions indefinitely … or at least spread risk among dozens of generals and SES’s so that no single leader can be held accountable.” After this revelation, blood trickled from Newell’s nose and he collapsed.

Dr. Jonathan Northfield, a Pentagon mathematician, was less surprised by the incident.

“It was a statistical eventuality … like the infinite monkey theorem,” said Northfield, referring to the theory where a monkey randomly hitting keys on a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will eventually churn out Shakespeare’s complete works. “Witherspoon was the monkey who accidentally wrote King Lear.”

A consulting firm has already offered Witherspoon a position to sit quietly at meetings and alternate facial expressions between a vacant smile and a concerned scowl for double his current salary.

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Army

Point/Counterpoint: Future wars will be fought with AI robots vs. ‘Microsoft Word is not responding’

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https://www.dvidshub.net/image/2713125/testing-future-marine-corps-warfighting-laboratory

The following is a point/counterpoint discussion about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and robots in future large scale ground combat. The point will be presented by an Army officer writing an article for an online military journal. The counterpoint will be presented by the same officer while his computer’s operating system, software suite, and the Pentagon Joint Service Provider thwart his attempt to write the article.

Point: Future combat will be lightning fast, violent, and lethal, requiring leaders to rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning to process massive amounts of intelligence and make decisions rapidly.

Counterpoint: [Smart card error. The smart card was not recognized. Please check that the card is inserted correctly and fits tightly] “Jesus … Alright, I’ll put the card back in juuuuust right for you. I hate this computer.”

Point: Near-peer adversaries will contest our forces in all domains, from mission receipt to crossing the line of departure. Our information and cyber warriors will be able to respond to threats in real time.

Counterpoint: [slams mouse down] “I just LOVE typing my pin number in six times when I open anything.”

Point: Soldiers at the squad level will have zettabytes of information at their fingertips. They will maneuver dispersed, alone and unafraid, massing synchronized effects on target with assured communications.

Counterpoint: [Please select a cert.] “Am I supposed to use my authentication cert or my email cert to log in? “[No valid certificates found.] “Fan-fucking-tastic, why would I want to be able to access the shared drive?”

Point: In order to impose multiple dilemmas on our adversary and minimize risk to U.S. forces, we will use artificially intelligent robots.

Counterpoint: [Microsoft Office Word is not responding. If you close the program, you might lose information] “Ummm.” [Clicks “wait for the program to respond”]

Point: These unmanned systems will coordinate attacks autonomously, based on the commander’s vision and intent, and destroy everything in their path.

Counterpoint: [:( your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We’re just collecting some error info, and then we’ll restart for you] “Wait, what the fuck? No, no, no. I haven’t saved in like …  two hours. THIS CANNOT BE HAPPENING!”

Point: By employing task-based artificial intelligence, these systems will also improve our ability to distinguish legitimate targets from harmless civilians. They will minimize civilian casualties while maximizing lethality.

Counterpoint: [Smart card error. The smart card was not recognized. Please check that the card is inserted correctly and fits tightly] “DAMN YOU JOINT SERVICE PROVIDER! I PRAY TO GOD I SEE ONE OF YOU MOTHERFUCKERS IN THE HALLWAY!!!”

Duffel Blog reporters 29ReasonsWhy and Veishnoriets contributed to this article.

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Alabama National Guardsman charged after aborting unplanned mission

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GHAZNI, Afghanistan — An Alabama National Guard lieutenant is facing legal action after he aborted a botched mission, sources confirmed today.

1st Lt. Casey Wade attempted to penetrate a Taliban stronghold, but chose to abort the mission when his unprotected platoon took heavy enemy fire. After-action reports revealed the mission was totally unplanned and lacked critical material and emotional support from Wade’s chain of command.

Wade is alleged to have violated an Alabama National Guard policy that prohibits all abortions except on missions that pose a significant risk to the career of a colonel or higher.

“Clearly Wade wasn’t ready for this commitment, but he made his choice to go in, and he needed to see it through,” said Wade’s commander, Capt. Ted Shapiro. “Wade is an abomination, and should be thrown out of the Army immediately.”

Wade’s legal team sees the matter in a very different light. “They were only six weeks into a nine-month deployment, and didn’t even know that area was impregnable,” said Wade’s lawyer, Capt. Ashlynn Torgelson. “Wade was the ground commander, so that mission was his baby. His mission, his choice.”

Local Afghans were also supportive of Wade’s choice to abort.

“Last week, one of their bombs hit our universal preschool. These Alabamans are a bunch of baby killers,” a tribal elder told reporters.

If convicted, Wade could be forced to serve up to 99 years in the Alabama National Guard.

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