My Last Breath: In Loving Memory of My Sister Army Reservist SSG Virginia Caballero, Our Fallen Servicemembers, and Our Gold Star Families

Virginia Caballero

SSG Virginia Caballero, U.S. Army Reserve

Army Reservist SSG Virginia Caballero Died on Plane Enroute in US After Deployment in Kuwait, Family Received Conflicting Accounts of Cause of Death (September 13, 2014)

My Last Breath by Suzie Caballero Turner, Gold Star Family

Ft. Hood tried to cover up 2 other deaths,
When Greg and Vanessa took their last breath.
Lying to the family, wouldn’t tell them the truth,
Hoping no one would ask, their story runs smooth…

But there is a group, Gold Star Families their name,
Who knew much better, Ft. Hood is the blame.

But this is much bigger than sexual assualt you see,
This is about soldiers killing him, them, and me,
About Heroes who once fought for us,
But when one dies, we can’t make a fuss.

Don’t get me wrong, sexual assault is a crime,
And those who commit it, better do the time,
But this situation is bigger you see…
It’s about lies told when they killed me.

Told my family I put a gun to my head,
But a soldier in arms is why I am dead,
My family knows better, you’re telling a lie,
They know for a fact, that’s not how I’d die.

A medical death, how quickly you lied,
Another soldier is the reason that I died,
His corruptive lifestyle, I didn’t agree,
So he thought he’d go on and silence me.

I’m only a Sgt, take orders from command,
What they tell me to do is out of my hands,
The mission they gave me, sounds dangerous to me,
Tried to talk to command, but they just disagree.
Now the mission’s over, just like it played in my head…
So they try to blame me, because we all end up dead…

It took them a month to find me and my car,
They didn’t realize that they took this too far,
Sending my phone signals to my home state,
Hoping my family will just take the bait,
While they decide what they’re going to say
About what happened to me when i died that day.

Suicide is what you tell my wife…
Multiple stab wounds from somebody’s knife
She knows me better, knows you’re telling a lie
She knows this isn’t the way I would die…

Commander and others like treating me bad,
So I finally stood up, only got them mad,
So now I am unresponsive, face down on my bed,
Another soldier in arms is why I am dead…

Healthy as ever, pass each PT test,
Taking care of me, doing my best,
All of a sudden, I fell on the floor,
All they tell my family, “She’s not breathing any more.”
Lie to my family, not medical death,
But a coward soldier who took my last breath.

These are just a few of the hundreds of deaths,
When our own fellow soldier took us from our last breath,
It wasn’t at war, not by the other country,
But one of our own who ended my life for me.

Higher command tries to diffuse the crime,
By making up a story and not doing the time.
Lying to the family, saying stories untrue,
Making families think there’s nothing they can do.

This needs to stop, too many have died!
Too many families to whom they’ve lied!
Now it’s time to make things right!
By telling the truth and letting us fight,
Fight for our loved ones who can no longer speak,
Because the truth is all we seek!

To demand the truth about their death,
And who made them take their last breath!
They deserve respect, justice, and closure too,
So quit being a coward and do what you’re supposed to do,
Start acting like the soldier you signed up to be
So families again, can believe in humanity!

Don’t get me wrong, we can’t blame them all,
We can’t expect all of Ft. Hood to fall,
For all the corrupt cowards who led a hero to death,
And watched him as he took his final breath.

This isn’t just happening on Ft. Hood you see,
This is happening within all military,
Some of these deaths are Marines, and Navy too,
Every military branch has got quite a few…

But just like the corrupt ones, not all of them are bad…
There are also some good ones who the corrupt ones make mad..

There are many true soldiers still left you see,
Who are doing what’s right, fighting for him, her, and me,
So don’t disrespect a true soldier in any way…
Because of what corruption may have played out today.
So weed out the cowards and take them away,
Throw them in a prison for taking our loved ones that day…

Senators Cruz, Gillibrand, Grassley Offer Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as Amendment to Defense Bill (July 2, 2020)

Pass MJIA 2.png

Find contact information and how your Senators voted here.

Contact the SASC & HASC Members here.

Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

“U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and I recently announced that we will offer the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as an amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. The Military Justice Improvement Act would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision over whether to prosecute them to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors.

