15 Active Duty Cases That Beg for Prevention Efforts, Military Justice Reform, and the End of the Feres Doctrine

1LT Katie Blanchard, Fort Leavenworth, U.S. Army (2016)

On Tuesday, the man responsible for setting a U.S. Army lieutenant on fire last year was found guilty in federal court.The scars on Army Lt. Katie Blanchards face, neck, and hands are still visible. -41 Action News (August 8, 2017)

The Army ignored her warnings about a dangerous colleague. Then he set her on fire (Task and Purpose, June 5, 2019)

Spc. Kamisha Block, Fort Hood, Iraq, U.S. Army (2007)

The family learned Kamisha Block was shot and killed while serving in Iraq. The Department of Defense told the Block family Kamisha was shot in the chest by friendly fire. -12 News Now (February 12, 2019)

Army Staff Sgt. Paul Norris Fatally Shot Spc. Kamisha Block in Murder-Suicide in Iraq; Family Requests Congressional Hearings & Investigation of Military Leadership (August 16, 2007)

Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles, Fort Hood, U.S. Army (2016)

Paige Briles Army Times

Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles, U.S. Army (Photo: Army Times Facebook)

Army Pvt. Paige Fontenot Briles Found Unresponsive in Vehicle at Fort Hood Housing in Texas; Despite Suicide Ruling, Family Requests Homicide Investigation (December 24, 2016)

Pvt. Matthew Brown, Fort Bragg, Afghanistan, U.S. Army (2008)

Matthew Brown Army

Pvt. Matthew Warren Brown, U.S. Army (Photo: Vanity Fair Facebook)

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

AEAN Brandon Caserta, Naval Station Norfolk, U.S. Navy (2018)

As Teri Caserta entered her son’s bedroom in their Peoria home, she broke down. It’s an emotion that Teri and her husband Patrick Caserta will always carry with them. Their son Brandon was in the United States Navy from 2015 to 2018. However, at just 21, Brandon would take his own life. -ABC15 Arizona (June 14, 2019)

Navy Sailor Brandon Caserta Died by Suicide at Naval Station Norfolk; Family Pushing for Suicide Prevention Legislation ‘The Brandon Act’ Focusing on Hazing & Bullying (June 25, 2018)

MSG Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn, Fort Hood, U.S. Army (2017)

Alva Joe Gwinn

MSG Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn, U.S. Army (Photo: Fox 7 Austin)

Fort Hood Army MSG Alva ‘Joe’ Gwinn Lead Police on High Speed Car Chase After Wellness Check Initiated; Died of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound (October 12, 2017)

Pfc. LaVena Johnson, Fort Campbell, Iraq, U.S. Army (2005)

Pfc. LaVena Johnson died in Iraq on July 19th, 2005 and her family needs your help. -Unsolved Mysteries (September 26, 2014)

Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq; Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (July 19, 2005)

SN Danyelle Luckey, U.S.S. Reagan, U.S. Navy (2016)

Danyelle Luckey

Danyelle Luckey, U.S. Navy (Photo: New York Post)

Navy Documents Raise Questions of Care in Local Sailor’s Death (NBC Bay Area, July 24, 2019)

Major Christian Martin, Fort Campbell, U.S. Army Veteran (2019)

Attorney General Andy Beshear on American Airlines pilot arrested in Louisville for 2015 triple murder in Christian County. -WLKY News Louisville (May 11, 2019)

Army Vet Christian Martin Accused of 2015 Pembroke, Kentucky Homicides; No Motive or Physical Evidence Produced by Authorities on Day of Arrest; Says He’s Innocent (May 11, 2019)

Spc. Zachary Moore, Fort Hood, Korea, U.S. Army (2017)

Zachary Moore

Spc. Zachary Moore, U.S. Army

Fort Hood Army Spc. Zachary Moore Found Unresponsive in Barracks on Deployment to Camp Hovey, South Korea; CID Ruled Suicide (August 2, 2017)

