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Army dad deployed for year surprises son at school concert

An Army dad who had been serving overseas for a year surprised his 11-year-old son on stage after the sixth-grader’s winter concert Thursday.

>> Read more trending news 

Alex Carrion, Jr., who plays the trumpet, had finished his final performance when his father, Alex Carrion, Sr., listening to the concert feet away, entered a side door and walked on stage. The younger Alex sat in disbelief, as his father rushed to him, picked him up and kissed him, the crowd cheering with joy.

“I did not expect this at all. It was a complete surprise, and when it happened, I didn’t really respond at first,” said Alex, Jr., a student at Fitchburg’s Memorial Intermediate School. “It’s amazing. It’s wonderful. I haven’t seen him in so long.”

His father, a sergeant with the U.S. Army Reserve, had been deployed for about a year, serving in Poland and Lithuania in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve.

At Thursday night’s concert, Sgt. Carrion anxiously paced backstage, eager to embrace his boy after arriving two days earlier. The reunion was worth the wait.

“I could hear him playing, and obviously I just wanted to get to him as soon as possible,” said Sgt. Carrion, who lives in West Springfield. “I’m really excited and can’t wait to spend more time with this little man.”

Fitness test fails thrown out for Navy sailors

Sailors now can breathe a little easier now that the U.S. Navy is removing failed physical tests from their service records.

The Navy has instructed commands to stop kicking out sailors for failing their physical fitness assessments, or PFAs, the Navy Times reported.

In the past, if sailors failed two PFAs in three years they were discharged from the service.

The PFA consists of two parts, a body composition assessment and a physical readiness test.

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The test evaluates sailors on their ability to do pushups, situps and a 1 1/2-mile run, using their ages as a benchmark.

Sailors will also now be required to undergo a body fat analysis when they report to a new command and will be forced pass their PFAs to advance in rank.

Almost 50,000 will be able to remain in the Navy with the new rules as it is trying to increase its end strength by over 4,100 sailors by the end of the fiscal year, the Navy Times reported.

Coast Guard rescues sea turtle trapped among floating bales of cocaine

The U.S. Coast Guard is tasked with defending and protecting American interests, but the sailors apparently are there to protect wildlife too. 

The crew of the cutter Thetis found a sea turtle that had become trapped by floating bales of cocaine in the eastern Pacific, NBC News reported.

Commander Jose Diaz said the crew of a military plane saw something floating in the sea and alerted his crew. 

>> Read more trending news 

When the cutter arrived, the sailors found 26 rectangular packages of what they said was cocaine, tied together. They believe it was tossed from what is called a go-fast vessel after the smugglers were in the sites of the authorities, NBC News reported.

The turtle had become tangled in the lines that were wrapped around the animal’s neck and fins.

Diaz said the turtle could have been among the drugs for two days. The turtle was freed and the Coast Guard seized the more than 800 kilos of cocaine, NBC News reported.

Feds: Soldier built, detonated chlorine bomb near Fort Polk

A federal grand jury has indicted a Louisiana soldier on charges accusing him of manufacturing a chemical weapon and detonating it in a forest adjacent to Fort Polk, where he was stationed.

Ryan Keith Taylor, 24, of New Llano, Louisiana, is charged with producing, possessing and using a chemical weapon, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. 

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An investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command found that Taylor made a chlorine bomb and detonated it April 12 in Kisatchie National Forest, the news release said. 

The Alexandria Town Talk reported that Taylor was detained when he was found at the scene of the explosion, which sent toxic chlorine gas into the air and started a fire. Emergency personnel who responded to the scene had to be treated at Bayne-Jones Army Hospital, on Fort Polk, for chemical exposure, according to KALB in Alexandria

Investigators who searched Taylor’s car, which was located near a library on the post, said they found chlorine and bomb-making materials in the vehicle. They were not injured but were decontaminated and evaluated at Bayne-Jones as a precaution, KALB reported. 

The chlorine found in the vehicle was a commercially available type used to disinfect swimming pools, the news station said

The New Llano apartment complex where Taylor lived was evacuated as agents conducted a search of his unit. Nothing suspicious was initially found, but a second sweep of the apartment turned up a pipe bomb and other materials, the Town Talk reported

The pipe bomb was deactivated by a Louisiana State Police hazmat team, Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office officials said at the time. 

Taylor, who was on active duty at the time of his arrest, was also indicted in September on a federal child pornography charge after inappropriate material was found on an iPod belonging to him, the newspaper said. 

He was due to go to trial on that charge last month, but his lawyer obtained a continuance because of the ongoing federal investigation.  

