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Woman one step closer to becoming Green Beret

A female is one step closer to becoming a member of the elite Green Berets. 

The woman is the first female to complete the Special Forces Assessment and Selection, a U.S. Army Special Operations Command spokesman told CNN

The soldier’s name has not been released because of the sensitive missions assigned to Green Berets. 

The woman will attempt the Special Forces Qualification Course, USASOC spokesman Lt. Col. Loren Bymer said.

The Army Times reported that several women have tried the Special Forces Assessment and Selection process, a 24-day program but,  before now none have advanced.

>> Read more trending news 

The Green Berets is one of the Army’s only divisions that doesn’t have female members. Since being permitted to join combat groups, more than a dozen women have earned the Ranger tab, the Army Times reported.

Three women joined the Marines infantry in January 2017, as part of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

One of the women, Cpl. Remedios Cruz was discharged in September after admitting to having had an intimate relationship with a subordinate, The New York Times reported. She and the lower-ranking Marine eventually married, the Times reported.

She faced charges of fraternization, adultery and accessory to larceny, but pleaded guilty to fraternization to avoid going on trial. 

An officer who was in charge of a pretrial hearing found no probable cause for adultery and larceny charges but said that she should be administratively punished for fraternizing with the man she had married before the charges were investigated, the Times reported

But her battalion commander said that all three charges should go to trial, despite the pretrial hearing’s findings. She was given the choice of going to trial, or accepting the plea agreement, admitting to fraternization. 

Cruz, who was a sergeant at the time, was reduced to a corporal rank and restricted to base, The New York Times reported.

She is awaiting separation from the service, the Marine Corps Times reported.

As of September, there were approximately 185,000 active-duty Marines, and about 15,900 were women, according to the Department of Defense

The Army has about 740 women serving in combat roles that were restricted to only men in the past, The New York Times reported

There are about 476,000 serving on active duty in the Army as of September, according to the Army Times. Of them, there are about 70,000 women, according to Department of Defense records

Vietnam veteran receives high school diploma 56 years later

It was a long time coming – 56 years – but a veteran from Pennsylvania finally got something he's waited decades for: his high school diploma.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

"It took a long time to get here because people asked why I didn't come before – well, I was too busy making a living," said James Neal. "My friend was talking about the class reunion; I said I never did that because I never graduated."

>> Man finds Korean War soldier's battlefield love letters, searches for family

And before that he was busy serving our country, in Vietnam in the Navy.

But he had unfinished business.

As a junior, Neal withdrew from North Allegheny Senior High School and never got to graduate with his class of 1962.

When the school district recently heard about it, they set to work to change it with the help of a Pennsylvania law, "Operation Recognition." 

>> Read more trending news 

"I am at the end of the law," Neal said. "It went from WWII to Korean veterans to Vietnam veterans. I guess the law will run out when the Vietnam veterans are gone."

Operation Recognition allows districts to give diplomas to honorably discharged veterans whose service in World War II, the Korean War or Vietnam interfered with their schooling.

1 dead, 1 hurt in plane crash at Texas' Laughlin Air Force Base

One pilot was killed and another hurt when a military jet crashed Tuesday at Texas' Laughlin Air Force Base, officials said.

>> Read more trending news 

According to a news release, the Air Force T-38C Talon crashed at 7:40 p.m. Tuesday on the base. One pilot died, while the other was taken to Val Verde Regional Medical Center for treatment.

>> See the Facebook post here

28 yr old Capt. John F. Graziano, an instructor pilot with the 87th Flying Training Squadron was killed in the crash according to the Air Force’s Air Education & Training Command.

Injured in the accident was Capt. Mark S. Palyok, also an instructor pilot. He was released from Val Verde Regional Medical Center on Nov.14.

The incident is under investigation, officials said.

Read more here.

Minnesota man loses 147 pounds to join Marines

A Minnesota man wanted to become a Marine, but he was facing a weighty problem. 

However, Tyler Nelson dropped 147 pounds in eight months to fulfill his dream, KEYC reported. Now weighing 220 pounds, he will shipping out for boot camp in December.

>> Read more trending news 

Nelson weighed 367 pounds in March, and was told by U.S. Marine Corps recruiters that he could weigh no more than 247 pounds to join, the television station reported.

