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Sailor reportedly under investigation for sitting during national anthem

A sailor is under investigation by the U.S. Navy for sitting during the national anthem.

U.S. Navy Sailor Janaye Ervin taped herself sitting during the national anthem during a recent morning flag-raising.

Troops who don’t stand for the national anthem could face prosecution under the uniform code of military justice, which states that troops can be punished for failing to obey a lawful general order.


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The petty officer said she was threatened with jail time by the Navy in response to her actions. She also lost her security clearance, she said. 

Evrin showed herself in the video sitting during the flag. She was seen in the video getting emotional when she talked for several minutes about why she protested during the anthem. >> Read prior story: Sailor 'sits with' Kaepernick during morning colors

Ervin posted a message on her Facebook page explaining her actions, which reads in part, "I feel like a hypocrite singing about the 'land of the free' when I know that only applies to some Americans. I will gladly stand again, when all Americans are afforded the same freedom."

he Facebook post has now been taken down. 

However, many people disagree. There’s a Facebook page called Hold Janaye Ervin Accountable where people call her a traitor and said she brings discredit to the U.S. Navy for her actions.

Some people have started a petition called Keep Black Soldiers Out of Jail for Choosing Not to Stand for National Anthem. It said the sailor should not be punished by jail time or a dishonorable discharge for what she believes in. 

The Navy’s protocol handbook said sailors in uniform must salute during the anthem. They must face the flag,  if they don’t see the flag they have to face the direction of the music. 

Purple Heart recipient's grave marked with veteran's plaque after 32 years

Thirty-one years after his death, a Massachusetts veteran is being recognized for the honors he earned as a Korean War veteran.

Marine Sgt. Donald Mackenzie earned two Purple Hearts, but his grave at Dell Park Cemetery in Natick had no mention of the service and sacrifice.

"I remember him from being a child he was one of my heroes as a child," Jeff Campbell said of his uncle.

Campbell told WFXT that he was shocked the first time he visited the grave, especially because of what his uncle went through.

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"He saw the enemy soldiers coming around with rifles and bayonets, sticking them in his brothers, and also in the grass and paddies looking for other bodies hidden in there," Campbell said. "He was able to avoid being captured."

After the war, Mackenzie had a tough life that included substance abuse and homelessness, that's why Campbell said it was so hard to see his uncle's military past ignored. That changes on Sunday when a plaque and flags were placed at his grave.

"All veterans should be recognized for the sacrifices that they've made," he said.

Natick Veteran Affairs Officer Paul Carew said cases like this are not uncommon, especially if the veteran is not close with their families.

"Once we bury our family member, sometimes the families just don't go back," he said,

Carew arranged to have Sgt. Mackenzie recognized, and his working for others too.

"They served this country to protect me, you and all of us for the freedoms we take for granted way too often in this country," he said.

Sailor gives birth on carrier in Persian Gulf

A Navy ship had a stowaway of sorts on Sunday.

A sailor checked into the medical clinic of the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier suffering from stomach pains, the Navy Times reported.

It turns out that she was pregnant and didn't know it. 

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Hours later, Navy medical staff delivered a healthy 7-pound baby girl in the middle of the Persian Gulf.

Mother and baby are doing well, a Navy spokesperson said.

And since the closest Babies R Us is thousands of miles from the ship, the Eisenhower had to fly in diapers, formula and an incubator to help care for the baby, the Navy Times reported.

Sailors who find out they're expecting would not deploy or would leave an operational command once they hit 20 weeks.

Sailor 'sits with' Kaepernick during morning colors

A sailor assigned to Naval Air Station Pensacola is the subject of a Facebook debate after she followed in the footsteps of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The unnamed woman shared a video her Facebook page of her sitting during the playing of the National Anthem and holding up her left hand in protest. She was apparently on base, WEAR reported.

The video was shared on a military social media page where it has been viewed more than 53,000 times.

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Lt. Commander Kate Meadows told WEAR that the Navy is aware of the video and disciplinary action is pending.

Meadows told the Navy Times that the sailor will not be discharged, but will move to her next command as planned.

When the National Anthem is played, members of the military are required to stand when they are either in or out of uniform, Meadows said.

The sailor ends the video, which contains explicit language, saying, "I don't not respect the men and women that serve, who I serve alongside. It's just until this country shows that they got my back as a black woman. They have my people's back and not even just being black I mean people of color, I can't and I won't. I won't be forced to."

Kaepernick has been sitting or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem, saying it is a protest of the oppression of minorities in America, Fox Sports reported. Other members of the NFL and other big names in sports have been joining his protest.

Female WWII pilot to finally be laid to rest in Arlington

She flew noncombat missions as a pilot during World War II, but her service wasn't enough to allow Elaine Harmon be inurned at Arlington National Cemetery.

Harmon was a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP. It was a group of women who flew military planes, but on noncombat missions, WRC reported

Their service allowed men to fight on the front lines.

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Harmon and other servicewomen weren't granted military status in the '40s. It took until 1977 for them to be named veterans.

Since then WASPs were able to be inurned at Arlington. That was until last year, when the Army decided to make WASPs ineligible for Arlington, citing dwindling available space and saying that WASPs shouldn't have been included in the first place, WRC reported.

But Harmon's family fought the new ruling after she died last year at the age of 95. And in May, President Barack Obama signed a law that allows WASPs their rightful resting place in the national cemetery.

