<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - Military]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcsandiego.com/feature/militaryhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.pngNBC 7 San Diegohttps://www.nbcsandiego.comen-usFri, 23 Mar 2018 09:45:15 -0700Fri, 23 Mar 2018 09:45:15 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Defense Budget Increase Could Be a Boon for San Diego]]>Thu, 22 Mar 2018 17:58:20 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Defense_Budget_Increase_Could_Be_a_Boon_for_San_Diego.jpg

San Diego receives more defense spending than any other counties in the nation. NBC 7's Steven Luke with what an increase in military spending could mean for businesses here.

<![CDATA[Marine Could Face Murder Charge in Fatal Stabbing of Fellow Recruit]]>Fri, 23 Mar 2018 05:53:56 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Child-on-Child_Sex_Assaults_at_Camp_Pendleton_Overlooke.jpg

Attorneys for a Camp Pendleton Marine say their client accidentally stabbed a fellow recruit, and never meant to kill him.

Pfc. Raymond Begay appeared in a military court Thursday morning at the Marine Corps base, where prosecutors argued that Begay should be charged with second-degree murder and obstructing justice.

The prosecution said Begay showed callous and wanton disregard for the life of the victim, Pfc. Ethan Barclay-Weberpal. In interviews with investigators after the Jan. 16 incident, Begay admitted he stabbed the victim, who was also his good friend.

But Begay’s attorneys argued that the two Marines were horsing around at an early-morning muster at Camp Pendleton.

Witnesses at Thursday's hearing said Begay often played around with knives and pretended to stab his friends. The witnesses said Begay sometimes toyed with a knife that had a retractable blade, which would move harmlessly back into the knife handle when it touched something.

According to the witnesses and Begay’s attorneys, Begay was sitting close to Barclay-Weberpal, and told the victim, “in a joking fashion” that “I should stab you”, to which the victim reportedly responded “Do it. I hate Lima Company (the unit to which they were assigned).”

Begay then allegedly reached around Barclay-Weberpal’s right side and stabbed him in the chest. The sharp blade penetrated his heart, and cut his left ventricle. According to the prosecutor, Barclay-Weberpal immediately lost a significant amount of blood. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The prosecutor said Begay also obstructed justice because he allegedly tried to hide the knife after he stabbed Begay.

But Begay’s attorneys said their client panicked and never tried to hide the evidence. They noted that he quickly returned to the scene with a roll of toilet paper to help staunch the bleeding from his friend’s wound.

Witnesses at the Article 32 hearing included Pfc. Rhett Glubka, who testified that Begay was like a “little brother” to him. Glubka said the stabbing was a terrible, tragic, and unintended accident. Glubka testified that Begay was “not thinking with his brain, and was playing with a knife. I think he was just being a dumb kid, doing dumb things, and not thinking about what could happen.”

In their closing argument, the defense said Begay is devastated by his friend's death, and argued that the proper charge would be the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter, due to negligence.

A ruling is expected next month, by the Marine Corps command.

<![CDATA[DoD Releases Official Video of UFO Encounter off East Coast]]>Thu, 15 Mar 2018 06:19:40 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ufo_for_raffa_1200x675_1186300483805.jpg

In 2015, U.S. Navy pilots intercepted a high-speed unidentified aircraft somewhere off of the East Coast.

We're getting our first look at what is only the third official government release of unidentified aerial phenomena three years later.

The previously undisclosed footage was analyzed by field experts at To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science and packaged in the above video, titled "Go Fast". It was reviewed by multiple government agencies for approval prior to being published.

The footage shows the moment a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet crew spots the aircraft with an onboard forward-looking infrared system.

Flying around 300 mph at 25,000 feet, the Super Hornet crew at first has trouble locking their sensor on the aircraft as it flies at low altitude above the ocean.

Once they are able to track it, cockpit audio reveals just how excited, and curious, the crew was about the find.

According to TTSA's analysis, the aircraft appears to be oval shaped with no obvious wings or tails. Authors note that at the same range, wings on a cruise missile would be visible on the Super Hornet's imaging system.

The analysis also notes that there is no visible exhaust plume trailing the aircraft, and compares that observation to a still image of an in-flight F-16 captured on the same imaging system.

Among TTSA's field experts are Chris Mellon, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence with the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, Luis Elizondo, a former Pentagon military intelligence official, and Steve Justice, a former Program Director for Advanced Systems at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works.

Elizondo was at the center of a New York Times article after he confirmed the existence of a clandestine government department, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, that investigated the existence of U.F.O’s. 

Included in that article are the first two official government videos of unidentified aerial phenomena, "Gimbal" and "Nimitz Flir1".

To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science says it is a consortium of scientists, aerospace engineers and others working to allow "researchers the freedom to explore exotic science and technologies with the infrastructure and resources to rapidly transition innovative ideas into world-changing products and services."

<![CDATA[Child-on-Child Sex Assaults at Camp Pendleton Overlooked]]>Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:48:50 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Child-on-Child_Sex_Assaults_at_Camp_Pendleton_Overlooke.jpg

An investigation by the Associated Press shows that sex assaults by children on children on military bases often fall through the cracks, include some here in San Diego. NBC 7's military reporter Bridget Naso on the changes that Camp Pendleton mad to prosecute those crimes.

<![CDATA[POTUS Caps San Diego Visit with Speech at MCAS Miramar]]>Tue, 13 Mar 2018 23:40:51 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Trump_Pledges_Pay_Raise_for_Military_During_Speech.jpg

After touring the border wall prototype site in Otay Mesa Tuesday, President Donald Trump took Marine One back to MCAS Miramar where he gave a speech in front of thousands of Marines.

President Trump began his speech thanking the members of the military and their families for their dedication, and drew loud applause throughout the speech as he hit on topics including military pay, North Korea, and the development of a Space Force.

On stage, backdropped by an F/A-18, Trump pledged to give the armed forces its largest pay raise in more than 10 years as part of his proposed $700 billion budget.

“We're also investing in our greatest weapon of all, our most powerful weapon, our most beautiful weapon, our most brilliant weapon: you,” Trump said. “In 2019 we want to give you your largest pay raise in over a decade. You deserve it.”

It was the president’s first visit to a California military base and he wasted no time in making sure the troops knew that he appreciates the work they do for the country.

“To the fighting men and women of Miramar, and all across the San Diego area, we must all think bigger, build faster, push farther, dare higher and be greater than ever, ever, ever before. Each one of you is vital to our mission – you’re fighter pilots, helo pilots, mechanics, engineers, hospital, sailors and sergeants. But above all, you are great American patriots.”

Trump addresses North Korea, mentioning that he hopes the planned talks between him and Kim Jong Un will be beneficial, and moved on to other foreign policy issues like the Iran deal and the fight against ISIS.

“We won't let up until ISIS is completely destroyed. ISIS never thought this would happen. They never got hit like this. We took off the gloves. In one year we did more damage to ISIS than other administration, a certain other administration did in many years. We took off the gloves,” Trump said.

What may have been the loudest applause for the president came after he talked about the importance of strengthening the nation’s military mission in space, joking that one day soon he may have to start a Space Force.

