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Convenience store employee fired after confrontation with veteran who is double amputee

An employee at a convenience store in Pennsylvania has been fired after a confrontation with a veteran and double amputee who parked in a handicap spot.

Marine veteran Brandon Rumbaugh said he and his girlfriend stopped Sunday afternoon at the store. When his girlfriend went into the store, a customer questioned why they were parked in a handicap spot.

“I pulled into the handicap spot, like I do all the time, and she gets out and goes in the store, and I was going to come in after her,” Rumbaugh said.

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Rumbaugh lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2009 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while rescuing a fellow Marine from another IED explosion. When he saw the customer questioning his girlfriend, he approached him.

“I asked him, ‘What gives you the right to confront her? She had nothing to do with it. Come outside and confront me if you're that concerned about it,’” Rumbaugh said.

>>Read: Veteran lives outside for month to bring awareness to homeless military members

An employee then got involved.

Rumbaugh said the employee asked, “Why are you so upset? I'm not the reason you lost your legs. I didn't shoot them off.”

The employee was then asked by Rumbaugh to repeat what she had said.

“She actually repeated it,” Rumbaugh said.

He shared the encounter in a Facebook post that has been shared hundreds of times.

WPXI spoke with the employee, who did not deny making the statement to Rumbaugh. She said the customer was apologizing to Rumbaugh, who she claims was being belligerent, and that she wouldn’t have said anything if she hadn’t been provoked.

“You can review video and audio. I don’t think I said anything out of line for what was happening. I didn't threaten her, call her names,” Rumbaugh said.

Giant Eagle, a grocery store chain in Pennsylvania which owns the convenience store chain, called Rumbaugh to apologize for the behavior of the employee, who has been fired.

The following statement was released Thursday by Giant Eagle:

  “At Giant Eagle, Inc., having respect for others is essential to how we serve our communities, and is a belief we insist each Team Member hold in the highest regard. The recent comments made by a former Elizabeth GetGo Team Member were completely inappropriate and entirely unacceptable, resulting in the Team Member's termination.”   “We once again extend our sincere apologies to Mr. Rumbaugh for his unfortunate experience.”

War hero Marcus Luttrell steals show at RNC when he ditches teleprompter, gets real

Marcus Luttrell, a.k.a. the "Lone Survivor" and subject of a Mark Wahlberg film about a famous military skirmish he survived, spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention Monday night.

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After a brief introduction from former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Luttrell appeared in support of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, and spoke from his heart about the need for the country to support veterans.

"We have to make sure the hell the veterans come home from is not the hell they come back to," Luttrell told the audience.

The wounded veteran expressed throughout his speech how grateful he was to have served his country, and said that it is important to have a strong military going forward.

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Luttrell also invoked the spirit of the All Lives Matter movement when he ditched his teleprompter and discussed how "in order for any life to matter, we all have to matter."

"To the next generation, your war is here, you don't have to find it," Luttrell told the crowd after admitting he had ditched his prepared remarks from the teleprompter.

"Who among you will love something more than you love yourself? I challenge all of you to fight for this country and each and every one of us."

One part of Luttrell's speech has already begun to resonate with people on social media in both a positive and negative way. Luttrell noted, "The world outside our border is a scary place, America is the light … she'll always be worth fighting for." It was a phrase that many took to heart.

Luttrell nearly broke down in tears as he ended his speech.

"I wanted to come up here and thank every one of you for allowing me to serve for 20 years, and I swear to God I'll spend the next 20 paying you back," Luttrell said.

Iraqi War veteran dies during fist fight

He survived serving in Iraq and earned one of the highest American honors, but a local war hero died during a fist fight in Georgia.Authorities say 38-year-old Wesley Braswell died on Wednesday after being involved in a fight at a home in Albany, Georgia.The father of three, from Atlanta, was armed with a gun when he got into a fight with a man who lived at another house on the same road, Dougherty County police say.

>> Read more trending storiesNo shots were fired, but Braswell fell unresponsive during the fight, and died.An autopsy is planned."We've got to gather the facts about what occurred there and we've got to gather the facts about what the cause of death was and what resulted in the death.  So at this time we don't have anything for criminal charges," said Dougherty County police Capt. Tom Jackson."No. 1, we are evaluating the forensic evidence, but preliminarily it appear to be a circumstance that there will be issues of 'stand your ground' and self-defense," Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said.

WALB-TV spoke to Braswell in 2010 about his harrowing story about how he earned one of the highest American honors: the Bronze Star of Valor.

Braswell said in 2006, he was a team medic, driving a truck in a convoy headed across northern Iraq, when the lead truck hit an improvised explosive device and exploded. Live ammunition in the truck was going off as it burned, with three wounded men inside. Braswell went in to save them.“There was nothing but thick smoke and fire; flames coming out. I checked to make sure it was safe enough for me to break through. But I heard the people. I had to get to them, so there was no other way. So I went through there; got to the people," Braswell told WALB-TV.

