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

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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)

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

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)

Matthew Brown

Pvt. Matthew Brown, U.S. Army (photo: Vanity Fair)

Army Pvt. Matthew W. Brown, 20, of Zelienople, Pennsylvania, died May 11, 2008 in Asadabad, Afghanistan from injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident. Pvt. Brown was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 3rd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Fires Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. At the time of the incident, the Department of Defense announced Pvt. Brown’s death was under investigation. On January 8, 2019, the family alleged Matthew was murdered in a Vanity Fair publication titled “Leave No Soldier Behind”: The Unsolved Mystery of the Soldier Who Died in the Watchtower.

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

Fort Drum Army Pfc. Gary Kalinofski Died of a Non-Hostile Gunshot Wound at Camp Magrath While on a Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo (March 4, 2002)

US Army Seal

Army Pfc. Gary S. Kalinofski, 21, died of a gunshot wound at Camp Magrath near Pristina, Kosovo on March 4, 2002. The military casualty announcement confirmed the gunshot wound was not a result of engagement with hostile forces. Pfc. Kalinofski’s home of record was listed as Fayetteville, North Carolina. Pfc. Kalinofski served in Kosovo since November 2001 in a peacekeeping mission role on behalf of A Company, Task Force 1-32nd Infantry Regiment at Fort Drum, New York. According to the book Army Wives by Tanya Biank, the Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) ruled that Pfc. Gary Kalinofski died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Gary was survived by his parents; his dad also served in the Army and was in Kosovo at the time Gary took his own life. The Army Wives author shared that Gary’s parents were interviewed by Army CID but they didn’t have any insight or knowledge to help Army CID understand why Gary chose to die by suicide.

Editor’s Note: There was no Department of Defense press release for the announcement of the death of Army casualty Pfc. Gary S. Kalinofski in Kosovo.

Related Links:
U.S. Soldier Shot In Kosovo
U.S. peacekeeper diesfrom gunshot wound
U.S. Peacekeeper Dies in Kosovo
U.S. soldier dies of wounds in Kosovo
KFOR unveils memorial to those who died serving as Kosovo peacekeepers

Department of Defense: Statement of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Accident in Vietnam (April 7, 2001)

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Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld today released the following statement (April 7, 2001):

“Americans are saddened by today’s tragic loss of life of both U.S. and Vietnamese service personnel in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Those of us in the Department of Defense, and the families of our missing, are keenly aware of the dedication of both the American and Vietnamese team members who were, on this very day, searching for servicemen who have been missing in action since the end of the war.” 

Read more from the Department of Defense here.

7 Americans, 9 Vietnamese Die in Viet Helo Crash (April 10, 2001):

“The Americans killed in the crash were identified as Army Lt. Col. Rennie M. Cory Jr., commander, Detachment 2, Joint Task Force-Full Accounting; Army Lt. Col. George D. Martin III, incoming commander; Air Force Maj. Charles E. Lewis, deputy commander; Army Sgt. 1st Class Tommy J. Murphy, mortuary affairs team sergeant, Central Identification Laboratory-Hawaii; Navy Chief Petty Officer Pedro J. Gonzales, corpsman; and Air Force Master Sgt. Steven L. Moser and Tech. Sgt. Robert M. Flynn, linguists. U.S. Pacific Command officials in Hawaii released the names April 9 at 7 p.m. The Vietnamese dead include the three-member crew and four aircraft technicians. Also killed were two members of the Vietnamese agency that assists U.S. Pacific Command’s Joint Task Force-Full Accounting in its investigation and recovery efforts.”

Read more from the Department of Defense here.

“A Pacific Command investigation into an April 7 helicopter crash that killed seven U.S. servicemen in Vietnam found that deteriorating weather conditions, poor visibility and the Vietnamese pilot’s failure to “properly react” to those conditions were predominant factors in the accident.” –Honolulu Advertiser (October 17, 2001)

Related Links:
Statement of Secretary Rumsfeld on Accident in Vietnam (April 7, 2001)
7 Americans, 9 Vietnamese Die in Viet Helo Crash (April 10, 2001)
US officials mourn Vietnamese helicopter crash victims
U.S. Releases Names of Those Killed in Vietnam Crash
Army, Air Force identify dead in Vietnam crash
Hawaii residents among dead in Vietnam chopper crash
Bodies of 7 returned from Vietnam
Remains of 7 MIA Hunters Return to U.S.
Vietnam crash brings pain to the isle
Never Forgotten: Accounting for American MIAs
Fayetteville Soldier Killed In Helicopter Crash In Vietnam
Virtual Vietnam Veterans In Memory Honor Roll | Rennie Melville Cory Jr.
In Memory of Lt. Col. Rennie Cory Jr
The Bone Collectors | Newsweek
Honoring JTF-FA Heroes
Poor visibility, pilot blamed in Vietnam copter crash
Gone but Never Forgotten