“My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain just like the land, air and sea,” Trump said.

The president said he wasn’t serious when he first thought of the idea of a Space Force, equivalent to the other primary branches of the military, but said it could be something to look ahead to.

He suggested the idea could be the next breaking news story as he pointed to the pool of media personnel covering his speech.

“Ah, that fake news,” Trump said before a loud mix of laughter and applause.

Before signing off, Trump recapped his visit at the border for the troops and revisited the topic of border protection. The president said that a new border wall will protect the country by keeping dangerous criminal and terrorist organizations out.

<![CDATA[Officers on Local Bases Asked to Return Overpaid Funds]]>Tue, 13 Mar 2018 20:34:45 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/cash+generic+money.jpg

Nearly 100 civilian police officers hired to augment military police on Marine and Navy bases in North County are being asked by the federal government to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in wages after it was discovered the federal government had made an error in determining their pay scale.

The claw back began in April of 2017 after the Defense Finance and Accounting Services Office (DFAS) discovered an administrative mistake.

Lt. Bradley Ducat is a civilian with the Marine Corps Police Department at Camp Pendleton and says the officers had no idea they were being overpaid for years.

“It is a shock. It almost takes the breath away from you knowing that you have this debt that's held over your head, and this process is been going on for a year now,” Ducat said

The union for the civilian police officers says the problem originated in 2008. It was determined by the federal government that civilian officers at Camp Pendleton and Fallbrook should be paid using a San Diego City special rate table for pay rates rather than a lower special rate pay table the is used by San Diego County.

When the DFAS realized the error, they notified officers they would have to pay back the overpaid amount. Lt. Ducat says for some officers who have been with the Marine Corps Police Department, many of whom are veterans, the amount totals in the thousands.

“I think in some cases it's probably going to add up to, you know, maybe even $30,000," Ducat said.

It's a punch in the gut for these officers who are dedicated to protecting the people who live and work on the busy Marine base, responding to law enforcement calls at all hours.

“Unfortunately we have fatalities like any community does whether it's criminal or not, a lot of car accidents, we have domestic disturbances, which are sometimes very very violent,” Ducat said.

Not only did the federal government say they were going to ask for money back from the officers, they reduced the pay scale until the union that represents the officers was able to put the prior pay scale back in place.

According to letters the civilian officers received from DFAS, they have three options: Pay the money back, request a payment plan, or submit a waiver for the entire amount, but there is no guarantee the waiver will be granted.

Spokespersons with the Navy and Marines tell NBC 7 they are aware of the issue and that town hall meetings have been held to help personnel understand what has happened and what will happen going forward.

According to officials at Camp Pendleton, approximately 65 police officers assigned to the Provost Marshall's Office at Camp Pendleton were incorrectly being overpaid.

“We stand in full support of our Police Officers and understand how indebtedness can impact their welfare and morale," a Marines spokesperson said. "The Civilian Human Resources Office is expeditiously coming to a resolution and will continue to advocate for our civilian personnel to be treated fairly understanding the expectations set forth by the Defense Finance and Accounting Services.“

A Navy spokesperson told NBC 7 that 33 Navy civilian police officers from the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach detachment in Fallbrook were regretfully overpaid due to an administrative error which placed them in an incorrect special salary rate.

“We understand this is challenging for our police officers and poses a substantial burden on those who provide a critical service to meet the Navy’s security requirements. Navy Region Southwest is committed to helping the officers through this process and continues to help mitigate the situation to the greatest degree possible,” the spokeperson said.

NBC 7 reached out to the DFAS and is awaiting a response.

Lt. Ducat says this claw back is wrong and affecting the department's morale, and he hopes the federal government will do what he says is the right thing and say, “We made a mistake. You all deserve the pay that you were initially were promised.”

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Medical Debt Forgiveness Targeting Local Veterans]]>Mon, 12 Mar 2018 20:26:51 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Medical+Debt+_27494021.jpg

NBC 7's Consumer Bob explains how NBC Owned Television Stations like NBC 7 San Diego are helping relieve millions of dollars of medical debt for local veterans.

<![CDATA[Secretary of Homeland Security Tours Border Wall Prototypes]]>Mon, 12 Mar 2018 21:27:35 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Secretary+of+Homeland+Security+Kirstjen+Nielsen.png

A key member of President Donald Trump’s national security team is already in San Diego.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen arrived in San Diego Monday on a last-minute scheduled visit, on her way home from South Korea.

Secretary Nielsen spent the morning getting an aerial tour of the border wall prototypes before landing at the U.S. Coast Guard.

She addressed the members of the Coast Guard Monday, emphasizing her four priorities as DHS Secretary: border security, counterterrorism, increasing national resilience, and cybersecurity.

“While we’ve worked extraordinarily hard to raise the bar in security across the globe, we are constantly reminded we live in a very dangerous time and a dangerous world,” Secretary Nielsen said.

Secretary Neilsen got a tour of some of San Diego’s most important ports, by boat.

The Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team demonstrated maneuvers in the water that are used during large-scale anti-terrorism efforts.

This is Secretary Nielsen’s first visit to San Diego since her confirmation in December 2017.

She will be touring the wall prototypes with President Trump tomorrow.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Victim in NorCal Vets Center Shooting Was Pregnant]]>Mon, 12 Mar 2018 06:16:22 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Shooting-Victims-Yountville.JPG
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<![CDATA[Local AM/PM Donates Box of Ruffles to Man Serving in Afghanistan ]]>Mon, 12 Mar 2018 15:26:04 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Potato_Chip_Donation_Gives_Taste_of_Home_in_Afghanistan.jpg

Rebecca Guerrero’s brother has served two tours in Afghanistan. He is now a base security guard over there.

Guerrero was shopping around Escondido for her brother’s favorite treats before shipping them all overseas. “Girl Scout Cookies, Ding Dongs with the white fudge, but his favorite chips are the ranch Ruffles, the jalapeno," she told NBC 7. 

After hours of searching, she finally found them at the AM/PM off East Grand Avenue. “I talked to one of the employees and told them we were looking to purchase a whole box,” Guerrero said. That employee ordered a box for her.

The owner of the AM/PM, Billy Torr tells us when he saw the box and found out it was for a veteran he immediately took care of it, “He was like 'really?' I said 'really,'” Torr explained. 

“The owner said they were on him, free of charge.” Guerrero was completely shocked and grateful. “It’s emotional you know, that kind of generosity, it’s really touching,” she continued.

After sharing her story with her friends on Facebook, the post now has over 2,000 likes and almost 100 comments, all thanking Torr.

He tells NBC 7 his employee was the first to tell him about the post. “Everybody’s thanking me, 'go shop over there,' and I finally put a post up: 'no don’t thank me, thank the people fighting for us and keeping us safe here.'"

Torr added, “we gave a box of chips, what’s the big deal?" 

For him, it may be a small gesture but for Guerrero and her brother, they’re hoping people will be inspired as they continue to pay it forward. “I feel like these little things need to be recognized so other people can follow in those footsteps,” Guerrero tells NBC 7.