Despite years of Congressional reforms, thousands of service members are raped and sexually assaulted every year. In many of those cases, the assailant is someone in the survivor’s own chain of command. Only a small fraction of the perpetrators are ever held accountable for their violent crimes. Last year, the Department of Defense announced a record number of sexual assaults reported by or against service members, and yet, less than 10 percent of cases considered for command action ever proceeded to trial. Worse yet, despite repeated efforts to stamp out the scourge of retaliation against military sexual assault survivors, the most recent Pentagon survey found that 64 percent of survivors say they have experienced some form of retaliation for reporting the crime. That figure is statistically unchanged from 2016.”

Read more here.

SASC: Senate Armed Services Committee
HASC: House Armed Services Committee

Related Links:
Chair Jackie Speier NDAA Provisions Address Military Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Racial Justice, Ethics, Military Families, and DoD Oversight and Modernization (July 2, 2020)
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand, Grassley Offer Bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act as Amendment to Defense Bill (July 2, 2020)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
August: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report from September 11, 2001 to Present (August 31, 2017)
September: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report from September 11, 2001 to Present (September 30, 2017)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel: Hearings on Domestic Violence in the Military (September 18, 2019)

Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows -US House Armed Services Committee (September 18, 2019)

“We are here today because domestic violence has become a forgotten crisis in our military. It has been 15 years since a DOD task force analyzed domestic violence within the military, yet we have seen unsettling warning signs since. Within the last few months, DOD reports have highlighted concerning failures in our services’ domestic violence systems. The DOD has not responded urgently. Today, we will hear from three survivors of domestic violence in the military who are bravely coming forward to share their experiences in the hope that others may be helped. Because we lack data that is recent, plentiful, or granular, we must rely on survivors, advocates and experts to help us understand the unique challenges of dealing with this crisis within the military.” Read more from House Armed Services Committee Chairwoman Jackie Speier here.

Domestic Violence Survivors

Survivors of domestic violence with Rep. Jackie Speier (Photo: Rohini Hughes, NMFAO)

Panel 1:

Mr. Brian Clubb
Coordinator, Military & Veterans Advocacy Program
Battered Women’s Justice Project

Mr. David S. Lee
Director of Prevention Services
PreventConnect

Ms. Arlene Vassell
Vice President of Programs, Prevention & Social Change
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Mrs. Rohini Hughes
Survivor and Advocate
National Military Family Advocacy Organization

Ms. Kate Ranta
Survivor and Advocate

Ms. Leah Olszewski
Survivor and Advocate

Panel 2:

Mrs. A.T. Johnston
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, Department of Defense

Mr. Kenneth Noyes
Associate Director, DOD Family Advocacy Program (Military Family Readiness Policy), Department of Defense

Related Links:
Congressional Testimony | National Center on Domestic & Sexual Violence
Domestic Violence in Military Families
Rep. Braley introduces Holley Lynn James Act
Law protecting military victims of sexual assault discussed
Woman claims Army is protecting abusive husband
Military Domestic Violence and Child Abuse | C-SPAN
Tillis Chairs Hearing on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in the Military
Heinrich Questions Army Nominee On Domestic Violence Loophole
Senator Hirono Conducts Hearing on Military Domestic Violence
High risk of military domestic violence on the home front
Kirsten Gillibrand Pleads for Military to Review Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence Allegation: ‘We Have Grave Concerns’ for Their Safety
The UCMJ May Get A Domestic Violence Update To Prevent The Next Texas Church Shooting
Sexual Assault in the Mililtary | C-SPAN
Military Not Following Own Rules for On-Base Domestic Violence Investigations
Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Case on Doctrine Preventing Military Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
A Unique Military Program Helps Sexual Assault Survivors. But Not All of Them.
Bill giving soldiers right to sue for medical malpractice passes House
Senators introduce bill that would allow service members to sue for medical malpractice
Bid to allow troops to sue for military medical malpractice hits Senate snag
Subcommittee on Military Personnel: Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows
Opening Statement Chairwoman Jackie Speier, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows September 18, 2019

