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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Death of Fort Riley Soldier Under Investigation

Fort Riley soldier found dead off post
Military Times
Charlsy Panzino
January 17, 2018

A Fort Riley soldier was found dead in an off-post residence on Monday, according to the Army.

Spc. Hunter Schmidtke, an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, was found unresponsive in the home in Junction City, Kansas.
read more here

Monday, January 1, 2018

Fort Riley Deaths Investigated

Details in soldier deaths show cases of hanging, gunshot wound

The Mercury
Stephanie Casanova
December 31, 2017

The U.S. Army has provided details on investigations into three Fort Riley soldier deaths that occurred in 2017, two of which appear to have been self-inflicted.
Records indicate the cases are still under investigation by local agencies, and the Army continues to say the cause of each death is undetermined. The Mercury requested information on seven of the 12 non-combat-related soldier deaths that have occurred since June 2017, those that appear to have been suicides. The Army so far has returned documents on three.
In the first, a Junction City Police Department detective found Staff Sgt. Garett Swift, 37, “hanging in the backyard of his residence” in Junction City at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 4, according to one report.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Fort Riley Solider's Death Under Investigation

Fort Riley soldier found dead in home

The Mercury
December 19, 2017

A 1st Infantry Division soldier was found dead in his Junction City home Saturday, according to Fort Riley officials.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Johnson, 46, an artillery mechanic with Battery F, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., was found unresponsive in his home by a friend who called 911. He was pronounced dead by first responders.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Racist Message Delivered by "Victim"

Racist messages at Air Force Academy were written by student who claimed to be targeted
Chicago Tribune
Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post
November 8, 2017 

Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria gives a speech about race relations to U.S. Air Force cadets during at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Sept. 29, 2017. (Jerilee Bennett / AP)

(This is what happened after it was reported.)

The speech, which the academy posted on YouTube, went viral. It was watched nearly 1.2 million times, grabbed headlines nationwide, and was commended by the likes of former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
(Reported but actually, did not happen the way it was reported.)
On Monday, police in Riley County, Kansas, revealed that a 21-year-old black man, Dauntarius Williams, admitted to defacing his car with racist graffiti as a "Halloween prank that got out of hand." Scrawled in washable paint were racist messages telling blacks to "Go Home," "Date your own kind," and "Die." 
The incident provoked controversy and concern at nearby Kansas State University, especially after Williams spoke with the Kansas City Star, claiming to be a black student who was leaving the school because of the incident. He was not, in fact, a student.
read the rest here 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stray Kitten Saved Soldier and More!

Pet Tales: A kitten saves a soldier's life
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By Linda Wilson Fuoco
June 10, 2017

After suffering a brain injury in Iraq, Army Sgt. Josh Marino “was in a really, really bad place. I did not want to deal with it anymore.”
Exhausted from his struggle with the “invisible wounds” of post-traumatic stress disorder, he planned to end his life one night in 2008 at Fort Riley in north central Kansas.

“I took out one of my knives ... I wrote a letter on my computer” and went outside to smoke one last cigarette.

Then he heard a soft “meow,” and a small black-and-white kitten emerged from the bushes.

“I broke down crying.... He saved my life ... I stopped thinking about all my problems and started thinking about his problems and what I could do to help him.”

Mr. Marino recounts his story in a 6½-minute-film, “Josh and Scout,” featured on, the website of a non-profit organization whose mission is “revealing the impact people and animals have on one another.”

Mr. Marino, 37, is a native of Turtle Creek who now lives in Brookline with his wife, Becky, and their daughter, Penelope, who was born Feb. 24. They have three cats and three ferrets.

After eight years of service, he was medically discharged from the Army in July 2009. He moved back to Pittsburgh, got married in September 2010, and earned a master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling. He now works in the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a program operated by the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It was an honor to serve,” Mr. Marino said. “I am still serving. I am just serving in a different uniform.

“I love my job. I work with people with disabilities every day.”

His counseling includes telling veterans about the kitten who saved him. He directs them to Humane Animal Rescue shelters in Homewood and the North Side to look for animals who need a home.

read more here
Mutual Rescue
Josh and Scout, a Mutual Rescue™ Film

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Army Couldn't Defeat Moms Battle to Get Proper Care of Sons

Fort Riley bureaucracy frustrated moms who sought care for soldier sons
Topeka Capital Journal
Jonathan Shorman
October 1, 2016
The Martin and Ewing families’ ordeals played out in the weeks before the suspension and firing of Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby, the commander of Fort Riley. Grigsby remains under investigation, though the Army has been tight-lipped about the reason.

