Showing posts with label Dover Air Force Base. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dover Air Force Base. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Remains of Major Troy Gilbert Returned from Iraq After 10 Years

Remains of Phoenix-area fighter pilot killed in Iraq returned 10 years later
The Republic
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
October 12, 2016
A U.S. Air Force team carries the remains of Maj. Troy Gilbert at Dover Air Force Base.
(Photo: Senior Airman Aaron J. Jenne/U.S. Air Force)
The remains of an F-16 pilot from Litchfield Park who was killed in Iraq in 2006 have finally been returned, according to the U.S. Air Force.

Maj. Troy Gilbert crashed while leading two other jets in a strafing run against enemy forces that had shot down a helicopter near the town of Taji, Iraq, on Nov. 27, 2006, according to Mike Martin, secretary of Air Force Public Affairs.

Gilbert opted to use a 20-mm gun on his F-16 to help avoid civilian casualties and destroyed one of the trucks that was threatening coalition forces on the ground, according to Martin. On his second approach, he flew even lower and hit the ground, killing him instantly.
read more here

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin Made Sure Others Made It Into Bunker

Marine Killed in Iraq 'Made Sure Everybody Got in the Bunker'
by Hope Hodge Seck
Mar 26, 2016

The remains of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin of Temecula, Calif., arrive at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on March 21. (Air Force/Zachary Cacicia)
The commandant of the Marine Corps paid tribute to a staff sergeant killed by Islamic State rocket fire in Iraq last week, shedding new light on the circumstances surrounding the loss.

Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin, 27, a member of Battalion Landing Team 2/6, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was killed by indirect fire March 19 at a new artillery outpost near Makhmour, Iraq, shortly after he and a small element of Marines had detached from the MEU in order to support the small post.

Speaking at a Marine Corps Association awards dinner near Washington, D.C. Thursday night, Gen. Robert Neller said three other Marines wounded in that same rocket attack were due to arrive back in the United States that evening, headed for Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

Reflecting on Cardin's loss, Neller did not prevaricate about a fight that US officials still refuse to describe as a combat operation.

"The loss of a Marine is sad, but I thought about it: He was leading his Marines in combat," Neller said. "They were in indirect fire and he made sure everybody got in the bunker, and he just didn't make it in time. Is that sad? That's sad. But if you're going to go, you want to go in the fight.
read more here

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dover Air Force Base Squadron Command Denies Connection to Email

Dover Command Disavows Endorsement of Christian Charity Email
Bryant Jordan
October 20, 2015
The charity group's email was forwarded to everyone in the squadron on Oct. 14 by Tasker's secretary, Valencia Branch. The email sought volunteers to help pack more than 5,000 gift boxes that would be sent to "children in desperate situations [to show] that God loves and values them."
The commander of a support squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, told the unit's airmen and civilian employs Tuesday that an evangelical group's email soliciting them to help with a Christmas charity was "not sent at my direction and is not endorsed in any way by me or any level of command."

Lt. Col. Donald Tasker, commander of the 436th Force Support Squadron, issued his statement in a squadron-wide email following a review of the charity group's solicitation for volunteers by the 436th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Michael W. Grismer Jr. was provided a copy of the squadron leader's email by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which threatened court action against the Air Force unless the command disavowed endorsement of the event.
read more here

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Could some of the wounded survive instead of die?

Are U.S. Soldiers Dying From Survivable Wounds?
Despite Advances in Care, the Military Failed to Save Some Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan From 'Potentially Survivable' Wounds
Wall Street Journal
Sept. 19, 2014

In an unassuming building in suburban Washington, a team of military medical specialists spent six months poring over autopsies of 4,016 men and women who had died on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

They read reports from the morgue at Dover Air Force Base, where bodies arrived in flag-draped coffins. They examined toxicology reports. They winced at gruesome photos of bullet wounds and shredded limbs. In each case, the doctors pieced together the evidence to determine the exact cause of death.

Their conclusion would roil U.S. military medicine: Nearly a quarter of Americans killed in action over 10 years—almost 1,000 men and women—died of wounds they could potentially have survived. In nine out of 10 cases, troops bled to death from wounds that might have been stanched. In 8%, soldiers succumbed to airway damage that better care might have controlled. "Obviously one death or one bad outcome is too many, but there are a lot of them," said one of the researchers, John Holcomb, a former commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery in 2012 to almost no public attention. But in military medical circles, they have fueled a behind-the-scenes controversy that rages to this day over whether American men and women are dying needlessly—and whether the Pentagon is doing enough to keep them alive.