SSG Devin Schuette, Fort Hood, U.S. Army (2016)

From my heart to yours. One of the most difficult situations I have ever faced in my life. Please share this video with everyone and anyone you can. -Devin Schuette (February 16, 2015)

Army SSG Devin Schuette Found Dead in Vehicle at Recreation Area Near Fort Hood; CID Ruled Suicide, Spouse Requests Independent Investigation (January 3, 2016)

LCpl Riley Schultz, Camp Pendleton, U.S. Marine Corps (2019)

The Marine from Colorado found dead at a Southern California base earlier this month died by suicide, according to 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a Marine Corps spokesperson. -FOX31 Denver (March 27, 2019)

Marine Corps LCpl Riley Schultz Found Dead at Camp Pendleton Entry Control Point; Death Ruled Suicide by Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound But Family Disputes Findings (March 15, 2019)

Col. Philip Shue, Lackland Air Force Base, U.S. Air Force (2003)

An Air Force widow is determined to prove her husband’s death was no accident. -CBS News (March 21, 2009)

Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (April 16, 2003)

Col. Michael Stahlman, Twentynine Palms, Iraq, U.S. Marine Corps (2008)

A Marine colonel is found shot in his bunk. Authorities say it was a suicide, his wife says it was murder — and she is determined to prove it. -48 Hours (March 28, 2019)

A Marine Colonel’s Widow Fights for the Truth Behind his Death: Suicide or Homicide? (48 Hours, CBS News, August 17, 2019)

Pvt. Dakota Stump, Fort Hood, U.S. Army (2016)

Dakota Stump, 19, was found dead in Fort Hood, TX. -RTV6 The Indy Channel (November 4, 2016)

Fort Hood Army Pvt. Dakota Stump Found Dead on Post Three Weeks After Vehicle Accident; Family Wants Missing ‘Warrior Alert’ Law (November 3, 2016)

Related Links:
Fort Hood soldier: Inmates live better than we do
Army Soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas Are Dying at Alarming Rates Stateside
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
Washington D.C. Veteran’s Presentation on the Current Status of the Armed Forces at Fort Hood in Texas (December 12, 2017)
Vidor family of soldier Kamisha Block alleges cover-up after 2007 shooting in Iraq
Ft. Leavenworth employee set on fire describes horrifying attack
Peoria family hopes for change in military culture after son takes his own life
The Death of LaVena Johnson (Unsolved Mysteries)
American Airlines pilot arrested in Louisville for 2015 triple murder
The Curious Case Of Col. Philip Shue | CBS News
From My Heart to Yours | Devin Schuette
Marine from Colorado found dead at California base killed himself
Sneak peek: Widow’s War | 48 Hours
Missing soldier from Avon found dead

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

Brian Lewis MJIA.jpg

You can listen to U.S. Navy veteran Brian Lewis’ March 13, 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel here.

“Nearly 30 years ago, when George H. W. Bush was president and Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, the Pentagon made a promise to our service members. Dozens of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers had just been investigated for the infamous Tailhook sexual assault scandal, and America’s military leadership affirmed a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault within their ranks. The military had a sexual assault problem, and pledged to solve it.

It’s painfully clear that the military has now failed at this mission by almost any metric. For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change in the system we needed to make to end this scourge — the same change that a number of our allies around the world have already made: take the adjudication of these crimes outside of the chain of command and allow trained military prosecutors to prosecute them.” Read more opinion at Military Times here.

