Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Devon Faulkner, US Navy, died of a non combat related injury while underway on September 20, 2016. Devon Faulkner was supporting Operation Odyssey Lightning on behalf of the USS Wasp (LHD 1) forward deployed in the central Mediterranean Sea. According to the Department of Defense, the incident is under investigation.
Department of Defense Identifies Navy Casualty
U.S. Navy sailor dies of non-combat injury off Libya
Sailor aboard locally based ship dies overseas
Navy Sailor dies while deployed on Norfolk-based USS Wasp
US Navy sailor from NC dies during Mediterranean operation
Sailor Dies While Supporting ISIS Airstrikes in Mediterranean
Sailor dies aboard USS Wasp in Mediterranean Sea
Injured USS Wasp sailor dies while underway in Mediterranean Sea
Department of Defense identifies Raleigh, NC Navy casualty
U.S. Navy member dies of non-combat-related injury in Libya
Missing Fort Campbell soldier failed to show in court
Family searches for missing Fort Campbell soldier
Fort Campbell soldier missing; officials find her car abandoned
Missing Fort Campbell soldier’s car found in downtown Nashville
Car of missing Fort Campbell soldier found in Nashville
Missing Fort Campbell soldier’s car found in downtown Nashville
Missing Ft. Campbell soldier’s vehicle found in downtown Nashville parking lot
Missing Fort Campbell soldier’s car found in downtown parking lot
Missing soldier’s car found in Nashville, friends not giving up
New developments in search for missing Fort Campbell soldier
Army confirms investigation of missing soldier Shadow McClaine
Fort Campbell Military Police looking for missing woman
Army CID investigating disappearance of 101st Airborne soldier
Army CID Seeks Information on Missing Campbell Soldier
Car belonging to U.S. Army soldier missing for more than a week is found abandoned 70 miles from her base in Kentucky
Family searches for missing Fort Campbell soldier
Mother of missing soldier says daughter wouldn’t ‘just go away’
Group plans vigil for missing Fort Campbell soldier
Community invited to candlelight vigil for missing soldier Shadow McClaine
Vigil held for missing Fort Campbell soldier
Find Shadow McClaine (Facebook)
Ft. Campbell soldier missing from Kentucky
502nd Military Police Battalion (CID)
Warrant Officer Travis Tamayo, US Army, died of a non combat related incident in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on September 16, 2016. WO Tamayo was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion in Fort Gordon, Georgia. According to the Department of Defense, the incident is under investigation.
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
DoD: Soldier dies in non-combat related incident in UAE
Department of Defense investigating death of deployed Ft. Gordon soldier
U.S. Army intelligence soldier supporting OIR dies in United Arab Emirates
US Anti-Daesh Operation Serviceman Dies in UAE in Non-Combat-Related Incident
1st Lt Jeffrey Cooper, US Army, died of a non combat related injury in Kuwait on September 10, 2016. 1st Lt Cooper was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. According to the Department of Defense, the incident is under investigation.
“Cooper was killed in a rollover vehicle accident while traveling from Camp Buehring in Kuwait to the Ali Al Salem Airfield.” -CBS News
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
DOD: U.S. soldier from Washington killed in Kuwait
Defense Department: Washington soldier killed in Kuwait
DoD identifies soldier killed in vehicle rollover in Kuwait
Fort Campbell soldier killed in car crash Saturday in Kuwait
Fort Campbell Soldier Dies In Non-Combat Crash
U.S. Department of Defense identifies 101st Airborne Division casualty
U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow soldiers in Al Doura, Iraq. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which, in the public interest, are now released in this video. John paid a terrible price for his opposition to these acts. His story is tragic. –On the Dark Side in Al Doura
After watching the 2011 documentary ‘On the Dark Side in Al Doura’ which profiles the case of Army Private John Needham, one can clearly observe the similarities to ‘The Kill Team’ PBS documentary released in 2014. On the Dark Side in Al Doura interviewed Michael Needham, the father of John Needham, who was an Army whistleblower from Fort Carson, Colorado and reported witnessing war crimes and atrocities in Iraq; The Kill Team profiled Adam Winfield, an Army whistleblower from Fort Lewis, Washington who witnessed and tried to report the same war crimes and atrocities in Afghanistan. For the sake of preservation, both John Needham and Adam Winfield admitted feeling pressured to conform or risk their own lives if they didn’t. They both felt like they were being set up to die or participate in the war crimes. Both soldiers at times felt like suicide was their only way out because there was no safe place for them to report overseas nor could they escape the situation. If they made it out of the war zone alive, the return home didn’t fair well for them. The PBS documentary ‘The Wounded Platoon’ released in 2010 reveals the impacts the wars overseas had on Fort Carson soldiers. After watching these three documentaries, it’s clear why our soldier’s combat experiences traumatized and changed some of them. They not only had to fight a credible threat on the battlefields but some were betrayed by the very team they depended on for their lives.
