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Archives: Nov. 2010

Nov.
19th

Monday hearing set for soldier accused of Afghan killing

Spc. Michael Wagnon says he didn’t know his squad leader orchestrated a February encounter in which they shot an Afghan man who did not pose a threat to them during a patrol.

The Stryker brigade soldier will have a chance to make that argument Monday in a Joint Base Lewis-McChord court where he’ll appear in public for an Article 32 hearing that will help determine whether he faces a court martial for murdering the Afghan.

Wagnon, 30, is the oldest of five soldiers in his 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division platoon who allegedly killed civilians in combat-like scenarios drawn up

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Nov.
18th

Border patrol recruiting officers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

Military veterans looking to continue working for Uncle Sam can attend a recruiting fair Friday and Saturday for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Recruiters are stopping at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Nelson Recreation Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days.

Customs and Border Protection says its employees can earn up to $75,000 within three years and receive generous federal benefits. It’s in the market for officers who would target terrorism, drugs and weapons smugglers at various borders and ports.

The agency says veterans make up 31 percent of its new hires. Veterans, active duty soldiers and reservists can attend

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Nov.
18th

Holmes’ attorney files motion to open photos in Afghan killings case

I got a little ahead of myself Tuesday when I reported that the attorney representing Pfc. Andrew Holmes had filed a write with the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals to force the release of photographs of an Afghan man Holmes allegedly killed in January.

Dan Conway, Holmes’ attorney, filed the motion today. In it, Conway asks the court of appeals to compel an investigating officer to consider the photos in a public hearing. Right now, they’re being concealed with about 60 others taken from Holmes’ platoon mates at Joint Base Lewis McChord’s Criminal Investigations Divisions. Col. Barry

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Nov.
16th

Holmes’ father ‘discouraged’ by lack of evidence for murder charges against his son

Forest Holmes is heading home to Idaho “discouraged” by what he called the “lack of evidence” the Army presented against his son to substantiate the charge that he murdered an Afghan civilian in a staged incident earlier this year.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes, 20,  could face life in prison if the charges are forwarded to a full court martial trial. A pretrial hearing concluded today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He’s the youngest of five 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers accused of killing civilians during their deployment to southern Afghanistan.

The Army pointed to several witness statements that suggest Holmes knew

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Nov.
16th

Sergeant facing assault charges to appear in JBLM court tomorrow

A sergeant accused of assaulting a lower-ranking soldier who blew the whistle on drug use in their platoon is scheduled to appear in a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Court tomorrow for an Article 32 hearing.

Sgt. Darren Jones is one of 12 soldiers from his platoon in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who stand accused of various crimes during their deployment to Forward Operating Base Ramrod in southern Afghanistan earlier this year. Five of them are accused of murder; Jones is in the group of seven facing lesser charges.

He allegedly joined an assault on Pfc. Justin Stoner in early

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Nov.
15th

Afghan murder plot allegedly included talk of killing children

Staff writer Adam Ashton filed this last update from a military courtroom. Look for the full story in Tuesday’s News Tribune, and watch this blog Tuesday for updates from the second day of the hearing:

Pfc. Andrew Holmes was aware of sadistic schemes two of his platoon mates plotted to kill Afghan civilians, but his attorney today argued that he was not a part of those plans.

Holmes, one of five soldiers in his platoon facing murder charges, told investigators that Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs and Spc. Jeremy Morlock had plotted to kill Afghan children by luring them to

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Nov.
15th

Stryker murder scandal details shared with top level of Afghan government

Reporter Adam Ashton provides this update from a military courtroom:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was briefed about the Army’s investigation into a “rogue” Stryker platoon in southern Afghanistan while the soldiers were deployed there earlier this year, an Army investigator testified today.

Special agent Ismael Camero said Karzai learned of the investigation from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of American forces there. McChrystal, in turn, was briefed by a lieutenant colonel who oversaw a military police battalion.

Camero said that the Army was careful to contain information about the investigation because it didn’t want to inflame the

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Nov.
12th

Court date set for youngest soldier in group accused of killing Afghans

Pfc. Andrew Holmes was itching to join the Army on his 18th birthday to fight for his country. By his 20th, he was sitting in a jail at Joint Base Lewis-McChord facing charges that he killed a civilian, had possession of a finger taken from a corpse, kept photographs of casualties and smoked hashish during his recent deployment to southern Afghanistan.

He’s the youngest of five Stryker soldiers in his platoon in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who stand accused of murdering civilians. His family and his attorney argue that Holmes was in an impossible position serving under a

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