Indeed, a new internal report concluded that the military still hasn't fully adopted battlefield aid techniques that could have kept many wounded men alive in Afghanistan. Some of those techniques have been used to great effect—often with little extra cost—by elite commando units, such as the Army Rangers, for more than a decade, say active-duty and retired military trauma specialists.
read more here

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day and a Mother's Loss

Fisher House for Families of the Fallen in Delaware is a place where family members can stay while waiting for the return of their sons, daughters, husbands and wives. It is a place where they can be supported on one of the saddest times in their lives.
A Mother's Loss
For the past 38 years, military service in the United States has been voluntary. As U.S. citizens, we are fortunate to have men and women who, knowing the dangers that may lie ahead, continue to answer the call and proudly serve our nation.

Behind every man and woman at war is a family on the home front. Their support is unconditional, their prayer always the same – a safe return.

Kristofor Stonesifer was one of those brave and committed young people whose life goals included becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. Thirty-eight days after Sept. 11, he was the first killed in action in Operation Enduring Freedom. He and Jonn Edmunds, a fellow Ranger, died on Oct. 19, 2001, in a helicopter crash the first night of major military operation in Afghanistan.

Gold Star Mother Ruth Stonesifer
Ruth Stonesifer, proud Gold Star Mother of Kristofor Stonesifer Kristofor’s mother, Ruth Stonesifer, became the first Operation Enduring Freedom mother to take on the national presidency of the American Gold Star Mothers, which she described as a “wonderful organization none of us ever wanted to become eligible to join but we are grateful to have.”
read more here

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mortuary affairs, present traumatic stress

Death shapes life for teams that prepare bodies of fallen troops for final flight home
By Martin Kuz
Special to Stars and Stripes
Published: February 17, 2014

About this series

Stars and Stripes is looking at the mental health of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and how they cope with war’s internal burden while deployed. This series is produced with the support of a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism.

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — The first body was the most difficult. Pfc. Durell Siverand found a family portrait in the dead soldier’s wallet that showed him posing with his wife and two daughters. A mortar blast had killed him on the day he turned 21.

Siverand, one year older, had landed in Afghanistan less than three weeks earlier with the 54th Quartermaster Company of the 82nd Sustainment Brigade. The mortuary affairs unit occupies a large metal hangar at Bagram Air Field, some 40 miles north of Kabul. In this space, where a small wall sign reads “Dignity Reverence Respect,” death controls the order of life.

Siverand and Pfc. Alex Valdivia belong to one of the company’s two teams of mortuary affairs specialists. As the “dirty hands” crew of their eight-member team, they prepare the bodies of fallen troops for the final flight home.

Before deploying, Siverand worked in a morgue for a short time, and after arriving at Bagram last summer, he spent several days observing the unit that the 54th replaced. He was nervous but ready on the morning of his initial 24-hour shift.

By evening, after delivering the private’s remains to a cargo plane, he felt unmoored.
read more here

Friday, December 13, 2013

19 year old Marine killed in Afghanistan

Marine from Fairhaven dies in Afghanistan
Boston Herald
Thursday, December 12, 2013

BOSTON — A 19-year-old Marine combat engineer from Massachusetts has died in Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez, of Fairhaven, died Wednesday during combat operations in Helmand Province, the Department of Defense said.

Rodriguez was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force based in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The Marine Corps said Rodriguez enlisted in August 2012 and has been awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and NATO Medal-International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan.

Rodriguez's father, Roland Rodriguez, told New Bedford's The Standard-Times the family is headed for Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where his son's body is expected Saturday. He said his son "made a lot of friends very quickly" in the Marine Corps.
read more here

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Family says Embassy Marine's heart removed by Greece Officials

When I saw this headline I was thinking the source must be back to some outrageous publication in checkout area of Publix but it linked to NBC.
Greek Government 'Harvested' Dead U.S. Marine’s Heart
Family says the Defense Department lied to them about the missing heart and that the Greek government later sent a heart that was not their son’s back to United States
NBC 10 News
By Vince Lattanzio
Saturday, Dec 7, 2013

The family of a U.S. Marine who committed suicide inside a U.S. Embassy in Greece says their son was buried without a heart, after the Greek government performed an illegal autopsy on his body and “harvested” the organ.

