Showing posts with label Fort Drum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fort Drum. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

10th Mountain lost three soldiers to suicide this month

Army investigating the suspected suicides of 3 Fort Drum soldiers this month

NBC News
By Corky Siemaszko
September 29, 2021
"We want to know the trigger," the 10th Mountain Division commander said.
Three soldiers at a U.S. Army base in upstate New York are suspected of dying by suicide during a 72-hour span earlier this month, including one who was among the last to return home from Afghanistan.

All were members of the 10th Mountain Division, which is based at Fort Drum, the division said in a statement. All three deaths are under investigation.

“Immediately when we have a situation when a Soldier is suspected of taking their own life, we want to know the trigger,” Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., the 10th Mountain Division commander, said in an email to Army Times.
The dead soldiers were identified by the Army Times as Staff Sgt. Angel Green, 24; Pfc. Tyler Thomas, 21; and Spc. Sika Tapueluelu, 26.
The deaths of the soldiers, who were assigned to different units on the base, were announced Sept. 19 by the base public affairs team.
read more here

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Bannister passed away

Coroner releases cause of death for Army general who died while on leave
Major General Jeffrey Bannister, 57, who was on transition leave in Lake Murray, died Sunday due to natural causes, coroner Margaret Fisher said.
Retiring Army general dies while on leave in South Carolina
Published: May 30, 2018

The Rome, Ga., native served in Iraq and led divisions at Ft. Carson, Colo. He commanded the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., from 2015 until May of last year. His time there included an 11-month deployment to Afghanistan.
An Army general died Sunday while on leave in South Carolina and his death is being investigated, according to a statement from Shaw Air Force Base.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Bannister, 57, was on the verge of retirement and on transition leave when he died at Lake Murray near Columbia, S.C., base officials told WIS-TV.

Bannister, who served in the Army for 34 years, was assigned to Shaw as a special project officer for the Chief of Staff of the Army, the report said.
read more here

Monday, July 10, 2017

Fort Drum Shooting Left Wife and State Police Officer Dead

Friends recall West Michigan ties of soldier accused of double murder
Multiple friends and acquaintances tell WZZM 13 that Walters was expelled from West Ottawa Middle School after he made a bomb threat against the school and apparently had a "hit list" of people at the school. This would have been in the late 1990s. 
"They searched his locker and they found a hit list with a list of people to kill," says one person who did not want to be identified.

Suspect in Trooper's killing served 2 12-month deployments in Afghanistan
Posted: Jul 10, 2017
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - A Fort Drum soldier accused of killing his wife and also a State Trooper on Sunday night served two year-long deployments in Afghanistan, the base said on Monday.

A native of Zeeland, Mich., 32-year-old Justin Walters is listed as a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Walters has been stationed at Fort Drum for 10 years.

An infantryman, he served in Afghanistan from January 2009 to January 2010 and from March 2011 to March 2012.
read more here

The Latest: Police: Combat Veteran Killed Wife, NY Trooper

Authorities say an Afghanistan combat veteran fatally shot his wife in the driveway of their northern New York home then gunned down a state trooper who had responded to reports of gunfire at the couple's rural property.

July 10, 2017, at 2:14 p.m.

THERESA, N.Y. (AP) — The Latest on the death of a New York State Police trooper (all times local): 2:10 p.m. 

Authorities say an Afghanistan combat veteran fatally shot his wife in the driveway of their northern New York home, and then gunned down a state trooper who had responded to reports of gunfire at the couple's rural property. 

State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II says Monday that 32-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Justin Walters shot his 27-year-old wife, Nichole, on Sunday night outside their home in the town of Theresa. 

Beach says 36-year-old Trooper Joel Davis was shot once in the torso after getting out of his cruiser about 75 feet from the home near Fort Drum. Another trooper arriving on the scene found Davis in a roadside ditch. Davis died about an hour later at a hospital. 