“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System  -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)

Related Links:
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Comprehensive Resource Center for the Military Justice Improvement Act
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault on Military Members Press Conference, Seattle, Washington (August 11, 2006)
Jamie Leigh Jones Testified at the House Judiciary Committee Halliburton/KBR Iraq Rape Case Hearing (December 19, 2007)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Lackland AFB | C-SPAN (January 23, 2013)
Panetta Is Lifting Ban On Women In Combat Roles (NPR, January 23, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 1 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 2 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System [Full Video] | Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)
Gillibrand Builds Bipartisan Support for Change of Military Justice Code (May 16, 2013)
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained (June 8, 2016)
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN (March 6, 2019)
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)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

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)

Bipartisan Support MJIA 2.jpg

Military Justice Improvement Act #PassMJIA

Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act (June 13, 2019)

“U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and I today led a bipartisan group of senators to reintroduce the Military Justice Improvement Act, which would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision over whether to prosecute them to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors.” –Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) of 2019 is sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and cosponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).

Editor’s Note: The below U.S. Senate list was compiled from the S. 967: MJIA of 2013 Senate Voting Record. The last time the Senate voted on the MJIA was March 6, 2014. Senator Gillibrand has reintroduced the MJIA every year since. Since 2014, the make-up of the Senate has changed. The still seated Senators who voted Yea and Nay in 2014 are listed as Yes and No in this list. The new senators who cosponsored the MJIA in 2019 have been added to the Yes list; the new Senators who stand with military brass (McSally & Ernst) have been added to the No list; and the rest of new Senators have been listed as unknown (Unk) because we don’t know how they will vote on this bill. Please contact your two Senators, these Senators, and both the SASC Members & HASC Members. Click on the Senator’s name and submit your support for the MJIA via the web or click on the Yes, Unk, or No to send them a message via Twitter. We provided an example tweet you can feel free to copy and paste or you can submit your own personalized message.

Example Tweet:

.@Sen_JoeManchin

Reasons we need your support:
1. Kamisha Block @USArmy: wp.me/p3XTUi-yc
2. Paige Briles #Army: wp.me/p3XTUi-5kn
3. Brandon Caserta @USNavy: wp.me/p3XTUi-8zg
4. @forthood Stateside Deaths: wp.me/p3XTUi-5oF

#PassMJIA @SASCDems

UNITED STATES SENATORS (2019)

C = Cosponsor of Military Justice Improvement Act
S = Senate Armed Service Committee (SASC) Member