Craig and Beverly LaLoup, of Coatesville, Pa., filed a lawsuit in federal court on Friday against the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Navy and U.S. government for negligence, emotional distress and alleged mistreatment of their son’s body.

U.S. Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, who was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, shot himself following a night out drinking in the Greek capital on Aug. 12, 2012, according to the court filing.

The 22-year-old allegedly had been at an off-duty party when he told a fellow officer he was considering ending his life.

“I don’t have anyone who loves me,” he allegedly said. He then apparently told the officer he was planning to shoot himself in the face with a shotgun.

That officer notified a superior, listed in the suit as Staff Sgt. Martinez, about Brian’s intentions. But instead of getting him medical care, the commander allegedly took him out to drink more – a violation of Marine Corps protocol, the lawsuit claims.

Later that night, Brian went into an unlocked room inside the embassy, where weapons were stored, and committed suicide. According to court documents, he was visibly drunk and distraught and passed a guard on his way through the building.
read more here

Friday, October 11, 2013

Obama Signs Military Death Benefits Bill

Obama Signs Military Death Benefits Bill
The Huffington Post
By Ashley Alman
Posted: 10/10/2013

President Barack Obama signed into law a bill providing benefits to the families of fallen troops during the government shutdown on Thursday.

The bill, which passed the House and Senate with unanimous approval, guarantees that family members of deceased soldiers continue to receive death gratuities and other survivor benefits from the Pentagon.

On Wednesday, the White House said Obama was "disturbed" to find that families of fallen troops weren't receiving death benefits during the shutdown.

The administration had worked out a temporary solution before the bill was signed, in which the Fischer House Foundation would make payments to the soldiers' families from its own funds. The Defense Department planned to reimburse the foundation at the end of the shutdown.
read more here

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fisher House steps up for fallen soldiers shafted by shutdown

Whenever I am asked what is a good charity for veterans, Fisher House is at the top of the list because of all the fantastic things they are doing. If you want one more good example of this, just read this and know how important it is to them to always do the right thing.
House votes for death benefits, but Defense reaches agreement with donor
Washington Post
By Ed O'Keefe and Aaron Blake
Published: October 9, 2013

The House voted 425-0 on Wednesday to approve a measure that would ensure the Pentagon is able to pay death benefits to the families of U.S. service members killed in the line of duty.

The vote came shortly after the White House said President Obama has instructed the Defense Department to ensure that the roughly $100,000 payouts are made as scheduled when necessary.

Around the same time the House passed the bill, though, the legislation became somewhat moot, as the Defense Department announced it had found a donor to pay death benefits until the shutdown is over.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said his department is "entering into an agreement with the Fisher House Foundation that will allow the federal government to provide the family members of fallen service members with the full set of benefits they have been promised, including a $100,000 death gratuity payment."

The Fisher House Foundation provides temporary housing for the families of loved ones undergoing medical treatment at military and Veterans Affairs hospitals.

The Fisher House Foundation had said Tuesday that it would step in and provide the $100,000 benefit to any family members of killed troops who were being denied the money because of the shutdown. The difference now is that the Pentagon has formally agreed to pay back the Foundation after the shutdown ends.
read more here

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shutdown of military death benefits stirs national action

Shutdown of military death benefits stirs national action
The Washington Times
By Cheryl K. Chumley
October 8, 2013

A nonprofit group dedicated to helping troops and Marines decided to jump in to assist families of killed military members deprived of their $100,000 death benefits after reading a Washington Times report.

Jennifer Magerer, executive director of Family Communications and Logistics for Luke’s Wings, said in an interview with The Washington Times that staffers on Tuesday voted to take thousands of their nonprofit’s dollars and put it toward paying for the families to fly to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the bodies and caskets will be unloaded.

“We read the story,” Ms. Magerer said, in reference to an earlier Times report that detailed the plight of families of recently killed service members, “and we talked about if we could step in a do something.

Our … president said go for it.” She also said in an emailed statement that her group was “deeply saddened” by the government’s failure to pay the benefit.

