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Archives: Sep. 2010

Sep.
30th

New 3rd Brigade leader: U.S. military should be like Wayne Gretzky

The next leader of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint-Base Lewis McChord is coming off an assignment at the School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth where he analyzed what he called “an era of persistent engagement” for U.S. forces.

Col. Charles Webster is to take command of the brigade at a ceremony Friday. He succeeds Col. David E. Funk, who has led the brigade since November 2007. With Funk, the brigade returned from a yearlong deployment in Iraq last month.Webster led a Stryker battalion in the Alaska-based 172nd Brigade from June 2004 to December 2006,

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Sep.
28th

Lawyers for Stryker soldiers give conflicting accounts of Afghan deaths

Yesterday’s pre-trial hearing for one of five Stryker brigade soldiers accused of murdering Afghan civilians showed that former platoon mates could wind up shooting holes in one another’s defense strategies as they proceed through the Army judicial system.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock’s attorney laid much of the blame for three suspicious deaths in southern Afghanistan at the feet of Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, the alleged mastermind of schemes to kill civilians in combat-like situations during the 5th Brigage, 2nd Infantry Division’s recent deployment.

That was no surprise, and other members of their platoon have said as much.

But Morlock’s attorney

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Sep.
27th

Platoon leader testifies about aftermath of third alleged murder

The leader of the platoon in which five Stryker soldiers allegedly murdered three Afghan civilians testified Monday afternoon that he was on the scene shortly after the third killing took place.

Lt. Stefan Moye said he took over the platoon on March 21, after the first two alleged murders in January and February. He was interviewing someone at the unit compound on the day of the third and final reported killing in May. He said he responded to the scene, where he found Spc. Jeremy Morlock and Spc. Adam Winfield, both in a prone position as if they’d been firing.

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Sep.
27th

No bodies, no evidence, says attorney for accused Afghan killer

News Tribune military writer Adam Ashton reports from a courtroom at Joint Base Lewis-McChord:

The attorney for Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock confronted two military investigators today over a lack of forensic evidence tying the Stryker brigade soldier to the three Afghan civilian murders he is accused of committing.

Morlock, 22, is in the first day of a pre-trial hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that will determine whether there’s enough evidence for a full court-martial proceeding. Investigators say he played a role in three deaths while deployed to Southern Afghanistan: one in which he allegedly threw a grenade over a wall,

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Sep.
27th

Soldiers plead 5th Amendment in Afghan civilian killing case

News Tribune military writer Adam Ashton reports from a Joint Base Lewis-McChord courtroom:

Fourteen soldiers invoked their 5th Amendment rights and refused to testify this morning at a court-martial hearing for a Stryker soldier accused of murdering three civilians in Afghanistan.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock is one of five soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division accused of killing civilians. He is the first of the group to go to an Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a pretrial hearing.

Col. Thomas Molloy, the investigating officer, called 18 government witnesses to testify, but only criminal investigators and

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Sep.
23rd

JBLM sets date for first hearing into alleged war crimes

Spc. Jeremy Morlock of Wasilla, Alaska, will be the first of five 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers accused of committing war crimes in Afghanistan to appear before a hearing that will help determine whether he will stand trial for the charges.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord announced today that Morlcok will have an Article 32 hearing Monday. It’s similar to a grand jury hearing, and it is expected to last one day. Afterward, a judge would recommend whether Morlock should stand trial.

Morlock allegedly plotted to murder Afghan civilians by creating scenarios in which the killing would appear combat related.

Charges against Morlock

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Sep.
23rd

Tacoma reserves wrapping up mission at Kuwaiti port

A team of Army reserves based in Tacoma is wrapping up its yearlong deployment at the Port of Shuaiba, Kuwait, where it supported missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar.

Twenty-four soldiers from the 647th Port Management Team deployed to the port last year. Maj. Tim Monaghan of Tacoma, the unit’s leader, said he was proudest of helping to send home the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a Joint Base Lewis-McChord unit that just returned from its deployment as the last brigade with a combat mission in Iraq.

Monaghan called Shuaiba the “world’s busiest military port.” He said the Tacoma soldiers  “worked 145 ships,

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Sep.
22nd

War crimes accusations drawing scrutiny to JBLM

Charges that five Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers  intentionally killed civilians on a recent deployment to southern Afghanistan gained national attention this week with stories in The Washington Post, The New York Times and USA Today.

That scrutiny also drew discussions on military blogs, including one maintained by Thomas Ricks, one of the premier chroniclers of the Iraq war. Publications with military audiences are weighing in, too, such as Army Times and Stars and Stripes.

The stories guarantee that many eyes will be watching when hearings begin in the

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