While Braswell tended the wounded, he fired warning shots at another suspected enemy vehicle approaching them. Their maps were burned up in the attack, but Braswell was able to lead the convoy to its destination because he knew the area.

Friends of Braswell say he was in Albany to bury his brother, who had recently died.

No charges have been filed. The death investigation continues.

He survived serving in Iraq and earned one of the highest American honors, but a local war hero died during a fist fight in Georgia.Posted by WSB-TV on Friday, July 15, 2016

Troubling number of veterans still committing suicide

On Thursday, the Department of Veterans Affairs released new statistics about veteran suicide.

On average, 20 veterans died from suicide every day in 2014, according to the VA.

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This is the first study in which the VA looked at records from all 50 states between 1979 and 2014. Previously, they had used data from only 20 states.

Ryan Gallucci, of the nonprofit Veterans of Foreign Wars, said the problem is still a serious concern for the veterans' community.

“All this means right now is that we have better information than we had before,” Gallucci said. 

Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all suicides among U.S. adults in 2014, down from 22 percent in 2010.

Certain groups faced more problems compared to civilians. Older veterans face a higher risk of suicide, data showed. The risk of suicide is more than two times higher for female veterans than it is for female civilians.

Gallucci isn’t sure why. “There (are) some misconceptions about suicide in the veteran community, and one is that it is strictly a problem for younger veterans,” Gallucci said. “But when you are talking about problems with either family or financial issues, this can affect older veterans as well.”

The VA said preventing suicide is a top priority. The agency is adding psychologists, adding more employees to the Veterans Crisis Line and making it easier for a veteran calling a local VA clinic to connect with the suicide hotline.

The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255. Veterans can also send a text message to 838255 to get help immediately.

Man no more: Marines drop gender in job titles

A big change is on tap for the Marine Corps as it opens combat jobs to women.

The Marine Corps will be dropping "man" from 19 job titles after orders came down from the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, The Washington Post reported

The Marine Corps comes under the authority of the Department of the Navy and the Secretary of the Navy.

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Mabus said that specialties must be made more gender neutral after women were allowed to serve in combat positions earlier this year.

Changes include: "antitank missleman" becomes "antitank gunner," "field artillery operations man" becomes "field artillery operations chief," and "reconnaissance man" becomes "reconnaissance Marine," the Post reported.

Some position names will remain the same, including, "rifleman" and "mortarman," The Marine Corps Times reported.

The ones that were not changed were left because they're part of the Marine Corps history, an unidentified Marine official told the Times.

"Manpower officer" and "vertical takeoff unmanned aerial vehicle specialist" will also include man because the it doesn't describe the person. 

The Navy is also reviewing position names, looking to remove "man" from 21 titles and rates. No decision for sailors has been issued, and the Navy has asked for a second review of the proposals. 

On the potential chopping block: corpsman, yeoman and seaman, the Times reported.

The second review could take months.

Read more here.

Benghazi report: 10 things that happened the night of the attack

With all the intelligence available at the time, Hillary Clinton should have realized the risks Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others faced from extremist groups in Benghazi, Libya, according to a long-awaited U.S. House committee report on the attack that left Stevens and three others dead in 2012.

The report from the “Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya,” was released Tuesday. In addition to taking Clinton to task for her actions, the findings also say the Obama administration failed in nearly every way it could to protect American diplomats in Benghazi that night.

>> Have a question about the news? See our explainers here

The report points out failures in military response, and slams Clinton, who was secretary of State at the time,  and the State Department for acting in a “shameful” manner in failing to turn over emails from her private email server as the attack was being investigated. The report said because it did not have the emails, it was “impossible” to know everything about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that left four Americans – Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, dead.

The 800-page report comes after a two-year investigation into the events of that night.

What’s in the report

Here are  some of the report’s findings:

1. Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]

2. With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]

3. The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]

4. A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]

5. Five of the 10 action items from the 7:30 PM White House meeting referenced the video, but no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time the meeting took place. The State Department senior officials at the meeting had access to eyewitness accounts to the attack in real time. The Diplomatic Security Command Center was in direct contact with the Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground in Benghazi and sent out multiple updates about the situation, including a “Terrorism Event Notification.” The State Department Watch Center had also notified Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills that it had set up a direct telephone line to Tripoli. There was no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Greg Hicks—one of the last people to talk to Chris Stevens before he died—said there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya leading up to the attacks. [pg. 28]

6. The morning after the attacks, the National Security Council’s Deputy Spokesperson sent an email to nearly two dozen people from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and intelligence community, stating: “Both the President and Secretary Clinton released statements this morning. … Please refer to those for any comments for the time being. To ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today.” [pg. 39]

7. Minutes before the President delivered his speech in the Rose Garden, Jake Sullivan wrote in an email to Ben Rhodes and others: “There was not really much violence in Egypt. And we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.’” [pg. 44]

