Military.com: Army Street Gang Activity Is Increasing, Internal Report Shows (August 17, 2020)

‘Gangs and the Military: Gangsters, Bikers, and Terrorists with Military Training’ by Carter F. Smith (2017)

An internal report, obtained by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that gang members were tied to dozens of Army felony law enforcement reports and more than 100 criminal investigations in fiscal 2018, the latest year for which data is available. While these reports and investigations make up less than 1% of all Army law enforcement incidents, the new report shows that the little-discussed problem of military gang activity continues to be a headache for base commanders and other service leaders.”

Read more: Army Street Gang Activity is Increasing, Internal Report Report Shows (Military.com, August 17, 2020)

Related Links:
FY2018 Army Crime Report
Gangs in the Military: Armed and Dangerous Forces (December 23, 2010)
‘Gangs and the Military: Gangsters, Bikers, and Terrorists with Military Training’ by Carter F. Smith Released (September 15, 2017)

Army Pfc. Jason Decker Died of Unspecified Medical Condition While Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas (September 15, 2018)

Pfc. Jason Decker, U.S. Army

Obituary: Pfc. Jason Matthew Decker, U.S. Army, age 25, of Slidell, LA, passed away on Saturday, September 15, 2018. Beloved husband of Emily Fuller Decker. Survived by his grandparents, who nurtured and raised him from birth, Buddy and Colette Decker, his birth mother Lacey Smith, his birth father, Adam Galloway. Brother of Madison Lara, Rylee Lara, Taylor Galloway, Megan Galloway, Matthew Galloway. Also survived by many Aunt’s, uncles, nieces, nephews, and friends. Jason was born in Slidell where he graduated from Slidell High school in 2011. Jason was an avid outdoorsman, loved baseball and his family. He will be greatly missed and remain in our hearts forever. 

In the News:

A grieving father on his way to bury his son rushed to officer Jason Seals’ side after the crash. -WWLTV (September 26, 2018)

Related Links:
Obituary: Jason Decker, U.S. Army
Obituary: Jason Decker, U.S. Army
PFC Jason Matthew Decker – U.S. ARMY
Obituary: Jason Matthew Decker (Killeen Daily Herald)
Paramedic jumps out of son’s funeral procession to help seriously injured officer
Grieving father broke off from son’s funeral procession to aid wounded officer
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (2016 to Present)
Salute to Fallen Foundation Honors Army Spc. Mason Webber; Vinton Today is First Publication to Honor & Acknowledge the Fort Hood Fallen (July 20, 2020)

Defense Department Rescinds Direct Combat Exclusion Rule; Services to Expand Integration of Women into Previously Restricted Occupations and Units (January 24, 2013)

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shake hands after signing a memo to lift the ban on women in the military from serving in combat roles as they address the media in the Pentagon Press Briefing Room Jan. 24, 2013. (DoD Photo By Glenn Fawcett)

Defense Department Rescinds Direct Combat Exclusion Rule; Services to Expand Integration of Women into Previously Restricted Occupations and Units

Today, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey announced the rescission the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women and that the Department of Defense plans to remove gender-based barriers to service.  

“Women have shown great courage and sacrifice on and off the battlefield, contributed in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission and proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles,” Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said. “The Department’s goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender.”  

Today, women make up approximately 15 percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active personnel.  Over the course of the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Today’s announcement follows an extensive review by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who unanimously concluded that now is the time to move forward with the full intent to integrate women into occupational fields to the maximum extent possible.  It builds on a February 2012 decision to open more than 14,000 additional positions to women by rescinding the co-location restriction and allowing women to be assigned to select positions in ground combat units at the battalion level. 

“The Joint Chiefs share common cause on the need to start doing this now and to doing this right.  We are committed to a purposeful and principled approach,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

The Department of Defense is determined to successfully integrate women into the remaining restricted occupational fields within our military, while adhering to the following guiding principles developed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff: 

            •           Ensuring the success of our nation’s warfighting forces by preserving unit readiness, cohesion, and morale. 

            •           Ensuring all service men and women are given the opportunity to succeed and are set up for success with viable career paths. 

            •           Retaining the trust and confidence of the American people to defend this nation by promoting policies that maintain the best quality and most qualified people. 

            •           Validating occupational performance standards, both physical and mental, for all military occupational specialties (MOS), specifically those that remain closed to women.  Eligibility for training and development within designated occupational fields should consist of qualitative and quantifiable standards reflecting the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for each occupation.  For occupational specialties open to women, the occupational performance standards must be gender-neutral as required by Public Law 103-160, Section 542 (1993). 

            •           Ensuring that a sufficient cadre of midgrade/senior women enlisted and officers are assigned to commands at the point of introduction to ensure success in the long run.  This may require an adjustment to recruiting efforts, assignment processes, and personnel policies.  Assimilation of women into heretofore “closed units” will be informed by continual in-stride assessments and pilot efforts. 

Using these guiding principles, positions will be opened to women following service reviews and the congressional notification procedures established by law.  Secretary Panetta directed the military departments to submit detailed plans by May 15, 2013, for the implementation of this change, and to move ahead expeditiously to integrate women into previously closed positions.  The secretary’s direction is for this process to be complete by Jan. 1, 2016.  