"I'm truly amazed and humbled to actually be able to work hand-in-hand with Tyler Nelson," Sgt. Ramiro Trevino, who recruited Nelson, told KEYC. "We didn't know how much commitment or dedication he was going to put into it at the beginning. We knew it was something to accomplish together as a team. “

Nelson, from Mankato, said effort and patience allowed him to reach his goal and honor his late grandfather, who was injured while serving in the Marines during the Vietnam War..

"When I first started, (I) didn't feel like going to the gym, but I went," Nelson told KEYC. "I went two or three times a day, I still go two or three times a day and I haven't looked back since." 

Nelson followed a diet recommended by Complete Nutrition, and he began to shed the weight, the television station reported.

"If we would have talked about this eight months ago, I wouldn't have guessed this was where we'd be at," Garrett Mensing, store manager at Complete Nutrition, told KEYC. "(Nelson) just showed an incredible amount of dedication and commitment, you don't see that in a lot of people. I'm just glad we got to be a part of it." 

Man finds Korean War soldier's battlefield love letters, searches for family

It’s like a scene out of “The Notebook.” A Belleview, Florida, man found dozens of letters from a Korean War soldier to his wife and is determined to find the man’s family. 

>> Watch the news report here

The wartime letters between Sgt. Warren Holly and his sweetheart, Jean Holly, are dated more than 60 years ago. 

The mystery began about three weeks ago when Dan Heater bought a box of knickknacks from a stranger at Grumpy Jerry’s Flea Market. He found about 60 letters inside the box. 

>> PHOTOS: Veterans Day ceremonies across the country

Heater read one letter and found terms of endearment and stories of war. 

“He talked about the gunfire and everything and he kept saying he was OK. So I know he had to go through a lot,” said Heater. 

But Heater didn't want to go much further so as not to invade the privacy of the couple. 

Every letter is addressed from Warren Holly to Jean Holly except one written from her to his commander, pleading for him to be moved from the front line.

>> Read more trending news 

Heater wonders if the sergeant ever made it home and back to his sweetheart. 

“I do wonder, and I hope he did. If the man's alive, I would love to meet him,” Heater said. 

Heater said he wants all the attention he can get for the letters, and hopes someone who sees them can help get them back to the Holly family.

Philadelphia Eagles players salute veterans after touchdown

The National Football League celebrated Veterans Day on Sunday with tributes to military personnel, flyovers and stories about bravery and commitment on scoreboard screens. But the Philadelphia Eagles added a more personal touch to an emotional day.

When Zach Ertz caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz with 2:08 left in the third quarter to tie Sunday night’s game against Dallas, the entire Eagles offense assembled in the end zone, faced the fans and gave a military salute.

The fans at Lincoln Financial Field responded with cheers, not only for the touchdown that tied the game at 13, but for the gesture dedicated to the veterans assembled at the Philadelphia Stadium.

Ertz would catch another touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the defending Super Bowl champions lost 27-20 to the Cowboys.

Despite the salute, not everyone was happy.

“You should have honored us by covering the spread,” one fan wrote on Yahoo! Sports.

Navy sailor shot, killed by man he tried to help on freeway, police say

An active duty sailor who pulled over on a San Diego freeway to help who he thought was a stranded motorist was shot and killed by the man, police said.

Brandon Javier Acuna, 21, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of the sailor, identified by The Navy Times as Curtis Fitzherbert Adams. Adams, 21, worked as a steelworker constructionman in the service, the newspaper reported. 

He was stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. 

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that police officials said Monday they were investigating whether two other people were also involved in Adams’ slaying, as well as another shooting that took place about 10 minutes before Adams was killed. Acuna and the other suspects are believed to have shot at a man who interrupted an attempt to break into his car, investigators said. 

Police officials told NBC San Diego that Adams and his girlfriend were driving south on Interstate 15 around 2:20 a.m. Saturday when Adams spotted who he thought was a stranded driver standing next to a white car. He pulled over to help.

As soon as Adams got out of his car, he was gunned down, NBC San Diego reported. His girlfriend called 911 and he was rushed to UC San Diego Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. 

>> Read more trending news

Adams’ girlfriend was able to give officers a description of the shooter and the car he fled in. California Highway Patrol officers spotted the vehicle abandoned along Interstate 5, and San Diego patrol officers found Acuna walking nearby, The Navy Times reported

Along with the murder charge, Acuna is charged with second-degree burglary, the NBC affiliate said. San Diego Sheriff’s Department records show he’s being held without bail at the San Diego Central Jail. 