Walters was charged with first-degree murder in Davis' slaying and second-degree murder in his wife's killing.
read more here

More details on fatal shooting of NYS Trooper

A friend of a young mother slain along with a state trooper in northern New York says she was devoted to her son and always willing to help people. 
Jerry Mikels says he was shocked when he heard Army Staff Sgt. Justin Walters was charged in the shooting death Sunday night of his 27-year-old wife Nichole and New York State Trooper Joel Davis. Mikels said he didn't think Justin Walters would be capable of killing his wife. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fort Drum Sergeant Admitted Filing False Tax Returns

Former Fort Drum sergeant sentenced for filing false tax returns for fellow soldiers

A former Fort Drum sergeant was sentenced to 12 months in prison after he admitted to filing false tax returns for his fellow soldiers to defraud the government of more than $100,000 and line his own pockets.
Bobby Lemon, 36, of McRae, Ga., admitted to inputting false information on soldiers’ tax paperwork, changing their filing status and adding dependents to generate larger refunds. In many cases, the listed dependents were members of his own family.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fort Drum Soldier From Florida Died in Kayaking Accident

Fort Drum soldier home from Afghanistan drowns in Pleasant Lake in St. Lawrence County
The Journal

MACOMB — A Fort Drum soldier who recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan was found dead after a kayaking incident in Pleasant Lake, state police said Tuesday.

Police were called to search for Sgt. Julian D. Harris, 24, of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., in the area of North Shore Road at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

Troopers determined Sgt. Harris, who lived locally in Calcium, was kayaking alone that day.

A search for him was undertaken by Gouverneur Fire and Rescue, Brier Hill Rescue, and divers from the City of Ogdensburg Fire Department, which ended at 11 p.m.
read more here

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Getting Onto Military Bases Harder in 5 States

Military Bases No Longer Accepting IDs from Five States
by Amy Bushatz
Jan 13, 2016

U.S. military installations are no longer allowing visitors to gain base access using official ID cards from five states -- and other installations may soon follow.
State-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards from Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, Washington and Minnesota can no longer be used to obtain a visitor’s pass because those cards don’t comply with federal standards, officials said. DoD officials did not say whether or not enhanced driver's licenses (EDL) from Minnesota or Washington would still be accepted.

Guidance has already been issued by such installations as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, Fort Drum in New York, Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

"Effective immediately, residents of these five states can no longer use their driver’s license to get a visitor’s pass," Tom McCollum, a Fort Bragg spokesman said in a release today. "Driver's licenses and identification cards issued by these states cannot be used to access not just Fort Bragg, but all federal facilities, to include other military installations."

Nate Allen, a spokesman for the Army, in an email confirmed the changes affect all military installations in the U.S.
read more here

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Fort Drum Soldier Died in Iraq

Christie orders state flags at half-staff for N.J. soldier who died
North Jersey
DECEMBER 4, 2015

Following the death of a a New Jersey soldier, Governor Christie has ordered all state buildings to fly flags at half staff today.

U.S. Army Private Christopher J. Castaneda, of Hammonton, died in a non-combat related incident on Nov. 19 while serving at the Al Asad Air Base in Iraq with the 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, according to the Department of Defense.

Fort Drum soldier dies in non-combat incident in Iraq, Army says
By Ken Sturtz
November 20, 2015
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A soldier stationed at the Army's Fort Drum in Jefferson County has been killed in Iraq. Pvt. Christopher J. Castaneda died Thursday at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq.

Fort Drum said his death was the result of a "non-combat related incident," but did not provide further details. read more here

Monday, October 19, 2015

Vow to Save Others Started After Fort Drum Soldier Committed Suicide

Colton Derr's Army buddy wishes he had done more, but vows to help others considering suicide
Rapid City Journal
Bart Pfankuch Journal Staff
October 17, 2015
Stephen Daniel

Almost every day, Sgt. Stephen Daniel thinks about the last text message he received from his Army buddy Colton Levi Derr, and he wonders: Could I have saved him if I had responded differently?