<![CDATA[Double Amputee, Local Navy SEAL Vet Wins Gold at Paralympics]]>Sun, 11 Mar 2018 22:37:08 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_18069068091751.jpg

A double amputee and Navy SEAL veteran who served in Afghanistan won a gold medal in the men’s 7.5-kilometer biathlon during the first day of competition at the Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Friday.

Commander Dan Cnossen didn’t realize he had won at first because there was a staggered start.

"A guy who was taking the transponder off was saying, 'I think an American is in at first,' and I was like, 'Maybe that’s me,'" he told NBC.

The next day, Cnossen earned a silver medal in the men's 15km sitting event. 

"I've already exceeded my expectations," Cnossen said after the event.

Cnossen led Coronado-based SEAL Team One in Afghanistan in 2009. He lost both of his legs at the knees when he stepped on an IED.

He learned his legs had been amputated after being unconscious for eight days.

Cnossen went through rehabilitation both at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center and Walter Reed National Military Center, where he learned to walk with prosthetics.

He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor. 

Cnossen told NBC Sports after his injury he missed being part of a team. 

"I love being part of a team in the military, and when I became injured I was looking to seek that out again," Cnossen told NBC Sports. "The Paralympic team has been the most perfect fit for me."

Cnossen first went to the Paralympics in 2014 in Sochi, where he placed sixth in the cross-country sprint, 10th in the biathlon individual and 10km cross-country, 11th in biathlon middle-distance, 13th in 15km cross-country and 14th in biathlon sprint.

The 37-year-old is also getting master’s degrees from Harvard University in Public Administration and Theological Studies.

Cnossen, who is originally from Kansas, had been on four deployments. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Navy Officer with San Diego Ties Pleads Guilty in Bribery Scandal]]>Wed, 07 Mar 2018 19:01:53 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/2_Navy_Officers_Plead_Guilty_in_Bribery_Scandal.jpg

Capt. John Steinberger was provided hotel rooms, meals, and prostitutes on four occasions, court document show. NBC 7's military reporter Bridget Naso has Steinberger's local connection.

<![CDATA[Naval Med. Center Says Bacteria Found at Sterilization Site ]]>Wed, 07 Mar 2018 19:38:09 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NMCSD-0324-3.jpg

The Naval Medical Center San Diego confirmed that bacteria was found during water tests at one of its Sterilization Processing sites where surgical instruments are cleaned.

The discovery led to the shutdown of the site, which caused a shortage in available surgical instruments forcing the hospital to delay roughly 100 elected surgeries at the site.

The hospital said Monday that the Director of Surgical Services was first made aware of a "discrepancy" in the instrument sterilization process on Feb. 28. The director confirmed Tuesday that the "discrepancy" was the presence of bacteria in the pre-rinse cycle water supply of an automated washer.

Officials say the bacteria wasn't impacting the sterilization cycle, which they believe would've have killed any bacteria before it reached a patient in surgery.

Routine testing by the Navy’s contracted water quality testing provider revealed the automated washer was “out of standards," according to Alvarez.

The closure of the sterilization site led to a shortage 

Hospital staff members are identifying patients who visited the hospital between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 in an effort to notify them of the concern and to help track and monitor any possible infections. The Navy says so far there is no evidence of any contamination with the instruments and no reports of any infections.

The director of surgery told NBC 7 that impacted patients should feel confident they had a safe and sterile surgery.

According to follow up tests, extensive flushing of the water line to the pre-wash machine seems to have fixed the problem. Officials say it will be at least two more weeks before they're ready to put the machine it back online.

Alvarez said that emergent and urgent cases continue on site with instruments cleaned off site.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Women Joining Men in Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton]]>Wed, 07 Mar 2018 07:44:29 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Women_Joining_Men_in_Combat_Training_at_Camp_Pendleton.jpg

The first group of female Marines is arriving at Camp Pendleton to train alongside men in a Marine Combat Training Battalion on the West Coast.

The forty women will begin the 29-day training known as MCT. According to the Marine Corps, the mission of the Marine Combat Training Battalion is to train Marines to be basic combat rifleman in order to prepare them for worldwide deployment in the operating forces.

Entry-level Marines are taught the common skills needed in combat. While at Marine Combat Training Battalion every Marine will learn: the basics of day and night combat marksmanship, use of the M67 grenade, employment and targeting with the M203 Grenade Launcher and M240B Medium Machine Gun, how to detect and respond to Improvised Explosive Devices, defensive fundamentals, convoy operations, offensive fundamentals, patrolling, Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT), tactical communications, Combat Hunter, tactical field care and land navigation.

Marines also undergo combat conditioning through the use of obstacle courses, conditioning hikes, and combat fitness runs. Upon completion of Marine Combat Training, every Marine will have the knowledge and ability to deploy and operate in any combat environment around the world as a basic rifleman.

Female and male Marines have been going through the training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina since shortly after all jobs opened to women in the Marine Corps in 2016.

Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps, told NBC 7 the only difference in the training will be the terrain in California. Adding there were some preparations that needed to be made to the barracks and some other structures to accommodate women.

The women Marines who will train at the School of Infantry west recently completed basic training at Parris Island where all female Marines currently go through boot camp.

<![CDATA[Naval Medical Center Investigating Sterilization Discrepancy]]>Wed, 07 Mar 2018 11:28:58 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NMCSD-0324-3.jpg

Naval Medical Center San Diego confirmed Monday that it is delaying some surgeries at the facility as it investigates a discrepancy found in its surgical instrument sterilization process.

The hospital's Director of Surgical Services was made aware of the discrepancy on Feb. 28, according to a statement released by the hospital Monday.

Hospital spokesperson Mike Alvarez did not confirm what exactly the discrepancy was, but confirmed that one of the hospital's Sterilization Processing sites immediately ceased operations after the discovery.

The closure of the sterilization site led to a shortage in available surgical instruments, thus forcing the hospital to delay some elected surgeries at the site, Alvarez said.

"An in depth review into the cause of the discrepancy was immediately initiated, and is nearing completion. While current evidence suggests the discrepancy was an isolated issue, presenting very low risk to patients, we are conducting an in depth review to confirm test results before returning to full instrument sterilization capacity," the statement read in part.

The shortage will not impact life-threatening surgeries done at the hospital.

Editor’s Note: Our original story stated the hospital was testing patients as part of its investigation, per information provided by a spokesperson. NBC 7 has since learned the hospital is not testing patients.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego-Based USS Carl Vinson Visits Vietnam]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2018 18:49:17 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/San_Diego-Based_USS_Carl_Vinson_Visits_Vietnam.jpg

The historic move was meant to strengthen relationships between the U.S. and Vietnam as China expands its military in the region. NBC 7's military reporter Bridget Naso has reactions from local Vietnam vets.

<![CDATA[Female Marines Arrive at Camp Pendleton]]>Wed, 07 Mar 2018 13:25:17 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/5AW_VO_FEMALE_MARINES_M_KNSD4VP6_1200x675_1179093571703.jpg

Female Marines arrived at the School of Infantry-West to begin the first phase of MCT on Camp Pendleton on March 6, 2018. This marks the first male-female integrated Marine Combat Training Company on the West Coast.