Michael Needham takes us through the series of events that occurred in the course of John’s short Army career. He shared how John was the fifth generation in the family to fight in a war. John volunteered to join the Army in the spring of 2006, went to Fort Benning, Georgia for training, and then got stationed at Fort Carson. John was an Army Ranger assigned to the 212th, 2nd Combat Team, 12th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division. He was part of the infamous team known as the ‘Lethal Warriors’ which now appears to be disbanded. Part of his initiation into his new band of brothers was fighting other soldiers to determine where one fell in the pecking order. John held his own in the fights and was respected for his wins. According to John, the soldiers that didn’t fair so well in the fights were ‘smoked’ by leadership and peers, which ultimately forced them to leave, quit, or commit suicide. In October of 2006 John was deployed with his Fort Carson team to Al Doura, Iraq. His team was assigned to the Quarter Cav which was known for having some of the deadliest fights in the Iraq war.
John was a good soldier. He worked hard, saved lives in Iraq, and was awarded three medals for heroism and two Purple Hearts. John excelled as part of team, was brave, and his resilience was admirable. But during the course of John’s deployment, he witnessed war crimes and other atrocities committed by leadership and his fellow soldiers that affected his morale. John would also admit that initially he wasn’t quiet about it and when he did question superiors, he was told he didn’t have the right to question leadership. He didn’t dare report the war crimes via e-mail or telephone because he knew leadership could monitor everything. So for the sake of preservation and life’s sake, he did what he had to do to get by and stay alive. John would share that the Army was short of personnel so most of the soldiers got driven into the ground and deprived of sleep. After awhile John felt that he was forced into committing war atrocities that were illegal but feared if he didn’t do it, he would become a liability to the team and ultimately a casualty of his own people.
One night John was sent out on a mission with a Lieutenant (who did not commit war crimes yet remained silent). John thought this was unusual because they didn’t usually get sent out in pairs. They were ambushed by three shooters in the middle of the night who were determined to see them dead. When the shooting began, John pushed the Lieutenant to safety and kept the shooters at bay. He shot every round he had and when he was almost out of ammunition, he called the 212th for back-up on the radio but nobody answered him. Luckily another team was nearby who did answer him and was able to extract the soldiers from the situation and save their lives. It would be this incident that would break John’s spirit. He immediately suspected that he and the other soldier were sent on this mission to be killed. When he got back to the base, he began yelling “Why did you set us up?” And “If you want to kill me, kill me to my face!” But nobody acknowledged him so he went back to his tent where he decided that he would commit suicide. John was exhausted, irate, and he saw no way out. He didn’t want to live anymore. He felt that committing suicide was his only way out. John put a handgun to his head but just as he got ready to pull the trigger, his roommate dove and pushed the gun away from his head. The gun discharged and put a hole in the wall. Soldiers immediately began ascending upon the area. According to John, once leadership learned what happened, they held him down and beat him then locked him in captivity in a small room. The Battalion Commander was the one who kept John captive yet he didn’t press any formal charges.
