Army Reserve troops in American Samoa mobilized to help the South Pacific territory after Tropical Cyclone Gita hit the islands Feb. 11 to 16. The Reserves helped distribute emergency relief supplies, and the Army Reserve facility in Pago Pago is being used as a staging area for federal relief agencies.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has met with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ease tensions between the two nations over US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria. At a NATO meeting in Brussels, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the two nations are finding common ground.
The American Legion, AmVets and Vietnam Veterans of America are urging President Donald Trump to keep VA Secretary David Shulkin in the post despite his misuse of taxpayer dollars on a trip to Europe last year. Shulkin said he was not asked to resign in a conversation with John Kelly, White House chief of staff, and had no plans to step down.
The Army Reserve sustainability programs branch recently presented a report detailing the Reserve's efforts in water, energy and solid waste management during fiscal year 2017. The report cited an energy-use intensity reduction of 17.7%, which saved more than $6 million, and a water-use intensity reduction of 43%.
The Coast Guard is helping clear out hundreds sunken and abandoned boats from the waters around the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in the aftermath of last year's hurricanes. About 750 boats have been pulled out of the water, beaches and mangroves to date.
Members of the 188th Engineer Detachment unit of the Massachusetts Army National Guard are headed for a nine-month deployment in Kuwait after a stop in Texas for training. Friends and family members bid farewell to the 15 troops in a ceremony last week.
Defense Secretary James Mattis used tough talk when outlining the Pentagon's new deploy-or-get-out policy for troops deemed undeployable for administrative reasons such as long-term physical problems. "You're either deployable, or you need to find something else to do," he said.
National Guard and Reserve troops will no longer be able to deduct unreimbursed travel expenses for duty-related trips less than 100 miles from home. The changes under the new tax law apply to travel during 2018 for tax filing in 2019.