Showing posts with label Virginia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Virginia. Show all posts

Friday, March 6, 2020

Retired Major General's two charities shut down by Virginia AG


Center for Public Integrity
Sarah Kleiner Reporter
March 5, 2020

FALLS CHURCH, Virginia — The Virginia attorney general’s office has shut down two veterans charities that allegedly misused $13 million in donations from unsuspecting Americans.
An undated photo of retired Army Maj. Brian Arthur Hampton (
The Circle of Friends for American Veterans and the Center for American Homeless Veterans were the focus of a 2017 Center for Public Integrity investigation, along with Put Vets First! PAC, a related political action committee all based out of the same Falls Church office.

The organizations promised to help homeless veterans with food, shelter and job training, but they spent almost all of their money on professional telemarketers, which Public Integrity has also investigated.

As part of a settlement agreement with the state, retired Army Maj. Brian Arthur Hampton, the founder and operator of the three groups, has been permanently banned from soliciting donations and from serving any financial role for other nonprofits.

He also must split $100,000 among three charities “which provide real support” to homeless veterans, according to a news release issued today by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office. The charities are: Virginia Supportive Housing, the Bob Woodruff Family Foundation and Homes for our Troops.
read it here

Friday, January 24, 2020

Officer Katie Thyne killed in the line of duty, was Navy veteran from New Hampshire

‘It’s OK to cry’: Emotional Newport News police chief calls officer killed in line of duty a hero

by: Sarah Fearing
Posted: Jan 23, 2020

“There is a lot of healing that needs to take place. There is no timetable for that,” said Chief Drew.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew holds a news conference to provide details about a deadly traffic stop Thursday night. Officer Katie Thyne died in the line of duty.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Speaking through tears, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew identified the officer who died in the line of duty Thursday night as Officer Katie Thyne.

Chief Drew provided new information about the investigation and Officer Thyne during a Friday morning news conference.

Officer Thyne was originally from New Hampshire. She was a Navy veteran and a reservist. She joined the Newport News Police Department in 2018 and was assigned to the South Precinct. She leaves behind her mother and stepfather, a brother, her two-year-old daughter, and a loving partner. She was 24-years-old.
While the driver’s side door was open, Chief Drew said the driver accelerated. Officer Thyne was unable to get out of the way and was dragged for about a block. The driver crashed into a tree at Walnut Avenue, pinning Officer Thyne. She died from her injuries at Sentara Norfolk General.
read it here


‘Raegan will know her mother’: Friend, day care provider remembers Officer Katie Thyne

JANUARY 27, 2020

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - "When I leaned her over the casket, I said, 'Kiss your mommy,' and she did and it broke my heart," said Jenifer Locey.
Locey has been providing day care for 2-year-old Raegan Thyne since she was born and had also become great friends with Officer Katie Thyne.

"It's so hard to look at Raegan and know she is not going to see her anymore," said Locey.

Locey described the toddler as innocent, bubbly and always smiling.

"She is just like Katie - always happy, just a spitfire. She is the favorite at daycare," Locey told News 3.
read it here
Long line of police cars escort fallen officer Katie Thyne home

Monday, September 16, 2019

Sailor wins lawsuit after baby boy left brain damaged

US government settles allegations Navy doctor mishandled child birth for $11.5 million

Scott Daugherty
SEP 14, 2019

A sailor gave birth five years ago to a baby boy at a Navy hospital. Things went wrong and the child suffered severe and permanent brain damage.
The Walter E. Hoffman United States Courthouse. (Thé Pham)

If the delivery happened in Virginia, any possible malpractice award would be capped at $2.15 million.

But Petty Officer 1st Class Deardre Bebeau gave birth in Guam, where local law doesn’t cap malpractice claims. The difference meant millions of dollars for her family.

The federal government agreed Friday to pay $11.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Bebeau and her husband, Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Bebeau Sr., both of Virginia Beach.
read it here

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Iraq veteran's Mom read son died in newspaper...Dad had to tell him bad news...reporting

Fake obituary stuns Chesterfield veteran and his family: ‘I woke up to the sound of my mom crying’

CBS 6 News
JUNE 13, 2019

“We can confirm that a private citizen submitted this false information to the Times-Dispatch through our online obituary portal,” said Jason Dillon, vice president of advertising for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Justin Felger joined the United States Navy shortly after 9/11 but found his calling as an infantryman in the Virginia Army National Guard, which put him on the front lines in Iraq.
“I wanted to fight for the red, white, and blue,” Felger said. “Every time we went out there, it was every corner, every step we took you had to worry about losing your life.”