Within minutes, she said staffers had reached out with telephone calls to the Undersecretary of the Army, to the wife of the Commandant of the Marine Corps and to contacts at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to see if they could join together Luke’s Wings with the families of the killed service members and facilitate the offer.
read more here

Senate elders denounce suspension of death benefit for families of fallen

I have my issues with John McCain but I give him credit for saying that we did have an election last year and "Obamacare" is a settled issue. Now I give him even more credit for this.
Senate elders denounce suspension of death benefit for families of fallen
NBC News
By Erin McClam
Staff Writer
October 8,2013

The Senate sat in almost total silence Tuesday as two of its most respected members denounced the suspension of a benefit that helps families of fallen soldiers meet their flag-draped coffins — an unexpected side effect of the government shutdown.

The benefit, known as the death gratuity, wires $100,000 to families to help them cover funeral costs and travel to receive the bodies of their loved ones. It was left unpaid to the families of five American service members killed in Afghanistan over the weekend.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. and a veteran himself, told his colleagues that they should be ashamed.

“Shouldn’t we as a body, Republican or Democrat — shouldn’t we be embarrassed? Ashamed?” he asked. “What do American people think when they see that death benefit for those who served and sacrifice — they're not eligible?”

Waving a copy of a news story about the suspension, he said: “I’m ashamed! I’m embarrassed. All of us should be.”
read more here

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Patriot Guard Riders escorting Staff Sgt. Jesse Thomas Jr. body home

The Patriot Guard has been requested to escort and stand in honor for SSgt Jesse L. Thomas Jr.

SSgt Jesse L. Thomas Jr. age 31
Pensacola, Fl.
June 20 and 22, 2013
This will be a two part mission. SSgt Thomas was KIA on June 10, 2013 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. We will receive SSgt Thomas's remains upon arrival from Dover, DE at the Pensacola Aviation Center, 4145 Jerry L. Maygarden Rd., Pensacola. Aircraft arrival is scheduled for 11:00 AM, June 20, 2013. We will then escort SSgt Thomas to the Joe Morris Funeral Home, 701 N. DeVillers St., Pensacola.

The second part of this mission will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2013. Funeral services are scheduled at the East Hill Church of God in Christ, 400 East Jordan St. Pensacola at 1:00 PM. We will set a flag line up prior to the service. Following the service, we will escort SSgt Thomas to Barrancas National Cemetery for honors. Honors at Barrancas National Cemetery are scheduled for 3:15 PM. Joe Morris Funeral Home, 701 N. DeVillers St., Pensacola is in charge of arrangements.

SSgt Thomas was assigned to the 39th Transportation Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command out of Kleber Kaserne, Germany.

He leaves behind his wife, Michelle, also an active duty member, 3 step children, and his Mother, Irma Oliver. SSgt Thomas earned the following awards during his service to this country. The Army Commendation Medal (3) {3rd posthumous}, Army Achievement Medal (3), Army Superior Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (3), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal (2), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2), and posthumous NATO Medal.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Guardsman reveals PTSD struggles to alter perceptions after 6 tours

Guardsman reveals PTSD struggles to alter perceptions
William H. McMichael
The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal
April 14, 2013

Delaware guardsman is facing diagnosis head-on, accepting treatment and trying to dispel stereotype of crazed war veteran who becomes violent.

Wars do awful things to bodies, and Maj. Roger Rodriguez had been a frequent witness. The veteran flight nurse had five post-Sept. 11 wartime deployments under his belt, every one of them spent retrieving the torn and broken bodies of U.S. troops from battlefields and field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For years, what Rodriguez had seen and heard gnawed at him, as he wrestled with, but pushed aside, sleep problems and nightmares. He had been resilient — as the military terms it.

On his sixth trip to the war zones, what had been welling up inside slowly burst through the emotional shield he had so carefully constructed. When the Delaware Air National Guardsman came home in December 2009, he felt overwhelmed.

"Every person has a breaking point," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, 44, asked to speak to a Delaware Air National Guard life skills counselor, who recommended he seek help at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Wilmington, Del. Because he was still in uniform, he ended up at the mental health clinic at Dover Air Force Base.
read more here

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Air Force spending on Resiliency Training and Chaplains

Air Force Posture Statement 2012
Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force
General Norton A. Schwartz Chief of Staff
$31.0 Billion Agile Combat Support but does not break it down the way it was in prior year.

Air Force Posture Statement 2011
FEBRUARY 17, 2011
Underpinning the work of all Air Force Core Functions are the capabilities included in agile combat support (ACS). ACS is the ability to create, protect, and sustain air and space forces across the full spectrum of military operations and spans a diverse set of Air Force functional capabilities. The FY12 budget request of $33.8 billion for ACS accounts for efforts affecting our entire Air Force—from the development and training of our Airmen to regaining acquisition excellence.

