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Military

    A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday. >> Click here or scroll down for the latest updates  >> Read more trending news 
  • A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday. >> Click here or scroll down for the latest updates >> Read more trending news
  • One pilot died and another was injured Monday when an Air Force T-38 Talon crashed in Del Rio, Texas, according to officials. >> Read more trending news The T-38 crashed around 4 p.m. about 14 miles northwest of Laughlin Air Force Base, where the jet was assigned, base officials said. Authorities did not immediately identify the pilots, citing the need to notify their families. According to Air Force officials, “the T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying.” >> Related: Veteran laid to rest with military honors thanks to kindness of strangers The circumstances surrounding the crash were not immediately clear. Base officials said a board of officers will investigate the crash. “Our biggest priority at this time is caring for the family and friends of our Airmen,” Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, said in a news release. “We are a close-knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs every member of the U.S. Armed Forces feels it. Our people take top priority, and we are committed to ensuring their safety and security.
  • Tiny came home Wednesday, three-quarters of a century after he left, bearing the same grin that made him a darling of Palm Beach High’s Class of 1941 and filled with ardor to save the world — or die trying. >> Read more trending news Which is what U.S. Army Sgt. Richard Gordon Sowell did, fighting in the Pacific in 1944. With the military unable to make a firm identification of his shattered remains, they laid him in a numbered grave with those of others until authorities used 21st-century technology to make a match. And finally send him home. He will be buried at 11 a.m. Friday— the day before Veterans Day — in a family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in West Palm Beach. Read more on MyPalmBeachPost.com
  • Questions remain in the aftermath of an ambush attack on a group including U.S. Army soldiers in Niger that left four American service members dead on Oct. 4. >> Read more trending news Defense Department officials said Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, 35, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, 39, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29 and Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, were killed in an attack during an advise-and-assist mission in southwestern Niger. The circumstances that led to the attack remain under investigation. The American military operation in Niger is one of about 20 in Africa and part of the U.S. Africa Command, according to NPR. The command is aimed at building military relations with African nations and other key players in the region. It began operations in 2007. Here is what we know about Niger and U.S. military presence in the country: Where is Niger? Niger is a landlocked country in western Africa, bordered by Chad, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Algeria and Libya. The country became independent from France in 1960. Political instability and a series of military coups followed. Is Niger generally safe for Americans? The U.S. State Department in April issued a warning for Americans traveling in Niger to stay away from “locations frequented by Westerners” and to keep to hotels with armed Nigerien security officers because of the risk of terror attacks and kidnapping threats against Westerners. “Niger’s southeastern border with Nigeria and east of Maradi are poorly controlled,” State Department officials said. “Boko Haram and several factions affiliated with ISIS have conducted cross-border attacks into Niger. The government of Niger has increased its security forces in the border areas, but the situation remains unstable and travel is not advised.” What about for soldiers – is it generally safe? Despite the threat of violence, officials said the Oct. 4 deaths were the first American service members to be killed in combat in Niger. “I think clearly there's risk for our forces in Niger,” said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the director of the Joint Staff. “Any time we deploy full forces globally, we will look very hard at the enablers that need to be in place in order to provide security for them. And that ranges from the ability to pull them out if they are injured, to the ability to reinforce them at the point of a fight if they … need reinforcement. We look at all those things and evaluate on a continual basis.” How big is the American military presence there? Officials with the Defense Department said this month that about 1,000 troops in the region work with about 4,000 French service members. The U.S. military has had some presence in the country since 2012, according to CNN. What are U.S. soldiers doing there? Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said U.S. armed forces have been working for years with West African nations to combat the threat of terrorism. The Army soldiers killed in the Oct. 4 attack were assisting with Nigerien security force counterterrorism operations about 125 miles north of Niamey, the country’s capitol city, according to thee Defense Department. “We’re providing refueling support, intelligence support, surveillance support,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said. “But also we have troops on the ground. Their job is to help the people in the region learn how to defend themselves. We call it foreign internal defense training, and we actually do these kinds of missions by, with and through our allies.”
  • Doctors who worked on victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting in June, 2016 were in Las Vegas discussing what they learned with doctors. >> Read more trending news The doctors from Orlando Regional Medical Center were in Las Vegas two weeks before Sunday’s deadly concert mass shooting. “The horror of their tragedy was so similar to ours,” said Dr. Gary Parrish, ORMC medical director of the emergency department. At Pulse nightclub in June 2016, 49 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured in Orlando. More than 50 were killed Sunday night and hundreds of others were injured at a country concert in Las Vegas when a gunman at Mandalay Bay hotel opened fire. Parrish ran ORMC’s department on the night of Pulse, and two months ago he spoke to Nevada’s only Level I trauma center UMC in Las Vegas. Parrish said that he shared his experience from the moments, days, even months after the massacre at Pulse. >> Las Vegas shooting: Remembering the victims 'What I told them was they need to be prepared for the rest of the story,” Parrish said. Parrish said every major hospital trains for mass casualty events, but he wanted medical staff in Las Vegas to know what he felt his team wasn't quite ready for. 'The patient identification process. The family reunification process,” Parrish said. He said the damage caused by higher velocity firearms doesn't compare to a typical gunshot wound. 'I have no doubt those injuries were more severe than they might otherwise see,” Parrish said. Parrish said the experience sticks with him and likely always will. He knows Las Vegas doctors and nurses will understand that soon, too. He just hopes sharing his story helped them cope a little better with their own. 'I tell them, I hope it never happens again. But the reason they're interested in having some of our staff there is because we all have a sense that it's very likely this may happen again,” Parrish said.
