Army Sgt. Jonathon Hunter and Spc. Christopher Harris Died After a Vehicle-Borne IED Detonated Near Their Convoy in Afghanistan (2017)

3183-collage0021-676x450

Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, US Army, and Spc. Christopher Harris, US Army

Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, 23, and Spc. Christopher Harris, 25, died as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improved explosive device (IED) detonated near their convoy on August 2, 2017 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sgt. Hunter and Spc. Harris were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. According the the Department of Defense press release the incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Two members of 82nd Airborne killed in Afghanistan
Military identifies Fort Bragg soldiers killed in Afghanistan suicide bomb attack
Columbus, Ind., soldier among 2 killed in Afghanistan attack
Specialist Christopher Harris: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
Father: Indiana soldier among 2 killed in Afghanistan attack
Fundraiser for pregnant wife of soldier killed in Afghanistan nets $12,000 in four hours

August: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (2016)

xl_deptofdefenselogo

Aug. 24, 2016: DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Thompson, 28, Afghanistan, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

Aug. 14, 2016: DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Christopher Wilbur, 36, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

Aug. 6, 2016: DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty: Flando Jackson, 45, NCD, Qatar, Washington Air National Guard

Related Links:
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2002)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2003)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2004)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2005)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2006)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2007)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2008)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2009)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2010)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2011)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2012)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2013)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2014)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2015)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2017)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US 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)

Washington Air National Guardsman Lt Col Flando Jackson Died of a Non Combat-Related Injury at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar (2016)

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 3.30.24 PM

Lt. Col. Flando Jackson, Washington Air National Guard

Air National Guardsman Lt. Col. Flando Jackson died of a non combat related injury at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on August 4, 2016. Lt. Col. Jackson was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 194th Wing, Camp Murray, Washington National Guard. According to the Department of Defense, the incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty
Air Force officer supporting fight against Islamic State dies
Pentagon identifies lieutenant colonel who died in Southwest Asia
Department of Defense identifies airman killed in Southwest Asia
Washington National Guard mourns loss of Air Guard Lt Col

The Army Stands Ready to Investigate Any Reports & Allegations of Sexual Assault Going Back to 2000 or Earlier

Claim: Sexual assault victims punished and lose health care benefits as a result.

HRW claims in their report that many service members lose their military career after being sexually assaulted & they have discharge papers that prevent them from getting health benefits.

DoD rejected the conclusions of the HRW report.

DoD states “they have many victims of sexual assault who receive honorable discharges from the military. There is a policy in place that offers assistance for anyone that reports a sexual assault. It is critical every survivor is treated with sensitivity that they deserve.”

Media states that victim was raped multiple times while serving her country and that they contacted the DoD and Army about her case, a case from 15 years ago.

She states that she was military intelligence, had lots of prescreening prior to enlistment. Promising path, requested by Chain of Command to apply to West Point. After first rape in military, her promising path turned to being retaliated against, and there were two more rapes for reporting the rape. It ended career with an illegal, bogus, discharge. Decade and a half later, still fighting to correct it.

Continue reading

Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Afghanistan)

Map of Afghanistan

2014
3 May 14: Pfc Daniela Rojas, Army (non-combat related illness, required treatment beyond military’s capability)

2013
2 Jul 13: Spc Hilda Clayton, Army (non-combat related incident, training exercise)
3 May 13: Capt Victoria Pinckney, USAF (KC-135 airplane crash, malfunction, pilot error)
11 Mar 13: Capt Sara Cullen, Army (helicopter crash during training mission, under investigation)

2012
3 Oct 12: SGT Camella Steedley, USMC (cause of death is under investigation)
5 Sep 12: CWO2 Thalia Ramirez, Army (helicopter crash, under investigation)
24 Aug 12: Pfc Patricia Horne, Army (unspecified causes)

2011
21 Dec 11: Spc Mikayla Bragg, Army (found shot & killed in a guard tower, military ruled suicide)
27 Apr 11: MSgt Tara Brown, USAF (gunfire wounds sustained from Afghan military trainee)
16 Apr 11: SSG Cynthia Taylor, Army (Afghan National Army soldier grenade attack)
16 Apr 11: SGT Linda Pierre, Army (Afghan National Army soldier grenade attack)

2010
16 Nov 10: LTC Gwendolyn Locht, USAF (non-combat related illness, Leukemia)
22 Oct 10: SSG Aracely Gonzalez O’Malley, Army (non-combat incident, brain aneurysm)

2009
8 Aug 09: SSG Tara Smith, Army (non-combat related medical condition)
27 Mar 09: LT Florence Choe, Navy (Afghan National Army soldier opened fire on military personnel)

2008
25 Jul 08: Spc Seteria Brown, Army (injuries sustained in a non-combat related incident)