Harmon's remains will be inurned during a service with full military honors Wednesday, more than a year after her death.

More than 1,000 women served as WASPs from 1942 until 1944, according to the WASP museum. Thirty-eight died during the war. Now there are fewer than 100 alive, with the youngest being 93 years old, WRC reported.

They test-flew repaired military aircraft, trained combat pilots and towed targets that were shot at with live ammunition. They were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

It is difficult to be granted in-ground burial at Arlington because of space limitations, but ashes and above-ground inurnment is easier.

WATCH: Navy crew serenades 98-year-old veteran with 'Anchors Aweigh'

World War II veteran Ernest Thompson recently became an internet sensation after a video of him went viral.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {<br />  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];<br />  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;<br />  js = d.createElement(s); = id;<br />  js.src = "//;version=v2.7";<br />  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);<br />}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Posted by Jonathan Williams on Friday, August 19, 2016

>> Click here to watch

For many years, Thompson made a point to travel to the Pacific Battleship Center, the current home of the USS Iowa. During World War II, Thompson was stationed aboard the USS Missouri, which considered the USS Iowa a “sister” ship.

Due to some recent health problems, Thompson has had to slow down his daily routines, including his trips to see the ship.

Now 98 years old, Thompson is stuck at home and unable to stand or walk for long periods of time.

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So Chief Selects from the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center came to him. They visited Thompson at his home and performed a rendition of “Anchors Aweigh” in the street.

After they were done, each sailor greeted Thompson and thanked him for his service.

“When they found out that my grandfather was unable to visit the (USS Iowa) lately due to health reasons, they decided to take it to him,” Thompson’s grandson Jonathan Williams wrote on Facebook.

“The video shows the culmination of the planning and the amazing efforts of all involved. Neighbors came out of their houses to witness a once in a lifetime experience. My grandfather told me that it was one of the best days of his life! I am humbled by the efforts these young men and women to do this for my grandfather.”

>> See a Facebook post by Williams here

Thank you to USS Iowa Volunteer Coordinator Susan Schmidt for filming a series of awesome videos of the recent Navy...Posted by Jonathan Williams on Friday, August 19, 2016

Proposal could give less taxpayer money to divorced spouses of troops

A new proposal in Congress could send less taxpayer money to divorced spouses of U.S. military personnel.

It’s part of a bill amendment that would change the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act.

Right now, retirement pay is awarded to ex-spouses based on the rank and years of service at the time of retirement, but the proposal changes it to the rank and years served at the time of the divorce.

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“Twenty years in the Navy, I’ve seen a lot of relationships come and go,” retired Navy veteran Barend Watkins said.

Watkins said he knew fellow sailors who have been required to give large portions of their retirement pay to ex-spouses even if those service members divorced the spouses years before achieving their highest rank.

Watkins said the amendment can put a stop to that.

“It’s definitely a good step in the right direction,” Watkins said. “It’s fair to everybody.”

Retired Petty Officer Chris Taylor, who served as a hospital corpsman in the Navy, said he has known a number of people who are now remarried with families after going through a divorce early in their military career.

“I remember my first deployment when we came from Fallujah, there were probably four Marines whose wives at the time were sitting there with divorce papers on the flight line as we flew back,” Taylor said. “A lot of those guys have gone on to be staff sergeants, gunners, master sergeants, and when they retire for their wife at the time to get full benefits, I mean that’s crazy.”

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., introduced the legislation in the House.

Photos: Child becomes honorary Marine

Child dies a day after being named honorary Marine

An 8-year-old from California was named an honorary Marine on Saturday. 

Wyatt Gillette, 8, battled Aicardi-Goutieres syndome, a rare genetic disorder that would cause seizures and kidney failure, KABC reported

His father, Jeremiah Gillette, is a Marine drill instructor. His fellow Marines helped make Gillette's wish come true: to make Wyatt an honorary Marine. 

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Wyatt's parents watched their son receive his Eagle, Globe and Anchor on Saturday as he was inducted into the Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller approved Wyatt as one of the few who have been made an Honorary Marine, the Marine Corps Times reported.

Wyatt lost his battle with his disease on Sunday morning.

Jeremiah said his son was peaceful and pain free when he died, KABC reported.

The U.S. Navy is honoring gay rights activist Harvey Milk

The U.S. Navy is naming a ship after gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

"I'm going to call upon the gay community to come out now, keep the education going, keep talking one-to-one," Milk said at a rally in 1978.

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Before Milk became the first openly gay elected official to serve in a major U.S. city, he served in the Navy. So did both his mother and father. Milk was assassinated in 1978, months after his inauguration to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors.

Media outlets have noted that naming a fleet oiler after a gay icon marks a big change in attitudes toward LGBTQ people in the military. Until 2011, the military barred openly gay individuals from serving.

Within the past 10 years, Milk's legacy has gotten some significant attention. In 2008, his life was the center of the movie "Milk," in which he was played by Sean Penn.

The year after that, President Obama honored Milk posthumously with a Medal of Freedom. And in 2014, he was the face of a postage stamp.

The commemorative stamp was released in partnership with the Harvey Milk Foundation, co-founded by Stuart Milk, the nephew of the activist. Stuart Milk recently condemned violence against LGBTQ people after the Orlando shooting.

This video includes an image from Daniel Nicoletta / CC BY SA 3.0 and U.S. Navy and clips from YouTube / vibrantvision2020ABCNBCFocus Features / "Milk" and The White House.

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