Airmen and Families. The Air Force is proud of its commitment to supporting its Airmen and families. The nearly two decades of sustained combat operations has imposed extraordinary demands on them and underscores the need to remain focused on sustaining quality of life and supporting programs as a top priority. To help address the demands, in 2010 the Air Force executed the Year of the Air Force Family and highlighted support programs focused on three outcomes: Fostering a Strong Air Force Community; Strengthening an Airman's Sense of Belonging; and Improving Airman and Family Resiliency.

The Year of the Air Force Family deepened leadership’s understanding of current support services and capabilities and what needs to be done in the future to maintain and improve outcomes in the three primary focus areas.

First, the Air Force will maintain an enduring emphasis on Airmen and families by actively engaging the entire Air Force Community: Total Force Airmen, Department of the Air Force civilians, single and married personnel, primary and extended family members, retirees, and on and off-base community partners. The Air Force will maintain an atmosphere that is supportive, team-oriented, and inclusive, but diverse enough to meet the current and emerging needs of the entire Air Force Community. Policy and process priorities have been translated into actions and tasks that will be accomplished over the next few years, perpetuating the Air Force’s commitment to strengthening our ties to one another, improving our operational abilities and ensuring our Air Force Community is best positioned to meet future commitments and requirements.

Second, we continue to strengthen our Air Force Community by expanding child care through different programs such as the Extended Duty Program, Home Community Care, Missile Care, and the new Supplemental Child Care initiative to provide flexibility in meeting child care needs. In FY11, the Air Force will continue to demonstrate our commitment to military child education, funding full time School Liaison Officers (SLO) Air Force-wide. SLOs and our new Air Force Exceptional Family Member Program Coordinators will work in close collaboration to address educational and other assistance for families with special needs. The Air Force FY12 budget request includes $4 million to assist with respite child care for military family members with special needs children.

Third, the budget reflects a $4.4 million increase to our Air Force Mortuary Affairs program, supporting travel for family members from home of record to Dover Port Mortuary to receive and honor fallen loved ones. Increases also reflect our commitment to maintaining the Port Mortuary's Center for the Families of the Fallen, used as the reception facility and host site for visiting family members at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

Airman dining facilities remain an important commitment of the Air Force as we plan to increase funding for dining facilities at basic military training and technical training bases by $14.9 million in FY12. In FY11, we launched the Food Transformation Initiative (FTI) to address Airmen’s concerns with dining facility closings, lack of healthy food options, and insufficient hours of operation. FTI is designed to enhance food quality, variety and availability while maintaining home base and warfighting capabilities. The Air Force continues to expand our efforts to improve resiliency of Airmen and their families before, during, and after deployments and has significantly expanded capabilities to ensure support and reintegration of our Total Force. In continuing its efforts to improve the resiliency of Airmen and their families, the Air Force moved forward with several initiatives in 2010.

We established a new Resiliency Division at the Air Force level to take the lead and develop an overarching Air Force Resiliency Roadmap. The Deployment Transition Center (DTC) was established at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on July 1, 2010. The DTC and Chaplain Corps Care for the Caregiver programs provide valuable decompression, reintegration and resiliency training for those exposed to significant danger and stress in combat zones. To support these efforts, the Air Force FY12 budget request includes $8 million for the Air Force Resiliency Program for research, curriculum development, materials and intervention training for the DTC. We will continue to develop our Airman Resiliency Program by identifying needs, researching best practices, partnering with internal and external organizations, and developing targeted and tiered training that is integrated into an Airman's career to allow a building block approach that leads to life-long resiliency that benefits both Airmen and their families. We are also requesting an increase in the Chaplain Recruitment program by $1.5 million in FY12 to better provide for religious accommodation and support of Airmen. This includes chaplain-led MarriageCare Retreats, that help heal and save marriages, and deployment reintegration programs expanded to meet the needs of redeploying Airmen.

The Air Force is highly committed to the Wounded Warrior Program that ensures access to medical and rehabilitation treatments for the ill and wounded. The Air Force Warrior and Survivor Care Division is dedicated to building a culture of understanding and concern for wounded, ill and injured Airmen. The Air Force has hired 33 Recovery Care Coordinators and a Program Manager to support 31 locations across the Air Force. Recovery Care Coordinators serve as the focal point for non-clinical case management, development of comprehensive recovery plans and creation of timelines for personal and career accomplishments. Additionally, the Air Force has implemented new personnel policies regarding retention, retraining, promotions, assignments and evaluation of Wounded Warriors. In FY12, the Air Force is requesting $2.8 million for additional case workers and program managers to provide non-clinical case management services to meet the growing demands of the Wounded Warrior population.

