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Archives: June 2011

June
23rd

Stryker officer posed with corpse to show battlefield success

Some of the first images in a set of notorious pictures showing Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers posing with dead Afghans were taken with a sense pride that the Army was fighting and killing its enemy, a Stryker officer testified Thursday.

Capt. Roman Ligsay told an Army investigator at Lewis-McChord that he posed for one of the pictures in November 2009 even though he knew soldiers were ordered not to take photos of casualties for personal use. He said he felt a “sense of accomplishment” when he saw an Afghan who was killed by an American helicopter.

To him, the image

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June
23rd

Soldier says sergeant didn’t plant evidence near Afghan corpse

Several of Staff Sgt. David Bram’s platoon mates testifying over the past two days contradicted allegations that he plotted to kill Afghan civilians during a deployment last year and kept a “drop weapon” to cover up suspicious incidents.

They’ve characterized him as an exceptional squad leader who cared for the soldiers he commanded.

“He was the kind of leader guys just wanted to follow,” said Lt. Stefan Moye.

Bram’s in court for the second day of a pretrial hearing. He’s accused of joining discussions about murdering civilians, planting evidence near a corpse and abusing Afghan detainees. Five of

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June
22nd

Morlock distances sergeant from Afghan murder

Pvt. Jeremy Morlock today backed away from a previous statement connecting a staff sergeant in his platoon to the January 2010 murder of an Afghan noncombatant.

Morlock, however, testified that Staff Sgt. David Bram was well aware of schemes in his platoon to murder civilians in combat-like scenarios.

Bram’s in court today at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for a pretrial hearing. He’s accused of failing to report crimes, participating in discussions about murdering noncombatants, planting evidence near a corpse and assaulting a fellow soldier.

Morlock is the Army’s star witness in its prosecution of 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldiers who

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June
22nd

Stryker sergeant to build defense with statements from fellow accused soldiers

Staff Sgt. David Bram’s defense attorney appears ready to call more than a dozen of his former platoon mates to the witness stand today at a pretrial hearing for the Stryker soldier.

Bram had a similar pretrial hearing in the fall at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but the Army leveled more serious charges against him last month. He’s now accused of participating in discussions about how to kill civilians during his deployment to Afghanistan, failing to report crimes and planting evidence on a corpse.

Five of his platoon mates allegedly murdered three Afghan noncombatants last year. Bram’s witness list includes three

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June
21st

JBLM engineers leaving for Afghanistan deployment

About 600 soldiers in Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 14th Engineer Battalion are preparing for a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan, where they’ll be charged with clearing roads of IEDs.

The battalion has deployed three times since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began 10 years ago. This will be its first mission in Afghanistan.

It’ll be on the ground as the U.S. presence in Afghanistan draws down somewhat. President Obama is expected to announce this week that he’ll withdraw the 30,000 “surge” soldiers in Afghanistan by the end of 2012.

The engineers plan to mark their upcoming deployment with a

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June
20th

Alleged “kill team” leader gets new hearing; asks to be released from jail

The alleged ringleader of a Stryker “kill team” that murdered Afghans for sport last year will get another opportunity to see the Army’s evidence against him before going to trial, an Army spokesman said today.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs is the main target of the Army’s investigation into the murders of three noncombatants last year in southern Afghanistan. Prosecutors and other defense attorneys depict Gibbs as the “Mansonesque” leader who persuaded other soldiers to join him in killing civilians.

Through his attorney, Gibbs denies the charges and says the killings took place in legitimate combat.

He appeared in court in

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June
20th

Stryker soldier linked to Afghan murders due in court this week

A Stryker soldier linked to the murder of an Afghan civilian during a deployment last year will get a chance to see new evidence against him at a pretrial hearing this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Prosecutors allege Staff Sgt. David Bram of Vacaville, Calif., should have done more to stop civilian killings when his platoon mates discussed ways to murder civilians in combat-like situations.

He’s accused of joining his platoon mates in scheming to kill civilians, assaulting Afghans, failing to report crimes, assaulting a fellow soldier, impeding an Army investigation and planting evidence near an Afghan’s corpse.

Five of

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June
20th

Washington National Guard Chinook crews back home from Afghanistan

About 70 Washington Army National Guard soldiers came home over the past few days from their yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, where they moved soldiers and supplies across the battlefield.

The soldiers serve in B Company, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment. They didn’t have a big homecoming celebration because they came home in small groups after a post-deployment stop in Fort Hood, Texas.

“We are incredibly proud of B Company, and the contributions they have made to the cause of freedom.  The Guard family is excited to have them back home,” Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Lowenberg, commander of the Washington National

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