Stephen Martin, an Army specialist, had an autoimmune disease that was eating away at his nerve endings, gradually eroding his ability to feel in his limbs. And it was getting worse.

“As I get on the plane, I get an email from the doctor saying my son will never fully recover, because of these gaps in treatment, he’s in the condition he’s in, that he’s going to be receiving treatments the rest of his life,” Tracey Martin recalled.

She was in the midst of a battle with military bureaucracy to secure long-term treatment for her son and extricate him from the tentacles of Fort Riley, which she said kept him from getting the care he needed as he lost feeling in more of his body.

Beginning in early August, Tracey Martin, an attorney in Joplin, Mo., used military connections, members of Congress and stern dispatches to Pentagon officials to pressure Fort Riley for her son’s transfer. It worked; Stephen Martin now is receiving regular treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and shows signs of improvement.
“How do you explain that soldiers willing to risk life and limb fighting the enemy are instead losing life and limb to the brokenness of an army administration that seems like it can’t be bothered to fight for them?”
read more here

To discover more about how our wounded were treated, start with the reporting done by Dallas Morning News two years ago Injured Heroes Broken Promises

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fort Riley Soldier Died in Iraq

Soldier from Glendale killed in crash while serving in Iraq
Los Angeles Times
Ryan Fonseca
January 30, 2016

An Army sergeant from Glendale serving in Iraq was killed earlier this week in a rollover accident, Army and Department of Defense officials said.
Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter, 30, from Glendale, suffered fatal injuries after his armored vehicle rolled over at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq. (Courtesy of the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division)
Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter, 30, suffered fatal injuries after his armored vehicle rolled over at Al Asad Airbase in Al Anbar Province, Iraq, the DOD confirmed Friday.
read more here
Fort Riley soldier dies in Iraq
Jan 31, 2016

FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A Fort Riley soldier has died on Thursday while serving in Iraq.

Sgt. Joseph F. Stifter died on Thursday from non-combat-related injuries, the post said. 

He was a field artillery cannon crewmember with the 1st Infantry Division Soldier with the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team

"Sgt. Stifter was an exceptional Soldier and leader in our battalion," said Col. Miles Brown, commander of the 2nd ABCT.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of a member of the 'Dagger' family."
read more here

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fort Riley Soldier Died at Gun Range

Soldier identified apparent suicide at Ogden gun range 
By The Mercury
December 22, 2014

Police have identified the man who died at an Ogden shooting range Saturday as a Fort Riley soldier, and they believe his death was a suicide.

Pfc. Milton Barrera, 20, died of gunshot wound to the head Saturday afternoon at Ogden’s Best Gun Range, according to a report from the Riley County Police Department.

Police said they do not believe his death was accidental. read more here

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fort Riley Soldier's Body Found in Apartment

Fort Riley soldier found dead in apartment 
Great Bend Post
May 27, 2014

JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Junction City are investigating the death of a Fort Riley soldier in an off-post apartment.

The serviceman was identified Tuesday as 26-year-old Shawn Michael Thomas. Police responding to a report of a shooting Monday found Thomas dead of a single gunshot wound.

Investigators said in a news release that Thomas was assigned to E Company of 3rd Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment.
check here for updates

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Family being forced to move while Soldier serves in Afghanistan

Military families near Fort Riley being forced to move
WDAF News Kansas
by Sean McDowell
January 15, 2014

MILFORD, Kan. – They’re a military family based near Fort Riley. As of next week, they say they’ll have no place to live.

The Mondick Family lives in a campground in Milford, Kansas. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is forcing them to leave. Teresita Mondick says she and her three young children have made their home in a camper near Ft. Riley for about six months.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns the land, and as of next Thursday morning, its policy says she’ll have to take her 40-foot camper and find a new place to live.

The Mondicks live in a camper while Teresita’s husband, Sgt. Jeremy Mondick, is serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

A spokesman with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told FOX 4 News the campgrounds were never meant to be permanent homes, and that residents were notified months ago they’d need to leave. “I understand policy is policy, and regulation is regulation,” Mondick said. “They have to toe the line, but there can always be exceptions to the rule.”