Taylor remains in federal custody, KALB reported. His bail was set at $1.5 million.

US Marine helicopter window falls from sky, injures child

A 20-pound window of a US Marine Corps helicopter fell off in mid-flight onto a school playing field Tuesday, slightly injuring a child on the Japanese island of Okinawa, CNN reported. 

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US Forces Japan said in a statement that the window of a CH-53 transport helicopter fell onto a sports field at an elementary school outside Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

"We take this report extremely seriously and are investigating the cause of this incident in close coordination with local authorities," the statement said. "This is a regrettable incident and we apologize for any anxiety it has caused the community."

The child was not seriously injured, CNN reported.

Can you find the camouflaged soldier hidden in this viral photo?

The British Army wants you to test its woodland camouflage. Do you see a soldier in this image?

>> See the tweet here

The British Army asked Twitter users to scan the photo — which reportedly was shot in Wales on the Section Commander’s Battle Course — to find the soldier in the scene.

>> Read more trending news 

A hint, in case you’re having any difficulty: The soldier is not standing up.

To make things a bit difficult, the soldier is wearing a woodland camouflage pattern designed to blend in with the misty forest terrain.

>> This coffee riddle has baffled the internet – can you solve it?

Is the British uniform good enough for you? If you haven’t found the answer yet, it’s here — the soldier lying prone, enveloped in mist, with just the perfectly round helmet giving any indication that it’s not all forest floor.

>> Click here or scroll down to see the answer..........

WWII vet celebrates 100th birthday on Pearl Harbor Day

A World War II veteran celebrated his 100th birthday on Pearl Harbor Day, remembering his time in the military and 52 years working in the steel mills of Indiana.

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Roberto Reyna, Sr. was celebrating his 24th birthday on Dec. 7, 1941, in El Gato, Texas, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, WGN reported.

Reyna was drafted into the military soon after and was stationed on a small island in the South Pacific. In August 1945, the Mexican-born Reyna and his fellow servicemen watched as an atomic bomb bound for Hiroshima was loaded onto a B-29 plane.

“Some things you can never forget in your life. What you saw. And then what happened,” Reyna said.

He first came to the United States when he was 2 years old from Monterrey, Mexico, his family running to safety to escape the bloody Mexican revolution. When his tour of duty ended in 1946, a friend told him the steel mills in Indiana were looking for laborers.

“I come out here (to) try ’em out for six months -- and I end up working 52 years,” Reyna said.

Reyna still watches what he eats and follows doctor's orders; no sugar or salt for him, not even on his 100th birthday. That may change when his big, loving family takes him out to eat this weekend.

U.S. Navy sailor sketched Pearl Harbor attack before he was killed in action

Leonard Franklin Tomlinson lived and served in an age before social media, and the image he left behind is less ephemeral and certainly more meaningful than the slew of selfies we all serve up today.

>> PHOTOS: 'December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy'

>> Click here or scroll down to read more

North Korea replaces border soldiers after defection

After dramatic video surfaced of a North Korean guard defecting across the border into South Korea, Kim Jong Un’s government has replaced nearly all of the soldiers who were stationed at the site where the escape took place Nov. 13, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

“North Korea replaced almost all of its troops, if not all, at the Joint Security Area for their failure to prevent the defection,” said Kim Young-woo, chairman of the South Korean National Assembly's defense committee. “It was obviously a part of punishment for failing their mission to deter the North Korean soldier's escape. North Korea has always punished those responsible for similar failures.”

North Korea, meanwhile, planted trees and dug a trench at a section of the Military Demarcation Line, according to Marc Knapper, the chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Seoul. Knapper tweeted a photo of dramatic video released by the United Nations Command on Wednesday. The video showed a North Korean soldier's daring dash to freedom while being fired upon by his former comrades.

After the defector's vehicle got stuck in a gutter close to the border, he jumped out and ran toward the South Korean side, CNN reported.

>> WATCH: North Korean guard makes dramatic defection

The 24-year-old soldier, known only by his last name -- Oh -- has regained consciousness after being shot and was undergoing treatment, CNN reported.

Oh is the third member of the North Korean armed forces to defect this year.

More than 40 bullets were fired at him from pistols and an AK-47 assault rifle, South Korea's military said last week. South Korean troops did not return fire.

Oh had lost more than 50 percent of his blood by the time he arrived by air at Ajou University Hospital, his surgeon Lee Cook Jong told reporters Wednesday.

U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 on board crashes into Pacific: Live updates

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 

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