Fort Hood Army Spc. Zachary Moore Found Unresponsive in Barracks on Deployment to Camp Hovey, South Korea; CID Ruled Suicide (2017)

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Spc. Zachary Moore, US Army

Spc. Zachary Moore, 23, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was found unresponsive August 1, 2017 in his barracks room at Camp Hovey in South Korea. Spc. Moore was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital and pronounced deceased on August 2, 2017. Spc. Moore entered active-duty military service in March 2014 as a signal support systems specialist. He was assigned to the 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood in Texas since July 2016. The circumstances surrounding the incident were investigated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the cause of death was ruled a suicide.

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Was Zachary Moore’s Death Preventable?

In May 2017, Fort Hood announced they were deploying 3,500 troops to South Korea over the summer. Twenty-three (23) year old Zachary Moore was one of the soldiers deployed to South Korea. With full knowledge of Zachary’s recent mental health issues, the Chain of Command gave him a mental health waiver against his will, and most likely against medical advice, so they could deploy him to South Korea.

In October 2016, Zachary had a mental health breakdown and went Absent without Leave (AWOL). After a successful intervention, Zachary was found and returned to the custody of his Chain of Command at Fort Hood. Zachary’s command then sent him to an emergency room where he was hospitalized and prescribed medication. After Zachary was discharged from the hospital, he continued to seek treatment for mental health issues. Six months later, Zachary was given a mental health waiver by his command to deploy to South Korea.

About a month after Zachary arrived at Camp Hovey in South Korea, his depression medication was changed. As a matter of fact, his depression medication was changed the day before he was found unresponsive in his barracks room. Zachary attempted to kill himself on August 1st, less than 24 hours after the medication change. It was Zachary who called his Command for help as there is no 911 on the base in South Korea. He was found unresponsive and finally transported to the hospital about 1 ½ to 2 hours later. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, listed as critical then stable, yet passed away on August 2, 2017.

Why did Zachary Moore go AWOL?

The Chain of Command contacted Jeanette to report Zachary hadn’t been seen since October 18, 2016. They also informed her they were not actively looking for him but would file AWOL status on October 20th. When asked if they filed a missing persons report, Jeanette claims they told her they did but she says she was lead to believe Zachary trashed his room, took his things, and left willingly. She immediately flew to Texas from Florida to find him.

Jeanette contacted the Killeen Police Department as soon as she got to Fort Hood and the local law enforcement found Zachary the same day she arrived. Over the phone, the Command told Jeanette they filed a missing persons report but she learned from the Killeen Police Department that they never did. The Killeen PD noticed recent activity on Facebook so they pinged Zach’s cell phone & found that he was in a remote area of a local state park.

Zachary attempted to flee initially but after negotiations, he surrendered and was returned to the police station where his mom was waiting. Jeanette could tell Zachary was mentally broken and he admitted to her that he wanted to hurt himself.  The Killeen PD found Zachary and he had a knife in his possession. Zachary was returned to the custody of his Chain of Command at Fort Hood. Shortly after Zachary informed his mom that his superiors told him to tell her to leave town and stop interfering.

Jeanette reports that Zachary never had any mental health issues prior to this and suspected that Zachary was “singled out by his command and harassed.”

Areas of Concern in Zachary Moore’s Case:

  • Zachary revealed he was harassed by his Chain of Command. For example, his leave papers to visit family before deploying were denied; he was denied permission to see the Fort Hood Inspector General officer; he was harassed during training exercises; he was given exhausting extra duties; and was accused of taking a radio which was later found on a military officer’s desk. Why was he denied the opportunity to speak to the IG officer?
  • Zachary was accused of trashing his room and taking his belongings when he went AWOL. Jeanette believes the circumstances surrounding the vandalism of his room and the theft of his property could be evidence of harassment.
  • During mental health treatment, Zachary was facing the consequences of going AWOL; Zachary was accused of trashing his own room; and Zachary was accused of stealing a secure radio? What are the additional mental health impacts of the way the Chain of Command uses the military justice system?
  • The circumstances of the mental health waiver and the justifications for sending Zachary to South Korea while he was undergoing treatment for mental health issues and medication management should be investigated.
  • The effects of the medication change in South Korea should be investigated. Is Command aware that some medications can cause serious negative reactions? (Some depression medication causes suicidal ideation.) Who monitors serious medication changes in deployed locations? Is it safe to deploy soldiers in the early phases of medication management for mental health issues?
  • Finally, the delay in the Command’s response to Zachary’s call for help in South Korea should be investigated. Why did it take so long to respond to Zachary and why did it take so long to get Zachary to the hospital? Did anyone attempt to administer help while waiting for the ambulance?
  • If the Command was the cause of the mental health break, where was Zachary supposed to turn? How do we hold the Chain of Command accountable? How do we prevent the Chain of Command from retaliating and using the military justice system or non judicial punishment as a weapon? What was the role of the Commander? What was the role of the Fort Hood Inspector General? How can we prevent a young soldier from feeling like the only way out of their situation is AWOL or suicide? How could we have prevented Zachary’s death?
  • Soldiers have come forward, given their stories to the family and have offered to testify about what Zachary was put through which may explain why he died. Were these soldiers questioned?