Suicides. Air Force suicide rates have been on the rise since 2007, although primary risk factors for suicide among Airmen remain the same. The most commonly identified stressors and risk factors have remained the same over the last ten years: relationships, financial problems and legal problems. Although deployments can stress Airmen and their families, deployment does not seem to be an individual risk factor for Airmen—many Airmen who have committed suicide have never deployed. The Air Force is providing additional support to our most at-risk Airmen by providing additional frontline supervisor suicide prevention training to all supervisors in career fields with elevated suicide rates. In addition, mental health providers are based in primary care clinics across the Air Force to counsel patients who may not otherwise seek care in a mental health clinic because of the perceived stigma. The Air Force has significantly expanded counseling services in addition to those available through the chaplains or the mental health clinic. Other helpful programs that provide non-medical counseling include Military Family Life Consultants, which can see individuals or couples, and Military OneSource, which provides sessions for active duty for up to twelve off-base sessions.

Fort Hood. In the wake of the Fort Hood shooting, the Secretary of Defense directed the Air Force to conduct a follow-on review to identify ways to better protect Airmen and families. Our review yielded 118 findings and 151 recommendations. The key revelation of the study is that we must do a better job of preventing and responding to violence. Specifically, we must improve our ability to identify indicators of potential violence and share that information with those who are best positioned to prevent a violent outcome. This will require improved understanding, education, processes and training, as well as more integrated processes at both the installation and interagency levels. To undertake these efforts, the FY12 budget request includes $37 million across the FYDP. We anticipate that our resource requirements will increase as we refine the implementation of our recommendations. We are confident that the resources Congress provides, coupled with our sustained effort, will help the Air Force reduce the likelihood of tragedies like Fort Hood and position us to respond more effectively should prevention fail.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Afghan teenager fatally stabs US soldier

UDATE 6:40
Brother: Slain Fort Campbell soldier prepared for 'anything'
Apr. 1, 2013
Written by
Associated Press

FILE - In this March 28, 2013 file photo, U.S. Army and Air Force officers say a prayer beside the transfer case containing the remains of Army Sgt. Michael Cable, 26, of Philpot, Ky., to a transfer vehicle at Dover Air Force Base, Del. An Afghan teenager killed Cable in eastern Afghanistan by stabbing him in the neck while he played with a group of local children, officials said Monday, April 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) / AP
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Before leaving for Afghanistan, Army Sgt. Michael C. Cable quietly met with several family members and relayed to them the hazards of his upcoming deployment. The meetings were unusual because Cable didn’t talk much about what happened on his previous tour of duty in Iraq.

To Cable’s brother, 42-year-old Raymond Johnston of Owensboro, it now seems like the soldier had an idea he might not survive.

“After learning everything I’ve learned … Maybe he knew about what he was getting into and how dangerous it was,” Johnston said. “He was able to communicate to the family about if the worst was supposed to happen, what we were supposed to do.”

Cable, 26, of Philpot in western Kentucky, died March 24. The Army said he was attacked by enemy forces. Johnston told The Associated Press on Monday that someone sneaked up behind his brother and stabbed him in the neck while he worked guard duty in Shinwar, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. read more here
Afghan teenager fatally stabs US soldier
The Associated Press
Published: April 1, 2013

KABUL -- Senior U.S. military officials say an Afghan teenager has killed an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan by stabbing him in the neck.

Two officials said Monday that Sgt. Michael Cable, 26, was guarding a meeting of Afghan and U.S. officials in Nangarhar province when the stabbing occurred.
read more here

Saturday, February 16, 2013

In Loving Memory Of A Wife, Daughter And Fallen Soldier

In Loving Memory Of A Wife, Daughter And Fallen Soldier
February 16, 2013

North Carolina National Guardsman Tracy Johnson is an Iraq War veteran and an Army widow.

She is also one of the first gay spouses to lose a partner at war since the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."

On Feb. 14, 2012, Tracy married her longtime partner, Staff Sgt. Donna Johnson. But eight months later, Donna was killed by a suicide bomber while serving in Khost, Afghanistan.