Shattered Families, Shattered Service: Taking Military Domestic Violence Out of the Shadows
Congresswoman Speier Holds First House Armed Services Committee Hearing on Domestic Violence in Over 15 Years
House Armed Services Committee tackling sexual assault in the military
Hearing On Military Domestic Violence | NPR
Lawmakers Hear Emotional Stories From ‘Forgotten Crisis’ Of Military Domestic Violence | NPR
Is military domestic violence a ‘forgotten crisis’? | Military Times
Abuse survivors calls domestic violence “black eye of our military” | Connecting Vets
Outreach Key in Addressing Domestic Violence | Department of Defense
Military domestic violence investigation launched | Enid News
Commands Protect Troops and Fail Families in Domestic Abuse Cases, Victims Say | Military.com
Federal Register :: Transitional Compensation (TC) for Abused Dependents

MJFA Research

Domestic violence is more likely to lead to homicide and leaving the abuser is by far the most dangerous time for victims.

People Magazine Published ‘A War at Home’: Five Military Spouses Slain in Six Weeks at Fort Bragg (August 12, 2002)

Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives by Tanya Biank (February 7, 2006)

“December 2, 2002, President Bush signed into law an act that makes domestic violence protective orders enforceable on military installations.”

LCpl Maria Lauterbach/Homicide (2007)

Maria Lauterbach Sexual Assault Hearing (2008) (this was sexual assault and interpersonal violence)

Defense STRONG Act passed (2011) (includes expedited transfer if sexually assaulted)

Jennifer Norris Testimony to HASC (2013) (includes testimony similar to domestic abuse)

Ban on Women in Combat Lifted (2013) (this happened the same day of HASC hearings and as a result it overshadowed the hearings)

Military Policy Recommendations (MJFA) (went to DC and visited congressional members, expansion of expedited transfer policy, independent investigations)

Washington DC Presentation on Fort Hood (MJFA) (went to DC and visited congressional members, status of forces at post with most recorded suicides)

History: The Military and Domestic Abuse (MJFA)

Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) (McCaskill was voted out and Arizona Senator Martha McSally & Senator Joni Ernst are standing in the way now)

Open Letter in support of the MJIA (independent investigations, disband convening authority powers)

NBC Washington: 62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (May 18, 2015) (Retaliation is preventing our service members and military families from reporting felony crime)

Deadly Women: 30 Military and Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery (Domestic violence is happening to men too, we see a higher prevalence of female crime because the military is 85% male att)

Rep Mike Turner Says New Military Legislation Closes a Loophole & Includes Domestic Violence Victims in the Expedited Transfer Policy (unclear what the status of this legislation is, could not find an update)

Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

*********************************************************

Recent DV/Homicides:

Samatha Field/Army Spouse (2018)

Abree Boykin/Army Spouse (2018)

Sgt. Brittany Silvers/Army (2018)

Debbie Forrest/Army Spouse (2019)

Staff Sgt Amy Colburn/Army (2019)

Sgt. Tyrone Hassel/Army (2019)

(this list does not include all victims by a long shot)

*********************************************************

DV/Homicide History:

Sgt. Bill Coffin (1997) > (Army’s inappropriate handling of DV/DA dates back to 1997)

30 Military Domestic Abuse>Homicide Cases

Non Combat Deaths/Females/Iraq

Non Combat Deaths/Females/Afghanistan

Non Combat Deaths/Females/Other Areas

Cases of Significance:

Kamisha Block (2007) (Murder-Suicide in Iraq, case reopened in 2019 to investigate negligence of Chain of Command)

Holley Wimunc (2008) > Holley Lynn James Act (similar to MJIA)

Recruit Michelle Miller (2013) > Michelle’s Law (similar to MJIA)

Dawn Giffa/Army Spouse (2015) > Lawsuit Against Army (Negligence at Fort Hood)

Pfc. Karlyn Ramirez (2015) > (abuse, child custody, homicide)

Pfc. Shadow McClaine (2016) > (abuse, divorce, homicide)

Pvt. Paige Briles (2016) > (abuse, pending divorce, suspected homicide)

“Leave No Soldier Behind”: The Unsolved Mystery of the Soldier Who Died in the Watchtower | Vanity Fair (January 8, 2019)

Matthew Brown Army.png

Matthew Warren Brown, U.S. Army (via Vanity Fair Facebook)

Is the Army botching its investigations into noncombatant deaths?