State District Name Party Vote
NH Sr, C, S Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Democratic Yes
VT Jr, C Sen. Bernard Sanders Independent Yes
MN Sr, C Sen. Amy Klobuchar Democratic Yes
TX Jr, C Sen. Ted Cruz Republican Yes
NM Jr, C, S Sen. Martin Heinrich Democratic Yes
MA Sr, C, S Sen. Elizabeth Warren Democratic Yes
HI Sr Sen. Brian Schatz Democratic Yes
NY Jr, C, S Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic Yes
CA Sr, C Sen. Dianne Feinstein Democratic Yes
PA Sr, C Sen. Bob Casey Democratic Yes
CT Jr Sen. Chris Murphy Democratic Yes
HI Jr, C, S Sen. Mazie Hirono Democratic Yes
KY Sr Sen. Mitch McConnell Republican Yes
VT Sr, C Sen. Patrick Leahy Democratic Yes
DE Jr, C Sen. Chris Coons Democratic Yes
CO Sr, C Sen. Michael Bennet Democratic Yes
WA Sr Sen. Patty Murray Democratic Yes
IA Sr, C Sen. Charles Grassley Republican Yes
NJ Sr, C Sen. Bob Menendez Democratic Yes
OR Jr, C Sen. Jeffery Merkley Democratic Yes
ME Sr Sen. Susan Collins Republican Yes
IL Sr, C Sen. Richard Durbin Democratic Yes
WY Sr Sen. Michael Enzi Republican Yes
WA Jr Sen. Maria Cantwell Democratic Yes
MI Sr Sen. Debbie Stabenow Democratic Yes
NY Sr Sen. Charles Schumer Democratic Yes
OR Sr, C Sen. Ron Wyden Democratic Yes
OH Sr, C Sen. Sherrod Brown Democratic Yes
NJ Jr, C Sen. Cory Booker Democratic Yes
NM Sr, C Sen. Tom Udall Democratic Yes
KS Jr Sen. Jerry Moran Republican Yes
MD Sr Sen. Ben Cardin Democratic Yes
KY Jr, C Sen. Rand Paul Republican Yes
MA Jr, C Sen. Edward Markey Democratic Yes
AK Sr, C Sen. Lisa Murkowski Republican Yes
CT Sr, C, S Sen. Richard Blumenthal Democratic Yes
WI Jr, C Sen. Tammy Baldwin Democratic Yes
MN Jr, C Sen. Tina Smith Democratic Yes
NH Jr, C Sen. Maggie Hassan Democratic Yes
CA Jr, C Sen. Kamala Harris Democratic Yes
IL Jr, C, S Sen. Tammy Duckworth Democratic Yes
MD Jr Sen. Chris Van Hollen Democratic Unk
AK Jr, S Sen. Dan Sullivan Republican Unk
IN Jr Sen. Mike Braun Republican Unk
IN Jr Sen. Todd Young Republican Unk
NV Jr Sen. Jacky Rosen Democratic Unk
NV Jr Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto Democratic Unk
LA Jr Sen. John Kennedy Republican Unk
LA Jr Sen. Bill Cassidy Republican Unk
ND Jr, S Sen. Kevin Cramer Republican Unk
WV Jr Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Republican Unk
CO Jr Sen. Cory Gardner Republican Unk
AR Sr, S Sen. Tom Cotton Republican Unk
NE Jr Sen. Ben Sasse Republican Unk
SD Jr, S Sen. Mike Rounds Republican Unk
MT Jr Sen. Steve Daines Republican Unk
NC Jr, S Sen. Thom Tillis Republican Unk
TN Jr, S Sen. Marsha Blackburn Republican Unk
AZ Jr Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Democratic Unk
UT Jr Sen. Mitt Romney Republican Unk
GA Jr, S Sen. David Perdue Republican Unk
FL Jr, S Sen. Rick Scott Republican Unk
MO Jr, S Sen. Josh Hawley Republican Unk
MS Jr Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith Republican Unk
MI Jr, S Sen. Gary Peters Democratic Unk
OK Jr Sen. James Lankford Republican Unk
AL Jr, S Sen. Doug Jones Democratic Unk
AZ Jr, S Sen. Martha McSally Republican No
IA Jr, S Sen. Joni Ernst Republican No
MT Sr Sen. Jon Tester Democratic No
ID Jr Sen. James Risch Republican No
FL Sr Sen. Marco Rubio Republican No
ND Sr Sen. John Hoeven Republican No
RI Jr Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse Democratic No
WI Sr Sen. Ron Johnson Republican No
VA Sr Sen. Mark Warner Democratic No
SC Jr Sen. Timothy Scott Republican No
VA Jr, S Sen. Tim Kaine Democratic No
DE Sr Sen. Tom Carper Democratic No
NE Sr, S Sen. Deb Fischer Republican No
MS Sr, S Sen. Roger Wicker Republican No
ID Sr Sen. Mike Crapo Republican No
AL Sr Sen. Richard Shelby Republican No
ME Jr, S Sen. Angus King Independent No
RI Sr, S Sen. Jack Reed Democratic No
MO Sr Sen. Roy Blunt Republican No
TN Sr Sen. Lamar Alexander Republican No
SD Sr Sen. John Thune Republican No
UT Sr Sen. Mike Lee Republican No
PA Jr Sen. Patrick Toomey Republican No
OH Jr Sen. Rob Portman Republican No
TX Sr Sen. John Cornyn Republican No
NC Sr Sen. Richard Burr Republican No
SC Sr Sen. Lindsey Graham Republican No
OK Sr, S Sen. Jim Inhofe Republican No
KS Sr Sen. Pat Roberts Republican No
WY Jr Sen. John Barrasso Republican No
WV Sr, S Sen. Joe Manchin Democratic No
GA Sr Sen. Johnny Isakson Republican No
AR Sr Sen. John Boozman Republican No

