U.S. Army soldier denied burial at Arlington

A U.S. Army soldier from the Louisiana National Guard killed in a helicopter crash along with 10 others off the coast of Florida in March has been denied eligibility to be interned at Arlington National Cemetery, a spokesman for the Louisiana National Guard confirmed to Fox News.

Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, 26, of Baton Rouge, La. was the flight mechanic aboard the Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter when it crashed in the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida panhandle near Eglin Air Force Base about 50 miles east of Pensacola  on March 11. The area was under a fog advisory at the time.

“We filed an exception of policy to have Staff Sgt. Florich buried at Arlington according to the family’s wishes,” Col. Pete Schneider, spokesman for the Louisiana National Guard told Fox News.  “We are appealing the denial.  We are disappointed that the exception to policy was not approved.”  

Col. Schneider said Staff Sgt. Florich had been a member of the Guard for eight years and had not deployed overseas. 

The Secretary of the Army John McHugh could make an exception and waive the current eligibility rules, according to a senior U.S. official.

Florich’s family asked Arlington to receive their sons remains, but were told their son did not qualify because he was not on active duty orders at the time of the crash.

One of the Marines involved in the crash, Sgt. Andrew Seif, who had recently been awarded the nation’s third highest award for valor, the Silver Star, was buried at Arlington in April.  The seven U.S. Marines aboard the helicopter were all active duty service members and part of Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC).

 

 

Millennials and Privacy

The millennials are projected to surpass the baby boomers as the largest living generation in the United States by the end of this year--a key target group in the 2016 election, this generation is known for posting online and to social media sites, but when it comes to privacy they are concerned with the government collecting their personal information.

Pataki joins 2016 race

Former New York Governor George Pataki joined the growing 2016 field today to announce he would seek the GOP nomination for President.

Pataki is a three-term governor who led New York through the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

"After 12 years of my conservative policies, we replaced dependency with opportunity, resignation with hope, mere existence with dreams, a welfare check with a paycheck," Pataki said, adding,  "I know we can do the same thing for the United States."

Bret sat down with Governor Pataki as part of Special Report's 2016 Contenders series--here are a few clips that didn't air where Pataki talks about reaching beyond the political base, his record as Governor of New York, his views on Common Core, his vision for America and more. 

 

Pataki joins 2016 race

Former New York Governor George Pataki joined the growing 2016 field today to announce he would seek the GOP nomination for President.

Pataki is a three-term governor who led New York through the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

"After 12 years of my conservative policies, we replaced dependency with opportunity, resignation with hope, mere existence with dreams, a welfare check with a paycheck," Pataki said, adding,  "I know we can do the same thing for the United States."

Bret sat down with Governor Pataki as part of Special Report's 2016 Contenders series--here are a few clips that didn't air where Pataki talks about reaching beyond the political base, his record as Governor of New York, his views on Common Core, his vision for America and more. 

 

Hundreds of TSA badges missing from airports

By Katy Ricalde

Senator John Thune fired off a blistering letter to TSA officials demanding answers regarding missing, lost or stolen SIDA (Secured Identification Display Area) badges that can be used by employees to gain access to secure areas at airports.

"Clearly there are an awful lot of things falling through the cracks and there's just no room for an error when it comes to this issue. We need answers. They're not providing them." 

Thune, who chairs the Transportation Committee, said previous answers from the agency had actually raised more questions than answers.

The concern follows reports that more than 270 badges went missing at the San Diego International Airport in the last two years and more than 1,400 badges missing from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Many of the missing badges were not reported for weeks or months in hopes they would be turned it - meaning they were not quickly deactivated.

The information comes following an investigation by a local NBC affiliate in Dallas, TX. They also found reports of missing crew and pilot uniforms. 

The TSA is downplaying the report, saying most of the badges require a PIN or hand print in addition to swiping a badge. Experts warn it does not prevent someone from gaining access to the tarmac or other areas and many are calling it an astonishing breach of security that could leave the doors wide open to terrorists. 

When Atlanta reported the information to the TSA they said they never should have given out the information in the first place, but we ask--doesn't the public have a right to know?

What do you think? Share your thoughts on Twitter @BretBaier

 

Memorial Day 2015

We asked you to share your photos and memories on this Memorial Day to honor the brave men and women we have lost. Here are just a few--thank you to all for sharing! From all of us here at Special Report we wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day. Thank you to all who sacrificed their lives for our freedom and to their families. May we remember them today and everyday. 

@SebastianTim: "My grandfather Toy Adams who served in WWI"

@Teams4Taps: "Honoring the fallen by caring for their families today and everyday."

@ROSANNA25: "Shadow of a soldier"

@LoisBude: "Memorial Day ceremony in Plymouth, Michigan"

@MLGringrich: "Waterville, OH in 1968"

@Ekwain_Barber: "As an ex-Marine I'm reminded every day I wake up free."

@nbirving: "Attended Memorial Day ceremony at Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, NL."

@BCarigan: "Loveland, OH parade"

Pentagon: No major strategy review underway to defeat ISIS

By Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News Pentagon Producer

Despite the fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State, the Pentagon has not been asked by the White House to conduct a wholesale review of the strategy to defeat ISIS, multiple defense officials told Fox News. 