Teresita also served in the military, and she’s accustomed to being relocated for deployment. She said her family still owns a home in Tennessee near Fort Campbell, and can’t afford additional housing costs.
read more here

Friday, January 10, 2014

Black Hawk crash that killed 6 soldiers "enemy action"

Enemy fire caused Black Hawk crash that killed 6 soldiers
Army Times
Jan. 9, 2014
Maj. Gen. Paul Funk, commander of 1st Infantry Division, pauses to remember fallen soldiers Jan. 9 in a memorial ceremony. (Army)

Enemy fire caused the helicopter crash that killed six soldiers in Afghanistan in December, officials said today.

Five soldiers from Fort Riley, Kan., and one based in Europe were killed Dec. 17 when their UH-60 Black Hawk crashed in Zabul in southern Afghanistan. A seventh soldier survived the crash.

The deaths make the crash one of the worst casualty incidents in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.

“The families of the soldiers killed in the Dec. 17 helicopter crash have been notified that enemy action caused the crash and loss of life,” a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force wrote in an email to Army Times. “Although the investigation is not yet complete, we informed the families at this time out of respect so they know how their loved ones died. The investigation is ongoing and more details will be provided when the investigation is complete.”
read more here

Dignity Memorial lays Homeless Veteran to rest

Military honors for homeless veteran
The Wichita Eagle

Local affiliates of the Dignity Memorial Homeless Veterans Burial Program sponsored a military funeral for homeless Army veteran Joseph Pluimer at Resthaven Cemetery.
Mike Hutmacher/The Wichita Eagle, Jan. 9, 2014

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Troops killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash from Fort Riley and Germany

Department of Defense
Release No: NR-083-13 December 19, 2013

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of six soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died Dec. 17, in Now Bahar, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered as a result of a helicopter crash. The incident is pending investigation.

Killed were:
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, 34, of Heavener, Okla.,

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, 35, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and

Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, 29, of Willow Spring, N.C.

They were assigned to the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, 28, of Marietta, Ga., assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, 30, of Elkhart, Ind., assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, Regimental Support Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.

Spc. Terry K. D. Gordon, 22, of Shubuta, Miss., assigned to 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Garfield Elementary School video tribut to veterans

If you want to see on the most adorable videos for Veterans' Day, here it is. Click the link at the bottom.
Garfield Elementary students thank veterans through song, recognition
Clay Center Dispatch
By Ryan D. Wilson News Editor
November 5, 2013
More than a hundred veterans attended Monday’s Veteran’s Day program with the CCCHS Marty-Snodgrass Auditorum mostly full.

For the two-and-a-hour program, Garfield Elementary fourth- and fifth-graders sang 15 patriotic songs, showed a visual presentation of Veteran’s Day posters, played ‘Before You Go’ as a tribute to WWII veterans, wrote and read essays, performed Taps and distributed gift bags with thank-you cards to veterans in attendance. Over and over throughout the program, the students thanked veterans for their service.

“It’s my prayer and hope that these students realize what the have ... and it’s my prayer and hope they realize what men and women (serving in the military) did for them,” music instructor Sue Tiffany said at the end of the program.

The Clay Center American Legion Post No. 101 also participated through presentation and retirement of the flags and a platoon from Fort Riley’s Fourth Cavalry, 1st Squadron also attended the event. Capt. Matthew Mattingly said the soldiers were honored to be part of the program.

Two veterans, Walter Knitter and Dave Jermark talked a little about their experiences as part of the program.
read more here

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Veterans should have different treatment in court and combat

Veterans should have different treatment in court and combat
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 15, 2013

I really hate to disagree with veterans but dislike it even more when they are serving today. After all, they are the people risking their live while I get to sit here on the computer reading what they say. I read it, say a quick prayer and move on. Once in a while I send a private email to address what I believe they are not seeing. Then there are times like this when it has to be addressed publicly because it is just too important to ignore.

A Fort Riley Company Commander wrote a commentary on Tampa Bay Online "Veterans courts send wrong message about vets" saying that the public's impression of veterans is they are "victims" in need of special treatment.

Veterans should be treated differently and the military admitted this the day they trained them to be different. If people have the wrong idea then maybe it is time to shoot the messenger because facts have delivered what the message truly is. Veterans are not like the rest of us. It is a problem when citizens don't get it but when members of the military don't get it, then it is a reflection of the messengers failing to understand what the message means.
"I am a member of the newest generation of veterans. I’m currently an active duty commander watching many of my friends and subordinates transition back into civilian life. I am keenly aware of the tribulations they have and will face, especially the internal struggles that multiple combat deployments create.