Related Links:
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Would Remove Decisions on Sexual Assault from the Chain of Command
Sen. Martha McSally’s stunning rape revelation shocks Capitol Hill, prompts calls for military justice reform
Presidential candidate, Army veteran Tulsi Gabbard says military sexual assault is ‘rampant,’ at SXSW town hall
Bringing MST home, to Congress
Senator Renews Push to Distance Commanders from Military Prosecutions
Bills Pending US Congress Senate Armed Services Committee
Shanahan calls for reforms as military sexual assaults rise by 38%; highest for young women
2020 Democrats say they have plans to address military sexual assault crisis
Gillibrand re-introduces military justice bill
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)

Marine Corps LCpl Riley Schultz Found Dead at Camp Pendleton Entry Control Point; Death Ruled Suicide by Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound But Family Disputes Findings (March 15, 2019)

U.S. Marine Riley Schultz

Lance Corporal Riley Schultz, U.S. Marine Corps

In the early morning hours of March 15, 2019, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Riley Schultz was found dead near a guard shack with a gunshot wound in his head. Nineteen-year-old Lance Corporal Schultz was on guard duty at Camp Pendleton in California when this tragic incident occurred. Riley was discovered by a Marine who was assigned to replace him at this entry control point. The Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) were assigned to investigate Riley’s suspicious death but their investigation appeared to conclude when the medical examiner ruled that Lance Corporal Riley Schultz died by suicide via a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Riley’s family isn’t going to simply accept the outcome of the investigation. His family knows him better than anyone and his brother said Riley was the happiest he had ever been. Riley’s mom told the press that becoming a Marine was his dream and he worked hard and prepared for his enlistment before joining the USMC at the age of 17. Riley’s mom said he loved being a Marine and things were going well in his personal life when he died. Although this investigation appears to be an open and closed case with the Marine Corps, Riley’s family disputes the cause of death and plans to continue to fight for justice for Riley.

In the News:

The Marine from Colorado found dead at a Southern California base earlier this month died by suicide, according to 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a Marine Corps spokesperson. Rob Low reports. -FOX31 Denver (March 27, 2019)

The Navy is investigating after a Marine from Colorado was shot to death while on guard duty at Southern California’s Camp Pendleton. -CBS Denver (March 27, 2019)

Lance Cpl. Riley Schultz was discovered dead around 4 a.m. March 15 with a gunshot wound to the head. -Denver7 – The Denver Channel (March 27, 2019)

Related Links:
Lance Cpl. Riley Schultz From Longmont Killed While On Duty At Camp Pendleton
Marine Found Dead at Camp Pendleton Guard Post from Gunshot Wound to Head
Riley Schultz, Marine, shot dead while on guard duty at Camp Pendleton
Marine shot, killed while on guard duty at California base
Marine Shot, Killed While on Guard Duty at California Base
Colorado Marine shot, killed while on guard duty at California base
Marine from Colorado shot, killed while on guard duty at California base
Marine’s shooting death at Camp Pendleton guard post under investigation
Medical Examiner: Marine From Colorado Died By Suicide
19-Year-Old Marine Found Dead at Camp Pendleton Killed Himself: Officials
Death of Marine shot while on guard duty at Camp Pendleton ruled a suicide
Colorado Marine’s family not convinced death was a suicide
Family Convinced Marine’s Death at Camp Pendleton Was Not Suicide
Family of Camp Pendleton Marine disputes suicide ruling despite Marine Corps findings
Marine From Longmont Shot, Killed While on Duty At Camp Pendleton
Marine killed while on guard duty at California base; services to be held in Colorado
Longmont Marine took his own life
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death, and Suicide at Camp Pendleton, California (USMC)
Lance Cpl Riley Schultz, age 19 | Gun Memorial

DOD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment & Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018 (January 31, 2019)

Department of Defense“Today, the Department of Defense released the Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018…There were 117 reports of sexual assault received across all three academies. This is an increase of five from the prior academic program year, indicating confidence in response measures, however, surveyed measures of unwanted sexual contact and sexual harassment increased compared to rates last measured in 2016. There was also an overall increase in sexual harassment.” Read more here. -Department of Defense (January 31, 2019)

To view the full report, visit SAPR.mil.