<![CDATA[From Green Beret to Bobsledder: Nate Weber Visits San Diego]]>Mon, 05 Mar 2018 07:55:58 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Green-beret-bobsledder.jpg

Sgt. 1st Class Nate Weber took an unconventional path to becoming an Olympic bobsledder. Instead of training in a gym, he prepared for competition while deployed in Niger, Cameroon and Afghanistan.

Becoming an Olympian seemed like a long shot but Weber had to take it.

“Being in the military was the reason I was able to make it to the Olympics. I wouldn’t have done it without that,” Weber said.

It was on deployments in Niger, Cameroon and Afghanistan where he would serve as a Special Forces medic, then he would train to earn his spot on Team USA.

As the "Today" show reported, Weber trained for bobsled by pulling military vehicles, pulling large bricks and sprinting down dusty roads while overseas.

“The work ethic and the skills you pick up being a Green Beret, doing stuff like that, it really applies to Olympic sport,” Weber said.

Two other soldiers also served the Olympic bobsled team that ended the 2018 Winter Olympics ranked 20th in the 4-man competition.

This year, his team could not score gold but his dedication to the Green Berets remains.

His first event back home from the Olympics was in Lemon Grove to meet with San Diego local retired Green Beret Travis Wilson at a skeet shooting competition to benefit the Green Beret Foundation.

“I brought home a friend from Afghanistan who I was deployed with to his family; I made sure I moved plans around to come and do this,” Weber said.

For Weber, it’s back to active duty and Olympic training for another shot at gold in the next four years

“I want to bring home a medal for everyone back here from China that what I want to do,” Weber said.

To represent his country in more ways than one.

Photo Credit: TODAY.com
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<![CDATA[National City Community Comes Together for WWII Vet's 100th ]]>Sun, 25 Feb 2018 00:25:12 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/navy+vet+bday.PNG

Elmer “Bud” Trevillyan was born in Vale, South Dakota on February 25th, 1918. Saturday, he celebrated his 100th birthday with family, friends the mayor of National City, the assistant district attorney and many sailors and other military inspired by his service. 

The celebration came together after Kathy Hansen, a retired commander master chief, received a call from one of Trevillyan’s family members asking for help for his party. Multiple companies donated money and quite a few sailors and other service members went to Trevillyan’s house to decorate for his birthday.

He said they took out the grass and weeds around his house and put in decomposed granite there so he wouldn't get stuck with his wheelchair. After the party, another person volunteered to do concrete so it will be smoother for him.

Trevillyan moved to San Diego in 1940 and was drafted into the war three years later. He was a welder and deep sea diver aboard the USS Lowndes and saw the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima.

He was married to his wife, Edna, for 55 years. After the war, they married and he worked at the Railroad Express for 36 years until his retirement in 1978.

One of the visitors, STGC(SW) Matthew J. Bizjak, told NBC 7, “As a Navy Chief myself, I felt very proud of the Sailors that came out and took the time and effort they did to take care of this local hero. Without heroes like him, we would not have our freedom that we have today. Hooyah, Navy Chief, Navy Pride!” 

Dozens of well-wishers came to Trevillyan’s party Saturday, even serenading the veteran with “Amazing Grace.”

"Bud’s love for his country and softspoken kindness is only matched by the adoration of those who are privileged enough to know him!" Bizjak added. 

<![CDATA[MCAS Miramar Launches Self-Driving Vehicle Projects]]>Sun, 25 Feb 2018 15:47:51 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/autonomous+vehicles+credit+DVIDS.jpg

Government and industry officials met at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar) on Wednesday to tour and test the station’s new autonomous vehicle program.

MCAS Miramar is developing ways to make transportation more efficient, more accessible, and cheaper using self-driving cars as part of the Marine Corps’ Mobility Transformation effort, according to the U.S. Marine Corps.

"The Marine Corps always prides itself on being a service that’s willing to adapt and be able to change to new things," Col. Jason G. Woodworth, the commanding officer of MCAS Miramar, said.

Two projects were discussed this week.

The first is being facilitated by Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSCPAC) and in collaboration with Qualcomm. It focuses on autonomous vehicle development and implementation in our society.

Due to MCAS Miramar’s location, Col. Woodworth explained that, "We have a unique opportunity, because we have a little bit of a city on one side and, out on the other side, we have a little bit of country, and this gives us a chance for different types of vehicles and different types of systems to be tested in one place."

The base plans to host numerous projects involving mobility transformation and energy security, resilience and innovation, according to the Marine Corps.

The second project is planned for later in the year and partners with the state of California. It will look at the use of passenger vans for the station and the potential of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

V2G capabilities allow the vehicles to connect to the station’s microgrid and function as mobile batteries, according to the Marine Corps. This would prove useful for any power failures at the base.

It’s the first initiative by MCAS Miramar to merge autonomous vehicles and V2G technology, according to the Marine Corps.

“Miramar is leading the way in mobility transformation because of the projects that are about to begin here.” Col. Woodworth continued by claiming the program as “one of a kind.”

Testing started a few weeks ago, and Col. Woodworth hopes to see driverless shuttles running “in the next six to 12 months.”

The projects are in response to MCAS Miramar’s commitment to energy resilience and innovation and their desire to create local solutions. 

Photo Credit: DVIDS/Cpl. Jake McClung]]>
<![CDATA[Sailor Fatally Injured by Helicopter Blade IDd]]>Sun, 25 Feb 2018 09:45:18 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mazzuchelli+photo.png

The U.S. Marine Corps identified a sailor Sunday who died days after being struck by the blade of a helicopter at Camp Pendleton. 

Navy Lt. James E. Mazzuchelli was injured Wednesday by a spinning tail rotor blade on a UH-1Y Venom helicopter while the aircraft was on deck, according to the U.S. Marine Corps.

The sailor was taken to Scripps La Jolla Medical Center and was listed in critical condition days after the accident. 

At about 5:45 a.m. Saturday, Mazzuchelli succumbed to his injuries, the Marine Corps said. 

Mazzuchelli was a flight surgeon assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 267, Marine Aircraft Group 39, stationed at MCAS Camp Pendleton.

The Florida native was commissioned in the Navy in June 2010. He previously deployed to Japan in 2010. 

His commanding officer described Mazzuchelli as a talented and passionate sailor. 

"Lt. James Mazzuchelli was an incredibly talented physician and Sailor,” Col. Matthew Mowery, commanding officer of MAG-39, said. "His contagious enthusiasm, motivation, and love for the Marines and Sailors of HMLA-267 and MAG-39 has been evident in the outpouring of grief at his loss and the support being shown to his family and close friends."

The Marine Corps is investigating the incident and did not provide any further detail.

Photo Credit: USMC]]>
<![CDATA[Women Joining Men in Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton]]>Wed, 07 Mar 2018 11:22:11 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Women_Joining_Men_in_Combat_Training_at_Camp_Pendleton.jpg

The first group of female Marines is arriving at Camp Pendleton to train alongside men in a Marine Combat Training Battalion on the West Coast.

The forty women will begin the 29-day training known as MCT. According to the Marine Corps, the mission of the Marine Combat Training Battalion is to train Marines to be basic combat rifleman in order to prepare them for worldwide deployment in the operating forces.