Staff Sgt. Felger survived two combat tours.

But last month he became a fallen soldier, or so it was written.

“Woke up to the sound of, well, my mom was crying,” Felger said. “My dad had to break the news to me.”

An obituary published in the May 9 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch claimed that the Chesterfield native had died unexpectedly at the age of 36.

Someone had also created a separate memorial website.

The minutes and hours that followed were chaotic.
read more here

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Double murder-suicide claimed lives of 3 Navy Corpsmen

Police: 3 Navy corpsmen dead in double murder and suicide

Associated Press
MAY 7, 2019

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Authorities in Virginia say they're investigating the shooting deaths of three active duty service members in what appears to be a double murder and suicide.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Tuesday that the two women and one man were Navy corpsmen. The two women were stationed at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. The man was stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.

Police say the two women were shot to death at a 7-Eleven in Portsmouth late Saturday night. The man was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a car parked nearby.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service identified the women who died as 19-year-old Shianne Soles and 23-year-old Meaghan Burns. Soles is from Veradale, Washington, and Burns is from Massachusetts.

NCIS identified the man as 22-year-old Donavon Moora, of New York.
go here for updates

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Col. Gregory Townsend died helping stranger on the road

Army hero killed while helping stranded driver along Virginia highway

APRIL 24, 2019

The 46-year-old served two tours in Iraq (February 2003 – February 2004 and August 2009 – August 2010) and one in Afghanistan (October 2009 – January 2010). He arrived at Fort Lee in July 2017 where he assumed command of the brigade.

FORT LEE, Va. - A decorated military veteran was killed after stopping on a Virginia highway to help a stranger change a flat tire on April 18, according to a Fort Lee spokesperson.

Col. Gregory Townsend, commander of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade at the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, died Monday.

"As he finished changing the tire, the vehicle fell on him," Fort Lee spokesperson Dani Johnson said. "He was taken by a life flight helicopter to VCU Critical Care Hospital, Richmond, Virginia, where he received treatment until his death."

The incident on Route 460 happened April 18.

"The loss of Col. Greg Townsend is devastating for his family and the Army," Brig. Gen. Douglas M. McBride Jr., 55th Quartermaster General and commandant at the Quartermaster School.
read more here

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Murder-suicide investigation includes police officer

Murder, suicide suspected in case involving Big Stone Gap police officer

Bristol Herald Courier
Nick Shepherd
Mar 12, 2019

JASPER, Va. — Authorities believe two people found dead in Lee County, including a Big Stone Gap police officer, was the result of a murder-suicide.

Early Sunday morning, the Virginia State Police were called to a traffic crash on Route 23 at the 28 mile marker in Lee County. A 2015 GMC pickup truck had been traveling north on Route 23 when it ran off the side of the highway into the median, according to a news release.

VSP Trooper D.G. Giles arrived at the crash and found two people dead inside the truck. They were identified as Bailey S. Smith, 21, of Duffield, Virginia and Emeri A. Connery, 26, of Coolville, Ohio. Both had gunshot wounds.
read more here

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Staff Sgt. Steven McQueen gets to keep helmet that save his life

Soldier Gets Back Battered Helmet That Saved His Life During Insider Attack
By Matthew Cox
4 Mar 2019
"I was surprised that I was able to react [as] quickly as I did because I knew what had happened instantly; I knew I was shot," McQueen, 30, told reporters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on Monday.
Staff Sgt. Steven McQueen, and his wife Aaron, with a plaque featuring a portion of the Enhanced Combat Helmet that saved his life during an insider attack in Afghanistan last year. ( Cox)
Staff Sgt. Steven McQueen still can't believe how quickly he got to his feet after a bullet from an enemy rifle struck him in the back of his helmet during an insider attack in Afghanistan last year.

Two gunmen opened fire on McQueen and fellow soldiers from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade from a distance of 20 feet during the Sept. 3 shooting.

"I was surprised that I was able to react [as] quickly as I did because I knew what had happened instantly; I knew I was shot," McQueen, 30, told reporters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, on Monday.

The bullet tore a large hole in the ballistic material, but the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) stopped the round as it was designed to do.
read more here

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Vietnam veterans need help getting to Dogwood Memorial

Veterans urge improved access to Dogwood Vietnam Memorial

CBS 19 News
By Courteney Stuart
Feb 28, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The Dogwood Vietnam Memorial in McIntire Park was the first Vietnam War memorial in the country, and some veterans are having a hard time getting there.