I. The Gun Tower

“On the morning of May 11, 2008, a U.S. Army private second class named Matthew Warren Brown died of a single gunshot wound to the head while manning a watchtower at a forward operating base in Afghanistan. Brown was 20 years old. He was a skinny, all-American kid, a bit aimless but affable and unassuming. He was a good guy. You could see it in his face. At his funeral back home in Pennsylvania, some 200 people showed up. In the aftermath of Brown’s death, army investigators created files about the circumstances. The bullet that killed him was fired from his own weapon, an M4 carbine. He was working the six A.M. shift, alone in the watchtower by the fortified main gate to the base. The tower was known as the Gun Tower. It was made of concrete, and looked medieval when viewed from the outside. It was three stories tall. On the second and third floors it had openings covered with two-piece Plexiglas windows, some of which had broken off and been left lying in shards on the floors.” Read more from Vanity Fair here.

Related Links:
Pvt Matthew Warren Brown | Find A Grave
DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Pvt. Matthew W. Brown
Army Pvt. Matthew W. Brown | Honor the Fallen
Fort Bragg Soldier dies in Afghanistan
Soldier from Fort Bragg dies in Afghanistan
Fort Bragg soldier dies from injuries in Afghanistan
Zelienople soldier killed in Afghanistan, father says
Soldier from Zelienople killed in Afghanistan
Zelienople soldier who died in Afghanistan buried today
“Leave No Soldier Behind”: The Unsolved Mystery of the Soldier Who Died in the Watchtower | Vanity Fair
Family of soldier found dead in Afghanistan in 2008 says he did not commit suicide as claimed
Family of soldier who was found dead in Afghanistan watchtower in 2008 says he did not commit suicide, as the military claims, and had told them he feared he would be killed over his role in a drug ring that was being run on-base by a ‘thug’ sergeant
Army Pvt. Matthew Brown Died As a Result of a Non-Combat Related Incident in Afghanistan; Death Ruled Suicide But Family Alleges Murder in Vanity Fair Publication (May 11, 2008)

Army Reservist Sgt. Christina Shoenecker Died of a Non-Combat Related Incident in Baghdad, Iraq (February 19, 2018)

Christina Schoenecker

Sgt. Christina Schoenecker, U.S. Army Reserve

Army Reservist Sgt. Christina Schoenecker, 26, died of a non-combat related incident on February 19, 2018 in Baghdad, Iraq. Sgt. Schoenecker was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 89th Sustainment Brigade, 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Wichita, Kansas. Sgt. Schoenecker’s home of record is listed as Arlington, Kansas. According to Honor the Fallen at Military Times, Sgt. Schoenecker enlisted in the military in May 2009 and served as a human resources specialist. At the time of the press release, the incident was under investigation which is typical with any non combat death but an official cause of death has not been determined or publicized by authorities. The site Popular Military shared that a source close to them in Iraq in an unofficial report believed it was a suicide. This could not be confirmed in other media reports.

In the News:

The body of U.S. Army Sergeant Christina Marie Schoenecker is escorted from the Hutchinson Airport to Elliot Mortuary by the Patriot Guard, Hutchinson Police and the Hutchinson Fire Departments. SGT Schoenecker died February 19, 2018, from a non-combat related incident, in Baghdad, Iraq at the age of 26. She will be buried in her hometown of Arlington, Kansas, Monday, March 5, 2018. -The Hutchinson News (March 2, 2018)

U.S. Army Sergeant Christina Marie Schoenecker was buried at Arlington Cemetery, Arlington, Kansas on Monday, March 5, 2018. SGT Schoenecker died February 19, 2018, from a non-combat related incident, in Baghdad, Iraq at the age of 26. -The Hutchinson News (March 5, 2018)

