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Military Minute - January 9th

Anna Mae Hays, a Unified Korea, and Marine Ups and Downs

Military Minute - January 9th
On today's episode of the Military Minute, we remember Anna Mae Hays, talk about North/South Korea diplomacy, give an update on the marine recruit suicide scandal, and honor a marine who achieved the highest noncombat honor.


U.S. Military’s First Female General Dies

Anna Mae Hays, an Army nurse who served in a mud-caked jungle hospital in World War II, guided the Army Nurse Corps through the bloodiest years of the Vietnam War and became the first female general in American military history, died Jan. 7 at a retirement home in Washington. She was 97.

The cause was complications from a heart attack, said a niece, Doris Kressly.

The daughter of Salvation Army officers, Gen. Hays had dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a young girl, wrapping bandages around the legs of a kitchen table where her parents frequently invited the infirm to dinner. She went on, in Vietnam, to oversee a 4,500-person nursing corps whose robust use of antibiotics, whole-blood transfusions and speedy helicopter evacuations was unforeseen when she began assisting doctors at a dirt-floored hospital in Ledo, India, in January 1943. 

Koreas Talk Peace

Senior officials from the rival Koreas said Tuesday they would try to achieve a breakthrough in their long-strained ties as they sat for rare talks at the border to discuss how to cooperate in next month’s Winter Olympics in the South and other issues.

The Koreas’ first talks in two years were arranged after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un recently made an abrupt push for improved ties with South Korea after a year of elevated tensions with the outside world over his expanding nuclear and missile programs. Critics say Kim may be trying to divide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international pressure and sanctions on the North.

“I think we should be engaged in these talks with an earnest, sincere manner to give a New Year’s first gift — precious results (of the talks) to the Korean nation,” chief North Korean delegate Ri Son Gwon said at the start of the negotiations, according to media footage from the venue. Ri wore a lapel pin with the images of Kim’s father and grandfather, late North Korean rulers Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung.

Ri’s South Korean counterpart, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, said he also hopes they would come up with a “good gift” that would satisfy Korean people’s wishes for better ties. “There is a saying ‘well begun is half done.’ I’d like us to have will and patience to resolve (issues) at the negotiation,” Cho said. 

US Seeks Dismissal of Hazing Lawsuit after Marine Death

The U.S. government is asking a judge to dismiss a $100 million lawsuit over the death of a Marine recruit from Michigan.

The government says military injuries or deaths can’t be turned into federal litigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Zak Toomey says Raheel Siddiqui’s death was a “tragedy,” and the U.S. Marines Corps has taken it “extremely seriously.”

Twenty-year-old Siddiqui died in 2016 in Parris Island, South Carolina. The Marine Corps said he took his own life by jumping from a stairwell after a confrontation with a drill instructor. The Corps also said it uncovered widespread hazing of recruits and young drill instructors dating back to 2015. 

Marine Earns Highest Noncombat Honor

A supply officer was awarded the nation’s highest valor award for noncombat bravery after saving the lives of three divers and an onlooker caught in a rip current in Japan.

1st Lt. Aaron Cranford of 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion was awarded the rare medal Monday at a ceremony on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan.

While finishing up a 35-minute recreational dive with some Marine Corps officers at Onna Point, Okinawa, on April 23, 2017, the Marines noticed several other divers appeared to be in distress as dive conditions started to worsen.