But even the horrors of war are no excuse to be treated differently from the citizenry. There are prevalent resources available for veterans dealing with these issues provided by the public and private sectors; all a veteran needs to do is ask for assistance."

If veterans were not different then there would be no need for veterans courts and the other 93% of the population would just ignore them the same way they ignore everyone else until they need them. Cops and firefighters pay seems to be cut first and they lose jobs but then the public complains because they don't show up when they are needed. All these first responders want to do is take care of their communities and provide for their families while being willing to pay the price with their lives. Everyday they get called out, they know it could be the last time they can help someone else.

The next part is that had these veterans received what they needed from the "prevalent resources" then there wouldn't be 55 a day no longer wanting to live. We can talk all we want about the suicides while ignoring the attempted suicides proving that what is available has not worked. Only about half of the veterans needing help seek it yet 57% of the suicides happened after they sought treatment.

Now think of this piece of news. "Veterans Affairs officials have seen a steady rise in the number of veterans seeking mental health care in recent years, from about 927,000 cases in fiscal 2006 to more than 1.3 million in fiscal 2012."

Those are just a part of what has proven massive failures. There are over 900 suicide prevention programs. Veteran suicide prevention lines have received hundreds of thousands of calls since 2007 and "saved" over 30,000.

Over 31,000 were discharged with "personality disorders" instead of PTSD even though the military evaluates recruits for physical as well as mental health before giving them weapons and expecting them to be able to endure all the hardships of combat deployments.

"This program further amplifies the idea that our veterans should be pitied as victims because of their service in combat by distorting justice. This distortion is based solely on their status as a veteran. We should not give veterans special or preferential treatment in the eyes of the law."
This is a very troubling thing to read from a Commander. Whatever gave him the idea they are anything but survivors?

A quarter of Missouri suicides are veterans while in Oklahoma and Arizona, veteran suicides are double the civilian rates. Oregon reported a surge in their veterans committing suicide.

So what is the difference between veterans and civilians? It is in the comment I left on Tampa Bay Online.
I do not agree simply because the men and women serving in the military never have been the same as the rest of us. I never served but come from a family of many veterans. They are only 7% of the population with less than 1% serving today. People don't just decide to become "criminals" or do bad things after risking their lives for the sake of others to the point where their lives could be lost, without a reason. Most of it has more to do with PTSD than anything else. If they received what they needed during military service, then there would be no need for veterans courts. We've seen too many spending their lives behind bars after risking them serving the country. Veterans courts work for most but like anything else, not for all. If people have the wrong idea, then the messenger is at fault, not the veteran.
They are not criminals but they are in need of help so they do not do things that go against everything they believed in. They are not victims but they are survivors needing help to stay alive just as they had help to stay alive in combat.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Her husband came home, and the war came with him

'A Soldier's Wife': Readers are moved by family's struggles
LA Times
By Deirdre Edgar
September 10, 2013

“A Soldier’s Wife” in Sunday’s Times, the story of an Iraq war veteran’s struggles, moved readers with its stark narrative by Christopher Goffard and photography by Rick Loomis.

The story, which Goffard and Loomis spent a year and a half chronicling, followed the plight of Candace Desmond-Woods, an Irvine woman fighting to hold her family together as her husband, Tom, battles post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism.

Dozens of readers took the time to email The Times in response to the story.

Some of them said the intensely personal story gave them new insight into the challenges faced by veterans
read more here

If the government agencies are doing something and charities are doing something and colleges are doing something, then why the hell is this still happening? This was what my family life was like 30 years ago when nothing was being done!
Her husband came home, and the war came with him
September 8, 2013

Candace Desmond-Woods tries to comfort her husband, Tom, an Iraq war veteran who suffers from PTSD and alcoholism. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

One night her husband thought he was back in Iraq and tried to kick down the door of their home on Garden Gate Lane. He shouted something in Arabic she didn't understand. As a cavalry scout in Baghdad, he had crashed through countless doors on nighttime raids. The "hard knock," he called it.

She clutched their infant son, afraid of her husband for the first time. She wouldn't let him in. He stared at her through the glass panes. Didn't he recognize her? He shoved, elbowed, punched. The lock began to buckle. The glass shattered.

