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

Army Sgt. Okan Cetinbag Found Dead at Home With Gunshot Wound to Face on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska; Mother Wants Answers (2014)

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Okan Murat Cetinbag, US Army

Sgt. Okan Cetinbag, 24, of Morton Grove, Illinois died on February 11, 2014 from gunshot injuries sustained on February 7th at his home on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. Sgt. Cetinbag was an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment. He joined the Army in January 2013, attended basic and airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia and arrived in Alaska in June 2013. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps, including a combat tour in Afghanistan in 2010, before joining the Army. The Army reported they were investigating the case but did not appear to be cooperating with the mother of Sgt. Cetinbag who has been questioning what happened to her son. Media reports indicate that Sgt. Cetinbag was one of four servicemen from JBER found dead this month: SrA Katrina Jackson on February 15; and SSgt. Darian Miller on February 18; and SSgt. Samuel Davis on February 23.

Related Links:
JBER soldier dies due to injuries
Soldier from Chicago area dies on base in Alaska
Army probes death of Alaska-based soldier
Army probes death of soldier at JBER
Army Probes Death Of Alaska-Based Soldier From Chicago Area
Soldier’s fatal injuries at JBER home being investigated
JBER Soldier’s Fatal Home Injuries Under Investigation
US Army Investigating Death of Morton Grove Soldier Sgt. Okan Murat Cetinbag
Army investigating mysterious death of soldier found unconscious at home just minutes after kissing his wife and daughter goodbye for a night out with his colleagues
‘There is a cover-up’: Mother of Army soldier who died after being shot in the face at home he shared with his wife and six other colleagues claims authorities are hiding something
Soldier’s death marks fourth JBER fatality in a month
JBER airman’s passing marks fourth death in February
Mother Says Army Is Covering Up How Her Son Was Killed


Sgt. Okan Cetinbag was shot in the face at his home on an Alaska Army base. There were six colleagues in the house that day, plus Okan’s wife and young daughter. His mother believes they know what happened and are not telling authorities. -WGN News

Ashley Ard, US Army, Left Newborn Baby in Park to Die (2013)

Ashley Ard, Army

*Outcome of case is unknown at this time.

Police: Soldier mom left newborn in park to die
Grand jury indicts mother of dead newborn
Alaska soldier charged with murder in newborn’s death
Soldier originally from Portsmouth charged with murder in newborn’s death in Alaska
JBER Soldier Accused in Newborn’s Death Makes 1st Court Appearance
In case of abandoned newborn, mom pleads not guilty to murder
JBER soldier pleads not guilty to 2nd-degree murder
Alaska soldier pleads not guilty in newborn’s death
After abandoned baby’s death, state invests in spreading word about “safe surrender” law

August: U.S. Department of Defense Casualties Report (2009)

Department of Defense

08/31/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Jason Dahlke, 29, and Eric Hario, 19, Afghanistan, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia

08/31/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Abraham Wheeler III, 22, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

08/29/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Earl Werner, 38, and Taylor Marks, 19, Iraq, Oregon Army National Guard

08/28/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Kurt Curtiss, 27, Afghanistan, Fort Richardson, Alaska

08/28/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Wildes, 18, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

08/27/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: John Hallett III, 30, Cory Jenkins, 30, Ronald Sawyer, 38, and Dennis Williams, 24, Afghanistan, Fort Lewis, Washington

08/27/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Donald Hogan, 20, Afghanistan, Camp Pendleton, California

08/26/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Darby Morin, 25, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

08/25/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Joseph Fortin, 22, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

08/24/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Andrew Lobosco, 29, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

08/23/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Troy Tom, 21, and Jonathan Yanney, 20, Afghanistan, Fort Lewis, Washington

08/23/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Ingram, 25, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

08/22/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Justin Pellerin, 21, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

08/21/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Brian Wolverton, 21, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

08/21/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jose Crisostomo, 59, Afghanistan, International Security Assistance Force Kabul

08/20/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Clayton Bowen, 29, and Morris Walker, 23, Afghanistan, Fort Richardson

08/20/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Paul Dumont, Jr, 23, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Eustis, Virginia

08/20/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Hastings, 23, NCD, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

08/20/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: William Van Osdol, 23, Iraq, Schweinfurt, Germany

08/19/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Adam Benjamin, 34, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

08/19/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Leopold Damas, 26, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

08/19/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: William Woods Jr, 31, Afghanistan, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Glen Arm, Maryland

08/17/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Nicholas Roush, 22, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

08/17/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Joshua Bernard, 21, Afghanistan, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay

08/14/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: William Cahir, 40, Afghanistan, Marine Forces Reserve, Washington D.C.

08/14/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: John Tinsley, 28, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

08/12/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Bruce Ferrell, 21, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

08/11/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Richard Walters Jr, 41, NCD, Kuwait, Fort Benning, Georgia

08/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Patrick Schimmel, 21, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

08/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Javier Olvera, 20, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

08/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Dennis Burrow, 23, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

08/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Jerry Evans Jr, 23, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

08/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Matthew Swanson, 20, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

08/10/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Tara Smith, 33, NCD, Afghanistan, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

08/09/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualty: Matthew Freeman, 29, Afghanistan, Okinawa, Japan

08/07/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: James Argentine, 22, Travis Babine, 20, and Jay Hoskins, 24, Afghanistan, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay

08/07/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: Christian Guzman Rivera, 21, Afghanistan, Okinawa, Japan 

08/06/2009:  DoD Identifies Navy Casualty: Anthony Garcia, 21, Afghanistan, Marine Corps Base Hawaii

08/05/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Keiffer Wilhelm, 19, NCD, Iraq, Fort Bliss, Texas

08/04/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Ronald Luce Jr, 27, Alejandro Granado, 42, and Severin Summers III, 43, Afghanistan, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Jackson, Mississippi

08/03/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualties: Jonathan Walls, 27, Richard Jones, 21, and Patrick Fitzgibbon, 19, Afghanistan, Fort Carson, Colorado

08/03/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Alexander Miller, 21, Afghanistan, Fort Drum, New York

08/03/2009:  DoD Identifies Army Casualty: Johnny Polk, 39, Iraq, Fort Hood, Texas

08/02/2009:  Remains Identified as Navy Captain Michael Scott Speicher

08/01/2009:  DoD Identifies Marine Casualties: Gregory Posey, 22, and Jonathan Stroud, 20, Afghanistan, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

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 (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 (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)