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Archives: Aug. 2012

Aug.
30th

Report: Quran burnings revealed distrust at Bagram jail; changed plan for JBLM MPs

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s top Army police unit went to Afghanistan early this year with ranks of veteran soldiers experienced in running jails in Muslim countries. It incorporated cultural lessons in its training as its soldiers prepared for the nine months they’d spend managing the primary military prison in the war zone.

Yet on its first day overseeing the prison at Bagram Airfield, the soldiers in the 42nd Military Police Brigade found themselves at the center of the worst cultural misunderstanding of the 11-year-old war, one that cost the lives of six U.S. service members and 30 Afghans.

The

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Aug.
29th

Study shows VA claims backlog growing despite scrutiny, investments

A new analysis of backlogs at the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that former service members in the Puget Sound are waiting an average of 235 days to get their disability claims resolved.

The project by the Center for Investigative Reporting shows that the delays are greatest in urban areas, such as Oakland and San Diego. Check out the C.I.R. interactive map on wait times here.

Veterans are more likely to have their claims resolved more quickly in places like Boise, Idaho and Missoula, Mont.

The Center for Investigative Reporting’s Aaron Glantz points out that:

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Aug.
27th

UPDATED: Army confirms JBLM death is being investigated as a homicide

UPDATE: The woman’s  mother told The News Tribune Monday that the Criminal Investigation Division told her that her daughter was stabbed in the chest, that her son-in-law was being held in custody on base, and that he called 911 after his wife had bled out. She arrived at the base today, and said officials wanted to speak with her more tomorrow.

INITIAL POST: A spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command in Virginia today confirmed that a Saturday death at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was a homicide, but the military does not plan to release much more information today.

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Aug.
23rd

JBLM Stryker sergeant dies from wounds suffered in Afghanistan IED blast

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord Stryker sergeant died Wednesday in San Antonio, Texas from wounds he suffered earlier this month when he struck a homemade bomb in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province, the Defense Department announced tonight.

Sgt. Louis Torres, 23, of Oberlin, Ohio was serving on his second deployment with Lewis-McChord’s 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. He joined the Army in June 2008 and served with the 3rd Brigade in Iraq from August 2009 to June 2010.

On this tour, Torres served under a unit that trained specifically to work with Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan. He belongs to the brigade’s

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Aug.
23rd

Military sexual assault victim to speak at Tacoma screening of “The Invisible War”

The Grand Cinema on Friday is hosting a special screening of “The Invisible War,” a new documentary that draws attention to sexual assaults in the military.

Trina McDonald, a Navy veteran and sexual assault victim who was featured in the film, will host a Q&A following the 6:20 p.m. showing. McDonald was drugged and raped by military police officers at her Naval station in Alaska.

“The Invisible War” has won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Space Needle Award for best documentary film at this year’s Seattle Film Festival. Its creators

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Aug.
22nd

Navy gets a green light to build $700 million project for Kitsap submarines

The Army Corps of Engineers today issued a permit for the Navy’s $700 million project to improve the explosives handling wharf at Naval Base Kitsap.

The Navy expects to begin construction next month, a spokeswoman said.

The Defense Department’s 2012 budget included $280 million to begin the work. It’s the biggest defense-related project in Washington State, and it’s intended to improve the wharf for the base’s eight Trident ballistic-missile submarines.

“I have determined, based on all the data and analysis available to the Corps, that the proposal is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative available to the applicant and is

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Aug.
22nd

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praises Stennis crew, expects ‘Bremerton is going to stay busy’

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today thanked a Bremerton-based aircraft carrier that accelerated its deployment schedule to meet threats in Persian Gulf nations such as Syria and Iran.

“You’re the best I have,” he told the crew of the USS John C. Stennis.

His trip marked his first visit to the Puget Sound as defense secretary. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, greeted him. Panetta called the retiring congressman a champion for the country’s defense.

The Stennis returned from its last deployment to the Persian Gulf in March and anticipated another mission at the end of this year. Panetta in July expedited the

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Aug.
22nd

Attack on general’s plane in Afghanistan injures 2 JBLM airmen

Two senior airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord were injured Tuesday in a rocket attack that struck a plane assigned to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Field.

A report to congressional lawmakers said the airmen were treated for ringing in their ears. No one was seriously injured.

The attack also damaged a McChord Air Field-based C-17 Globemaster III, puncturing the jet in at least six places.

CNN reported that Dempsey left Afghanistan on a different plane a couple hours later than he planned.

Bagram is one of Afghanistan’s two main air

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