Source: Jeanette Nazario (Zachary Moore’s mom)

Related Links:
U.S. Army SPC Zachary Moore Funeral – 8/11/17
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier – Spc. Zachary Charles Moore
Spc. Zachary Moore, 1st Cavalry Division
Fort Hood soldier dies in South Korea
Fort Hood soldier dies in Korea
Fort Hood: Soldier found dead in barracks in South Korea identified
Soldier from VB dies after being found unresponsive in South Korea barrack
Virginia Beach soldier dies in South Korea
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas (US Army)
73 Fort Hood Soldiers Died Since January 2016: 4 Insider Attacks & 2 Suicides Overseas; 67 Stateside Deaths Including 34 Alleged Suicides & 1 Unsolved Homicide
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Washington DC Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (2017)
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

The Pendulum Has Swung: Defending Yourself Against False Allegations in Senator Claire McCaskill’s Military Justice System

If you or someone you know has been falsely accused of a crime,
please contact Save Our Heroes.

This animated video describes the obstacles faced by military members who are wrongly or falsely accused of sexual assault. From the recent changes to the UCMJ to the barriers built around the alleged victim, wrongly and falsely accused service members face an uphill battle defending themselves. Court-martial defense lawyer Will M. Helixon, with decades of experience as a sex crimes prosecutor, can team with the military detailed counsel to level the playing field and defend the rights of the wrongly and falsely accused. (www.helixongroup.com)

Learn more: Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights

Air Force SSgt Mario Manago Alleges Commander Bias with Non-Judicial Punishment; Referred to Court Martial Instead & Booted with Federal Crime (2017)

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SSgt. Mario Manago, US Air Force

Air Force Court-Martial Summaries (March 2017): At JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ, Senior Airman Mario A. Manago was found guilty by military judge alone of failure to go to place of duty. He was sentenced to a reprimand.

“I wanted to retire from the Air Force.” -SSgt. Mario Manago

Related Links:
NJ Airman Convicted of the Federal Crime of Being 6 Minutes Late for a Meeting
‘I am a felon for being 6 minutes late to a meeting,’ court-martialed airman says
Former Airman Considers Options After Discharge
Advocacy group accuses military justice system of racial bias
Report finds racial disparities in military justice system
The Military Justice System Has A Race Problem, According To DoD Data
Black soldiers face US military justice more often than whites, study finds
Black Troops More Likely to Face Military Punishment Than Whites, New Report Says
In Every Service Branch, Black Troops More Likely to Be Punished by Commanders, Courts: Report
CAAFlog: Racial bias in military justice
Corruption in the Ranks: McGuire IG Wrongly Dismisses NCO’s Reprisal Complaint
Former Airman Accuses Commander Of Vindictive Mistreatment
Airman Mario Manago fired and convicted of federal crime after being 6 minutes late to meeting
Air Force Fires Man, Slams Him With Felony For Being 6 Minutes Late
Air Force Court-Martial Summaries (March 2017)


A U.S. Air Force veteran airman says he was recently let go from his job because was six minutes late to a meeting with his commander. Mario Manago, 33, has been with the Air Force for 12 years and stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for seven of them. Last August, Manago asked to speak with his commander about mistreatment at the base. Manago said he was late to that meeting because things became busy at work. Months later, Manago was convicted at court-martial months later in March for failing to go to his “appointed place of duty.” A week prior, Manago was demoted from staff sergeant to airman. The U.S. Air Force said Manago was honorably discharged because of tenure rules. -Chasing News

Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

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Objective: Provide support to families who have lost loved ones to non combat death, homicide, and suicide. Prevent non combat death, homicide and suicide by providing an expedited transfer option to whistleblowers and those who feel like their lives may be in danger.

