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Archives: Jan. 2011

Jan.
31st

Army to prosecute JBLM soldier for Afghan murder

The Army announced today that it will prosecute the fifth and final member of a group of Stryker soldiers who allegedly murdered Afghan civilians during patrols last year despite a review that cited weaknesses in the case against the soldier.

The announcement is a setback to Spc. Michael Wagnon, 30, whose family had hoped that the Army would dismiss charges against him after an investigating officer reviewed the case in November and reported that there was little evidence against him.

That report went to Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the senior general at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, who determined the Army has

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Jan.
28th

JBLM soldier pleads guilty to drug use during deployment

The Army on Friday won its third guilty plea in its investigation into misconduct among Stryker soldiers who were deployed to southern Afghanistan last year.

Pfc. Ashton Moore, 20, of Severna Park, Md. faced the fewest charges among a group of 12 soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division who were accused of crimes at Forward Operating Base Ramrod.

Five of his platoon mates are accused of murdering three Afghan civilians during patrols. Others allegedly beat up a fellow soldier.

Moore pled guilty to using hashish during the deployment. He was demoted to private and must forfeit

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Jan.
28th

Idaho soldier to face life in prison over alleged Afghan murder

The Army is moving forward with its case against the youngest of five Stryker soldiers accused of murdering civilians in Afghanistan last year while it awaits a decision from an appeals court about whether photos of the alleged victim should be released.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes, 20, of Boise, Idaho will face a court-martial where he could be sentenced to life in prison, the Army announced Friday.

He’s charged with murdering a noncombatant, participating in a conspiracy to harm Afghans, possessing a finger taken from an Afghan corpse and using drugs during his deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

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Jan.
28th

Air wing reservists home from Iraq, Afghanistan

About 30 reservists in the 446th Airlift Wing are home this week after four-month assignments supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The airmen had a range of jobs at bases in Europe, supply hubs in Southwest Asia and in Iraq, the Air Force said Friday.

Senior Airman Vikash Prakash of Camano Island is back in the states with about a month to get ready for a new baby at his home, he told an Air Force public affairs officer.

“My wife was pregnant with our fourth child while I was gone,” he said. “I check in with her every

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Jan.
25th

Judge sets April court date for alleged ringleader of Stryker “kill team”

The alleged ringleader of a Stryker “kill team” that murdered Afghans for sport is headed to trial on April 4, an Army judge announced today.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 26, did not issue a plea at his arraignment in a Joint Base Lewis-McChord courtroom. He was accompanied by his wife, Chelsy, and he did not speak except to confirm that he understood the charges against him and wanted to keep the two lawyers who have been representing him.

Gibbs is the main target in the Army’s investigation into suspected war crimes that were committed on patrols from Forward Operating Base

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Jan.
24th

Army retiring last of its Huey helicopters at Yakima Training Center

Goodbye, Huey.

The Army Air Ambulance Detachment at the Yakima Training Center on Wednesday is retiring the last of its UH-1 Huey helicopters.

The Army’s bringing out all the stops to mark the passing of the iconic Vietnam-era chopper. Former UH-1 Huey pilot and Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bruce Crandall (Ret.) is the guest of honor at the helicopter’s retirement ceremony. The guest speaker will be Col. Phillip E. Courts (Ret.), a former commander of the 9th Aviation Battalion who flew UH-1s on two tours in Vietnam.

UH-1 helicopters went into production in 1956 and the Army started

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Jan.
21st

Look for more Army convoys on South Sound roads

Sure, South Sound drivers noticed traffic thickening last year as thousands of soldiers returned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord from combat deployments in the Middle East.

Now they’ll start to see more military vehicles on highways as the base picks up the tempo for training.

Next week, the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is scheduled to hit Interstates 5 and 90 on its route to the Yakima Training Center. Expect to see convoys of up to 25 vehicles, including the brigade’s eight-wheeled Strykers.

Convoys are expected to run at off-peak driving hours. They’ll become a regular sight as the base prepares

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Jan.
19th

Virtual world developed at JBLM helps soldiers explore PTSD causes, symptoms

Virtual soldiers can experience adrenaline-pumping combat scenes in the latest video games. Real veterans might want to check out a new Pentagon video game whose main challenge is comfortably navigating a visit to the mall.

The Defense Department today unveiled the “T2 Virtual PTSD Experience,” a project that lets users explore the causes and symptoms of combat trauma on the battlefield and at home.

It’s intended to enable soldiers and their loved ones to learn about post-traumatic stress in an anonymous setting on Second Life, a popular virtual reality platform that can be downloaded for free.

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