John’s father Michael learned through John’s friends in Afghanistan that John was being held captive by the Battalion Commander. They were concerned about him. John’s family was already concerned about John’s earlier e-mails and posts on MySpace because it sounded like he had given up, which was not like him. With this information Michael Needham contacted Army commands, Fort Carson, Congressional leaders and the Army Inspector General (IG). He reports that the only office that took him seriously at the time was the IG. Michael was trying to save his son’s life. He told the IG that he didn’t want him to die. The IG’s office shared a list of rights for both John and Michael. And it was at this time Michael learned that he had third party rights and could intervene and act on John’s behalf. Michael was finally able to get in touch with the Battalion Commander only to learn that John was being treated like a criminal. The Battalion Commander informed Michael that John committed crimes and was being sent to prison in Kuwait. But Michael was able to intervene and get the Command to send him to medical instead. Medical determined that John was severely injured both physically and mentally. He had significant back injuries from the multiple explosions and blasts, shrapnel in his body, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Army medical in Iraq referred John to medical in Germany and from there he would be sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the states. But not before the Battalion Commander would put up one more roadblock. Instead, Michael Needham won this battle and John was flown to Germany.
Eventually, John was sent to Ward 54 which is the psychiatric ward at Walter Reed. Michael shared that John appeared to like the psychiatric help he was getting. A month into John’s stay at Walter Reed, he was informed that the Iraq Battalion Commander contacted the 212th Command in Colorado and requested that John be sent back to Fort Carson where he was facing criminal charges including unlawful discharge of a weapon. They were making him go and sent armed guards to accompany him back to Fort Carson. Michael Needham tried to intervene with the 212th at Fort Carson but they said they couldn’t do anything because they had orders from the Battalion Commander. John was sent back to Fort Carson and the harassment he endured in Iraq continued with the 212th in Colorado. John shared that they mentally tortured him, banged on his barracks door, stole his things, and isolated him. It was at this time Michael elicited the help of a veteran advocate Andrew Pogany who went to the command in Colorado and held these people personally accountable. Andrew helps soldiers in John’s situation because he understands how important it is to intervene. John could not get the kind of help that he needed at Fort Carson. Michael shared that the soldiers could see see a professional once a week if they were suicidal and once a month if they were not. John’s father wanted him transferred to a Naval Medical Center in San Diego for intensive treatment and so he could be closer to home. Andrew helped make that happen.
Michael began to understand the impacts the war had on his son after John got back to California. John couldn’t handle driving above 35 mph, was suspicious of trash on the side of the road, and was easily startled by loud noises. He could not function in public and suffered with what is known as flashbacks. The Naval Medical Center in San Diego recommended that John get surgery on his back right away. They warned him that he could become paralyzed if he didn’t get the surgery. In the meantime Johns father spoke candidly with one of the Navy doctors about the treatment John received both in Iraq and at Fort Carson. He reiterated that he was concerned about his well being and asked him to help him find a way to prevent John from being sent back to Fort Carson, Colorado. Michael Needham feared that if John got sent back to Fort Carson that he would not return. This doctor agreed to help John. And Andrew Pogany recommended that John report the war crimes to the Army in an effort to protect John from being complicit and implicated in the future. John reported to the Army that he witnessed both leadership and peers killing innocent Iraqi civilians during the October 2006 to October 2007 timeframe in and around Al Doura. It wasn’t long after John made the report that all the charges against him were dropped and Fort Carson gave the necessary approval to transfer him to Balboa Naval Command. John went in front of the medical board and was medically retired for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and back injuries. He was discharged honorably from the Army. The Army investigated John’s claims but concluded that no war crimes were committed.