This is a small sample of the many soldiers that have died of non combat deaths, homicide, and suicide. It was hard for me to choose which ones to feature. Given the amount of families who have questioned a ruling of suicide while their loved one was serving in the US military, it’s fair to say that some suicide rulings should have a second look to determine if a homicide was ruled out. It’s important to note that if the cause of death is determined to be suicide, then the military never has to investigate again.

Continue reading

Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at United States Military Bases

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*Research not complete.

My experiences as a victim of crime in the United States military inspired me to do the work I do today as a military justice policy analyst. Not only did I witness first hand how a predator operates but I witnessed multiple predator types in real time while serving my country. If these people committed these acts of crimes at work in the civilian world, they would have been in jail or I would have been rich after taking my employer to civil court. Well maybe not because the deck is stacked against the accuser but we do in fact have a civilian justice system that allows us to hold others accountable, while it simultaneously protects the due process rights of the accused. This cannot be said of the military justice system. There is no guarantee a military Commander will do anything with a crime report let alone process the felony crime effectively. We do not want a justice system where one man or woman decides whether to do nothing, give a non judicial punishment for a felony crime, or railroad the accused or accuser. We do want a justice system where we can hold our employer accountable without roadblocks from the Pentagon, Congress, and the Feres Doctrine. We cannot effectively tackle the violent crime issue in the military until the victims of crimes, like sexual assault and domestic violence, feel safe enough to report. Crime victims have expressed that they do not want to report crimes to a Commander for fear of retaliation. The Department of Defense admitted that of those of who did report the crime, 62% perceived that they faced retaliation. If service members felt safe enough to report, it could help us prevent homicide, suicide, and non combat death.

If we think about violent crime committed by military personnel compared to violent crime statistics in the United States (reference above graph), at first glance it appears the military has a homicide ‘issue’ among the ranks. Please see the below links for a sample of crime on some of the U.S. military bases. All military bases worldwide will eventually be included in this research. And the research for sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, and physical assault specifically has not been conducted yet either. Because the research is far from being complete, it is too early to make any assumptions so I will put the data in one place and let you come to your own conclusions. But if military crime mirrors civilian crime statistics, one can deduce that if the military has a lot of homicide, there is even more rape. Currently the number one concern in the military is a Commander’s ability to give a non judicial punishment for a felony crime. A Commander can bypass the courts martial process simply by punishing and/or discharging the accused with a preponderance of the evidence. This does nothing to protect our military personnel and the civilians who live near our bases in America and worldwide. Predators do not discriminate. They are just as likely to harm civilians as they are military personnel. They know their rights and they know that jurisdiction issues and lack of communication among law enforcement agencies will help prolong getting caught. We need to be one step ahead.

We can’t get real violent crime numbers for the military bases unless we include those who died of non combat deaths while they were deployed. Veterans Noonie Fortin and Ann Wright inspired me to initially look into the non combat deaths of female soldiers overseas because they observed the unusually high number of female soldiers who died of non combat deaths during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their chief concern was that although the military labels a non combat death as a suicide, there are suspicions that some female soldiers were murdered, like LaVena Johnson, Amy Tirador, and Ciara Durkin. I did the research on every single female soldier who died from non combat deaths overseas and their concerns are valid. My research on non combat deaths in Iraq alone revealed that roughly 30% of female soldiers died as a result of homicide, suicide, and other unknown causes. I am working on collecting the data for male soldiers who died from non combat related injuries in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas. I started with 2010 so we can get the most recent cases but I will go back to September 11, 2001 in the next phase of data collection. The first male soldier non combat death case I found in 2010 was an unsolved homicide. His name was SSG Anton Phillips and he was stabbed to death in Afghanistan. Further research in this area has uncovered that non combat deaths of male soldiers are just as prevalent.