8. According to Susan Rice, both Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe prepared her for her appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attacks. Nobody from the FBI, Department of Defense, or CIA participated in her prep call. While Rhodes testified Plouffe would “normally” appear on the Sunday show prep calls, Rice testified she did not recall Plouffe being on prior calls and did not understand why he was on the call in this instance. [pg.98]

9. On the Sunday shows, Susan Rice stated the FBI had “already begun looking at all sorts of evidence” and “FBI has a lead in this investigation.” But on Monday, the Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs sent an email stating: “McDonough apparently told the SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference] group today that everyone was required to ‘shut their pieholes’ about the Benghazi attack in light of the FBI investigation, due to start tomorrow.” [pg. 135]

10. Susan Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows were met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees in Washington. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote: “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.” The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: “Off the reservation on five networks!” The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: “WH [White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.” [pg. 132]

Soldier surprised his mom in a traffic stop upon his return from Iraq

When a West Point, Georgia, mom saw a police car trailing her van, she was hardly expecting roses and balloons.

But that’s what she got when a West Point police car revealed her son, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salomon Robinson, was home early from Iraq, according to WTVM-TV.

>> Read more trending stories

Robinson met West Point Police Chief Tony Bailey at the station June 8 and they loaded into the chief’s police cruiser. Bailey waited for Robinson's mom, Claudette Hutchinson, to leave her apartment, then gave the cue to other officers standing by to pull her over.

Officer Cameron Mitchell asked the woman if her vehicle had been involved in a hit-and-run accident because it was damaged.

"I said, ‘Ma’am, come out, let me show you the damage that we’re talking about,'" the officer told WTVM. "I found a little scratch on her car and I said, "You see that right there? They reported that there was a little bit of damage.'"

"Well, that’s been on there for a while," Hutchinson said.

Mitchell headed back to the patrol car then told Hutchinson to hold on a minute.

That’s when her son appeared.

"I’m going to kill him. He got me good," Hutchinson said with tears rolling down her face.

See dash-cam video of the surprise at WTVM-TV.com.

A West Point mother was pulled over this morning, but it was all for a sweet surprise!Emilie Arroyo WTVM was there to witness this heartwarming moment: http://bit.ly/1UoUhwTPosted by WTVM News Leader 9 on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Woman responds to rude note left on car in veteran parking spot

A Concord, North Carolina, veteran is fighting back after she received an anonymous note in a neighborhood food market parking lot.

The note said, "This parking is for veterans lady. Learn to read and have some respect."

Rebecca Landis Hayes responded in a Facebook post Monday:

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"I know I parked in one of the Veteran Parking spaces today. It was hot. I had been in and out of my car several times already this afternoon, and I was only going to be a minute. Besides, the parking lot was full, so I just did it. It was the first time, and I won't do it again. I'm sorry.

"I'm sorry that you can't see my eight years of service in the United Sates Navy. I'm sorry that your narrow misogynistic world view can't conceive of the fact that there are female veterans. I'm sorry that I have to explain myself to people like you. Mostly, I'm sorry that we didn't get a chance to have this conversation face to face, and that you didn't have the integrity and intestinal fortitude to identify yourself, qualities the military emphasizes.

"Which leads to one question, 'I served, did you?'"

Hayes’ message has been shared thousands of times.

A veterans group in Concord said the note left on Hayes' car is disrespectful and sickening.

"There's no reason for something like this that gives everybody a bad name," Ken Bratton, a veteran, told WSOC.

Employees at the market apologized to Hayes on behalf of the person who wrote the note.

To the person who left this note on my windshield today at the Coddle Creek Harris Teeter in Concord, NC:  I know I...Posted by Rebecca Landis Hayes on Monday, June 13, 2016

89-year-old WWII veteran receives high school diploma 7 decades after dropping out

An 89-year-old World War II veteran is making headlines after receiving his high school diploma more than seven decades after he dropped out to join the Navy.

According to WZZM, Erwin Empie left Cedar Springs High School in Kent County, Michigan, when he was a sophomore to serve in World War II. From 1944 to 1946, he was a 2nd Class Seaman in the Navy.

Empie "always felt incomplete and unfinished" without his diploma, he told WZZM. So seven months ago, he decided to change that.

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"My family saw an article about veterans being able to get their GEDs, so my three kids decided to make it happen for me," he said.

Thanks to Public Act 181, aka Operation Recognition, Empie had his chance. The law says veterans who joined the military to serve in World War II, Korea or Vietnam before finishing high school are eligible to receive a high school diploma.

Empie walked across the stage June 2 to receive his diploma along with the rest of Cedar Springs' Class of 2016.

"I just looked out in the audience, then raised my fist," he told WZZM. "I almost lost my emotions then."

He added, "I just thank the Lord that I was able to do it."

Read more here.

>> Click here to watch the news report

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