Michael and John won a lot of battles with the US Army but soon they would lose the war. Just days after John was discharged from the Army, he would be accused of beating his new girlfriend to death with his bare hands. John Needham was charged with the murder of Jacqwelyn Villagomez and jailed for ten months until his family raised enough money to get him out on bail. John was not given treatment while jailed so the family was motivated to get him out so he could get the treatment he needed. John did in fact follow through with getting treatment and he learned a lot about himself in the process. He spent some time on camera talking about how the combat stress and the betrayal from his team impacted him. He talked about how he didn’t realize the significant impacts from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. John recognized how PTSD and TBI did in fact play a role in his fight or flight response mechanisms and that it may be because these conditions went untreated that he snapped and beat his girlfriend to death. The two were in a heated argument after Jacqwelyn attacked one of John’s female friends. Both of them were volatile but unfortunately there were no witnesses to the event as John’s friend was outside the home calling the police to report Jacqwelyn. While John was awaiting trial, he went to Arizona to get another surgery and visit with his mom. On February 19, 2010 following treatment at the Department of Veterans Affairs, John would be found dead in his room from an overdose on painkillers. The cause of death at autopsy was considered undetermined and it is unclear if John accidentally overdosed or committed suicide.
Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, M.D. (Ret.), a former top military psychiatrist who until recently was a consultant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told us: “[TBI ]most sensitively affects executive functioning, that part of the brain that we use for judgment and we use for decision making … when we are in situations of intense emotion. So if a person is affected neurologically … they don’t have the controls that they had before. … They can’t think as clearly. …They are really vulnerable to just reacting, overreacting, particularly maybe doing something that they had done when they’d been in combat.” –The Wounded Platoon
As a parent, Michael Needham has questions for the Army. Why don’t they even recognize the problem? Why don’t they take care of the soldiers? And why did they leave his son John Needham behind? The documentary ‘On the Dark Side in Al Doura’ concludes with the reminder that since the Patriot Act was passed and Dick Cheney declared that we needed to go into the shadows, the definition of torture has been blurred. The Abu Ghraib prisoner torture and abuse scandal erupted under the Bush administration in 2003 but no war crimes have been investigated under President Barack Obama’s administration. If the rule of law has been lost, what do we have? Our military personnel have a responsibility to abide by the rules established by the Geneva Conventions. John Needham and Adam Winfield both reported witnessing innocent civilians murdered by their fellow leadership and peers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They both also shared the impact the crimes had on their mental health. They wished they could have reported the crimes to someone who would have listened and understood that their lives were in danger. We can learn a lot from John Needham and Adam Winfield; they have experienced what it’s like to be a whistleblower in the US Army. They have clearly illustrated what toxic leadership in the Army looks like and how whistleblowers in the US military have nowhere to turn.
Dateline NBC Mystery: Private Needhams War
PBS Documentary: The Wounded Platoon
On the Dark Side in Al Doura: A Soldier in the Shadows
PBS Documentary: The Kill Team
The PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Nominated for an Emmy
Retired Army Pvt John Needham Beat his Girlfriend Jacqwelyn Villagomez to Death, Then Died of an Overdose on Painkillers Awaiting Murder Trial (2008)
Honoring Jacqwelyn Villagomez who Died at the Hands of Retired Army Private John Needham (2008)
A fifteen year old (whose name has been withheld) was arrested and charged with the fatal shooting of Army Pfc. MarStratton Gordon, 23, on August 28, 2016 in Harriman, Tennessee. Pfc. MarStratton was in Tennessee on leave visiting his girlfriend at the time of the shooting. Pfc. MarStratton enlisted in the US Army in November 2014 and was most recently assigned as a heavy truck driver with the 101st Sustainment Brigade at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Blount County soldier killed in Harriman altercation
Fort Campbell soldier shot, killed in East TN
Police: Fort Campbell soldier killed Sunday in Roane County
Harriman Teen Suspected In Shooting Death Of 23-Year Old U.S. Army Officer
Fort Campbell soldier killed by 15-year-old while on leave
Authorities investigating shooting of soldier by 15-year-old in Harriman
Authorities: Teen accused in petition of murder
Teen accused of shooting, killing US Army soldier
Harriman teen accused of shooting, killing U.S. Army soldier
Harriman teen charged in shooting death of U.S. Army Soldier
Teen charged in shooting death of Fort Campbell soldier
Argument takes deadly turn
US Army veteran, Robert Burgess, is accused of fatally shooting William Charles Smith in the head during an attempted robbery. He is being held without bail for the murder.
