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Archives: April 2011


Ranger regiment steps out of the shadows for ceremony at Stadium High

Some of Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most elite and secretive soldiers took to Stadium High School Friday night to shed some light on their latest deployment to Afghanistan.

After 10 years of war, the event was the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment’s first post-deployment awards ceremony to take place in a public setting. They hope the appearance will help the public get a better understanding of the country’s Special Operations Forces.

“To a lot of people, we’re kind of like this dark matter nobody understands,” said Capt. Brendan McCarthy, 26, of Tacoma. “It’s good to be here showcasing ourselves because, I

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Airman raised in Edmonds among nine killed in Kabul mass shooting

An Air Force major who grew up in Edmonds was among nine trainers killed this week in a mass shooting at the Kabul Airport, the Defense Department announced today.

Maj. Philip Ambard, 44, makes his home in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he was an assistant professor at the Air Force Academy’s Department of Foreign Languages.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Ambard is a father of five who joined the Air Force 25 years ago.

“He pushed all of us,” his daughter, Air Force Lt. Emily Short told The Gazette on Thursday. “His word for us was ‘Don’t

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“Kill team” label reflects one side of the story

The phrase “kill team” took off in describing the five Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers who stand accused of murdering Afghan civilians last year during their deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. It’s the go-to label summing up heinous crimes.

I use the term in my reports because it’s the easy shorthand to describe the soldiers as they proceed through their courts martial at the base. It’s also the headline for The Rolling Stone story that elevated public interest in the case last month.

The phrase reflects the prosecution’s case that Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs joined a

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Washington Marine killed in Afghanistan

A Marine who grew up south of Yakima was killed in Afghanistan Sunday, the Yakima Herald-Republic reports.

Joe Jackson, 22, was on a foot a patrol in south-central Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device detonated next to him, his faster father told the newspaper.

Here’s an excerpt from the Yakima Herald-Republic story:

“On Monday, (foster father Shawn) Marceau sat between two Marines at the Marine Corps Reserve office on Tahoma Avenue in Yakima. Head cast down, fists clenching at times, eyes watering, he recalled the young man he raised from the age of 12.

“‘(He) was my road

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Stryker “kill team” suspect aims to get case dismissed

The youngest of five Stryker soldiers accused of murdering Afghans last year is in court today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord asking an Army judge to dismiss the case against him.

Defense attorneys for Pfc. Andrew Holmes, 20, are challenging the prosecution’s case on several fronts. Their efforts include:

  • Arguing that prosecutors violated Holmes’ right to a speedy trial by confining him for nearly a year. The Uniform Code of Military Justice says soldiers accused of crimes should be brought to trial within 120 days unless their defense appeals for delays.
  • Appealing to have Holmes released from jail in advance

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Madigan to open community clinic in Puyallup

Madigan Army Medical Center on Monday is opening a community clinic in Puyallup, aiming to free up capacity in its main hospital while providing more services for military families living off Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The Army plans to open a second community clinic in Olympia this fall. Each would be able to care for more than 8,000 soldiers and military family members.

“These clinics allow us to provide quality health care closer to where patients live,” said Col. Dallas Homas, Madigan Healthcare System commander.  “We’re excited to be able to expand the quality health care our families currently

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Lawyer says alleged “kill team” member is being released from Army jail

One of five Stryker soldiers accused of murdering Afghan civilians last year is being released from confinement at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, his lawyer said today.

Spc. Michael Wagnon, 30, is “about as happy as can be,” defense attorney Colby Vokey said.

Wagnon is expected to face a court martial in June and he could be sentenced to life in prison if he’s convicted of murdering an Afghan noncombatant during a patrol with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in February 2010.

His lawyers told Army Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks on Thursday that Wagnon was not a flight risk for

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Stryker “kill team” suspect asks judge to release him from pre-trial confinement

A Stryker soldier who allegedly helped murder an Afghan civilian last year asked an Army judge today to release him from confinement at Joint Base Lewis-McChord while he awaits his June court martial.

Spc. Michael Wagnon has been in jail since June with four of his fellow platoon mates who also face charges that they murdered noncombatants during a deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

He’d be the first to go home if Judge Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks grants his request.

Wagnon, 30, believes he’s been kept in confinement because the Army views him as a “media risk,”

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