"Why would there be? It was one battle," one official said. A separate official said the Pentagon "continuously" reviews its strategy and said a major review was "not necessary." 

A senior military official confirmed that the Obama administration is looking into arming Sunni tribes to help retake Ramadi, taking a page from the "Anbar Awakening" when 30 tribes united in 2006 to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq with support from the U.S. military. 

But multiple defense officials said these arms would not go to the Sunni tribes directly. 

"I don't see that happening, everything goes through Baghdad," a defense official told Fox News.   

A White House statement released after President Obama met with his national security team Tuesday afternoon said support for "local tribal fighters" in Anbar was discussed. 

"The President reaffirmed the strong U.S. support for Prime Minister Al-Abadi's efforts," the statement said. 

A defense official in the Pentagon with knowledge of the talks at the White House Tuesday characterized the meeting as "tactical, not strategic."  

"The real question is what are the Iraqis going to do differently?" a senior military official told Fox News. 

Pentagon officials confirmed that one immediate result of ISIS' victory in Ramadi is a delay in the operation to retake Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. "That is going to take place in the fall, at the least," according to one official. 

In February, the U.S. Central Command announced that an operation involving some 25,000 Iraqi troops would take place in the April-May timeframe. 

At the White House daily press briefing Tuesday, spokesman Josh Earnest mentioned Tikrit six times as an example of the U.S.-led coalition's successes against ISIS. On Wednesday, a Pentagon official said that Tikrit, despite being rid of ISIS fighters, remains largely deserted with many unexploded booby-traps remaining. 

Meanwhile, many uniformed members of the U.S. military are furious about the loss of Ramadi to the Islamic State. 

"It turns out the JV team is the Iraqi Army, not ISIS," said a U.S. military officer, in reference to Obama's remark in January 2014 about ISIS being a "JV team." 

"I was there for the Anbar awakening, and to lose this city is heartbreaking, knowing all those soldiers, sailors and Marines who fought there and died in vain," said a veteran special operations soldier currently deployed at an undisclosed location. 

"If our country wants to be led by sheep instead of lions, then so be it," he said.

New Delta video may just be the best thing you see today

Delta Airlines has released a new in-flight safety video and it may just be the best thing you see today. Do you love the Internet? Most people these days do and Delta is using a few of viral videos to make sure you pay attention and stay safe. 

We have seen a few great airline videos in the past, but this one takes it to a new level. What do you think? Would you pay attention to this safety video and do you get all of the references? 

The family on "Cooking with Friends"

From our family to yours --here is our gluten free pizza recipe:

GLUTEN FREE PIZZA

INGREDIENTS

3 cups gluten free flour blend

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

3 Tbsp sugar, divided

1 Tbsp yeast

1 1/4 cup warm water, divided

1 Tbsp olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine yeast and 3/4 cup warm water - about 110 degrees. Too hot and it will kill the yeast! Let set for 5 minutes to activate. Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of the sugar a few minutes in.

In a separate bowl, combine gluten free flour blend, salt, baking powder and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Whisk until well combined.

Make a well in the dry mixture and add the yeast mixture. Add the olive oil and additional 1/2 cup warm water before stirring. Then stir it all together until well combined, using a wooden spoon (see photo).

Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza stone with non-stick spray and plop your dough down. Using your hands and a little brown rice flour if it gets too sticky, work from the middle and push to spread/flatten the dough out to the edge (see pictures). You want it to be pretty thin - less than 1/4 inch.

Put the pizza in the oven to pre-bake for roughly 25-30 minutes, or until it begins to look dry. Cracks may appear, but that's normal and totally OK.

Remove from oven and spread generously with your favorite pizza sauce, cheese and desired toppings. We went with Daiya to keep ours dairy-free. Pop back in oven for another 20-25 minutes, or until the crust edge looks golden brown and the toppings are warm and bubbly.

Cut immediately and serve. Reheats well the next day in the oven or microwave

Technology: How far is too far?

Technology these days is nothing short of amazing, but when it comes to breaking news situations like we saw this week with the Amtrak train derailment that took the lives of eight people we have to ask ourselves--how far is too far?
 
In the days before camera phones and live streaming apps like periscope and meerkat we relied on the local or network news to find out what was happening, but now everyday citizens are the journalists--whipping out smart phones live on the scene often before offering to lend a hand. We have become a culture obsessed with being in the know and now our cell phones are capturing events as they unfold. 
 
The Amtrak derailment is not the first time this has happened and it certainly won't be the last. More notably, the horrific video and images of vicitims falling from the burning towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th come to mind. 
 
This is not to say people don't rush to help in times of disaster as we certainly have seen many examples of this.
 
Also, we have to think about those instances when a photo or video from the scene of an accident was all we had to go on--what if the indivudual at the crash of the Hindenberg in 1937 had put the camera down in hopes of assisting? We wouldn't have the inconic images today--
 
This is a debate that will only continue to grow as technology advances--it's a thin line to walk and we have to be careful. The question is if you find yourself at the scene of breaking news with a camera in hand how will you react?
 
Let me know what you think on twitter @katyricalde.
 
 
 
 

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Following the revelation that TSA screeners failed 67 out of 70 tests, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced he was reassigning as its acting director.

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