Sgt. Daniel and Sgt. Derr, who served together in Iraq in 2008, became close friends and shared a bond that can only be forged by wartime service and the shared experience of combat.

As a result, Daniel knew when he received the text message just after Easter 2012 that Colton was suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, and was on shaky emotional footing.

Daniel, who will share his story during a Rapid City banquet on Saturday, said the two men were living on different American bases at the time.

Colton, 25, a native of New Underwood who served or led 500 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, texted Daniel to say that he thought his girlfriend was about to dump him, and that he was shaken by it.

"I was in an arms room counting weapons, and I wrote back something like, 'Dude, there's so many fish in the sea; stop trying to chase just one,'" Daniel recalled in a recent interview. "It was a completely generic, non-compassionate answer that I would have sent to anyone."

Not long after, on April 28, 2012, Colton killed himself off base in Fort Drum, New York.
read more here

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fort Drum Soldier From Georgia Died in Afghanistan

Soldier who died of noncombat injuries in Afghanistan identified
Stars and Stripes
Published: September 22, 2015

The Pentagon has identified the U.S. Army soldier who died from noncombat-related injuries Monday in eastern Afghanistan.

Spc. Kyle E. Gilbert, 24, of Buford, Ga., died in Bagram, Afghanistan, while supporting Operation Freedom Sentinel, the Defense Department said in a news release Tuesday. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

The incident is under investigation
read more here

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Will Florida Do Right Thing For Military Mom and Kids?

Mother-of-two army veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq now fighting custody battle for her children after they were taken into care while she was deployed
19 August 2015
Mother-of-two Amanda Hurst, from Florida, was deployed to Iraq in 2009
Left her son and daughter, then seven and eight, in the care of their father
But she moved care to her stepmom after father got in trouble with the law
Stepmom illegally took children to New Jersey where they went into care
The pair, now 12 and 13, are still in care as Hurst fights to get them back
Hurst's lawyer told Mail Online that a hearing is due to take place today

Court battle: Amanda Hurst, from Florida, was deployed to Iraq in 2009 and left her children with their father, but transferred their care to her stepmom after her ex-husband was jailed

A military mother who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has been left fighting for custody of her children after they were taken into care while she was overseas.

Amanda Hurst, from Orange City, Florida, last saw her son and daughter at Fort Drum military base in New York in 2009 before her unit was shipped to Iraq.

But the youngsters are now locked away in foster care in New Jersey after one of Hurst's family members took them there illegally, and she is now facing a battle to get them back.

Hurst's case began more than six years ago when she decided to sign up for the military in order to be able to provide for her family.

At the time she was married to her second husband, and the father of her two children, who moved with her to Fort Drum in New York while she underwent her training.

Then, in 2009, Hurst was told she would be deployed to Iraq, and decided to leave her kids, then aged seven and eight, in the care of their father.
Hoping that her worries were now behind her, Hurst traveled back to Iraq and was then deployed to Afghanistan, where she continued serving her country.

However, back in Florida things were far from well. Estranged from her other family members, the stepmom took the extraordinary step of illegally moving to New Jersey with the children.

Once there, they developed severe emotional problems, and began lashing out.

Eventually the problems became so bad the children were taken into foster care, where they remain to this day, now aged 13 and 14.

According to News 13, judges in both Florida and New Jersey have agreed that the children should be with their mother, but only if Florida agrees to provide them with the same level of care they have been receiving in New Jersey.
read more here

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kansas City Veteran Accused of Lying by 6 From His Unit

Kansas soldier honored for his service now under attack by members of his own unit
POSTED JULY 29, 2015
Myers said he has been dealing with Garrison’s lies ever since 2008. That’s when Garrison was interviewed by HBO for a documentary on the portion of Arlington Cemetery dedicated to veterans of the Afghanistan War.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Fellow servicemen of one area solider say Brandon Garrison told several lies about his military experiences in order to receive unearned praise and free services he didn’t deserve.