Learn more:
The US Military Recruited Violent Felons to Support the War Efforts
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Fort Carson, Colorado (US Army)
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death & Suicide at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Violent Crime at Fort Wainwright, Alaska (US Army)
Violent Crime at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance Benefits
Rep Nikki Tsongas & Rep Mike Turner Host Educational Caucus: Improving Treatment Resources for Male Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma
An Open Letter to the Senate and House of Representatives in Support of the Military Justice Improvement Act
Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights

Letter of Support for Save Our Heroes in Our Shared Quest for Military Justice Reform & Constitutional Rights

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October 1, 2016

U.S. House of Representatives
United States Senate
Washington, DC

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a letter of support for Save Our Heroes. We recognized immediately that Save Our Heroes and victims of crimes both want similar changes in the military justice system. Save Our Heroes is asking for three specific legislative/policy changes to restore fundamental fairness in the military justice system:

1. Remove all Commanders authority from decision-making in the legal system.
2. The number of panel members should be increased to 12 for General Courts Martial.
3. Any conviction at Courts Martial shall require a unanimous verdict.

These requests by Save Our Heroes are similar to the overall changes that victims of crimes in the military have lobbied for, specifically that Commanders be removed from the reporting and decision-making process because of fear of bias, lack of investigative training, and the power to discharge and/or punish with the stroke of a pen. Save Our Heroes is requesting the same changes because ultimately both the victims and accused are looking for a military justice system that mirrors the civilian justice system while respecting the need of the Commanding Officer to ensure discipline is maintained within their command. We want a justice system where crimes are reported to legal authorities and not a Commander who is an authority figure with the power to impact your entire life. We want a justice system where crimes will be investigated thoroughly by unbiased military criminal investigative organizations looking for the truth. We want a justice system that provides the same constitutional rights as those provided in the civilian justice system. Save Our Heroes is specifically asking for changes that are commonplace in the civilian justice system, like a jury of twelve of our peers and a unanimous verdict. Our military deserves no less.

Victims of crimes in the military are asking for a military justice system that provides due process for the accuser and the accused. Crime victims want the ability to go to trial based on an independent prosecutor’s decision to charge because there was sufficient evidence to move forward with a case. Crime victims want those people who level false accusations, and engage in other abuses of the process, to be held accountable. While we recognize that false reports represent a small percentage of total reports (between 2-8 percent based on Bureau of Justice Statistics data), those who do falsely accuse are hurting the real victims of these crimes and should be held accountable through the same impartial military justice system. Both the accusers and the accused are asking for due process, which is best accomplished by a system that mirrors the civilian justice system. Currently, Commanders have control of the process when the accused, accuser, defense attorneys, and prosecutors should have control over the process.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Norris, Military Justice for All
Stephanie Schroeder, US Human Rights Network & UN Board Member
Brian Lewis, Men Recovering from Military Sexual Trauma

TSgt Steven Bellino, US Air Force (2016)

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TSgt Steven Bellino, US Air Force

TSgt Steven Bellino, 41, US Air Force, passed away on April 8, 2016 at Joint Base San-Antonio in Texas.

Related Links:
Obituary: Steven D. Bellino
Technical Sgt. Steven D. Bellino, Save Our Heroes
Two Airmen Fatally Shot at San Antonio Base Identified
Air Force Officials Identified Two Men Killed In Workplace Violence
Lackland AFB shooting victims identified as TSgt and squadron commander
Victims in Lackland shooting ID’d as former FBI agent, squadron commander
Gunman in Texas Air Force Base Killing Had Gone AWOL
Lackland AFB Shooter Was Facing Disciplinary Action For Going AWOL
Training Squadron Commander, Student ID’d as Airmen Dead in Air Force Base Shooting
Lackland Air Force Base Gunman in Murder-Suicide was Ex-FBI Agent
Official: Ex-FBI Agent Was Gunman in Texas Base Shooting
Suspect in Apparent Murder-Suicide at Texas Air Force Base Was a Former FBI Agent
Lackland base shooter ID’ed as former FBI agent, Iraq war veteran
Air Force: Student from Northeast Ohio killed commander at Lackland AFB
Texas Air Force base gunman was from Parma Heights, reports say
Commander ‘went out swinging’ in Lackland murder-suicide
Air Force commander ‘went out swinging’ during deadly shooting with former FBI agent at Texas base
Special Operations airman killed his squadron commander in apparent-murder suicide
Gunman in Texas Air Force base killing had gone AWOL, then taken mental health exam
A Long Career in Military’s Elite Spirals Into a Killing and a Suicide
Lackland gunman had been a standout soldier
Air Force: PTSD, other factors led airman to kill commander
Air Force reports: PTSD, other factors led airman to kill commander
Special Forces Vet Killed Himself, Commander Because Of Failing Career
Special Forces vet took two guns, a knife and a grudge into fatal meeting
In wake of Lackland shooting, Air Force aims to remove dropouts quicker
Family of Spec Ops Airman, who killed commander, alleges a USAF cover-up
A disputed suicide note and other documents trace Steve Bellino’s descent
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas

The gunman behind the fatal shooting at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has been identified as Steven D. Bellino, a former FBI agent who later enlisted in the US Air Force. Bellino was an FBI agent for less than two years before resigning in 2013. Authorities have not confirmed why Lt. Col. William A. Schroeder was targeted in the murder/suicide attack.