It was February 2012. The war, her own small piece of it, had come rolling down the block the month before, in the form of a 22-foot Penske moving truck. Her newlywed husband was at the wheel, having crossed the country from Ft. Riley, Kan.

Candace Desmond-Woods told herself everything would be fine, now that he was out of the Army. Their lives as husband and wife would really begin in this white-fenced rental home in Irvine, a master-planned city where every manicured block was an argument against uncertainty.

The war would crash through her careful plans in a hundred ways, large and small. She watched it empty her refrigerator and shut off her gas. She came to feel like one of its strangest casualties, a widow with a living husband.
read more here

If you think I'm kidding on this, read For the Love of Jack, His War/My Battle and know, how terrible it is to watch a story like this and remember all of it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Troops trapped 540 days in Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion

Wounded Soldiers languished 540 days in Fort Riley Transition System
Bob Brewin
August 8, 2013

Soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Riley, Kan., spent an average of a year and half -- 540 days -- working their way through a system that is supposed to determine their fitness for duty within a year, the Defense Department Inspector General reported yesterday.

The Army set up 35 transition units in 2007 to manage the care and evaluation of combat wounded, disabled or sick soldiers. Between June 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2012, 1,735 soldiers transitioned through the Fort Riley unit.

The service is required to process soldiers through the joint Defense-Veterans Affairs Integrated Disability Evaluation system, but there weren’t enough behavioral health specialists on staff at the installation or in the local community to meet the Army’s needs.
read more here

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Soldier Who Lost Family In Crash Busted For High Speed Motorcycle Chases

Soldier Who Lost Family In Crash Busted For High Speed Chases
By: Lindsey Rogers
Jul 25, 2013

GEARY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Nearly a year after losing his wife and children in a head-on collision, a Fort Riley soldier has been arrested in connection with several dangerous high speed motorcycle chases.

Bryan Alfred, 22, of Junction City, was the only member of his family who survived an accident last August in Marion County. He was arrested Wednesday, July 24, 2013 in connection with a series of pursuits by members of local and state law enforcement agencies in Geary County.

Alfred was taken into custody at the Fort Riley Provost Marshall’s Office on a Geary County District Court warrant charging him with Fleeing and Eluding While Engaging in Reckless Driving, and another count of Reckless Driving.
His wife, 20-year-old Amber Alfred, was killed in the crash along with the couple’s 2-year-old son, Josiah Alfred. Sources say Amber Alfred was also a Fort Riley soldier who worked as an x-ray technician at Irwin Army Community Hospital on post.

Another child, six-year-old Keith Johnson, who police also identified as the couple’s son (Bryan Alfred's stepson), was airlifted to Saint Francis Hospital in Wichita and was listed in critical condition in the days following the accident. He passed away from his injuries six days after the crash on August 16th, 2012.
read more here

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fort Drum 10th Mountain Division among soldiers heading to Afghanistan

DOD Identifies Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation

The Department of Defense today identified three units to deploy as part of the upcoming rotation of forces operating in Afghanistan. The scheduled rotation involves elements of one infantry brigade combat team (IBCT) with roughly 2,000 personnel; elements of two combat aviation brigades -- one with roughly 1,450 personnel and one with roughly 2,100 personnel to rotate in fall 2013 in support of the combatant commander’s mission requirements. The deploying units include:

3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.

1st Cavalry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas.

1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Riley, Kan.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Claim: Pill mill tied to Fort Riley soldier overdoses

Claim: Pill mill tied to Fort Riley soldier overdoses
Apr. 23, 2013
By Heather Hollingsworth
The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, MO. — A Kansas doctor was charged Tuesday with operating a pill mill for painkillers and antidepressants after police and Fort Riley officials raised concerns about overdoses — some of them involving soldiers and their families.

The U.S. attorney’s office alleged in a criminal complaint that Michael P. Schuster, 53, conspired to illegally distribute controlled substances. The charges were filed the same day that the FBI searched Schuster’s clinic, called Manhattan Pain and Spine. The clinic is in Manhattan, Kan., about 15 miles from Fort Riley, a U.S. Army base that is home to the 1st Infantry Division.

“Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom in a written statement. “Health care providers are a critical part of our effort to keep the public safe. Without proper controls, prescription drugs are just as dangerous as any street drug.”
read more here