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Archives: March 2011

March
31st

Rumsfeld: Stryker “kill team” “much worse” than Abu Ghraib

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this week called the unfolding investigation into a Stryker “kill team” a “much worse” crime than the allegations of detainee abuse at Iraq’s Abu  Ghraib prison that took place on his watch.

Rumsfeld’s no longer in the chain of command, but his comments show that the “kill team” is getting much attention from the public since Der Spiegel and Rolling Stone published photos of two Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers posing with an Afghan civilian they allegedly murdered.

Here are his remarks to The Washington Times regarding the casualty photos.

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March
30th

Growth to slow at JBLM after new aviation brigade arrives

The addition of a new combat aviation brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord signals the tail end of the Army’s rapid expansion there, a base spokesman said.

The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade will begin building up at Lewis-McChord as early as this June, bringing 1,400 news soldiers and 44 more helicopters.

The Army said today the brigade will draw on existing resources stationed at Lewis-McChord, Fort Wainwright, Alaska and Fort Hood, Texas. Lewis-McChord would have a total of 143 helicopters, though not all of them would be assigned to the new brigade.

After the new brigade’s in

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March
30th

Karzai “shocked and hurt” by photos from Stryker “kill team”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai today said he was “shocked and hurt” by photos of Afghan civilians allegedly murdered last year by Stryker soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

“They killed our youth for entertainment,” he said in remarks published today by Der Spiegel.

His statements were his first public remarks about the alleged “kill team” in the 5th  Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division whose members reportedly murdered three civilians and kept body parts as war trophies.

Karzai has known about the Army’s investigation into the soldiers since May, but he didn’t comment on them until Germany’s Der Spiegel newsmagazine and

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March
29th

Lewis-McChord to gain 1,400 soldiers in aviation units

The Defense Department plans to station another 1,400 soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to build up a combat aviation brigade, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Tacoma, announced today.

He and other congressional leaders were briefed on the plans this week. The decision is in keeping with proposals the Army has advanced over the past year to add two new aviation brigades, one at Lewis-McChord south of Tacoma and another Fort Carson, Colo.

The brigade at Lewis-McChord will be developed by adding the new soldiers and another 44 new helicopters to resources that are already stationed at the base. Fort Carson

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March
28th

Lewis-McChord medics and engineers returning from Afghanistan

Hundreds of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers are coming home early this week from deployments to Afghanistan.

The first group is celebrating its homecoming tonight, when the headquarters company of the 62nd Medical Brigade returns from a yearlong deployment where its medics oversaw care for more than 6,000 trauma patients. Its commander, Col. John Collins, was the top Army doctor in the country since the company hit the ground last April. About 100 soldiers from the company served with him on this mission.

Another group of about 150 soldiers from the 864th Engineer Battalion are scheduled to reunite with their friends

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March
28th

How common are casualty photos like ones gathered by Stryker “kill team?”

Here’s an open question: The latest photos and images related to an alleged Stryker “kill team” in Afghanistan are nauseating, but how common are they among soldiers serving on the front lines with digital cameras in their pockets?

Two of the images published by Rolling Stone yesterday are clearly linked to a shooting that Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers allegedly staged in January 2010 to cover up a murder. The rest come from apparently legitimate fighting. They’re gruesome, even showing a body apparently dismembered in a helicopter strike.

I know I’m not the only journalist who’s seen

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March
28th

Rolling Stone publishes more photos from Stryker “kill team”

Another batch of “kill team” photos from Afghanistan hit the web last night, this time from Rolling Stone.

This set, like one published last week in Der Spiegel, shows two Stryker soldiers in the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division posing separately with the corpse of an Afghan they allegedly murdered on Jan. 15, 2010 in a combat-like scenario they staged.

Rolling Stone’s photo gallery also includes gory images of a corpse soldiers in the Stryker platoon discovered when they investigated the scene of a helicopter strike on a Taliban fighter.

The Army kept the images under wraps since

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March
25th

Washington National Guard squadron deploying to Afghanistan for air support mission

About 20 Washington Air National Guard airmen are heading to Afghanistan tomorrow, where they’ll work with Special Operations teams and help provide close-air support.

The soldiers belong to the 116th Air Support Operations Squadron, 194th Regional Air Support Wing. Their farewell ceremony for their four-month deployment will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday in building No. 92 at Camp Murray.

“We are extremely proud of the 116th.  They are well trained, experienced and ready to accomplish any mission they are given,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Lowenberg, the commander of the Washington National Guard.

The National Guard described the squadron’s

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