2007
28 Sep 07: Cpl Ciara Durkin, Army (single gunshot wound to the head, military ruled suicide, family suspects murder after Ciara shared concerns of safety)

2006
17 Feb 06: SrA Alecia Good, USAF (two helicopters crashed into the Gulf of Aden during a training mission)

2005
6 Apr 05: SGM Barbaralien Banks, Army (helicopter in which she was riding crashed)
6 Apr 05: Spc Chrystal Stout, SCARNG (helicopter in which she was riding crashed)

2004
4 Jul 04: Spc Julie Hickey, Army (complications from a non-combat-related illness)

2003
23 Mar 03: Tamara Archuleta, USAF (killed in a HH-60G Pave Hawk crash)

2002
12 Jun 02: SSgt Anissa Shero, USAF (killed in an MC-130H Combat Talon crash)
9 Jan 02: SGT Jeannette Winters, USMC (killed in a refueling tanker crash)

Civilians
6 Apr 13: Anne Smedinghoff, US State Dept (convoy vehicle struck by vehicle that exploded)
30 Dec 09: Jennifer Matthews, CIA (killed by an informant who had set a trap)
30 Dec 09: Elizabeth Hanson, CIA (killed by an informant who had set a trap)
7 Jan 09: Paula Loyd, Human Terrain System, US Army (doused with fuel & set afire by irate Afghan civilian)
3 Feb 05: Carmen Urdaneta, Management Sciences for Health (aircraft crash near Kabul)
3 Feb 05: Cristin Gadue, Management Sciences for Health (aircraft crash near Kabul)
3 Feb 05: Amy Meeks, Management Sciences for Health (aircraft crash near Kabul)

Related Links:
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Iraq)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)
Noonie Fortin: Killed in Afghanistan or in support of Operation Enduring Freedom

August: U.S. Department of Defense Casualty Report (2015)

Department of Defense

08/09/2015:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Peter McKenna Jr, 35, Afghanistan, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida

Related Links:
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2002)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2003)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2004)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2005)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2006)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2007)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2008)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2009)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2010)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2011)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2012)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2013)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2014)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2016)
August: Department of Defense Casualties Report (2017)
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US 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)

Retired Marine Stephanie Schroeder Fights for Servicemember’s Rights at the United Nation’s Geneva Conventions

Stephanie Schroeder addressing the United Nations

Stephanie Schroeder addressing the United Nations

Stephanie Schroeder is a retired United States Marine Corps veteran who was wrongfully discharged from service after reporting a felony crime to USMC authorities. As a result of reporting these crimes, she experienced retaliation from her peers and leadership and was subsequently given a honorable discharge but her DD 214 indicated that she was released from duty due to a personality disorder. Stephanie sought justice to right a wrong committed by her leadership. She was never given any testing to determine if she in fact had a personality disorder nor did she see any medical personnel who would have had an opportunity to diagnose her with a personality disorder. Through research and determination, Stephanie learned that other veterans who had reported sexual assault in the military had also experienced retaliation in one form or another after reporting the crime(s) to leadership. She vowed to not only fight for herself and the correction of her records but also to help prevent other service members from experiencing the same. She’s been leading the way on military retaliation & personality disorder discharge reform for the last 5 years. She participated in two federal lawsuits (Cioca v Rumsfeld & Klay v Panetta) that were dismissed because rape is incident to service. She advocates for both the Stop Act (Sexual Assault Training, Oversight, and Prevention Act) sponsored by Representative Jackie Speier and the Military Justice Improvement Act sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She represented victims of military sexual assault at the United Nations at the Geneva Conventions in Switzerland. She continues to represent Cornell University, Service Women’s Action Network, & Equality Now as an advocate before the United Nations and monitors/advises on sexual assault & retaliation policy implementation in the military. She is a board member for the United States Human Rights Network (USHRN) and the International Mechanisms Coordinating Committee Board (ICMM).

Cioca v Rumsfeld First Amended Complaint Jury Demand
Military’s newly aggressive rape prosecution has pitfalls
Military Rape Speech 15 by Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Stephanie Schroeder’s military sex assault claim leads to psych discharge
Rape victims say military labels them ‘crazy’
The Military Labeling Rape Survivors as “Crazy” to Get Rid of Them?
‘Personality Disorder’ Discharge, Frequent Solution in Rising Number of Military Sexual Assault Cases
U.S. military banishes rape victims with damning psychiatric diagnoses
Now That Women Are Cleared For Combat, How About A Rape-Free Workplace?
Cioca v Rumsfeld US Court of Appeals Decision
Fear of Reprisal: The Quiet Accomplice in the Military’s Sexual-Assault Epidemic
Former Marine to Speak at Geneva Convention Against Sexual Abuse
Ex-Marine to speak at Geneva Convention against sexual abuse
Local Marine to speak against sexual abuse at Geneva Convention
UN Committee to Review Cornell Law Report on Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military
Building a U.S. Movement to End Torture
Powerful Stories from Directly Impacted Individuals at CAT Review
BARELY LEGAL: Sexual Violence in the U.S. Military
Exclusive: Victims of military sexual assault appeal to human rights panel
Military Sexual Assault: Reporting and Rape Culture
Advice for Veterans with Military Sexual Trauma Claims
New rules on narcotic painkillers cause grief for veterans and VA
Davidson County veteran, victim of sexual assault changing the face of today’s military