“These guys fought for the freedom of Vietnam. Now, we should have the freedom to get to this memorial to give them the respect that they are due," said Jim Carpenter, an Army veteran who has been leading the charge to improve access to the memorial.

Carpenter’s childhood friend, James Marion Kardos, was killed in Vietnam and is one of the 28 men remembered on plaques at the memorial.

McIntire Park has undergone a multi-million dollar overhaul in the past couple of years, including the new YMCA and skate park, but that renovation didn't include the addition of parking near the memorial.

Instead, visitors to the memorial must park across Route 250 at a parking area in front of the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad station.

As Carpenter illustrated on a recent morning, that means a lengthy walk, crossing seven lanes of traffic and climbing a winding hill up to the memorial.
read more here

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Good story on support turned into a bad dream

Good cause, bad reporting

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 17, 2019

This morning, I opened my email and saw something that I knew I had to read. It has veterans and motorcycles in it. 

I am reading how Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association donated a huge check to help veterans in Virginia, thinking what a great thing to do...but that thought went poof soon afterwards.

I had to read something like this,"Most issues stem from combat in recent conflicts." Bet the reporter still uses "22" as if that is supposed to mean anything.

Isn't it bad enough that after all this time few have learned the lessons Vietnam veterans fought so hard to provide? Have we sunk so low that it has become acceptable to forget all about them or the other generations who came home with the same wounds? Safe bet they do not even know that the majority of veterans in this country are over the age of well as being the majority of the veterans committing suicide.

So what started out as thinking a great story was in front of my eyes, it is just another bad dream. I may just go back to bed!
Veterans' motorcycle club raises awareness, funds for veterans' support
February 16, 2019

Members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 27–2 presented Carlos Hopkins, Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, and members of Virginia’s Veterans Services Foundation with a donation in the amount of $20,000. The Veterans Services Foundation directly funds the Virginia Veteran and Family Support program, which supports veterans by providing resources and access to behavioral health, rehabilitative, supportive services, and veteran care centers.

Funds are raised each July at the chapter’s annual Bull Run III motorcycle event, an 80-mile ride through picturesque Virginia. The first two battles of Bull Run took place on the Manassas battlefield during the Civil War; however, a civil war continues to be fought. Bull Run III was organized to bring awareness to the battle still being waged by veterans as they encounter debilitating issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and veteran suicide which continue to bring death, casualties and missing men. Most issues stem from combat in recent conflicts.
read more here

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Veteran works full time for Post 76 and fears becoming homeless?

‘I’m scared’: He is 76, a veteran and struggling to find an affordable apartment

The Washington Post
Theresa Vargas
February 16, 2019

Jeffrey Snure doesn’t want to end up homeless.

He told me this on a recent morning as we sat down to eat breakfast at a Latin American restaurant next to a 7-Eleven.
Jeffrey Snure, a 76-year-old veteran, works full time for the U.S. Postal Service. He fears he will soon become homeless. (The Washington Post)

“Am I scared?” he said. “Better believe I’m scared. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know how to keep it from happening.”

Lately, he has paid more attention to a man who walks through his Northern Virginia neighborhood who appears as if he’s barely avoiding life on the street.

“Every time I see him, I get very nervous,” Snure said. “I don’t want that to happen to me.”

Snure is a 76-year-old veteran. He also works full time for the U.S. Postal Service. He shouldn’t be worried about sleeping on a sidewalk. And yet, in recent weeks, as he faces eviction from the apartment where he has lived for more than two decades, Snure has found himself feeling increasingly frustrated, lost and, yes, even scared, as he searches for a rarity in the region: an affordable place to live.

He said he has worked for the Postal Service for more than two decades, and he spends six days a week fixing mail-sorting machines as an electronic technician. For that, he said he earns about $66,000 a year.
read more here

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Virginia Navy Veteran needs help after house fire

Henrico veteran – living in tent – needs your help fixing his fire damaged home

WTVR 6 News
JANUARY 23, 2019

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Fifty-six years ago Walter Flanagan was 17 years old and eager to start his stint in the U.S. Navy. The 73-year-old Henrico man has many stories to tell of his days in the military and working in the fishing industry.
He’s not nearly as comfortable talking about his current situation.

“Every morning I would get up and look at this mess and say oh, what’s going to happen?” Flanagan explained.

In mid-December, fire damaged his West End home.

Flanagan said the house used fuses.

Financial challenges kept him from being able to upgrade the electrical system. Because of that, the insurance company would not cover the home.
read more here

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Veterans in other news October 18, 2018

Actors and athletes have agents to help them find work. Now vets with PTSD can too.