In the News:

Senior defense officials say Pentagon chief Leon Panetta is removing the military’s ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after more than a decade at war. –Associated Press (January 23, 2013)
US military to allow women on the frontline –Al Jazeera (January 23, 2013)
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced that newly re-inaugurated President Obama will allow women to serve in frontline combat roles in the United States military going forward. Appeals for certain units to be excluded from the order to allow females to join men in combat must be resolved by January 2016. –The Daily Conversation (January 23, 2013)
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta decided to lift the ban on women in the military serving in combat, opening thousands of front line jobs to women and reversing the 1994 policy that kept them out of those positions. Gwen Ifill talks with James Kitfield of National Journal about the historic change and implications. –PBS NewsHour (January 23, 2013)
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced a historic change Wednesday, allowing women to serve in military combat positions. Ret. Gen. Richard Myers, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, talks to Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell about the historic policy shift. –CBS News (January 24, 2013)
The US military officially dropped its ban on women serving in ground combat Thursday after a policy review by top commanders, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. –AFP News Agency (January 24, 2013)
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in lifting a ban on women serving in combat, said women have become integral to the military’s success and have shown they are willing to fight and die alongside their male counterparts. –Associated Press (January 24, 2013)
ABC’s Cecilia Vega shows you what it takes to be a woman on the front lines. –ABC News (January 24, 2013)

Related Links:
AP Sources: Panetta Opens Combat Roles to Women
US military to allow women on the frontline
American Women Will Serve In Combat, Says Obama
Secretary Panetta Lifts Military Ban on Women in Combat
Gen. Myers: Can’t change training to accommodate women
US officially lifts ban on women in combat: Panetta
Panetta: Women Integral to Military’s Success
Sister Soldiers: Women Ready for Frontline Combat?
Defense Department Expands Women’s Combat Role
Defense Department Rescinds Direct Combat Exclusion Rule; Services to Expand Integration of Women into Previously Restricted Occupations and Units

LA Times Published ‘Pvt. John Bennett is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime’ by Richard A. Serrano (September 10, 2000)

Photo by Umberto Shaw on Pexels.com

Pvt. John Bennett is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime. He Was Mentally Troubled and Black. Six White Murderers Were Also on Military Death Row. They Were Spared.

Richard A. Serrano is a Staff Writer in The Times’ Washington, bureau. He last wrote for the magazine about the bombing of the Oklahoma, City federal building, which was also the subject of his book, “One of, Ours,” published in 1998 by W.W. Norton

“Rain always frightened him, and on the night he was hanged in a military prison in Kansas, a rolling prairie thunderstorm was kicking up outside. That was four decades ago. Pvt. John Bennett had just turned 26. He went to his death perhaps more terrified of the thunder and lightning than of the gaunt hangman waiting upon the gallows.

News of the hanging scarcely made the papers. Executions then, like today, were commonplace, so much so that his story has never been told. But he is the last member of the U.S. Armed Forces to be executed. And he is the only serviceman hanged for rape during peacetime.

America is once again examining the death penalty, spurred by the most damning evidence in history that innocents have been sentenced to die. Advances in DNA testing and other revelations have overturned scores of death sentences in recent years, raising fresh doubts about American criminal justice, especially for minorities, who make up the majority of death row prisoners.

As a result, the death penalty issue looms larger in presidential politics than it has for a generation. Both major party candidates favor death sentencing, and Republican nominee George W. Bush has given it special emphasis. He expresses confidence in his state’s handling of capital cases and says that not one innocent man has been executed on his watch as governor of Texas.

The issue also has landed in the Oval Office, where President Clinton delayed by four months the federal government’s first scheduled execution since 1963. Juan Raul Garza will now have until Dec. 12–a date notably after the presidential election–to seek clemency. Garza’s attorneys say they will argue that the criminal justice system discriminates against minorities.

Amid the chatter, national opinion polls have found that while most Americans still favor death sentencing, the support is diminishing. Even its proponents question the role that race, mental illness, poverty, politics and the quality of legal representation play in death penalty cases. All those factors were present on that stormy night in April 1961 inside the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth. Was the system broken back then? Has it been fixed since?

Read more from Richard A. Serrano (LA Times) here or here and check out Serrano’s book ‘Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth’ here.

Related Links:
Pvt John Arthur Bennett (April 13, 1961)
Pvt. John Bennett is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime
Pvt. John Bennett Is the Only U.S. Soldier Executed for Rape in Peacetime
Bush OKs Execution for Army Private on Death Row
1961: John A. Bennett, the last American military execution (so far)
The Rare Case Of The Military Execution
A look at the last U.S. soldier executed by the military
Soldiers Sentenced to Die, but No Executions on Military Death Row Since 1961
A look at the 6 inmates on US military death row
Servicemen on Death Row; 6 killers await as mil­i­tary jus­tice crawls
Judge lifts execution stay for ex-soldier in military prison
U.S. Military Could Execute Ex-Soldier for First Time Since 1961
Army moves closer to first execution in 50 years; Ronald Gray on death row since 1988
These are the 4 inmates on the military’s death row
Haunted by the Story of John Bennett and Other Black Soldiers’ Lives on Death Row
Resuming federal executions unlikely to affect military death row
Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth 
Crimelines True Crime Podcast w/ Death’s Door Podcast Featured the Last Military Execution of Army Private John Bennett in 1961 (April 22, 2018)
Four U.S. Service Members on Military Death Row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Army Private John Bennett was Last Military Execution by Hanging in 1961
Seven Intriguing True Crime Podcasts Spotlighting Active Duty Military Suicide, Missing, and Murder Cases