2 cases that rocked Fayetteville: New developments this week

fortbraggmap

Two cases involving Fort Bragg soldiers that rocked Fayetteville in 2012 and captured national attention are back in the news this week: the Kelli Bordeaux murder and the Josh Eisenhauer shootout with police.

Read more here.

Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals Overturns Rape Conviction & 20 Year Prison Sentence for Lackland Basic Military Training Instructor MSgt Michael Silva (2017)

image1-4

MSgt Michael Silva, USAF

In the 2011/2012 timeframe, the Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal coverage began to gain serious momentum in the media. As a result, military leadership set up a hotline number for former recruits to report claims of sexual abuse while attending basic training. After a base wide investigation, 35 basic military training instructors were court-martialed for allegedly abusing trainees or sex related offenses. MSgt Michael Silva was one of two basic military training instructors at Lackland AFB found guilty and sentenced by the military courts to 20 years for rape. SSgt Luis Walker was the other instructor and committed suicide shortly after learning his appeal was denied. At an Article 32 evidentiary hearing convened in Silva’s case, he was facing charges of raping a basic trainee from 1995 and two ex-wives (one in the 1992-1993 time frame and another in 2007). In January 2015, Silva was convicted of raping two of the alleged victims, the basic trainee in 1995 and one of the ex-wives. MSgt Silva wrote a clemency letter to the convening authority in the courts-martial at Joint Base San-Antonio claiming that he was falsely accused and wanted to retire with the rank, pay and benefits of an Air Force senior master sergeant, the rank he earned but was never allowed to wear. Silva claims that his accusers (also military members at the time of the alleged incidents) were motivated to accuse him of rape in an effort to collect veteran’s benefits totaling over $3000 a month. The alleged victim’s names in this case have been protected for their own privacy. Both the 2nd AF SJA office and the convening authority taking action on this case were provided over 150 pages of evidence found post trial proving that the alleged victims were either lying or not credible.

On July 20, 2017, Save Our Heroes reported that MSgt Michael Silva’s rape conviction and twenty year prison sentence had been overturned by the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals. MSgt Silva’s defense presented seven arguments and the Court of Criminal Appeals made their decision after seeing only one of those arguments, although they referenced some of the injustice in the other arguments, they ruled them moot at this point and would not be answered. MSgt Silva’s case was overturned due to an error on the part of Judge (Col) Natalie Richardson provided, inter alia, the following instructions to the court members before counsels’ arguments on findings:

“An accused may be convicted based only on evidence before the court, not on evidence of a general criminal predisposition. Each offense must stand on its own, and you must keep the evidence of each offense separate. Stated differently: if you find or believe that the accused is guilty of one offense, that—you may not use that finding, or that belief as a basis for inferring, assuming, or proving that he committed any other offense. . . . Proof of one offense carries with it no inference that the accused is guilty of any other offense.”

“Evidence that the accused committed one sexual offense alleged in a Specification—so 1, 2, 3, or 4 of the Charge—may have no bearing on your deliberations in relation to any other of those Specifications unless you first determine by preponderance of the evidence, that is more likely than not, that one offense alleged oc- curred. So if you determine by preponderance of the evidence that the offense alleged in the specification of the Charge occurred, even if you are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of that offense, you may nonetheless then con- sider the evidence of that offense for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant in relation to the other alleged specifications. You may also consider the evidence of such other sexual offenses for its tendency, if any, to show the accused [sic] propensity or predisposition to engage in sexual offenses. You may not, how- ever, convict the accused solely because you believe he commit- ted this other offense or solely because you believe the accused has a propensity or predisposition to engage in sexual offenses. In other words you cannot use this evidence to overcome a fail- ure of proof in the government’s case if you perceive any to exist. The accused may be convicted of an alleged offense only if the prosecution has proven each element beyond a reasonable doubt. Each offense must stand on its own, and the proof of one offense carries no inference that the accused is guilty of any other of- fense. In other words, proof of one sexual offense creates no in- ference that the accused is guilty of any other sexual offense. However, it may demonstrate that the accused has a propensity to commit that type of offense. The prosecution’s burden of proof to establish the accused [sic] guilt beyond a reasonable doubt re- mains as to each and every element of each offense charged. Proof of one, proof of one charged offense carries with it no infer-ence that the accused is guilty of any other charged offense.”

