Spc. Kamisha Block, US Army
Army Spc. Kamisha Block, 20, died of a non combat related incident in Baghdad, Iraq on August 16, 2007. Spc. Block was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the 401st Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade in Fort Hood, Texas. The Department of Defense announced at the time of the press release that the circumstances surrounding the incident were under investigation. Media reports indicate that Kamisha died of gunshot wounds after she was shot in the shoulder, chest, and head area five times by a fellow Army soldier, Staff Sgt. Paul Norris. Norris then turned the gun on himself putting a single bullet into the right side of his head. Medics found Norris dead at the scene and Kamisha with a sucking chest wound. Kamisha Block was pronounced dead a few minutes later at the Camp Liberty Troop Medical Clinic. The family claims there was no serious relationship with Norris yet he became possessive and began abusing her. They believe she was not protected by the Army.
“She spent a year in Korea, and then returned for a few months to Fort Hood before she left for Iraq in 2007. While in Texas she began a relationship with Staff Sgt. Brandon Norris, her parents said, a man in the same battalion. Although the Blocks never believed Norris and Kamisha Block had a serious relationship, Norris became attached and possessive of her, Army investigators told the family. Before they left Fort Hood for Iraq, Norris physically assaulted Kamisha Block, her family learned through later Army reports. He was disciplined and received counseling, but he did not lose his jealous nature.” ~Home of the Brave
Fort Hood is the largest military base in world. It’s home to 53,000 soldiers and located in the heart of Texas. Kamisha Block joined the Army straight out of high school and was a specialist with the 401st Military Police Company. She was the first born in her family and her loved ones said she was a bright light. “She was always smiling and positive about everything.” Kamisha’s squad was in training for a deployment to Iraq in four months. Her fellow comrades called her “wonder woman” and said she always seemed happy. She was the kind of person who would always make others feel better even if they were having a bad day. She was described as loving, caring, and a great listener. Kamisha even worked on her own vehicles and her father taught her everything she knew. She was very independent and loved serving in the Army. Thirty-year-old Staff Sgt. Brandon Norris was a veteran of two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. One of his military comrades said he did some outstanding things in the Army because Brandon was a go-getter. Brandon wanted to achieve and he quickly climbed the ladder. Brandon had also experienced some tough times. His wife had recently left him and took their daughter and he lost two sisters in a preventable car accident the year before. But Brandon was a squad leader and damn good at what he did.
Both Brandon and Kamisha were out one night at the same bar having some drinks with friends. Brandon noticed Kamisha on the dance floor and pushed his way to get to her. Upon introducing himself, they both realized they were stationed at Fort Hood. And although they were attracted to one another immediately, Brandon reminded Kamisha that what they were thinking of doing was against the rules. Fraternizing in the Army was against the law but Brandon and Kamisha didn’t care. In the Army, a relationship between an NCO and a junior enlisted soldier, especially in the same platoon, is against the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Both of them were taking a huge risk because if they were ever seen together, they could lose everything. In reality, they would be kicked out of the Army, lose their benefits, and get a dishonorable discharge. Brandon and Kamisha both knew it was a bad idea but over the next few weeks, they found every opportunity to see each other. According to Brandon’s military comrade, there was a real genuine connection between the two of them. And they managed to keep it secret aside from a few close friends who knew what was going on. They would say they were seeing someone but never named names. Kamisha regularly visited Brandon at his apartment eight miles away from the post.
Brandon was in love and it was obvious that the Army and Kamisha was his life. They both loved each other. Meanwhile, their squad knew they were deploying soon but they didn’t know the exact date. And then they were tasked to deploy four days before they were supposed to leave. Brandon found out that he wasn’t going to Iraq with the squad because he had to go to a leadership training session first. He would fly to Iraq at a later time. He wasn’t happy that he wasn’t going with the squad and with Kamisha and as a result, Brandon’s mood started changing. According to friends, he was getting more aggressive and angry. Brandon could control his demons until he started drinking alcohol. He was drinking more and began pushing Kamisha away and accusing her of being with other men in Iraq if he wasn’t around. Brandon was fragile and his current state of mind reflected what appeared to be attachment issues, he couldn’t handle losing anyone else he loved. Kamisha assured Brandon that they were all good but no one could deny that Brandon was possessive of Kamisha. Before deploying to Iraq, Kamisha took Brandon to meet her family. Her mom said Brandon didn’t introduce himself and they thought that was strange. They observed that he kept his head down and unless he was spoken to, he didn’t speak.
Kamisha’s family was worried about her with the upcoming deployment. The family sensed something was wrong but she said she really couldn’t talk about it. Twelve hours prior to the deployment, Brandon and Kamisha spent some quality time together. He told her he wanted to talk to her everyday on the phone until he got there. Because Brandon was possessive and controlling of Kamisha, he wanted to make sure she was okay everyday while she was away. Once Kamisha got to Iraq, Brandon called her daily and started becoming jealous and afraid that she was with other guys. Brandon admitted to his mom that he loved Kamisha and she was a special person. He also shared with his family that he couldn’t sleep and was only getting one hour a night of sleep on some nights. Brandon’s family was worried about losing him overseas because they couldn’t handle losing another child after losing two daughters the year before. Brandon Norris deployed to Iraq and he was transferred to Kamisha’s squad. Everyone knew there were tents in Iraq that had cots and they weren’t the only ones using them. Then there were signs that Brandon was giving Kamisha preferential treatment and she didn’t like it. Kamisha wanted to do the job and was irritated with Brandon.
