Here are five things to start your week from the editors at Military.com:
Government Shutdown Continues
The government shutdown entered day three as lawmakers in Congress continued to spar over the fiscal 2018 budget. The shutdown has disrupted operations at the Defense Department, VA and other agencies. Troop pay and a number of benefits are being withheld, though USAA and other financial services organizations have pledged to cover pay during the shutdown. Meanwhile, some intelligence operations were suspended, training for Guardsmen and reservists was canceled, basic maintenance and contracting stopped, and about half of the Pentagon's civilian workforce of more than 740,000 employees was expected to be furloughed.
USAA Will Cover Pay Delayed Due to Government Shutdown
Via Kate Horrell at Military.com: "USAA has announced the ways it will be able to help members if a government shutdown delays military or government pay. Please note upfront: every situation may be unique, and you may be in a special category that doesn't fit the mold. If military pay is not paid on 1 February 2018, USAA is prepared to offer an interest-free payroll loan to eligible service members. If a resolution is not found as it nears 1 February 2018, an email explaining the program and terms will be sent to eligible members." Military.com breaks down the eligibility requirements.
2 Dead in Apache Helicopter Crash in California
Via Lucas Tomlinson at Fox News: "A U.S. Army Apache attack helicopter crashed in the predawn hours early Saturday while flying a routine training mission at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California. Both the pilot and the co-pilot were killed, according to Lt. Col. Jason S. Brown, a spokesman for the Army at the Pentagon. 'The cause is currently under investigation and next-of-kin notifications are ongoing, therefore we can provide no further details at this time,' he said in a statement to Fox News. The Apache gunship was flying a 'readiness training exercise' at the time of the crash, according to a separate official."
Airman Christopher Lewis Receives Silver Star for Mosul Heroism
Via Oriana Pawlyk at Military.com: " 'It's not someplace you try to be as a JTAC,' Staff Sgt Christopher Lewis said. It's what Lewis, a combat controller assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida, remembers as he jumped on the back of his team's gun truck, exposed to Islamic State fighters' enemy fire just outside Mosul on Oct. 20, 2016. Since the truck's .50-caliber machine gun jammed, someone had to operate it. Lewis did just that while calling in airstrikes that would rain down bombs within 400 meters of his team's position. Lewis on Friday was awarded the Silver Star for his actions while engaged in the 10-hour long firefight during the Mosul offensive under Operation Inherent Resolve."
Gearing Up for SHOT Show 2018
Via Matthew Cox at Military.com: "Military.com's crew will be among the 65,000 attendees expected at SHOT Show 2018, being held from Jan. 23 to Jan. 26 in Las Vegas. This year's Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, better known as SHOT Show, will have from more than 1,700 companies that make up the bulk of America's gun and tactical equipment industry, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which sponsors the show. The event is the premier venue for these companies to showcase their newest innovations in the hunting and tactical firearms industry."