Entry-level Marines are taught the common skills needed in combat. While at Marine Combat Training Battalion every Marine will learn: the basics of day and night combat marksmanship, use of the M67 grenade, employment and targeting with the M203 Grenade Launcher and M240B Medium Machine Gun, how to detect and respond to Improvised Explosive Devices, defensive fundamentals, convoy operations, offensive fundamentals, patrolling, Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT), tactical communications, Combat Hunter, tactical field care and land navigation.

Marines also undergo combat conditioning through the use of obstacle courses, conditioning hikes, and combat fitness runs. Upon completion of Marine Combat Training, every Marine will have the knowledge and ability to deploy and operate in any combat environment around the world as a basic rifleman.

Female and male Marines have been going through the training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina since shortly after all jobs opened to women in the Marine Corps in 2016.

Capt. Joshua Pena, a spokesperson for the Marine Corps, told NBC 7 the only difference in the training will be the terrain in California. Adding there were some preparations that needed to be made to the barracks and some other structures to accommodate women.

The women Marines who will train at the School of Infantry west recently completed basic training at Parris Island where all female Marines currently go through boot camp.

<![CDATA[Surplus Store Donates Dress Blues to Family of Fallen Marine]]>Sun, 18 Feb 2018 18:34:02 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/dress+blues.PNG

After receiving a phone call last week, a local store jumped into action to help a Florida family desperate to find dress blues to bury their fallen Marine in.

A customer reached out to Gearhound Surplus, a military surplus and used uniform store, on Thursday saying the family of a Marine he’d served with needed dress blues to bury him in.

Joseph Foster, the store's owner and a Marine veteran, immediately knew the store needed to help. 

"We stopped everything we were doing here, grabbed all the uniforms, mounted the ribbons for them and sent it straight over to the post office overnight, and it arrived about two hours ago so the Marine will be buried in his uniform on Tuesday," Foster told NBC 7.

The funeral is Tuesday morning and the family needed the uniform right away, Foster said.

"The family was just ecstatic that it arrived on time and that they’re going to honor the Marine how he wanted to be honored."

The Marine's step-sister called the store back asking how much she owed. 

Foster told her, "no, we’re not taking money from you."

He told NBC 7 it’s just one small thing they can do to honor fallen Marines.

"I can’t charge anyone," Foster said. "It’s just a little something we do to give back to the military community because if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have our business and the country that we live in."

Foster is a retired Marine veteran who was injured by an enemy sniper in Iraq in 2010. He opened Gearhound in 2014, and he said they have provided about 50 uniforms for fallen Marines. He said if the family had to buy a full used dress uniform themselves it could run up to $800.

"I’ve had customers write letters, send me videos, come in the store, travel all the way to California to give me a thank you," he said. "Some of them will donate a little bit of cash. That way we can help the next one." Some people also donate old uniforms.

The Marine Foster helped this weekend committed suicide, which hit home for him because one of his cousins who was a Marine, killed himself when Foster was still in high school.

"I’ve always remembered him and I remember the heartache that it caused for our family, and unfortunately it’s an epidemic that is going through every branch of the military," he said.

He wishes he could save the Marines from killing themselves, of course, "but this is just one last little piece that we can do to honor them," he explained. "When the Marines look into the casket they don’t see the troubles that they had, they don’t blame them for what they did, they see them as the Marine that they knew, that they were so proud of and that’s the image we want the family to see.

"We want them to be proud of their Marine, no matter what happened and how their life ended. That’s the biggest honor for us."

He said he does whatever he can to help fellow Marines who come into the shop, including referring them to one of the nonprofits they work with if they need to talk to someone. "Marines take care of one another." 

If you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Unemployment 4x Nat'l Average Among Military Spouses: Study]]>Sun, 18 Feb 2018 22:23:22 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Military_Spouses__Unemployment_Rate_4X_Higher_Than_Average_.jpg

Chopping vegetables in an Otay Mesa business was not in Flossie Hall's original plan, but when you're a military spouse you learn to deal with changes.

"I was a student for almost ten years, four states, four colleges, four moves because of my husband," Hall told NBC 7." So everywhere I moved I got a job but then I would have to move somewhere else and then find another line of work."

Like many military spouses, Hall found it hard to find and keep a steady job, and a new study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Hiring Our Heroes, has found military spouses face unemployment rates at four times higher than the national average.  

The unemployment rate among military spouses was 16 percent in 2017. 

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) hopes to attach a measure to the National Defense Authorization Act this year that would allow federal agencies to expedite the hiring process and allow the Department of Defense to provide more education, training and childcare.

Spouses have to deal with frequent moves, job certifications that don't transfer across states, bases far from cities and the difficulties of finding child care.

"[It’s] difficult, you have to change careers sometimes. You can't work because there's nothing flexible enough or affordable for the childcare so it is frustrating,” she said.

Hall now runs her own health food business called "Healthy Momma" where she helps other military spouses who were in her shoes.

<![CDATA[MSTEP Helps Military Vets]]>Thu, 15 Feb 2018 07:25:05 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MSTEP_Helps_Military_Vets.jpg

NBC 7's Audra Stafford talks about the MSTEP program aimed at helping veterans make the transition to civilian life.

<![CDATA[Navy Vet Hospitalized by Flu Discharged After 43 Days]]>Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:47:23 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/navy+vet+flu+patient.jpg

NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian spoke with Shawn Burroughs and his wife following his release from the hospital.

<![CDATA[USS Lake Champlain Arrives in Guam ]]>Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:34:21 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/USS-Lake-Champlain-3287292.jpg

The USS Lake Champlain, which left San Diego on Jan. 4, arrived in Guam for a scheduled port visit Monday local time.

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, part of the Carl Vinson Strike Group, returned to San Diego on Jan. 12 for minor repairs on its port and starboard shafts.

"The crew is very excited to have the opportunity to experience the wonderful sights, culture, and hospitality of Guam," said Capt. Jennifer Ellinger, commanding officer of Lake Champlain. "This port visit will also give the crew a chance to relax after several weeks at sea."

For many of the sailors, the port stop is their first visit outside of the continental United States, Ellinger said. "At the same time, I am also pleased that some sailors will have a unique opportunity to visit with members of their extended family here in Guam."

The ship is operated by more than 350 crew members and is capable of air, surface and undersea warfare and naval surface fire support.

The cruiser is equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, providing an additional long-range strike capability to the strike group, standard SM-2 surface to air missiles, two 5-inch dual-purpose guns, and two MH-60R helicopters.

The USS Lake Champlain is homeported in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Zackary Landers]]>
<![CDATA[Actor Gary Sinise Jams in San Diego in Support of Military]]>Sat, 10 Feb 2018 16:53:34 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Actor_Gary_Sinise_Jams_in_San_Diego_in_Support_of_Military.jpg

Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise – a longtime supporter of U.S. military service members and their families – visited San Diego Saturday for an annual festival where he jammed with his musical group, the Lt. Dan Band.