Staff Sgt. Robert Simonovich takes cover during a combined mission with the Iraqi army in Lutafiyah, Iraq, on April 16, 2007. Simonovich was wounded days after this photo was taken, and later spent years in therapy dealing with post-traumatic stress from the injury. (Staff Sgt. Martin Newton/Army)
WASHINGTON — After Bob Simonovich’s post-traumatic stress disorder left him anxious around large groups, loud noises and unpredictable environments, he was unsure what type of career he’d be able to handle in his post-military life.So his therapists lined up a job for him with a baseball team.“I loved baseball my whole life,” said Simonovich, a former Army staff sergeant injured in a bomb blast in Iraq 11 years ago. “But when I got back, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to go to a game again. The crowds, the fireworks, it’s just something I didn’t think I’d be able to do. read more here

Navy veteran, father of 3 killed in Norfolk shooting

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — The Norfolk Police Department said Ernesto Crespo, a father of three children and a Navy veteran, was killed in a shooting Friday on West Ocean Avenue.Crespo's coworker and friend Ernie Santini said Crespo was with his children when he was shot. Norfolk Police tracked a suspect's car to a house 5 minutes away from the shooting. After a prolonged standoff, police officers found another man, Robert Dabney, dead inside that home. read more here

Many Families Will Never Return to Tyndall After Hurricane, Officials Say

The same cannot be said for base housing. Thomas said all 867 homes sustained damage, most of them with roofs torn off...Beginning Wednesday, and continuing through Oct. 21, Tyndall families who evacuated before Hurricane Michael came ashore as a Category 4 storm will be allowed back onto the base to survey the damage to their homes and take away valuables, the officials said. read more here

Pair of Navy Helicopters Collide on Runway in Japan

The mishap was labeled Class A, which means it resulted in at least $2 million or more in damages.
"There is an investigation ongoing, which will reveal the extent of the damage and what the crews were doing on the ramp," said Cmdr. Ron Flanders, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces. read more here

Three Troops Wounded in Suicide Bombing at Bagram Airfield

The bomber attacked a patrol, a U.S. military spokesman with Resolute Support in Kabul said. The nationality of the three wounded service members was not provided. The Taliban in a statement claimed responsibility for the attack. read more here

Vets group calls on DOD, VA to help stop fake news targeting veterans, troops

WASHINGTON – One year ago, Vietnam Veterans of America discovered a Facebook page was using its name to spread disinformation to nearly 200,000 followers. Facebook disabled the site at VVA’s request, citing violations to intellectual property.The incident sparked an effort at VVA, a congressionally chartered veterans service organization, to find more social media pages that target veterans and servicemembers with sensationalized news and hyper-partisan political content. read more here

Monday, October 15, 2018

Sailor in birthday suit arrested romping in Busch Gardens?

Naked, drunk sailor assaults police officer in Busch Gardens parking lot, cops say

The News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (TNS)
Published: October 15, 2018

Videos posted to social media on Friday captured something you wouldn’t expect to find outside a family-friendly theme park.
In a Facebook post, Brandon Ragans said a naked man was running around a parking lot at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., “attempting to get in a vehicle with strangers.”

“A citizen put him on the curb then once the officer showed up he became combative and had to be tased,” Ragans wrote.

A naked man can be seen in one of the videos laying on the pavement and resisting a police officer’s attempt to restrain him. Bystanders then jump in to help hold the man down, the video shows.

It turns out the 21-year-old sailor was intoxicated on alcohol and illegal drugs, Richmond television station WWBT first reported.
read more here

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Iraq War Veteran Built Memorial By Name

Iraq War veteran‘s breathtaking tribute to the fallen: ‘It’s truly amazing’
CBS 6 News
JULY 1, 2018

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- On the banks of Gregory’s Mill Pond, veteran James Howard has found a slice of heaven on earth.
“It's very, very secluded [and] kind of tucked away. That's why I love it,” Howard said. “I roll right down to the lake and take it all in. It's medicinal out here. I think it does that for many people that come visit too.”

The Iraq War veteran, who is one with nature at the pond, enjoys sharing his "happy place" with others.

“Every day I wake up and I’m just thankful,” Howard said.

As a result, twice a month, Howard welcomes veterans from McGuire VA Medical Center as an escape through his non-profit, Veterans and Athletes United.

But Howard always dreamed of building an addition. Not a pool or man cave, but something more meaningful dedicated to those who will never have a chance to visit.

“It was extremely powerful to go down there and see it for the first time,” Howard said.