Some may have already heard about Garrison. He received a free house in Kansas City Kansas last year. Last February, he got a free service dog; all because of his service half a world away in Afghanistan.

Garrison served in the Army and left with what he describes as major injuries, from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome to traumatic brain injury; something he said may have been resulted when both of his eardrums were ruptured.

Garrison was on FOX 4 News again last May talking about more injuries. This time possible nerve damage caused by exposure to noxious fumes from the burning pits the Army used to dispose of trash in Afghanistan. It was after that news report that six members of Garrison’s former Army unit contacted FOX 4 with a warning: Garrison is a liar.

Myers said Garrison spent the majority of his service in the Korengal Valley in the only air-conditioned office in the outpost.
But Garrison was considerably more straight forward when it came to his claims on HBO regarding Sgt. Wilson.

“I would like to apologize first and foremost to the family members and service members who were affected by the inaccuracies of my interview eight years ago,” Garrison said. “I take full responsibility for that. The lessons that I learned from that have helped make me a more mature individual.”
read more here

From Stars and Stripes
At home, but not at peace: A soldier's struggle with PTSD
Spc. Brandon Garrison volunteered to deploy and loved putting on his uniform each day. But after watching a mortar attack claim one of his friends in Afghanistan, he joined the thousands of servicemembers battling PTSD.
March 30, 2008

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Why Is Army Shutting Down River Hospital When It Works Wonders?

PTSD Program Will Continue At River Hospital - At Least For Now

‘It saved my life and my marriage’: Soldiers object to Army cutting River Hospital PTSD program
Watertown Daily Times
“Ever since I left the River Hospital, my life has turned around amazingly,” he said. “I would stand on top of a building and yell it for that place.”

ALEXANDRIA BAY — When Charles R. “Chuck” Wilkerson graduated from River Hospital’s Community Wellness Program in the summer of 2013, he was a changed man.

Mr. Wilkerson, who served in the 10th Mountain Division for 11 years, had spent about 100 days in the program to be treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. He said his healing process took slightly longer than those of others in the program, but his transformation was incredible.

“If it wasn’t for the River Hospital,” he said, “I would be dead today.”

On Thursday, River Hospital CEO Ben Moore III announced that the Army was pulling the program from the hospital to create a similar program on post at Fort Drum.

The announcement, which came in a letter from Fort Drum Medical Activity Commander Col. Matthew E. Mattner, shocked River Hospital officials, Mr. Wilkerson and other members of the program and community.

“How can they take away something that saves people’s lives?” Mr. Wilkerson said over the phone from his home in Lexington, Ky.

Mr. Wilkerson said the River Hospital program was able to provide him care that the Army could not.
The River Community Wellness Program, which is the only civilian institution in the country to offer an outpatient treatment program for soldiers with PTSD, came to River Hospital in February 2013 at the request of the Army.
read more here

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

10th Mountain Veteran: "end this tragedy of suicide among our troops and veterans"

Rate of veterans committing suicide has not changed since those days. President Obama is not more aware of all of this than he was back in 2008 while still on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. He went to the Montana National Guards to talk to Spc. Chris Dana's family after he committed suicide.

Nothing has changed yet members of Congress still push bills that only repeat what already failed and in the end, only the veterans are held accountable for leaders failures. In the end, they are still suffering and no one has been held accountable to them for their lives.
10th Mountain veteran shares his story of near-suicide
JAN 12, 2015
"I felt damned. I felt terrible. I felt hopeless. I felt like there was nothing to look forward to. What was I going to do — go back over there and die myself or put up with much more misery? So I put the gun in my mouth and I’m reaching for the safety," he said.

Former Fort Drum soldier Stephen Carlson in his home in Washington, D.C.


Since 2001, more active-duty American soldiers have killed themselves than were killed in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama acknowledged the soaring suicide rate in the United States military in a speech in North Carolina last summer. Obama said, "We have to end this tragedy of suicide among our troops and veterans. As a country, we can't stand idly by on such tragedy, so we're doing even more.”

