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Archives: July 2011


South Sound airmen honored for high-pressure medical flight to Antarctica

A risky flight to Antarctica under a tight deadline earned three South Sound reserve airmen commendations Friday for the roles they played in getting medical care to an ailing contractor at a science station on the icy continent last month.

They received the Air Medal, which recognizes “meritorious achievement” in flight, from Air Force Gen. Raymond Johns Jr.

Their June 30 flight from Christchurch, New Zealand to Antarctica’s McMurdo Station caught the attention of Air Force leaders because it involved flying under exceptionally difficult circumstances while providing medical care to the contractor.

The airmen have been restrained in describing their

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Latest C-17 Globemaster joins fleet at Lewis-McChord

A $200 million flying machine joined the fleet of C-17 Globemasters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord this week, and it could be one of the last new additions to the 62nd Airlift Wing.

The plane, called “The Spirit of the Medal of Honor,” is among about 55 C-17s at Lewis-McChord flying with the 62nd Airlift Wing and the 446th Reserve Airlift Wing. It’s the Air Force’s 211th C-17.

The Air Force will have 223 C-17s when it completes its current contracts with Boeing, according to Pentagon budget requests.

Airmen fly the C-17s worldwide out of Lewis-McChord, delivering supplies to

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For the second time, investigator finds scant evidence in “kill team” case against Wagnon

An Army investigator for the second time found scant evidence to substantiate the murder charge prosecutors pressed against a Stryker soldier who allegedly killed an Afghan civilian in a staged incident last year.

The new report is a boost for Spc. Michael Wagnon, 30, one of five Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers accused of making up a “kill team” during their deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Maj. Michael Liles’ report is especially challenging for prosecutors because he shows clear skepticism that the Army’s main witness can be trusted to tell the truth about the case.

That witness is

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Madigan opens new clinic at Lewis-McChord; seeks patients for Puyallup clinic

Military families can take advantage of two new Madigan Army Medical Center clinics, one at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and another in Puyallup.

Madigan cares for more than 1 million people every year and the new clinics could reduce some of the heavy patient traffic at its main hospital.

Madigan today is dedicating a $28 million clinic for active-duty families near its hospital on Lewis-McChord. The new clinic is replacing an existing building, and it’s adjacent to a dental clinic.  Madigan says the family and dental clinics will serve 15,000 patients a year.

Meanwhile, Madigan is bringing some services closer to

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“Kill team” testimony shows witnesses throwing, pulling punches

Admitted murderer Pvt. Jeremy Morlock last week testified that he’s been reading transcripts from the Army’s “kill team” hearings while he prepares to take the witness stand at his codefendants’ courts-martial.

It was hard to forget his studies when defense attorney Phillip Stackhouse asked Morlock who else knew about alleged schemes to murder Afghan civilians among Stryker soldiers at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in southern Afghanistan.

Morlock typically says he and four others carried out those plots while “the majority of the platoon” knew about them. It’s rare for him to identify someone who hasn’t already been accused of a

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Alleged “kill team” leader bragged about murder to medic, witness says

The Stryker soldier accused of masterminding schemes to kill Afghan civilians bragged to an Army medic about murdering a suspected Taliban leader in a staged combat incident, the medic testified today.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, 26, of Billings, Mont., is back in court for the second day of a pretrial hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He’s accused of murdering three Afghans last year during his deployment with the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division and persuading others to join him in war crimes.

Pvt. Robert Stevens, a former friend of Gibbs, testified today that Gibbs showed off unauthorized weapons and a

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Morlock describes a methodical murder at “kill team” hearing

Stryker brigade soldiers were open to talk of using “drop weapons” to murder Afghan civilians last year because it fit into other discussions about whether they’d need to plant evidence on legitimate killings to justify battlefield decisions, a private who’s pleaded guilty to murdering noncombatants testified today.

“It wasn’t so far-fetched,” Pvt. Jeremy Morlock said in court at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “The idea of drop weapons had always been around. It was a different spin that these weren’t drop weapons to cover your (expletive). These were drop weapons to kill someone.”

Morlock’s on the witness stand today testifying at a

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Alleged “kill team” ringleader due in court Thursday

The reported ringleader of a group of Stryker brigade soldiers who allegedly murdered Afghan civilians last year is due in court for a pretrial hearing tomorrow at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs of Billings, Mont. has denied the Army’s allegations that plotted to murder Afghans, killed three noncombatants and collected body parts from dead Afghans.

He had a similar pretrial hearing in November, but this will be his first chance to see the Army’s main witness testify against him. Pvt. Jeremy Morlock has since pleaded guilty to his own role in the three killings and alleged the Gibbs

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