The new 28-foot Fallen Heroes Memorial has been a dream of Howard's for four years.

The memorial, funded and built by veterans and volunteer groups, honors the 6,941 service members killed in the War on Terror.
read more here

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Young widow struggles to have husband buried?

Young Iraq War veteran ineligible for burial in North Carolina state cemetery
KMBZ 98.1 FM
JUNE 09, 2018
"At this point, [Amanda] would like her husband to rest in peace, so she is moving forward with Arlington, because she can't handle the process," Lacey said. "She doesn't have the strength to fight it, or keep living."

(NEW YORK) -- The mother-in-law of an Iraq war veteran is pleading for change in North Carolina after her daughter’s late husband was denied burial in a state cemetery.

Capt. James Christian Gallagher, a third-generation member of the United States armed forces, described by his family as having love for his country that "never wavered," is being held in a morgue, waiting to be interred.

"How can the state of North Carolina turn their back on this. The rejection of allowing CPT Gallagher to be buried in North Carolina State Veterans cemetery," Gallagher’s mother-in-law Wendy Lacey wrote on Facebook.

The post, shared more than 100 times on Facebook, condemns North Carolina for its “unconscionable” decision.

Gallagher, a 2008 West Point graduate, was stationed in Fort Lee, Virginia, with his wife and three daughters, when two weeks ago he suddenly passed away at the age of 31.

Amanda, Gallagher’s wife, decided to move to North Carolina, to be near her family in a time of need.

"When my daughter decided that she needed help, it was the right fit to have her husband buried here," Lacey told ABC News.

Initially, Amanda was told her husband could be buried at the North Carolina state veterans, Sandhill Cemetery, but the funeral home denied the family a plot, citing ineligibility.

A free burial plot is provided at a North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery for state veterans; however, they must meet certain residency requirements. Among those requirements is that the veteran has at the time of death been a legal resident of North Carolina for at least 10 years, according to the North Carolina State Veterans Cemetery Program.
read more here

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

More to the story of police chase stolen armored personnel carrier

This is the headline
CRAZY CHASE: Soldier steals armored vehicle from National Guard base, police say
But this should have been,
Yabut is a first lieutenant assigned as the company commander of the 276th Engineer Battalion and has more than 11 years of service. He deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 with the Illinois National Guard, according to the Guard.
read more here

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Why would Navy SEALs use drugs?

Navy: SEALs Tested Positive for Illicit DrugsAssociated PressMay 4, 2018

Navy official tells The Associated Press that cocaine is the drug found in Navy SEALs in Virginia.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The Navy says members of its SEAL teams have tested positive for illegal drugs.

The Navy released a statement Friday saying 11 members of its Naval Special Warfare units on the East Coast tested positive for "controlled substances."

According to a Navy official, the drug was cocaine, and commanders are investigating to determine if all the alleged offenses happened at the same place and time. go here for more
US Special Forces struggle with record suicides, report from 2014

Ret. Admiral William McRaven
No one – not the top warrior nor the highest star admiral - is immune to war’s toll.

“Ever since I’ve come back it’s been like that,” McRaven said later, during a brief interview. “I’ve told one story a dozen times and I still can’t get through it.” from 2015

There are a lot more report here, but, I think you get the point. If SEALs are using drugs, there has to be a reason for it.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sailor found dead in a Virginia Beach hotel

Sailor found dead in a Virginia Beach hotel day before she was to report for duty

Virginian Pilot
Brook Vergakis
November 4, 2017

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A 31-year-old sailor was found dead in an Oceanfront hotel room a day before she was scheduled to report aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, authorities said Friday.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Simmons’ body was discovered in a room at the Ocean Beach Club Resort at about 3:20 p.m Wednesday, according to Virginia Beach police.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Virginia Sailor and Pregnant Wife Ambushed and Shot

Navy sailor, pregnant wife shot while trying to buy phone using OfferUp

October 30, 2017

"When they pulled up, six individuals [came out] and then four others surrounded the car. There was one shooter and that one shooter is the one who approached the car and instantly started firing shots," the father said.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- A Navy sailor and his pregnant wife were in the hospital Monday after being shot multiple times while trying to buy a cellphone through an app used to buy and sell personal items called OfferUp.
The young couple, who didn't want WTKR to use their last name, were just starting their lives together.

Frederick joined the Navy in January at the top of his class and married his love, Emily. They were stationed in Virginia at the start of the summer.

On Saturday night, they were using the OfferUp app to buy a cellphone from an 18-year-old girl.
read more here