“…There were weaknesses in the Government’s case. The alleged crimes occurred far in the past. There were no eyewitnesses other than the victims themselves. The only one of the charged or uncharged victims to report the alleged crimes to law enforcement prior to 2012 was JB, and she recanted her initial allegation. The Prosecution presented no physical, scientific, or photographic evidence of any of the offenses. The Government offered no confessions or admissions to any of the offenses by Appellant, who did not testify.” –United States Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals

MSgt Silva was merely a scapegoat in the Lackland sex scandal. His wife Lisa made the following statement: “They finally did the right thing by admitting that my husband wasn’t afforded a fair trial. They simply used him as a scape goat because of all the political pressure and attention on the alleged Lackland Sex Scandal. By convicting Mike they were sending a message to all the MTI’s both past and present demonstrating that they would go after them no matter what. I don’t know who would want want to even be a MTI knowing that a potential false allegation could be hanging over their head for 20 years and potentially ruin your life. Mike was an amazing mentor to so many over his 24 year career and all they did was destroy him. He was defeated by the very institution he served to protect and defend.”

The political witch hunts produced convictions of military training instructors to appease congressional leaders, and it resulted in one sided investigations. In MSgt Silva’s case, they didn’t even verify statements made by the accusers. In other words, there was no evidence to charge MSgt Silva to begin with because this was indeed a purely ‘he said, she said’ case. And the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) went on a fishing expedition when they sought out MSgt Silva’s ex-wives, who technically may not have the necessary credibility if they were at all resentful or angry that the marriage ended. It appears the AFOSI attempted to connect three accusers in an effort to prove MSgt Silva was a serial rapist with a propensity to commit crimes in the future. As part of a response to the high profile Lackland sex scandal, the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) set up a temporary hot line. One accuser used the specially created hotline to report an alleged rape in 1995 and the other two accusers were ex-wives sought out by AFOSI to bolster their case (one recanted her allegation). Instead, they gave the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals grounds to throw the conviction out because the alleged criminal modus operandi was not similar in pattern whatsoever and MSgt Silva was never charged or convicted of any crimes prior to his court-martial. Let’s hope the United States Air Force does the right thing in this case and demonstrates to Congress and the civilian organizations that they are serious about fighting crime only when there is evidence to support it.

“The court authorized a rehearing where the government could, in theory, bring new evidence justifying a new trial. This is highly unlikely, given that a new trial would only deepen the embarrassment.” –John Q. Public

Related Links:
Lackland Rape Charge the Result of Air Force Outreach
New Charges At Lackland On 20-Year-Old Case
Air Force sergeant charged with raping 3 women
Master sgt. faces hearing on multiple rape charges
Master sgt. Michael Silva on trial in 1995 rape
Rape hearing runs 30 minutes
Lackland’s Master Sgt. Silva guilty in 1995 rape
Lackland instructor gets 20 years in prison in rape cases
Air Force instructor at Lackland AFB gets 20 years in prison for rapes
Air Force instructor gets 20 years in prison for rapes
Conviction in Air Force rape case
Air Force jury sentences former instructor to 20 years in prison for rapes
Gender-based focus groups to address sex harassment at AMC
Is Accuser’s Facebook Update Riddled With Inaccuracies?
Social Media Postings Reveal Much About ‘Psychic Medium’ Who Accused AF Basic Training Instructor of Sexual Assault
Something’s Seriously Wrong When Military Justice System Sides With Psychics, Convicted Felons and Porn Queens
Clemency Letter Reveals Much About Pentagon’s Eagerness to Convict Military Men on False Sexual Assault Allegations
MSgt Michael Silva. Falsely accused and convicted of rape…serving 20 years for a crime he didn’t commit
A Complete List of the 35 Basic Military Training Instructors Court Martialed in the Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal
The Lackland Air Force Base Sex Scandal, Texas (2011)
Save Our Heroes Official Website
Save Our Heroes on Facebook
U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals Decision for MSgt Michael Silva (2017)
MSgt Michael Silva is Save Our Heroes very first client and the husband of Save Our Heroes co-founder Lisa Silva
Military appeals court drops sexual misconduct conviction of former Air Force drill sergeant
Lackland Rape Case Tossed on Appeal, Wrongly Convicted SNCO to Walk Free


A widening sex scandal has rocked Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Four male instructors are charged with having sex with trainees and in one case raping female trainees. -AP

California National Guard Military Sexual Assault Bill Becomes Law

National GuardA new law passed today removes sexual assault investigations and prosecutions from the military chain of command.

California has just made a major change in the way sexual assault allegations are investigated in the state military department. On Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires sexual assault cases to be investigated by outside civilian law enforcement, not by military commanders.

Read more here.

Related link: Military Women: We Got Fired for Being Rape