The Pentagon responded with new tools to reach troubled servicemen and women, things like more mental health counselors, and regular screening for post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries.

But a powerful stigma persists among the rank and file that getting help for having suicidal thoughts is a sign of weakness. Many soldiers simply don’t trust the military’s medical system.

This is the story of one former Fort Drum soldier who never asked for help and almost pulled the trigger.
Carlson said he used to think suicide was a coward's way out. He said even brave men and women struggle. He hopes by sharing his story, others will summon their courage and speak up too.
read more here

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Deployed Soldier Victim of Identity Theft, Mom Charged

Police: Mother Used Soldier Son's Identity, Stole Thousands From Bank Account
Hudson Valley News
By: Michael Howard

An Orange County mother is facing serious charges after police say she stole money from her son while he was on active duty. Time Warner Cable News reporter Michael Howard has that story.

Over the past year and a half, state police say 46 year old Pearl Smith, 46, used her sons identity to withdraw more than $27,000 dollars from his personal bank account.

"It's even worse when it’s around these times of the year, and it probably doesn’t help that it’s a family member let alone your mother," said Lt. Michael Drake.

Investigators say it all started when her son, a U.S. Army soldier returned from Afghanistan, and noticed someone was withdrawing money from his account.

“Just over $27,000 had been taken from his bank account from Wells Fargo, this is while he was back at Fort Drum in Watertown," said Lt. Drake.
read more here

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fort Drum Soldier's death in Afghanistan

Fort Drum soldier dies in non-combat related incident in Afghanistan
June 10, 2014

Logar Province, Afghanistan (WSYR-TV) - A Fort Drum soldier has died from a non-combat related incident while serving in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense announced on Tuesday.

34-year-old Spc. Terry Hurne of Merced, Calif., died on Monday in Logar province while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Hurne was assigned to the 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum.
read more here

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

10th Mountain mourning loss of 2 soldiers in Afghanistan

2 Drum soldiers killed in Afghanistan, DoD confirms
Army Times
Apr. 30, 2014 - 05:37PM

Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, 20, left and Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II, 24, were killed in separate locations, according to DoD announcements released Wednesday.
Two soldiers from 10th Mountain Division were killed Monday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department has confirmed.

Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II, 24, and Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, 20, were killed in separate locations, according to DoD announcements released Wednesday.
read more here

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fort Drum Soldiers in Afghanistan Running Marathon in Remembrance

Fort Drum soldiers to run shadow Boston Marathon in Afghanistan
Watertown Daily Times
From left, Capts. Mike Giaquinto, Matt Peterson and Stephanie Stuck of the 101st Airborne Division pose with Boston Marathon shirts in Afghanistan before today’s running of a shadow race comparable to the Boston Marathon.

Days before runners take to the streets for the Boston Marathon on Monday, deployed Fort Drum soldiers and other military personnel will take part in their own version of the iconic race today in Afghanistan.

Rather than the windy roads by sites like the Ashland clock tower and Boston College, or the crushing climb of Heartbreak Hill, 600 entrants from a range of units and countries will run 26.2 miles on the roads of Bagram Airfield.

This year’s race was organized by Capt. Lukasz Willenberg, a chaplain in the 10th Mountain Division’s headquarters who ran in Boston last year.

The Barrington, R.I., native completed the race, for a fourth consecutive year, about two hours before a set of bombs went off near the race’s finish line at Copley Square.

After a beautiful day of running and beating a personal best time, “all the magic of that day was ruined.” Capt. Willenberg said he and other entrants planned to run in honor of soldiers who have died in Afghanistan, along with victims of last year’s bombings in Boston.
read more here

Monday, March 24, 2014

Budweiser Super Bowl solider ad nearly blocked by Army

Fort Drum soldier's Budweiser Super Bowl ad nearly blocked by Army: Report
By Geoff Herbert
March 24, 2014

"A Hero's Welcome" wasn't welcomed by everyone, according to a new report.

