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Archives: Jan. 2012


Lincoln High graduate dies in Afghanistan training accident

Tacoma residents are mourning a recent Lincoln High School graduate who died in a training accident in Afghanistan this week.

The Army has not yet released details on how Pvt. Neil Turner lost his life. His father on Facebook today wrote “My son, Neil, was killed during a training exercise yesterday in Afghanistan. When I get all the findings, I will post them.”

Leland Turner’s announcement rippled through a community of east Tacoma families who watched Neil grow up. He was the oldest of four brothers, and neighbors saw him keeping an eye out for his siblings.

“He gave his

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4th Brigade: Lockdown was necessary to prevent culprits from destroying evidence

Leaders from the infantry brigade that restricted 100 soldiers to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the past six days say the lockdown helped preserve evidence for an investigation into $600,000 worth of missing equipment.

“Had commanders not restricted the unit as they did, the potential culprits would have had the freedom to dispose of key evidence, interfere with witnesses, or otherwise impede the investigation,” said Maj. Jennifer Willis, spokeswoman for the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Army criminal investigators are continuing to search for the lost equipment, which includes night vision goggles, laser sights and rifle scopes.

The restrictions on C Company

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Army ends JBLM lockdown; officers continue search for missing gear

The Army is nearing the end of its investigation into missing weapons accessories at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and it is releasing about 100 soldiers who have been kept under lockdown for the past six days.

Soldiers from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division were allowed to go home tonight at 5:45 p.m., the Army said in a news release. They have been generally restricted to their battalion headquarters since Wednesday.

Criminal investigators are still looking for equipment including night vision goggles, laser sights and rifle scopes. They Army values the equipment at $600,000.

“The Army takes property accountability very seriously,”

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Army says missing JBLM equipment is worth $600,000

The Army Criminal Investigative Command confirmed that the haul of missing weapon accessories at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is worth about $600,000.

A company of soldiers in the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division remains on lockdown today while CID conducts interviews and completes its investigation. The soldiers generally have been confined to their battalion headquarters since Wednesday, though they’ve been able to attend church and see family members at certain meals.

Army spokesman Maj. Chris Ophardt said CID is planning a town hall on the lockdown for soldiers and the families this Saturday.

March Forward!, a anti-war veterans advocacy

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Army delays last “kill team” case, postponing trial for two months

The Army put its last case in its “kill team” investigation on hold for another two months to give the defense team for the accused Spc. Michael Wagnon time to wrap up its preparations.

Wagnon, 31, allegedly shot at an Afghan noncombatant in February 2010 to help two other soldiers cover up an illegitimate killing. He has pleaded not guilty, arguing that he shot at the Afghan because he thought the victim fired first.

Wagnon’s court-martial was expected to begin Jan. 20. It has been delayed until March 12, his attorney, Colby Vokey, said today. Wagnon faces life in prison

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Slight differences in how WA lawmakers see defense reductions playing out here

Yesterday Democratic Reps. Norm Dicks and Adam Smith told us the Puget Sound has a good chance of coming off relatively well under the new defense strategy President Obama disclosed yesterday, but I didn’t have time to explain the differences in their perspectives.

Both are defense heavyweights on Capitol Hill, with Smith from Tacoma serving as the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee and Dicks from Belfair taking the role as ranking member on the House Subcommittee on Defense Appropriations.

Dicks feels the region’s Navy resources will remain a priority under Obama’s plan because

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WA lawmakers say Puget Sound should fare well under Obama’s new defense plan

President Obama’s new defense strategy plays to the strengths of the Puget Sound’s military resources and could shield the region from severe cuts in Pentagon spending, lawmakers said Thursday.

The new defense guidance prioritizes threats along the Pacific Rim and maintains spending on the nation’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers.

That direction could translate to steady work for aircraft carrier maintenance at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton and a carrier consistently anchored in Everett, Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, said. Naval Base Kitsap should be able to continue with its $700 million upgrade to its explosive handling

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MSNBC backpedals on story linking Mount Rainier murder to suspect’s PTSD

My city editor at my last newspaper often advised to never be caught “whistling past the graveyard” by knocking someone else’s work – One day, karma will catch up to you and the mistake shall be yours.

At the risk of defying his advice, check out how MSNBC backpedaled today on its “deeply troubled” story connecting the suspect in Sunday’s shooting of a ranger at Mount Rainier National Park to the effects of war-related trauma.

In story No. 1, the writer bought a narrative labeling Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a “base on the brink” because of several high

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