It was all part of the 6th Annual Invincible Spirit Festival hosted by Sinise’s organization, the Gary Sinise Foundation, meant to show appreciation for U.S. military veterans and their families, and the sacrifices they’ve made. The festival is one of the many causes organized by the Gary Sinise Foundation in its ongoing mission to support veterans and wounded warriors.

The event was held at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD). According to the Gary Sinise Foundation, the concert was a way of saying “thank you” to the staff at NMCSD who cares for veterans daily.

The name of Sinise’s band was inspired by the actor’s iconic role as wounded U.S. military veteran Lt. Dan in the film, “Forrest Gump.” Before the Lt. Dan Band hit the stage, opening act Stolen Silver performed. The festival also included family-friendly activities, prize giveaways and food.

"I love being able to come here to Naval Medical Center and visit with everyone and meet the patients, meet the staff members, meet the families that are going through rehabilitation here," Sinise told NBC 7.

Sinise said he had been frequently visiting facilities like the NVMSD and, one day, an idea came to him to host this annual festival.

"I just said, ‘Why don’t we bring a stage in here and kind of do a day of appreciation for everybody?’" he recalled.

According to organizers, the Invincible Spirit Festival was attended by more than 3,000 wounded warriors, NMCSD caregivers and military families.

This included NMCSD chiropractor Kim Khauv, who works with many wounded service members. He said events like these mean a lot to him and make him remember that his work matters.

“We see a lot of active duty service members with a lot of muscle skeletal conditions,” Khauv told NBC 7. “It’s close to the No. 1 cause of coming in to come see us, so we get them ready to be fit and to pass their fitness test and to be deployable, and that’s the most important thing. And, hopefully get them healthy and be able to perform their duties.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Coronado Complains of Potential Noise from New Navy Plane]]>Thu, 08 Feb 2018 00:50:27 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP_17269408050882.jpg

A battle is shaping up over noise in the Coronado sky.

Naval Air Station North Island will soon be home base for a new group of Navy aircraft, the CMV-22B Osprey.

Neighbors on the island are worried they'll be much louder than their C-2A predecessors. The Navy says noise levels will be similar but residents who deal with the sounds of Navy operations daily have their doubts.

“I used to fly the C-2A,” resident Nick Petriccine said. “I've seen the C-2 fly down the bay. I've heard the C-2 fly down the bay -- not even close to when the Osprey is in the helicopter mode. It’s night and day difference. It shakes the roof of my house."

What Petriccine is referring to is the CMV-22B aircraft’s tilting rotors which give it the capability to fly both fixed wing, like most planes, and like a helicopter.

When in helicopter mode, it is much louder than in fixed-wing mode.

Residents concerned about the noise and other possible environmental impacts attended an open house Wednesday night at the Coronado Civic Center.

Pilots, engineers, and Navy personnel were on hand to answer questions about the aircraft and the environmental assessment of it.

A navy spokesperson said like the C-2A plane it's replacing, the new aircraft will fly primarily in fixed-wing mode. The engines sound different but are in fact no louder.

"It does have the tilt-rotor capabilities so it can fly like a helicopter,” spokesperson Ted Brown said. “Most of the operations in that mode will be away from NAS North Island when they are out doing training operations and when they are operating out at the fleet.”

The open house was originally scheduled in January, but because of the government shutdown it was delayed until Wednesday.

The Department of the Navy is taking public comment until February 26.

You've probably already seen the marine and air force versions flying around San Diego. Its mission is to deliver mail, passengers, and cargo, among other things, to aircraft carriers at sea.

The CMV-22B aircraft would not come to North Island until 2020.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Marine West Military Expo Comes to San Diego]]>Wed, 07 Feb 2018 20:39:37 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marine_Military_Expo_Comes_to_San_Diego.jpg

On display at the annual Marine West show at Camp Pendleton is the latest equipment being developed by companies for use in the U.S. military.

Inside and outside the tent, Marines were able to see the latest in drone technology, guns and ammunition, large equipment like battery charging stations and industrial fans, and protective clothing.

They even saw robots that can disarm improvised explosive devices, detect chemical weapons and locate threats above and underground.

There were also substantially upgraded transport vehicles that take Marines from ship to shore.

One especially cool piece of technology on display was a 100-percent electric lightweight assault vehicle that can go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds.

“We designed this vehicle to be the most technologically-advanced vehicle in the world,” says Andy Christian with Nikola motor Company. "The vehicle is small, quiet, and gives out little in the way of heat so it can avoid detection.

And the $85,000 vehicle it is efficient.

"You can recharge it off the sun or you can recharge it off of any military grade generator at the field,” Christian said, which is ideal for a mobile operations command in certain situations.

One of the most important parts of the show is that Marines were able to interact with the equipment and provide feedback to the manufacturers. Some of the products are partially funded by the military through some of the development processes.

Many go through extensive testing before being purchased by the military.

Marine West takes place Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 7 and 8, at Camp Pendleton.

<![CDATA[U.S., South Korea Wary of North Korea's Charm Offensive]]>Tue, 06 Feb 2018 21:19:09 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/TLMD-corea-del-norte-+Kim-Jong-Un-13759125w.jpg

As North Korea shows signs of peace with its neighbor to the south ahead of the Winter Olympics, some nations fear it's only a PR campaign. NBC 7's Bridget Naso has more.

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Honors Coast Guard Team That Saved Mudslide Victims]]>Wed, 07 Feb 2018 08:34:13 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/mayor+coast+guard+honor.jpg

It's been three weeks since the powerful mudslides in Santa Barbara County killed at least 20 people.

United States Coast Guard San Diego Sector crews were credited with saving dozens of parents and children during the disaster and were officially thanked on Tuesday by the San Diego City Council.

"These are heroes right here, we have a great appreciation for what they did," said  Councilmember Lorie Zapf during the ceremony.

The MH-60 Jayhawk crew rescued a family, including a newborn and 9 and 3-year-old in Carpenteria as they were trapped by a mudslide.

"Mudslides are very unique. It's not something we always train for," said USCG pilot Wayne O'Donnell. "But, the Coast Guard is very good at going out over the water and hoisting off boats, but to be able to go off and assist folks off rooftops from mudslides or similar situations like from Hurricane Harvey in Houston; the Coast Guard has gotten good to help those in need."

Cameras on board the helicopter show how emergency crews helped family members out of the house and up onto the roof of their home where the Coast Guard could hoist them into a helicopter.

"Fortunately, we helped that family of five and got them to safety. Unfortunately, there were still many others missing who were not found," said O'Donnell.

The San Diego team saved almost 20 evacuees and their pets during the deadly mudslides.

"Proud feeling for me and my crew, to help out the families we did in Santa Barbara," said USCG Rescue Swimmer Erin Custer.
"There is no greater gift than to answer the call for help when your fellow American citizens are asking to come out and rescue them," said USCG Commanding Officer Captain Joseph Buzzella.

On Feb. 24, the Coast Guard will celebrate the 1-year anniversary of San Diego becoming a Coast Guard City.