Man charged with fatal South Loop shooting
Man, 56, charged in fatal shooting of man in South Loop
Army vet held without bail in South Loop murder
No bond for Army veteran charged with killing William Smith during attempted robbery in South Loop
South Loop Killer Identified Thanks To No. 23 Bears Jersey, Prosecutors Say
*Research not complete. (Includes Lackland AFB, Randolph AFB, Kelly AFB, Fort Sam Houston, Camp Bullis, & Camp Stanley)
“On Jan. 31, 2010, the 502nd ABW took over responsibility as the host unit at Lackland and Randolph. On that day, the 12th Mission Support Group at Randolph inactivated and the 902nd Mission Support Group activated in its place. Meanwhile, the 37th Mission Support Group at Lackland inactivated and the 802nd Mission Support Group activated in its place. At Fort Sam Houston, the wing assumed IOC on April 30, 2010, when the 502nd Mission Support Group (502 MSG) activated. The 502nd MSG also provided installation support for Camp Bullis in northwestern Bexar County. The US Army Garrison at Fort Sam Houston remained active alongside the 502nd MSG until JBSA achieved Full Operational Capability (FOC) on 1 October 2010. At FOC, the Garrison inactivated and the Army civilian employees transferred to the Air Force. On Dec. 4, 2013, in a transformation ceremony held at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, the 502nd, 802nd and 902nd Mission Support Groups inactivated and became respectively the 502nd Force Support Group; the 502nd Installation Support Group; and the 502nd Security Forces and Logistics Support Group.” –502nd Air Base Wing
Gabriel Gutierrez, US Marine Corps (1972): Unsolved Homicide
Robert Ownby, US Army Reserve (1984): Suicide
William Lipscomb, US Air Force (1986): Rape, Homicide
Robert Eric Duncan, US Air Force (1990): Accused of Abduction, Murder of Child
Micah Schindler, US Air Force (1999): Homicide
Jeremiah Mattysse, US Army (2000): AWOL, Accused of Espionage
Philip Shue, US Air Force (2003): Unsolved Homicide
Christopher Barton, US Air Force (2004): Accused of Attempted Sex Assault of Child
Charles Neddo, US Air Force (2004): Murder-Suicide
Robert Torres Reid, US Air Force Reserve (2004): Victim of Homicide
Barry Brown, US Air Force (2005): Attempted Murder
Rico Robinson, US Army (2005): Suicide
Nils Andersson, US Army (2007): Suicide
Larry Flores, US Army (2008): Suicide
Patrick Henderson, US Army (2008): Suicide
Jaynie Askew, US Army (2009): Suicide
Michael Fontana, US Air Force (2009): Acquitted of 3 Homicides
Ryan Gartner, US Army (2011): Non Combat Death, Afghanistan
Kevin Shipp, Former CIA Agent (2011): Accused military of poisoning family
Steven Williams, US Air Force (2011): Cardiac Dysrhythmia
Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal (2011): Adultery, Unprofessional Relationships, Sexual Assault, Rape
Cody Hooks, US Air Force (2013): Murder-Suicide
Juan Jose Pena, US Navy (2013): Charged with Sexual Assault
Jaime Rodriguez, US Air Force (2013): Aggravated Sexual Assault
Alvin Roundtree, US Army (2013): Plotted to Kill Wife
Kimberly Epperson, US Army (2014): Sexual Assault of Son
Terron Moore, US Air Force (2014): Collapsed After Run, Sickle Cell Trait
Ian Morgan, US Army (2014): Accidental Death
Craig Perry, US Air Force (2014): Relieved of Command, Blames Toxic Leadership
Ana Espinal, US Air Force (2015): Suicide
Michael Keltz, US Air Force (2015): Career Derailed-Inappropriate Comment
Emily Riley, US Air Force (2015): Suicide
Kelani Thomas, US Air Force (2015): Heart Failure
Steven Bellino, US Air Force (2016): Murder-Suicide
Josue Delgado, US Army Reserve (2016): Charged with Sexual Abuse of Child
Kenneth Sturgill, US Air Force (2016): Died During Training
Ryan Sweeney, US Air Force (2016): Suicide
Anthony Quesinberry, US Army (2016): Sexual Exploitation of Minors
Man’s body found on Camp Bullis
From a War Zone to Stateside Nightmare
Why Are Army Recruiters Killing Themselves?