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Honor the Fallen: Sgt. Christina M. Schoenecker, U.S. Army Reserve
Christina Marie “Tina” Schoenecker | 1992 – 2018 | Obituary
Kansas soldier dies in Iraq
Kansas soldier dies in non-combat incident in Iraq
Female soldier dies in accident in Iraq
US soldier dies in non-combat incident in Baghdad
SGT Schoenecker’s body returns home
Army Sgt. Christina M. Schoenecker honored in dignified transfer Feb. 22
Army identifies soldier killed in noncombat incident in Baghdad
Army Identifies Sergeant Who Died While Deployed Supporting ISIS Fight
Kansas soldier dies in non-combat incident while supporting ISIS fight in Iraq
U.S. Army sergeant dies in Iraq, unofficial report suggests it was suicide
Mystery surrounds ‘non combat’ death of female soldier battling ISIS in Iraq as her body is returned home and Department of Defence announce an investigation
IGTNT: “She will be sorely missed” | Daily Kos
Funeral held for KS soldier who died last month in Iraq
Family and friends celebrate the life of Christina Schoenecker
Family, friends gather to honor fallen Arlington soldier
SGT Christina Marie Schoenecker’s burial service
Latest U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq
On Memorial Day: Three stories to remember the soldiers we have lost
CJTF-OIR reflects on significant military gains, fighting ISIS in 2018
Non Combat Deaths of Female Service Members in the U.S. Military (Iraq)
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

Fort Hood Army Sgt. Douglas Riney Shot and Killed by a Suspected Taliban Infiltrator in Kabul, Afghanistan (October 19, 2016)

Douglas Riney

Sgt. Douglas Riney, U.S. Army

“The Department of Defense announced today the death of one soldier and one Department of Army civilian employee who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Sgt. Douglas J. Riney, 26, of Fairview, Illinois, and Michael G. Sauro, 40, of McAlester, Oklahoma, died Oct. 19 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds received from encountering hostile enemy forces.

Riney was assigned to the Support Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. Sauro was assigned to the Defense Ammunition Center, McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, McAlester, Oklahoma.”

According to Reuters, a U.S. official said the attack occurred at an Afghan military ammunition supply point near Camp Morehead outside Kabul. The Americans were visiting the site as part of their train, advise and assist mission when a lone gunman opened fire on them at the entry control point. The assailant, who was later killed, was reported to be wearing an Afghan army uniform.

Sgt. Douglas J. Riney Memorial Video:

Sgt. Douglas J. Riney Memorial Video

Congressional Action In Honor of Douglas Riney:

On Wednesday, May 17, the Illinois House of Representatives adopted a resolution designating the section of Illinois Route 78 from Canton to Farmington as the “Sgt. Douglas Riney Memorial Highway”. The resolution honoring Sgt. Riney is House Joint Resolution 43 sponsored by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria). -Illinois House GOP (May 18, 2017)

Rep. Cheri Bustos Speaks on her bill to rename the Fairview Post Office in Honor of Sgt. Douglas Riney

Related Links:
Obituary: Douglas J. Riney
Sgt. Douglas J. Riney | Military Times
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Army identifies Fort Hood soldier killed in Afghanistan
Fort Hood Soldier Killed in Action in Afghanistan
Gunman kills two American advisers, wounds three in Afghan capital
DoD identifies soldier, Army civilian killed in Afghanistan
Decorated Fort Hood Soldier Killed by Enemy Fire in Afghanistan
Attack in Afghanistan killed Illinois soldier, Oklahoma man
Local Soldier Dies While on Tour in Afghanistan
Central Illinois soldier killed in Afghanistan
Fairview Firefighter and Soldier Killed in Kabul
Friends, family remember Fairview soldier killed in Afghanistan
Attack in Afghanistan killed Illinois soldier, Oklahoma civilian
Congresswoman Bustos’ Bill to Rename the Fairview Post Office in Honor of Sgt. Douglas Riney Passes in the House
Congresswoman Bustos’ bill to rename the Fairview Post office in Honor of Sgt. Douglas Riney passes in the House
Congresswoman Bustos’ Bill to Rename the Fairview Post Office in Honor of Sgt. Douglas Riney Signed into Law
Fairview Post Office will soon be Sergeant Douglas J. Riney Post Office
Illinois post office to be renamed for fallen Army sergeant
Fairview’s Post Office Renamed After Fallen Soldier
Post office renamed after fallen soldier
Douglas Riney died in Afghanistan when his son was 2. Now 4, the boy builds memorials to his father
House Approves Resolution Designating Section of Illinois Route 78 ‘Sgt. Douglas Riney Memorial Highway’
Resolution passed designating section of IL Rt 78 as Sgt. Douglas Riney Memorial Highway
Sgt. Douglas Riney Memorial Highway Dedication ceremony held
Bustos Co-Sponsoring Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act
Volunteers work to honor fallen heroes; ceremony Dec. 8
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside (January 1, 2016 to Present)
Kabul Attack Leaves Two Americans Dead in Afghanistan
Sgt. Douglas J. Riney Memorial Video
Rep. Unes Resolution Designating Sgt. Riney Memorial Highway
Rep. Bustos Speaks on her bill to rename the Fairview Post Office in Honor of Sgt. Douglas Riney