Court records show a criminal history dating back to when Acuna turned 18, the news station reported. Last year, he pleaded guilty to methamphetamine possession. 

Acuna was placed on three years’ probation six weeks before the fatal shooting.

The Navy Times reported that Adams, a New York native, enlisted in the Navy in March 2016. He reported that September to the Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 in San Diego. 

His cousin, Desmond Abrams Jr., described his cousin for the Union-Tribune as a childhood mischievous prankster who grew into a man with a love of music, cars and clothes. Adams, nicknamed Slim Wavy, always had a hairbrush in his hand. 

Fellow Naval steelworker Jasmine Lam commented on that quirk on Facebook

“You were never not brushing your hair, lol,” Lam wrote. “RIP Slim Wavy.”

Abrams said throughout his cousin’s life, Adams always did what he could to help others.

“He always wanted to do great things,” Abrams told the newspaper. “He always wanted to help people.”

Abrams said Adams told him he joined the Navy to be a role model to others in the Brooklyn community where he grew up. Adams was a first generation American, the son of parents who immigrated from the West Indies. 

Abrams said his cousin was proud of his roots, but also proud to be an American and to serve his country.

“He was very excited about deploying and doing his job with the Navy,” Abrams said. “He loved the uniform. He was really proud of being a sailor.”

Social media posts help Texas veteran find missing Bible, military patches 

A Texas military veteran recovered a lost Bible and his military patches thanks to an assist on social media, WFAA reported.

>> Read more trending news 

As Cameron Smith, of McKinney, was leaving church Sunday, he put his son in the car, he left his Bible on the roof of the car and drove away.

The book was special because the Army veteran received it as a gift from his mother, and also because his military patches from his 2008 tour of duty in Iraq were inside it, WFAA reported.

"I drove up and down the road, probably 10 or 12 times," Smith told the television station. "We walked the whole area. We retraced our steps and couldn't find it at all.

"It's irreplaceable, so I was desperate to find it," Smith said. "I was really distraught when I couldn't find it, like feeling really low."

Smith’s wife, Michelle, posted on the McKinney Cares Facebook page asking for help. The response was swift -- a woman responded with a post on the NextDoor site saying she had found a Bible and was looking for its owner.

"I was nervous the whole time because I was thinking maybe it got rained on and hopefully it's still intact," Smith told WFAA.

The Bible and patches were returned in perfect condition. 

"There's good people out there who do good things,” Smith told the television station. “The world is not so horrible and scary like we hear about.”

Remains of Alabama serviceman killed at Pearl Harbor identified 77 years later

The remains of an Alabama man among the 2,403 people killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 77 years ago have been identified, and his family is preparing to bring him home. 

Water Tender 2nd Class Edgar D. Gross, 40, of the Carriger community in Limestone County, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma when the ship was struck by multiple Japanese torpedoes on Dec. 7, 1941. Gross was one of 429 men killed on board the ship when it capsized, according to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA)

Gross’ remains were officially identified Wednesday using mitochondrial DNA from family members, dental records, anthropological analysis and circumstantial evidence, officials from the accounting agency said in a news release

“We never thought this would happen,” Gross’ nephew, Stephen Gross, told the News Courier in Athens.

Stephen Gross was one donor of DNA used to identify his uncle, but his genetic material was not enough, the newspaper reported. He told the News Courier he helped the military track down a couple of female relatives who also contributed DNA samples. 

DPAA officials said the remains of the USS Oklahoma’s crew were recovered in an operation that lasted from the immediate aftermath of the attack to June 1944. The men were buried in two cemeteries in Hawaii. 

The remains of the dead sailors were taken in 1947 to a military lab, where technicians worked to identify the men. Just 35 of the dead were able to be identified at that time, the news release said

The men were re-interred in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, also known as the Punchbowl, and, in October 1949, a military board classified the unidentified, including Gross, as non-recoverable. 

The Department of Defense in April 2015 issued a directive to exhume the remains of those unidentified Pearl Harbor dead to try once again to identify them using DNA and other technologies that were not available in the 1940s. The exhumations began that summer, DPAA officials said. 

“Gross’ name is recorded on the Walls of the Missing at the Punchbowl, along with the others who are missing from WWII,” the news release from the agency stated. “A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.”

