September: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (2013)

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09/27/2013:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: Thomas Baysore Jr, 31, Afghanistan, Fort Campbell, Kentucky

09/24/2013:  DoD Identifies Navy Casualties: Landon Jones, 35, and Jonathan Gibson, 32, NCD, Central Red Sea, Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California

09/24/2013:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Liam Nevins, 32, Afghanistan, 19th Special Forces Group, Colorado

09/24/2013:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Timothy McGill, 30, Afghanistan, 19th Special Forces Group, Rhode Island

09/24/2013:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Joshua Strickland, 23, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

09/22/2013:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: James Wickliffchacin, 22, Afghanistan, Fort Stewart, Georgia

09/21/2013:  DOD Identifies Army Casualty: William Brown III, 44, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Polk, Louisiana

09/19/2013:  Airmen From Vietnam War Identified

09/17/2013:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Randall Lane, 43, NCD, Afghanistan, Indiana Army National Guard

09/14/2013:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Robert Thomas Jr, 24, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Bliss, Texas

09/12/2013:  Airmen Missing From WWII Accounted For

09/06/2013:  DoD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Todd Lobraico Jr, 22, Afghanistan, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York

09/01/2013:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Joshua Bowden, 28, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

Team of contract killers led by ex-soldier ‘Rambo’ busted, prosecutors say

US ArmyA sharp-shooting former Army sergeant nicknamed Rambo has been charged with recruiting ex-soldiers as globe-trotting hitmen for drug traffickers in a scheme that prosecutors said could have been “ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel.”

Three members of the gang were ready to assassinate a federal agent for an $800,000 payoff, and one of them boasted that murder-for-hire was “fun,” according to court papers outlining an elaborate four-continent sting operation.

Read more here.

Chuck Hagel’s sexual assault panel may be too late

Department of DefenseDefense Secretary Chuck Hagel is soliciting advice on what else he can do to stop sexual assault in the ranks by turning to a panel of experts from outside the Pentagon.

But there’s a big catch: The nine-person committee he has chartered to study the issue doesn’t plan to release any recommendations until several months after the Senate votes on the key question of whether to remove the chain of command from major criminal prosecutions.

Read more here.

Military still secretive on sex crimes

Department of DefenseFor all the public scrutiny of military sexual assault this year — from  hearings to heated Senate debates — congressional efforts are only just  beginning to challenge the Pentagon’s overarching strategy on the issue for the  past 25 years: secrecy.

From tracking the extent of the problem to showing how cases are resolved,  the military has consistently and forcefully resisted fully airing details.

Read more here.

Darron Wright, US Army (2013)

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Col. Darron Wright, US Army

Related Links:
Col. Darron L. Wright Bio (Line of Advance)
Iraq Full Circle: From Shock and Awe to the Last Combat Patrol in Baghdad and Beyond by Darron L. Wright
How a jump turned fatal at Fort Bragg
Iraq veteran, author killed in Bragg training exercise
JBLM officer dies in Fort Bragg parachute accident
Paratrooper Killed During Airborne Training Exercise
Fort Bragg Colonel Killed in Parachute Malfunction Accident
Col. Darron Wright, Mesquite native, career Army officer who served in Iraq, dies at 45
Review of fatal training jump leads to discipline for six
Dedication honors former 7ID leader
Report into 2013 parachute death tackles ‘VIP culture’
Army ‘VIP culture’ led to parachute accident that killed former JBLM officer
Army “VIP culture” led to parachute accident that killed former JBLM officer
Parachute death of former JBLM officer keeps raising questions about “VIP culture”

Update on the Military Justice Improvement Act (2013)

MJIAIn January, veterans were able to address the House Armed Services Committee regarding crime and non combat death in the military. The testimony was on the heels of what was referred to in the media as the “Lackland Sex Scandal.” The veterans specifically emphasized that crime is military wide and not specific to the Air Force. The veterans also shared that most service members are not reporting because of a fear of retaliation.  Shortly after the testimony was given, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the combat exclusion policy was lifted and the media was poised to move in that direction.

Then in March, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked for a hearing on Military Sexual Assault with those on the personnel subcommittee to the Senate Armed Services Committee. At that time four other veterans testified and affirmed that removing the Chain of Command would have helped prevent their current situations due to the retaliation.

Senator Gillibrand announced in May that she was going to sponsor the Military Justice Improvement Act, which is a law that would restrict the Commanders from handling violent crimes of over a year or more sentence.  She introduced it to the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senator Carl Levin shut the whole thing down.  It was at this time that Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Jim Inhofe, and Senator Levin started to fight for the Department of Defense and keep everything status quo.

Right now we are trying to get support from the other Senators to force the MJIA bill back on the table.  We have both Democrats and Republicans on board and recently Conservatives like Senator Rand Paul, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Ted Cruz have signed on because they understand the constitutional aspect of this dilemma.  We should not be reporting violent crimes to our boss.  We should be reporting violent crimes to a legal authority of some sort. One person, ie the Commander, should not have sole discretion over whether or not we proceed with justice.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives and ask them to sponsor legislation that mirrors that of the civilian justice system. Victims of crimes should report to police, the police should investigate the claims, the police should enter the information into the FBI national database, and then a prosecutor can make a decision as to whether one can move forward with a case in a court of law. A person’s claim needs to be corroborated in some way so that we have the evidence necessary to go to court, win, and put a criminal behind bars,

Officials: Veteran shoots self at VA hospital in Temple

Veterans AffairsA veteran shot himself inside a public restroom at the Department of Veterans Affairs Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center in Temple on Monday morning and was taken to Scott and White Hospital’s trauma unit, VA officials said.

Read more here.