Navy Sailor BM Devon Faulkner Died of a Non Combat Related Injury While Underway on USS Wasp in Mediterranean Sea (September 20, 2016)

FullSizeRender-2 copy

BM Devon Faulkner, U.S. Navy (Photo: http://www.militarytimes.com)

Navy Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Devon Faulkner died of a non combat related injury while underway with the USS Wasp on September 20, 2016. Devon Faulkner was supporting Operation Odyssey Lightning and was forward deployed in the central Mediterranean Sea at the time of his death. According to the Virginia Pilot, Faulkner was “injured aboard the ship while it was on deployment, but no other details about how he was injured were released.” BM Faulkner enlisted in the Navy on December 3, 2015. This was his first assignment after completing basic training and Naval Aviation technical school.

Related Links:
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

NBC Washington: 62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation (May 18, 2015)

Punishing the Victim Retaliation NBC Washington.jpg

“One of the women interviewed was Lt. Col. Teresa James, the highest ranking officer to come forward with a rape claim in the National Guard, according to a recent report by the Guard. The News4 I-Team first brought you her story when she said she believes her 34-year military career with the West Virginia National Guard was destroyed after she reported her rape. Lt. Col. James attended the news conference and told the I-Team, ‘There’s nothing else they can do to hurt me. They did everything they could possibly do. It’s effecting change. That’s why I’m out today. It’s effecting change, and if I have to speak it, shout it from the rooftops, that’s what I’m going to do.’ Read more from NBC Washington here.

Related Links:
Serving in Silence: Sex Assault Retaliation Complaints Investigated
62 Percent of Military Sex Assault Reports Result in Retaliation
Troops who report sexual assault face retaliation
Highlights of Army National Guard Lt. Col. Teresa James’ Military Sexual Assault and DoD IG Substantiated Retaliation Case
DoD Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy: Regarding Sexual Assault and Harassment Reports
DoD Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy Implementation Plan
Military Sex Assault Reports Edge Up; Retaliation Persists
DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Assault in Military
Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military
Military Sexual Assault Reports Are Up for the Seventh Year in a Row
Pentagon: Claims of Retaliation for Sexual Offense Complaints on Rise
Reports of Military Sexual Assault, Retaliation Increase
The Biggest Obstacle to the Pentagon’s War on Sexual Assault: The Military Justice System
Military sexual assault reports rise in 2017 but fewer servicemembers faced courts-martial
Sexual assault, harassment spikes at military academies, strategies fail to stem crisis
Reports of sexual assault in the military soar
Pentagon report shows sharp rise in military sexual assaults
Sexual assaults in military rise to more than 20,000, Pentagon survey says
“A cultural rot”: Sex assaults spike at U.S. service academies
Defense Department to make sexual harassment a crime
‘It was rape:’ Wisconsin Army National Guard officer Megan Plunkett says she was retaliated against, disciplined for reporting sexual assaults
Gabbard says ‘there is still a fear of retaliation’ in the military about reporting sexual assault
Senators Hirono, Gillibrand Reintroduce Legislation to Bring Justice to Survivors of Sexual Assault in the Military
Sexual assaults in the military are on the rise. This bill would authorize Congress to intervene
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN.org

History: Oscar-Winning Actor Robin Williams Dies at 63 (August 11, 2014)

Robin Williams Good Will Hunting

Robin Williams, the prolific Oscar-winning actor and comedian, died by suicide on August 11, 2014. He was 63. Read more from History here.

