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5 Things to Start Your Week

In this Aug. 12, 2017 photo, James Alex Fields Jr., second from left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville, Va., where a white supremacist rally took place. (Alan Goffinski via AP)
In this Aug. 12, 2017 photo, James Alex Fields Jr., second from left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville, Va., where a white supremacist rally took place. (Alan Goffinski via AP)

Here are five news stories and events to start your week, from the editors at Military.com:

1. Driver Charged in Charlottesville Murder Briefly Served in Army

Via Brendan McGarry at Military.com: James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old from Ohio who was charged with second-degree murder after he drove his Dodge Challenger into a crowd on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and critically injuring several others, briefly served in the U.S. Army. A Defense Department spokesman on Sunday said reports that Fields served on active duty for about five months in 2015 appear to be accurate, but the Pentagon wasn't immediately able to confirm or release Fields' service records because it was still working to obtain personal information. The circumstances of his separation from the service weren't immediately clear.

2. Two US Troops Killed, Five More Wounded in Iraq

Two U.S. service members were killed and five others were wounded during combat operations in northern Iraq on Saturday, but the incident "was not due to enemy contact," according to a release from the Defense Department. The incident is under investigation and no additional details were released. "The entire counter-ISIS Coalition sends our deepest condolences to these heroes' families, friends and teammates," said Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. "There are no words to describe the respect I have for you and sorrow I have for your loss."

3. US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet Crash-Lands in Bahrain

Via Jon Gambrell of The Associated Press: "A U.S. [F/A-18E Super Hornet] fighter jet suffering an engine problem crash-landed Saturday at Bahrain International Airport; its pilot ejected from the aircraft after it ran off the runway and escaped unharmed, authorities said. The crash disrupted flights to and from the island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. Images on social media showed the gray fighter jet's nose tipped into the air but largely intact, after what the Navy described as an 'uncontrollable' landing. The F-18 took off from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Persian Gulf, said Cmdr. Bill Urban, a fleet spokesman."

4. Trump Signs VA Funding Bill, Averts Choice Program Crisis

Via Nikki Wentling of Stars & Stripes: "President Donald Trump on Saturday signed a $3.9 billion funding deal for the Department of Veterans Affairs that will shore up the nearly bankrupt Veterans Choice Program, allow the VA to open 28 new clinics, and implement new hiring programs ... The bill -- a compromise created and supported by Democrats and Republicans -- will provide $2.1 billion to the Choice program, which allows veterans to seek health care outside of the VA. It will also invest $1.8 billion into hiring health-care providers and leasing new clinics."

5. North Korea Still Mastering How to Deliver a Nuke to US

Via Deb Riechmann of The Associated Press: "No need to duck and cover just yet. While U.S. intelligence officials are pretty sure North Korea can put a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States, experts aren't convinced the bomb could survive the flight to America. They cite lingering questions about Kim Jong Un's nuclear know-how. Could North Korea deploy nuclear weapons successfully time after time and hit their intended targets? Would its weapon system break apart from the heat and stress it would sustain as it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere at roughly 10 times faster than a speeding bullet?"

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.

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