Brandon’s biggest hang up was his jealousy. He would get jealous if Kamisha was talking to another guy. His friend said he’d get pretty fired up about that really quick. One day, the squad was in a convoy on a routine mission to an outpost. Kamisha was back at the base and Brandon was distracted. According to a comrade, Brandon stopped focusing on the task at hand and was paying attention to Kamisha instead. The squad was consistently concerned about Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and they turned down a road where they were met with an IED. It blew one of their trucks clear into the air. Brandon’s convoy had been hit by a roadside bomb and he jumped out of his vehicle and started firing despite the fact that they were not taking on any small arms fire or anything. Brandon easily could have killed an innocent civilian and gone to jail. They discovered three soldiers were injured in the IED explosion. Brandon’s squad questioned him after firing indiscriminately and were even more concerned when he didn’t have any response. Brandon felt guilty and responsible because he wasn’t paying attention and missed the road side bomb. He was in the lead truck and this was his job. One of his comrades decided he needed to be reported to the Chain of Command.
Brandon’s military comrade told the Chain of Command he knew something bad was going to happen because Brandon’s jealousy and possessiveness was getting out of hand. He explained how he was not the same leader that he had been at Fort Hood. And this same comrade said the military Chain of Command could have helped if they had moved either one of them and got them away from each other. Instead of transferring Kamisha or Brandon, the Chain of Command transferred the guy who reported them to another squad. He said they needed Norris and as a result, they didn’t dig or investigate to get to the bottom of of the whole relationship. They questioned Kamisha and Brandon and took them at their word when they denied a relationship. They issued a ‘no contact order’ but everyone knew that it was difficult to monitor. Over time, Kamisha was getting more agitated and less comfortable with the direction the relationship was heading. Brandon consistently accused her of talking to other men. Something was wrong. This relationship was anything but love. Kamisha was trying to get away from him but he would not leave her alone. Kamisha was getting scared and ended the relationship with Brandon. Brandon didn’t take it very well and told her he couldn’t live without her.
Brandon and Kamisha cooled things down for about three days and Kamisha tried hard not to have contact with Brandon. But Brandon was unraveling and drinking. Kamisha called home on her sister’s birthday and they had a really nice conversation but she had to go because the squad had another mission. The next day, the Casualty Assistance Officers (CAOs) showed up at Kamisha’s parent’s home. The CAOs told Kamisha’s family that Kamisha had died in Iraq as a result of a non-combat incident. Kamisha’s mom and dad broke down. The CAOs told the family she was killed by one shot to the chest. All the family wanted was the truth. They wanted answers and they wanted to know what happened. Kamisha’s body was flown back to Texas. The family was in shock. They knew it was her but they didn’t want to believe it was her. They were all so upset. Then Kamisha’s mom noticed what appeared to be a patch on the side of her head. The Army told her she was shot in the chest but it appeared she was shot in the head too. Jane Block admitted she cried for days. The military wasn’t telling her everything, they held back. Jane accused the Army of waiting until Kamisha got to the funeral home before they found out the truth. Now they were determined to find out who shot Kamisha and what happened. Jane Block called the CAO who confirmed that Kamisha was shot five times by Brandon Norris. The family was devastated.
And eventually the details of what happened in Iraq were revealed to Kamisha’s family. Brandon wasn’t doing well and he wanted to talk to Kamisha. Brandon’s friends said his eyes were glazed over and he was in a mood. During the discussion, Kamisha reminded Brandon that she didn’t want to be in the relationship anymore. Then Brandon brandished a gun and shot Kamisha five times. He also shot at another soldier who luckily missed the bullets. When they found Kamisha, she was bleeding profusely. They observed she had been shot in the head. Brandon had also shot himself and was still breathing. His comrade said the last thing he said to Brandon was ‘F^*k You’. Kamisha’s family believes the military failed Kamisha. They could have moved her out of there and they didn’t. The Army also knew Brandon had PTSD and deployed him anyways. Kamisha’s family felt like it was a cover-up. The Army failed Kamisha and they failed Brandon Norris. Before deploying to Iraq, Brandon told a family member that he didn’t know if he could handle another tour in Iraq. But he was insistent that he needed to be there for his squad and Kamisha. Now, there’s a hole in both families. Brandon’s friend admits he has survivor guilt because he wished there was more he could do. Jane Block said Kamisha didn’t get to finish her mission to live out her hopes and dreams.
Source: ‘Love is a Battlefield’ Forbidden: Dying for Love
ID Go: A young Army recruit enlists with dreams of serving her country. What she doesn’t expect is to find love with a commanding officer in her platoon. The two battle to keep their forbidden affair secret but can they defeat the enemy within? -Love is a Battlefield, Forbidden: Dying for Love (S3, E1)
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Love is a Battlefield | Forbidden: Dying for Love | Investigation Discovery (S3, E1)