  • The White House is expected to give the Defense Department the authority to bar transgender people from enlisting in the U.S. military in the coming days, one month after President Donald Trump announced the ban on Twitter, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news The White House memo would also give Defense Secretary James Mattis discretion over whether transgender troops can stay in the military, based on a service member’s ability to deploy, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Journal was the first to report on the memo Wednesday night. The guidelines would give Mattis six months to enforce the ban, The New York Times reported. An unidentified source told the newspaper that the contents of the memo were not finalized as of Wednesday night. In a statement obtained by CNN, Pentagon officials said they had yet to receive formal guidance from the White House on how Trump’s announced ban would work. 'The (Defense) Department continues to focus on our mission of defending our nation and ongoing operations against our foes, while ensuring all service members are treated with respect,' the statement said. >> Related: Joint Chiefs: Transgender policy won't change until Pentagon gets it in writing from Trump Gay and lesbian service members have been able to openly serve in the military since 2011, according to NPR. Current Department of Defense policy allows for transgender people to serve openly and says individuals “can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals.” Trump announced the ban in a series of tweets last month. “After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” Trump wrote on July 26. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” The announcement came as a surprise to military leaders and politicians. In a letter to top military officials, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, wrote that there would be “no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance.” >> Related: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military Estimates on the number of transgender troops in the military vary, although a 2016 report from the Rand Corp. estimated that as many as 6,300 transgender service members are on active duty.
  • UPDATE, 7:08 a.m. ET Tuesday: The Associated Press reports that some remains of Navy sailors were found in a compartment of the USS John McCain, according to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. A number of bodies were found on the ship, and one body was found by Malaysia, the AP reported. Read more here. ORIGINAL STORY: The United States Navy said it will continue to investigate the collision involving the USS John S. McCain as the vessel’s damage is being assessed. As that happens, the U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs said in a news post that search efforts are continuing for the 10 soldiers who are still missing. Five sailors are injured. >> Read more trending news “Search and rescue efforts continue in coordination with local authorities,” it said in the post. “Royal Malaysian Navy ships KD Handalan and two coastal patrol craft Petir (12) and Pang Alang (39) as well as two Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency vessels are on scene today.  “Republic of Singapore Navy Fearless-class patrol ships Noble Pearl (PCG 54) and Noble Knight (PCG 56) joined search efforts as well.” Navy Adm. John Richardson has ordered a probe into the collision, The Associated Press reported. The fleet said the guided-missile destroyer “sustained significant hull damage that resulted in flooding to nearby compartments.”  “It is the second such incident in a very short period of time – inside of three months – and very similar as well,” Richardson said at the Pentagon Monday. “It is the last of a series of incidents in the Pacific fleet in particular and that gives great cause for concern that there is something out there we are not getting at.” An immediate explanation for the collision was not given; however, cyber security experts speculated that the ship could have been hacked, according to a McClatchy report. Richardson said there were “no indications right now” of “cyber intrusion or sabotage,” but the investigation would “consider all possibilities.” In the coming weeks, the Navy said it would take a one-day pause in operations to identify any steps that may need to be taken to ensure safety.
  • The U.S. Navy will take a one-day operational pause in the coming weeks to “ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measure to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world,” Navy Adm. John Richardson, who is chief of naval operations, said on Monday. The pause was announced on the same day officials said they were launching a broad investigation into the Pacific fleet in light of recent accidents, including Monday morning’s collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship in the waters of Southeast Asia. >> Read more trending news Ten sailors remained missing Monday, hours after the USS John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer, and the 600-foot Alnic MC collided off the coast of Singapore, Navy officials said. Five other sailors were injured. A search for the missing sailors was ongoing Monday. 'This is the second major collision in the last three months, and is the latest in a series of major incidents, particularly in the Pacific theater,” Richardson said in a video statement released Monday. “This trend demands more forceful action.” The USS John S. McCain, named for Republican Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both Navy admirals, was pulled on Monday evening to Changi Naval Base in Singapore. The crash left the ship with significant hull damage, allowing water to flood into nearby compartments, naval officials said. “I don't want to speculate how the incident happened, but this area -- it's a busy area, considering the two vessels are about to enter the traffic separation scheme,” said Adm. Datuk Zulkifili Abu Bakarthe, head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, according to The Navy Times. The newspaper reported that about 80,000 vessels travel the strait each year. >> Related: 10 sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with tanker A defense official told The Associated Press earlier Monday that Richardson directed Adm. Phil Davidson, head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces, to lead the investigation. The unnamed official told the AP that “Richardson wants to ensure there aren’t bigger problems that may be masked by the high pace of ship operations in the Pacific region.” Richardson said the investigation would include “trends in operational tempo, performance, maintenance, equipment and personnel,” along with “surface warfare training and career development, including tactical and navigational proficiency.” Monday’s crash was the second major collision involving a U.S. Navy warship from the 7th Fleet in two months, according to The Navy Times. It is the fourth accident involving a naval vessel in the Pacific this year, according to The Washington Post. Seven sailors died and three others were injured on June 17 when a merchant vessel and the USS Fitzgerald collided in the Philippine Sea, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Officials determined that the collision was avoidable and dismissed the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief after the crash.
  • A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier fired warning flares at Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf on Friday, according to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. >> Read more trending news In a statement Saturday, the IRGC navy said the American ship was “unprofessional and provocative,” CNN reported. The USS Nimitz and a second American ship approached the Iranian ships, the IRGC navy said. The Iranian vessels ignored the flares, and the U.S. ships later left the area, CNN reported. Pentagon spokesman U.S. Navy Capt. Jeff Davis previously told reporters that there had been 35 incidents of unsafe or unprofessional behavior by Iranian vessels in 2016, CNN reported.