San Diego is the largest official Coast Guard City. It's an honor bestowed by Congress to cities with active Coast Guard communities partaking in civic and recreational events.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[USS Dewey and USS Sterett to Deploy]]>Tue, 06 Feb 2018 09:13:31 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/USS_Sterett_Arrives_With_Hundreds_of_Sailor_in_San_Diego.jpg

USS Dewey and USS Sterett will deploy Tuesday, heading to the Indo-Pacific for training exercises. 

They will join the Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group already in Japan. 

USS Dewey, a San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer, last made headlines when the vessel suffered a mechanical failure in October 2017 leading to a fuel spill near the San Diego harbor.

The destroyer leaked 700 gallons of lubricating oil approximately 4 miles off the coast of Imperial Beach.

Hard oil booms were placed near the mouth of the Tijuana River.

USS Sterett returned to San Diego in August 2017 after a five-month deployment as part of the Sterett-Dewey Surface Action Group.

<![CDATA[Report: DOD Reviewing Policy to Cut Undeployable Reservists]]>Mon, 05 Feb 2018 19:52:05 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pentagon2.jpg

NBC 7's Bridget Naso has the details of a report that lays out the Department of Defense's plan to get rid of hundreds of thousands of nondeployable military reservists.

Photo Credit: Charles Dharapak/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Marines, Japanese Forces Together in Arms for Exercise Iron Fist]]>Thu, 01 Feb 2018 20:58:36 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/USMC-Generic-Marine-1968867.jpg

A major military exercise known as Exercise Iron Fist is taking place off the coast of southern California, Camp Pendleton, and San Clemente Island.

Exercise Iron Fist is an annual bilateral exercise that joins the U.S. Marine Corps and Japanese Soldiers with the Western Army Infantry Regiment and Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF).

New technology and strategy have helped the exercise evolve over its 13-year existence.

“We continue to get better and build on the things we did last year,” 1st Lt. Tori Semenec said.

There are more than 350 JGSDF personnel participating in Iron Fist 2018. The month-long exercise is designed to improve USMC and JGSDF’s ability to plan, communicate and conduct combined amphibious operations at the platoon, company and battalion levels.

Training focuses on advanced marksmanship; amphibious reconnaissance; fire and maneuver assaults, logistical support and medical knowledge sharing, fire support operations, including mortars, artillery, and close air support; and amphibious landing operations.

“We have a strong relationship between U.S. and Japan,” Lt. Col. Jumpei Kubo with the Japanese Ministry said. “So we have to conduct bilateral exercises with the US Marine Corp.”

And to keep peace in East Asia, he said these trainings are essential.

NBC 7 flew out to one of the training areas on San Clemente Island, which is military property and ideal for replicating island-raid scenarios.

The exercise not only keeps the U.S. and Japan prepared to work together for defense purposes, but also for humanitarian assistance operations, noncombatant emergency evacuations, flood and earthquake responses, tactical recoveries of aircraft and personnel, counter-piracy and strike operations, and support to our partner nations.

The bilateral exercises will culminate on Monday with a large scale raid on a Camp Pendleton Beach from both the air and the sea.

Photo Credit: Cpl Brittany A. James]]>
<![CDATA[Actors of 'The 15:17 to Paris' Movie Talk About Unexpected Career Change]]>Fri, 02 Feb 2018 20:53:23 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/eastwoodtrain1.jpg

Three men who are about to be first-time box office movie stars stopped by downtown San Diego to speak with NBC 7 Friday. 

Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler stopped an armed terrorist aboard a train to Paris in 2015. In The 15:17 to Paris, the film about their heroic act, the three friends were asked to act in it, reenacting their own lives, by director Clint Eastwood. 

The unprecedented move by the Hollywood giant took the three lifelong best friends by surprise. 

"It was just a complete shock," said Stone. "Because this kind of thing never happens." 

The movie was originally going to use three established actors to play the parts of Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler. About a month into casting, Eastwood made it clear to the men that he had a different plan. 

"And we just said, 'Mr. Eastwood, are you asking us to play ourselves in the movie?' and he said, 'yeah, why not?'" recalled Stone. "And it just went from there we just couldn't say no." 

The Sacramento-area men were vacationing in Europe when they tackled Ayoub El-Khazzani, a man who authorities said has ties to radical Islam. El-Khazzani had boarded the Paris-bound train with a Kalashnikov rifle, pistol and box cutter.

“A lot of people think it was traumatic for us but it’s really blossomed into a positive story,” said Sadler. “Everybody who was on the train with us in real life also plays themselves in the movie.” 

The three humble heroes added at first they were nervous to act out their first few scenes in front of Eastwood. But he made them feel comfortable and confident by reminding them that they were just with their friends.

They also discovered some things that surprised them about filming a movie. 

"The attention to detail was shocking," said Sadler. "There was somebody's job just to make sure the luggage was sitting correctly in the scene. Hundreds of people come together to make this film. It was a trip because it was our life story and we're playing ourselves, so we got to see the attention to detail they were putting into our lives." 

A book was also released about the incident. The actors said the movie is actually more accurate than the book. 

"The movie is a combination of all our of stories," said Skarlatos. "So we kind of hammered out everything that actually happened. Our actual body positions and the order that things happened in as well as witness statements." 

All three men agree they have now caught the 'acting bug' and want to pursue the career full time. 

The 15:17 to Paris comes out in theaters Friday, February 9. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Former US Navy Commander Pleads Guilty in Bribery Scandal]]>Tue, 30 Jan 2018 22:44:10 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic-gavel.jpg

A Former United States Navy Commander pled guilty Tuesday to federal bribery charges stemming from an investigation involving former defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, also known as "Fat Leonard."

Commander Troy Amundson, 50, of Minnesota, admitted that he conspired with Francis and others to receive entertainment expenses and the service of prostitutes in exchange for taking official acts for the benefit of Francis' Singapore-based company Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).

Amundson pled guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery. In court, he admitted that from September 2012 to October 2013, Francis paid for dinner, entertainment and prostitutes for himself and other Navy officers. He also admitted to violating his official duties to the U.S. Navy.

Amundson was responsible for coordinating the Navy's joint military exercises with foreign partners and was in charge of building and maintaining cooperative relationships with those partners

According to the U.S. Attorney Southern District of California, Amundson sent an email from a private account to Francis arranging to provide him with proprietary Naval information.

The email read in part:

“Handoff?... [M]y [friend], your program is awesome. I [Amundson] am a small dog just trying to get a bone… however I am very happy with my small program. I still need five minutes to pass some data when we can meet up. Cannot print.”

Later that same day, Francis arranged services of several prostitutes from Mongolia for Amundson.

Sentencing for Amundson is scheduled for April 27.

Francis pled guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges and admitted to presiding over a decade-long conspiracy involving "scores" of Naval officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and millions of dollars in bribes.

So far, 20 of the 29 defendants charged in relation to the bribery scandal, including other Navy personnel, have pled guilty.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[USS Omaha Commissioned in San Diego]]>Tue, 06 Feb 2018 07:48:55 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/USS_Omaha_Commissioned_in_San_Diego.jpg

The ship will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala has the story.

<![CDATA[Military Expresses Concern Over Fitness Trackers]]>Tue, 30 Jan 2018 08:11:18 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Military_Expresses_Concern_Over_Fitness_Trackers.jpg

NBC 7's Bridget Naso shares how military members using fitness tracking apps and wearable devices may be revealing sensitive information to the public.

