Air Force Commander Thomas Tinsley of Elmendorf Air Force Base Allegedly Died of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound to Chest (2008)

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BG Thomas Tinsley, US Air Force

Air Force Commander Brigadier General Thomas Tinsley died in his home at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska of an apparent self-inficted gunshot wound to the chest on July 27, 2008. He was a fighter pilot and flew the F-15, F/A-18 and F-22A. The cause of death was ruled suicide by Air Force officials. The circumstances surrounding his death are being questioned by others including his family.

Col. Richard Walberg, who assumed command at Elmendorf after Tinsley’s death, said Tinsley was not under investigation or undue stress. “Gen. Tinsley was under no investigation,” he said. “As far as stress, sir, this job, by nature of being an Air Force officer in a nation at war, is stressful. Undue stress, no.” –The Mercury News

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Army Spc. Seteria Brown Died of a Non-Combat Related Incident in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (2008)

Seteria Brown

Spc. Seteria Brown, US Army

Army Spc. Seteria Brown, 22, of Orlando, Florida, died of injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident in Sharana, Afghanistan on July 25, 2008. She was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade in Fort Hood, Texas. At the time of the DoD press release, the incident was under investigation.

Rumors quickly circulated she committed suicide, but her family and friends don’t believe that. “The Army has not ruled anything yet,” Harris said. “They’re still investigating. They didn’t rule it suicide. They just said she was found in the barracks. The type of weapon she was shot with, a M16, is a tall weapon. It might even be the same height she is. It’s hard to shoot yourself with that. –Tuscaloosa News

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Air Force TSgt Jackie Larsen Died of a Non Combat Related Illness Supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom at Balad Air Base in Iraq (2008)

Jackie Larsen

TSgt. Jackie Larsen, US Air Force

Air Force TSgt. Jackie Larsen, 37, of Tacoma, Washington, died of natural causes on July 17, 2008 at Balad Air Base in Iraq.  She was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base in California.

Larsen died of non-combat-related medical causes, a Beale spokesman said, but the exact cause of death is not being released. –Military Times

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Fort Bragg Army Nurse Lt Holley Wimunc Murdered by Marine Husband the Day After She Announced Divorce, John Wimunc Sentenced to Life in Prison (2008)

Holley Wimunc

Lt Holley Wimunc, US Army

Fort Bragg Army nurse, Lt Holley Wimunc, 24, was murdered by her Marine husband John Wimunc on July 9, 2008 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. After Holley didn’t show up to work, her friends went looking for her. They found her apartment had been set on fire but Holley was nowhere to be found. Three days later authorities discovered Holley’s mutilated remains in a shallow grave outside of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Her body had been chopped up with an axe and burned repeatedly in an effort to try and destroy evidence. John Wimunc also started her apartment on fire in an effort to hide evidence with no regard for any of the nineteen other families in the apartment building. Holley’s father Jesse James shared that she planned on divorcing John Wimunc after putting up with the abuse for over seven months. It would be the day after she told John that she was leaving him that she would go missing. Cpl. John Wimunc, 23, was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. An accomplice, Lance Cpl. Kyle Alden, 22, was charged with being an accessory after the fact of a felony, second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit arson. John Wimunc plead guilty to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison. Kyle Alden plead guilty and was sentenced to 44 to 62 months in prison. Jesse James worked with Representative Bruce Braley on legislation that would improve conditions for both domestic violence and sexual assault victims in the military. The Holley Lynn James Act (H.R. 1517) was introduced to the 112th Congress in 2011 but did not pass.

“I didn’t know much about domestic violence. But the thought that he would murder Holley is a thought that never occurred to me. I wish it had occurred to me. I wish for one moment I would have thought maybe he’ll kill Holley or murder Holley. My reaction would have been so different. I didn’t know about domestic violence.” -Jesse James (Holley’s father)

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Rep. Bruce Braley introduces the Holley Lynn James Act — a bill to help victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in the military get justice. The bill is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of Rep. Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service.