“From entertaining thousands of service men and women in war zones, to his philanthropy that helped veterans struggling with hidden wounds of war, he was a loyal and compassionate advocate for all who serve this nation in uniform,” [Chuck] Hagel said in a released statement. “He will be dearly missed by the men and women of DOD, so many of whom were personally touched by his humor and generosity.” -Stars and Stripes

DoD Press Release Robin Williams

Department of Defense Press Release for Robin Williams found here.

Obama White House

Statement by the President on the Passing of Robin Williams found here.

Good Will Hunting:

Will (Matt Damon) wants to know what’s in his file, while Sean (Robin Williams) assures him that the abuse he suffered wasn’t his fault. -Miramax

“The most brilliant mind at America’s top university isn’t a student, he’s the kid who cleans the floors. Will Hunting is a headstrong, working-class genius who is failing the lessons of life. After one too many run-ins with the law, Will’s last chance is a psychology professor, who might be the only man who can reach him. Finally forced to deal with his past, Will discovers that the only one holding him back is himself.” –Miramax Official Site

Mira Sorvino presents Robin Williams with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Good Will Hunting at the 70th Academy Awards. -Oscars

Related Links:
Robin Williams, 1951-2014 | VVA
Good Will Hunting | ‘It’s Not Your Fault’ (Trailer)
Robin Williams Wins Supporting Actor: 1998 Oscars
Journalist recalls travels with Robin Williams
New HBO Documentary Profiles USO Favorite Robin Williams
Robin Williams touched troops with honesty, generosity
Robin Williams fondly remembered by military service members
Robin Williams was a staple of USO tours overseas and in U.S.
Military community pays tribute to ‘true friend’ Robin Williams
Looking back on the USO tour legacy of Robin Williams
The Military Absolutely Loved Robin Williams
Statement by SecDef Chuck Hagel on the Passing of Robin Williams
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | YouTube
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | HBO Max
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | Showtime
Good Will Hunting | Miramax | Amazon Prime
Good Will Hunting – Official Site – Miramax

JBLM Army Pfc. Adriana Alvarez Died of a Gunshot Wound of an Unexplained Nature Sustained While Supporting Combat Operations in Baghdad, Iraq (February 10, 2010)

Adriana Alvarez

Pfc. Adriana Alvarez, U.S. Army

Army Pfc. Adriana Alvarez, 20, died of injuries sustained while supporting combat operations on February 10, 2010 in Baghdad, Iraq. Pfc. Alvarez was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. According to the Department of Defense press release, the incident was under investigation yet the outcome of the investigation is unknown. According to the Brownsville Herald, Pfc. Alvarez’s sister indicated that she was found with a gunshot wound. An official cause of death could not be determined based on any official statements from the Army or media reports. Although, the Olympian reported “Pfc. Adriana Alvarez, 20, belonged to a military police company at Lewis-McChord and died from injuries of an unexplained nature…in Baghdad, according to a separate report.”

“The U.S. Army policewoman was found Wednesday in Baghdad with a gunshot wound. Military officials were investigating Alvarez’s death, her sister said.”  –Brownsville Herald (February 12, 2010)

Adriana Alvarez DoD

Click here for DoD press release.

“Army PFC Alvarez was assigned to the 504th Military Police Battalion, 42nd Military Police Brigade, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. She was found dead of a gunshot wound – under investigation. Adriana always had dreams of becoming a police officer so after she graduated in 2008 from San Benito High School in San Benito, Texas, she joined the Army. She knew the best way to pursue a career in law enforcement would be through the military. In August she deployed to Iraq and kept in touch with her family thru e-mails and phone calls. Two days before her death, she spoke to her sister and said everything was fine. Adriana loved photography, classic rock music and proudly served her country.” (Adriana Alvarez, Find A Grave)

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Pfc. Adriana Alvarez
Pfc. Adriana Alvarez | Find a Grave
Area soldiers die in Iraq, Afghanistan
Female soldier from San Benito dies in Iraq
AT A GLANCE: Valley Servicemen who were killed in war in Iraq
Two Lewis-McChord soldiers killed this week in separate incidents
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
List of Washington’s Iraq War dead
Facing Our Losses – Iraq 2010

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