Emails obtained by Foreign Policy reveal Budweiser's popular Super Bowl commercial featuring a Fort Drum soldier was nearly blocked from airing. U.S. Army officers apparently considered a cease-and-desist order three days before the NFL championship game over concerns the 60-second ad violated military policies against active-duty members endorsing private companies or "glamorizing alcohol."

The spot showed Lt. Chuck Nadd, a helicopter pilot returning home from Afghanistan to a parade in his honor. He and his girlfriend ride a carriage pulled by Anheuser-Busch's famous Clydesdale horses, red-white-and-blue confetti fills the sky, and Nadd hugs his flag-waving mother in an emotional climax.

"Every soldier deserves a hero's welcome," the Super Bowl XLVIII spot's message said.
read more here

Budweiser Parade for Soldier Slammed

Winter Park Welcomes Home Soldier in Style

I was there. Nadd didn't get handed a beer when he climbed onto the wagon. He didn't pop the tab when he went to the podium to say thank you to the huge crowd waiting over two hours for him to get there because weather delayed his flight from Fort Drum. No one in that crowd held Budweiser signs or cans of Bud.

If the Army squashed this day for the people of Winter Park to show their love and devotion to all the men and women serving that Nadd represented that day then it would have been pretty pathetic.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fort Drum Soldier's Wife Fights For Life

Fort Drum soldier's wife fights for her life after giving birth to premature twins
by Dora Scheidell
Posted: 03.14.2014

SYRACUSE -- Port Byron native Jenna Hinman, 26, was 30 weeks pregnant with twins when she suddenly couldn't breathe. Her husband Brandon, a soldier at Fort Drum called 911.

"I actually got down next to her so her stomach was on me so I could feel it and it got really intense with her screaming," says Hinman.

Doctors quickly realized she needed an emergency C-section. She gave birth to twin girls weighing three pounds each, but she still couldn't breathe and started coughing up blood. Jenna and her babies were transferred to Crouse Hospital where Gyn Oncologist, Dr. Wiley Bunn has been monitoring the situation.

"Her lungs are so involved with tumor that they don't work. And right now they're not working at all," says Dr. Bunn.

What Jenna didn't know during her pregnancy, is that she is suffering from an extremely rare form of cancer called Choriocarcinoma that forms in the placenta.

"If you ask how many of those patients come in like Jenna with such acute illness, it's a lot less common than one in 160,000," says Dr. Bunn.
read more here

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Soldier made famous in Super Bowl ad visits Fort McCoy

Soldier made famous in Super Bowl ad visits Fort McCoy
Ocala Star Banner
By Andy Fillmore
Published: Friday, February 21, 2014

FORT MCCOY — U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chuck Nadd visited the Veterans of Foreign Wars Veterans Retirement Village in Fort McCoy on Thursday.

Nadd, the pilot of a Blackhawk helicopter on at least 240 hours of missions in Afghanistan, gained notoriety during the Super Bowl when Budweiser aired its “A Hero’s Welcome” commercial featuring him and his fiancĂ©e Shannon Cantwell and most of residents of his hometown of Winter Park.

The commercial came out of a VFW program to honor one returning serviceman representing many. Cantwell, a native of Mobile, Ala., and a staff member with Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, entered Nadd’s name in the drawing.

After his name was drawn, the VFW became involved with the company that produced the 60-second commercial as well a 5-minute documentary that included VFW members sharing their homecoming experiences. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Al Lugo, director of the village, and members of the staff there, along with other local VFW personnel, were involved in the project.

For the two productions, Cantwell started a campaign to get Nadd’s friends and former classmates at Trinity Preparatory School of Winter Park assembled, along with his mother and hundreds of town residents.
read more here

This is the video I shot from right in the middle of the huge crowd.

This is from Budweiser