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Military News Briefs for the Week Ending Sept. 1, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2000 – Prepared by the American Forces Press Service

(This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Sept. 1, 2000.)

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DoD PITS MORE ACTIVE, RESERVE FORCES AGAINST ROCKIES FIRES

Soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 1st Battalion, 321st Field Artillery, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, N.C., are the latest Army members deployed to fight Rockies wildfires. The Marines' 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C., is scheduled to deploy Sept. 1 to Idaho to relieve a battalion from Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Aviation units taking part include the 302nd Airlift Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; 146th AW, Channel Islands Air National Guard Base, Calif.; Wyoming Air Guard 153rd AW, Cheyenne; North Carolina Air Guard 145th AW, Charlotte; 445th AW, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; 452nd AMW, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; 446th AW, McChord AFB, Wash.; 459th AW, Andrews AFB, Md.; 514th AMW, McGuire AFB, N.J.; and 315th AW, Charleston AFB, S.C.

The total military participation now is more than 4,600 soldiers, Marines and airmen, DoD officials estimated. Some 1,500 National Guardsmen are on state active duty to support firefighters, they said. Wildfires have charred more than 6.2 million acres of land in 10 states.

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VA BOOSTS HEALTHCARE PRIORITY FOR PURPLE HEART VETS

Veterans who've earned the Purple Heart medal now receive faster service and save money when they access Department of Veterans Affairs health care.

The Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act passed late last year extended new benefits to Purple Heart recipients. The classification for Purple Heart veterans now no lower than priority group 3. Before the new law, the vets often were in groups 4 through 7.

Purple Heart recipients no longer make the usual $50.80 co-payments for care, regardless of income. Veterans must co-pay if they make over $27,000 per year. Purple Heart medal veterans must qualify through a VA screening process.

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DARPA RESEARCHERS WORK TO SPEED UP INTERNET

DoD researchers are working to make Internet connections 1,000 times faster than they are today, and that will open up amazing new possibilities, said Mari Maeda, project officer for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

She said an advanced "SuperNet" would have "all sorts of applications" for the military, in crisis management, and in the medical and entertainment professions. Military uses might include high-definition radar images seen in real time, more advanced meteorological radar images, and less expensive, high-quality teleconferencing.

Maeda said the military would likely be the first to benefit from this research, followed by corporate America. The 1,000-times-faster Internet service is five to 10 years away for private users. Today, a person using a high-speed corporate network might download Web pages at millions of bits per second, but a home user might get only one-tenth or one-hundredth of that speed.

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