Accounting for the men killed on the USS Oklahoma is an ongoing process, with several identifications being announced each month. According to the DPAA’s Facebook page, at least 10 men were identified in August alone:

Navy Seaman 1st Class Joseph K. Maule, 18, of Broomfield, Nebraska, accounted for Aug. 8;

Navy Seaman 2nd Class Myron K. Lehman, 20, of Gann Valley, South Dakota, accounted for Aug. 9;

Navy Radioman 3rd Class Dante S. Tini, 19, of Virginia, Minnesota, accounted for Aug. 13;

Navy Fireman 3rd Class Robert J. Bennett, 18, of Monona, Iowa, accounted for Aug. 13;

Navy Seaman 1st Class Richard L. Watson, 20, of Crossett, Arkansas, accounted for Aug. 14;

Marine PFC Alva J. Cremean, 21, of Pueblo, Colorado, accounted for Aug. 14;

Navy Seaman 1st Class Earl P. Baum, 19, of Chicago, accounted for Aug. 23;

Navy Seaman 1st Class George E. Naegle, 22, of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, accounted for Aug. 27;

Navy Seaman 1st Class James W. Holzhauer, 23, of Virginia, accounted for Aug. 27; and

Navy Radioman 3rd Class Bruce H. Ellison, 21, of Poulsbo, Washington, accounted for Aug. 27.

>> Read more trending news

The agency also works to identify the remains of those who served in other wars, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam. 

Stephen Gross told the News Courier he was involved in the attempts to identify his uncle’s body from the beginning of the effort. He said he traveled to POW/MIA events and borrowed some of his uncle’s memorabilia from the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives. 

“I wanted to be able to show them to my mother before she passed away,” Gross said

Unfortunately, his mother died last year, never knowing that his uncle’s body would soon be identified. 

Ed Gross, already a Navy veteran of 16 years, was living in California with his wife, Pearl Marbut Gross, when he was recalled into service, according to the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives. He was in the engine room of the USS Oklahoma when more than 350 Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, sinking eight battleships, three destroyers and three cruisers. A total of 169 American aircraft were destroyed. 

Pearl Gross received a telegram two weeks after the attack, which stated, “The Navy Department regrets to inform you that your husband, Edgar David Gross, is missing,” the museum’s website said

The widow, who later remarried, died in January 1997 in Athens, online records show. She was 86 years old. 

The remaining family members plan to bring Ed Gross’ remains home to Limestone County, where he will be buried in Evans Cemetery, the News Courier said. The cemetery is located near Mary Davis Hollow and Gross roads. 

Gross Road is named for Ed Gross, according to the newspaper. The sailor’s nephew said he would like to see him buried on Dec. 7, the 77th anniversary of his death. 

DPAA officials report that of the more than 400,000 Americans killed in World War II, 72,866 remain unaccounted for. About 26,000 of those are classified as possibly recoverable. 

Grieving mom searching for bag made from dead son's Army uniform, believes it was stolen

Judith Church of Massachusetts is on the hunt for a cherished item that her family believes was stolen from her car one week ago.

>> Watch the news report here

Church is searching for a bag given to hear after her son's sudden death in 2011, made from the Army uniform he wore during a yearlong deployment in Iraq.

"I have been going crazy; I'm searching everywhere," Church said

Brian McSharry was a rookie Brockton police officer and a member of the United States Army Reserve.

>> Read more trending news 

"That was his last uniform, so I carried it with me all the time, and his best friend made it for me," Church said.

The last time anyone saw the bag was over a week ago, when Church's husband, Daryl, said it was in a parked car at a Rhode Island go-kart track.

"I think somebody went in the car, and they saw it in there and thought it had expensive stuff in it," Daryl Church said. "There's really nothing in it. It means more to her than it does to anyone else."

The bag is an easy one to spot, with "McSharry" and "U.S. Army" printed above the side pockets.

Along with those words, the phrase, "Smile like you mean it" is sewn into the shoulder strap.

>> On Boston25News.com: Father takes action after viral video of child climbing pool ladder

McSharry's cousin, Kristy Brown, has been spreading the word on social media and said the family just wants the bag back with no questions asked. 

"I would hope other people would hear about it, and If they saw it, just send it," Brown said. "That’s it. Things inside can be replaced, but the bag itself can't be."

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