VOR America: Jennifer Norris Discusses Sexual Misconduct in the Military (2014)

CBS News: Military cracks down on rampant sexual abuse

Jennifer NorrisCBS News: Former Air Force Sgt. Jennifer Norris, a rape victim, said, “Blaming a civilian hook-up culture for the epidemic does nothing but contribute to victim blaming, excusing perpetrators, and it belittles the serious nature of these crimes.”

She said the system is rigged against low-ranking service members. “Commanders who are responsible for the resolution of these cases are far too often biased in favor of the often higher-ranking perpetrators,” she said.

Norris spoke at a press conference at which Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and other members of Congress pushed legislation that would allow victims to bypass their commanders.

As far as how to make that happen, the senator said, “Allow them to report directly to a military lawyer, a trained prosecutor, someone who understands sexual assault, and is the one who will do the investigation and then decide whether or not to bring it to trial.”

Read more at CBS News here.

MA1 Jennifer Valdivia, US Navy, Died in a Non Combat Related Incident in Bahrain, NCIS Ruled Death Suicide by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (2007)

Honoring Jennifer Valdivia @USNavy (2007)

Jennifer Valdivia, US Navy

MA1 Jennifer Valdivia, 27, US Navy, died in a non combat related incident in Bahrain on January 16, 2007. MA1 Valdivia was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the naval security force for Naval Support Activity in Bahrain. At the time of the press release the Department of Defense announced that her death was under investigation and Bahrain was located within the designated hostile fire zone. Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) eventually ruled her death suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Toussaint, who led the Bahrain unit until March 2006, was at the center of a 2007 command investigation that documented more than 90 instances of abuse, including sailors being ordered to simulate homosexual sex in training videos, hogtied to chairs and force-fed dog treats. “If my daughter didn’t do what he told her to do, he would embarrass her in front of everybody in the kennel, belittle her,” Young said. “Everybody who was friends with Jennifer tells me the same story: She was the fall person. She was the scapegoat.” ~Pilot Online

Jennifer was at the center of command directed investigation of abuse of prisoners in Bahrain. It was reported that she did not want to participate in war crimes yet was belittled, harassed, and abused by a supervisor if she didn’t do what he told her to do. If she had a way out, could this suicide have been prevented? Was it a suicide? Was it ever investigated as a homicide? Who found her? Was it reported to the Commander first? Did the Commander do an initial investigation? Does the Navy have NCIS located in Bahrain? How quickly did NCIS respond to the scene located in what is described as a designated hostile fire zone?

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty
Navy Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jennifer A. Valdivia
Report Leaked on Navy Suicide
Report: Sailors hogtied, fed dog treats
U.S. Navy sailors say they were hazed, abused
Abuse Probe May Have Pushed Navy Sailor To Suicide
Navy: Investigation drove sailor in dog-handling unit to kill self
Report outlines security unit hazing, assault
Gay Sailor: My Comrades Locked Me In A ‘Feces-Filled Dog Kennel’
‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Didn’t Protect Me From Abuse in the Navy
Ex-sailor denies hazing by senior
Brutal Navy Hazing Rituals Probed
Navy petty officer to face punishment in hazing
Navy Admits it Was Wrong in Case of Dog Handler
Navy Chief in Anti-Gay Hazing Case to Retire with Full Rank and Pay
Navy’s reprimand of leader not enough for man who lost daughter
Two years later, sailor to be forced out for role in hazing scandal
AP’s Misleading Report on Navy Reversal: I Did Not Ask for Anti-Gay Hazing
Navy veteran combats ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
Is There an Army Cover Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?
The Deadliest Year, In ’07 the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Claimed More Than 1,000 U.S. Lives, Bringing the Death Toll to 4,354
Top female navy commander sacked over humiliating initiation ordeals on board ship
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)