Army Recruiter Suicides Prompt Investigations
Army to stop recruiting for 1 day after Houston suicides
Army creates suicide prevention board
Lawmakers probe Army recruiter suicides
Cornyn calls for hearings on Army recruiter suicides
Army completes recruiter suicide investigation
Hell in the Houston Recruiting Battalion, Texas
Porn hunted down at Randolph
The Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal, Texas (2011)
‘A Clue from the Grave’ by Irene Pence is a fascinating look into the investigation of US Air Force wife Kathleen Lipscomb’s murder in San Antonio, Texas in 1986. Her husband MSgt William Lipscomb, who was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base as a Military Training Instructor, would eventually be accused of her murder and stand trial at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia in 1989. This book shows the difficulties the detectives face when it comes to investigating crimes perpetrated by a transient military member.
If not for the persistence of Kathleen’s mom Nadine and her sister Darlene, Bill Lipscomb almost got away with murder. Kathleen’s family did not want to believe that Kathleen’s estranged husband committed this crime but nonetheless wanted to find out who killed Kathleen. Kathleen was found battered and nude on the side of the road outside the city limits of San Antonio. It appeared that she had been raped and murdered elsewhere and her body was dumped at this location. As a result, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Department had jurisdiction of the investigation of Kathleen’s murder. The book revealed that Air Force leadership was not aware that Bill Lipscomb was even considered a suspect by the local Sheriff’s Department. In the meantime, Bill Lipscomb requested a humanitarian transfer to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia so that he would be near his parents who would help him care for Kathleen and Bill’s two children.
After the investigation stalled at the Sheriff’s Department and it looked like no one would be held accountable for Kathleen’s death, Nadine and Darlene decided to hire two private investigators to find out who killed Kathleen. The private investigators carefully went through the list of suspects to rule people out but they could not rule out Bill Lipscomb after what they discovered. These investigators learned that Bill had plenty of motive to kill Kathleen including the fact that Kathleen threatened to turn Bill and his Air Force colleagues in to Air Force leadership for their role in a WAPS test promotion cheating scandal. Bill also wanted custody of the two children so Kathleen used her knowledge of this cheating scandal as leverage in the divorce proceedings so she could keep custody of the two children. In addition, Bill Lipscomb had over $300,000 worth of life insurance on Kathleen, one policy was purchased after Kathleen decided to divorce him. Coincidentally, Kathleen was murdered just days before the final divorce proceedings. Nadine and Darlene began suspecting Bill more and more as time went on because of statements made by Bill and Kathleen’s children and the controlling behavior he exhibited after Kathleen died.
It would be the private investigators that Kathleen’s family hired who convinced the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) to get involved. Bill was no longer in the San Antonio area so no one but the AFOSI had jurisdiction over him. The crime was committed in Texas yet Bill had been conveniently transferred to Virginia. Thanks to the thorough work by the two private investigators, the AFOSI had probable cause to investigate Bill Lipscomb. The AFOSI used both their knowledge of the WAPS test cheating scandal and what they learned from the private investigators to begin their own investigations. They would learn from others involved in the cheating scandal that Bill did in fact cheat on his promotion testing which is how he was able to achieve the rank of MSgt so soon. They would also learn from Kathleen’s date book that she was fully aware of the cheating scandal and knew that Bill was having an affair with another Air Force member he worked with. It would be this date book that gave the investigators involved in the case a reason to suspect Bill Lipscomb of her murder. In the end this information would become ‘A Clue from the Grave’ that helped Kathleen solve her own murder.