"That day, I had a bad feeling," Tracy tells her mother-in-law, Sandra Johnson, during a visit to StoryCorps. "I immediately starting scouring the news websites, and it said that ... three U.S. soldiers were killed in Khost, Afghanistan, and I knew, obviously, that's where she was stationed."

But she had to wait to find out if her fears were legitimate.
read more here

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New rules in works for handling troops’ remains

New rules in works for handling troops’ remains
Army Times
By Rick Maze
Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

Transportation of remains of service members who die outside the U.S. would become the responsibility of those troops’ military commands under legislation pending in Congress that seems almost certain to become law.

The initiative was proposed in reaction to the mishandling of remains by the military mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Its aim is to have a uniformed service member be accountable for remains from the initial death or recovery of the remains through burial or interment, unless a family requests otherwise. The designated member would be subject to disciplinary action if something goes wrong.

Under the proposal, already approved by the House of Representatives as part of the 2013 defense authorization bill and introduced Monday as an amendment to the Senate version of the bill, the Defense Department would be responsible for ensuring someone is responsible for each step of the care, handling and transportation of remains of any member of the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps who dies outside the U.S.
read more here

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spc. Brittany B. Gordon "Her Dream was to serve"

Daughter of St. Petersburg assistant police chief dies in Afghanistan
Tampa Bay Times
By Keyonna Summers and Kameel Stanley
Times Staff Writers
In Print: Monday, October 15, 2012

"Her dream was to serve," said Brittany Gordon's cousin, the Rev. Evelyn Thompson. "If I would describe her, she had no fear. She wanted to make a difference. Because that's what military people do: make a difference in the lives of others."
[Courtesy of Gordon family]
Army Spc. Brittany B. Gordon was the daughter of St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Cedric Gordon and his former wife, Brenda Gordon.

ST. PETERSBURG — Days after her 24th birthday and just months before she was to return home this year, an Army soldier from St. Petersburg has died in Afghanistan.

Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, a 2006 St. Petersburg High School graduate, was the daughter of St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Cedric Gordon and his former wife, Brenda Gordon. On Saturday, the Army informed the family of her death.

"She made a major impact on everyone in her short life," said her aunt, the Rev. Debbie Thompson. "We just thank God for the memories of her we have in our hearts."

Gordon appears to be the first military woman from this area — Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties — to die in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's devastating," said St. Petersburg police Chief Chuck Harmon, who spoke briefly Sunday to Cedric Gordon. "I don't think there can be anything more painful to go through. ... Our thoughts and prayers are with him."
Spc Brittany Gordon

Suicide attack killed female soldier from St. Pete, says C.W. Bill Young
Tampa Bay Times
By Kameel Stanley
Times Staff Writer
In Print: Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Associated Press
Senior Airman Devon Garner-Klingbeil stands near transfer cases containing the remains of Army Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, left case, and Army Sgt. Robert J. Billings, right case, early Monday at Dover Air Force Base, Del.

A local soldier killed in Afghanistan on Saturday died in a suicide bomb attack, U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday night.

Earlier Monday evening, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a news release saying that Army Spc. Brittany B. Gordon died from injuries caused by an improvised explosive device in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The military provided no other details.

Contacted by phone later that night, Young, R-Indian Shores, told the Times that military officials had advised him that the IED came from a suicide bomber.

"It is not one that was planted as a mine. The person was wearing a suicide vest. This is also considered an IED," said Young, who chairs the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

Late Monday night, the New York Times published a story describing a suicide attack that occurred Saturday morning in Afghanistan in which a U.S. soldier was killed. The article does not name the soldier, but the circumstances are what Young described.
read more here

To all the women serving

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fallen soldier's father mourns son's death

Fallen soldier's father mourns sons death
Published : Sunday, 16 Sep 2012
Elisabeth Rentschler

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Department of Defense has confirmed the death of a Lafayette soldier, and former McCutcheon Maverick, Sergeant Kyle Osborn.

Osborn died Thursday in Afghanistan from wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with guns and rocket propelled grenades. Osborn was 26 years old.

Kyle's father, Creigh Osborn, said he will never forget the moment when the chaplain knocked on his door Thursday morning.

"They said are you the father of Kyle Bruce Osborn?" said Creigh. "I said yes I am sir. He said the United States of America and the Army regret to inform you that your son was killed today, this day, in a small arms gun battle in Afghanistan."
read more here