<![CDATA[Ellen Surprises Local Navy Couple With Reunion and Trip]]>Fri, 26 Jan 2018 13:30:48 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San-Diego-Navy-Reunion-on-Ellen.jpg

Ellen Degeneres surprised a San Diego-based U.S. Navy Supply Officer and his girlfriend on her show in what she said may be her all-time favorite military reunion.

In the middle of Thursday’s show, Degeneres read a letter from Noah Copeland, a supply officer who is deployed overseas, thanking the entertainer for “keeping my girl company.”

He was talking about his girlfriend, Maura Gonzalves who watches her show every day. Copeland said he believes the Ellen Show has helped Maura get through his year-long deployment.

The couple moved to San Diego from Massachusetts about a year and a half ago, just months before Noah was unexpectedly deployed, Gonzalves said.

“Because I’m such a fan, I’ve made him a fan,” she said. “We’ve been watching together. I will Facetime him while I’m watching.”

Degeneres invited Gonzalves to her special 60th birthday show and in the young woman’s excitement, she almost didn’t notice that the show had arranged to have Copeland hand deliver the tickets with a bouquet of roses.

Gonzalves ran into Copeland’s arms and the couple hugged for quite a while, ignoring the presence of the cameras or the television audience.

Later in the show, the couple explained how they had planned a trip to Puerto Rico but when Gonzalves saw the Ellen episode about the island’s devastation, the couple donated the money they were going to spend to a relief fund.

The host surprised them with a six-night stay at a hotel in Hawaii.

Degeneres posted the clip of the reunion to social media with the comment: "This military reunion may be my all-time favorite."

Watch the video here.

Photo Credit: The Ellen Show
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Camouflaged Boats Pose New Threat in Illegal Drug Trade ]]>Thu, 25 Jan 2018 19:06:42 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Camouflage-Boats-Drug-Smuggling-2017.jpg

New vessels designed to evade detection with a low-profile radar signature, camouflage and speed pose a new threat to the U.S. Coast Guard's efforts to keep illegal drugs out of the U.S.

An example of the newest tool being used by illegal drug smugglers was caught in the eastern Pacific Ocean on Nov. 30, according to USCG officials. 

The low-profile boat was painted green to blend in with the ocean. In its hold, guardsmen found more than 3,000 pounds of cocaine. 

It was just one of a number of large seizures reported recently by the Coast Guard. 

On Thursday, crews offloaded more than 47,000 pounds of cocaine worth over $721 million. The drugs delivered by USCG crews to San Diego were seized in 23 separate incidents in the Pacific Ocean involving U.S. and Canadian forces. 

More than 97 percent of cocaine bound for the U.S. and Canada is brought from South and Central America via ocean waters.

Vice Adm. Fred Midgette, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area said it's vital that the U.S. work together with more than 19 partner nations operating with Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS).

Since June, USCG has captured 13 of these low-profile vessels and two self-propelled semi-submersibles. 

Crews are using a ScanEagle Drone to detect the vessels in the water up to 50 miles away from the nearest USCG ship. 

Cartels are also using varying drug smuggling routes, according to USCG officials. 

Photo Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area]]>
<![CDATA[Future USS Portland Arrives at Naval Base San Diego]]>Mon, 22 Jan 2018 21:31:19 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/naval+based.jpg

The pre-commissioned USS Portland arrived at Naval Base San Diego Monday after a six-week journey from Mississippi.

It’s an emotional visit for families like the Vest's from San Diego whose son Liam is battling leukaemia. The little warrior was among the crowd as he anxiously awaited his father's arrival from USS Portland.

“It’s been a long few months with our son's treatment, it's been intense, luckily there was lots of Facetiming and opportunity to speak with him,” said Allison Vest, Liam’s mom. “So, that made him better. I'm so excited to have him home.”

The USS Portland is an amphibious transport dock, also known as a landing platform/dock (LPD). It is 684 feet long and displaces 25,000 tons. The ship recently visited eastern U.S. Naval bases like Key West and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“It’s amazing,” Jacob Aldrich, a sailor aboard USS Portland said. “There are a lot of working parts, and there's always a watch doing what needs to be done.”

After Aldrich exchanged the first kiss with his wife, the couple said they are happy to be reunited, for now.

“I’m good and relieved,” Lorie Aldrich said, “It’s a lot of responsibility on my own and it's nice to have him home.”

The ship will be undergoing routine maintenance in San Diego until late April, which is when the ship's formal commissioning ceremony will be held in Portland.

<![CDATA[Future USS Portland Arrives]]>Mon, 22 Jan 2018 18:18:41 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Future_USS_Portland_Arrives.jpg

As NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe reports,the ship left its building site in Mississippi six weeks ago and has been making stops along the East Coast and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

<![CDATA[Vet Skydives for 90th B-Day: “If George Bush Can Do It..."]]>Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:27:42 -0700https://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Reed+skydiving+pic.PNG

Robert E. Reed has been talking about jumping out of an airplane for years, and his 90th birthday seemed like as good a time as any.

Dozens of family and friends, including Reed’s grandsons, Mark and Matt; his sons Tom, Bob and Steve; the family who owns one of his favorite cafes in Vista, California, and even his doctor’s family; who decided to make the jump with him at GoJump Oceanside Saturday. 

“I didn’t really think we’d go skydiving, but he made it to 90 and we’re going to do it,” his granddaughter Alyssa said nervously.

Reed said he was inspired to jump by a former president. “I figured if George Bush can do it by golly I can do it,” he told NBC 7.

Reed also has another reason for jumping. His wife passed away last year.

“I feel I’m closer to Heaven near my wife,” he said. “She would have jumped with me.” Around his neck, he wears his wife’s wedding ring, a red ring symbolizing 70 years of marriage and a cross. He has worn them since the day his wife died. “I’ll wear them for the rest of my life, as long as I live,” he said.

Having roped in nervous family members and friends who thought the day would never come when he first asked them to jump with him years ago, Reed seemed like the most excited in the group.

His granddaughter said she doesn’t even like to fly.

“I’m really trying not to think about it all,” Alyssa said. “[What] I’m thinking about is the love for my grandpa and how excited he is, and I’m just trying to – if my 90-year-old grandpa can jump I can do it.”

Reed, who has never skydived, said he briefly considered joining the paratroopers during World War II when he was in basic training but decided against it.

His daughter Karen, who decided not to jump, started planning the event about two months ago. “We just want to make everything special for him since we lost my mother a year ago,” she said. “He would like to be with her right now, but we’re not letting him go yet." 

Reed officially turns 90 on Monday. "Today's the jump, tomorrow’s the party and Monday’s my birthday," he explained. 

Reed’s doctor, Jeffrey Newman, said when Reed asked him 10 years ago to jump with him for his 90th birthday, he didn’t think it would ever happen.

“Every couple years he’d remind me, you promised,” Dr. Newman laughed. “So over the 10 years, it’s turned into a promise.”

After Reed landed the tandem jump, he said it was, “the best thing I ever did in my life.”

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>