Related Links:
DOD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment & Violence at the Military Service Academies, Academic Program Year 2017-2018 (January 31, 2019)
Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies (MSAs) for Academic Program Year (APY) 2017-2018
USA Today publishes fake news story about sexual assault at the military academies | CAAFlog
Department of Defense Retaliation and Response Strategy (July 2017)
Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (April 2018)
Department of Defense Instruction 6495.02 | Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (June 2018)

June 2018

Missing:
Disappeared: Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter, and Sherrill Levitt are ‘The Springfield Three’ who Vanished from Levitt’s Missouri Home on June 7, 1992
Friends, family of missing UMass nursing student Maura Murray hope funds will lead to answers

Cold Cases:
Family wants justice for Army vet found shot to death in driveway
Authorities Have Cracked a Bizarre Cold Case That Could Have Ties to the Zodiac Killer
48 Hours Premiered ’48 Hours Cold Case: Who Killed Amy Gellert?’ on CBS (June 17, 2017)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Continue reading

Extraordinary Claims Should Require Extraordinary Evidence (June 26, 2018)

National GuardGuest Post by Liz Ullman:

Enrique Costas comes from four generations of dignified and recognized military service. His grandfather’s name is in the history books as one of the first soldiers to join the Puerto Rico National Guard to serve the United States. His father defended this country for 32 years, earning an Air Medal for heroism in Vietnam; his nephew will be commissioned as an officer in the next week and will be going on active duty.

Costas enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1988. In 1999 he volunteered to be assigned as a Recruiter, earning top awards and commendations throughout his almost 14 years as the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention (RR) Command office in San Juan. He was also selected and participated for seven years in the Puerto Rico National Guard Honor Guard, the team responsible for carrying our Nation’s and Army Colors in the highest of the Government’s activities and celebrations.

He was responsible for achieving monthly production for the three main tenets of the Guard recruiting office: Recruiting, Retention and Attrition Management • Staff resourcing for two Army battalions covering 13 cities • Supervising and mentoring up to 10 recruiting and retention non-commissioned officers.

Costas was a champion in mission accomplishment with the highest integrity and ethics. His walls are filled awards and photos with the Guard’s top-ranking officers, including General Clyde A. Vaughn, who personally commended Costas for his service and integrity. Costas retired in 2014 after Honorably serving our Nation for over 26 years.

The biggest mistake Costas made in his career was simply being on duty during the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program also known as G-RAP, a cash incentive opportunity for civilian soldiers to bring in new recruits. With no direction from Washington D.C.’s Strength Maintenance Division, General Vaughn’s recruiters were supposed to intuit the 60 changes in the G-RAP rules over a seven-year period, while also working to fill the dwindling ranks of Guard troops.

Just before dawn, on an early October morning in 2015, Costas’s home was stormed by six Federal agents and two State police officers, in full tactical gear. Costas thought his family was under attack, and it was – by the Government he had served. Costas was arrested and taken to a Federal Courthouse where he was charged with “crimes” dating back almost ten years, during the days of G-RAP.

Costas is one of hundreds of General Vaughn’s recruiters who have been held responsible for not knowing the G-RAP rules that were never sent to them. And not just held responsible — charged with criminal intent to commit fraud against the Government. General Vaughn, who created and administered G-RAP, and who was administratively sanctioned for poor management, is enjoying full retirement in Virginia and Arizona.

Costas is going to prison.

The government’s “evidence” against Costas and other recruiters does not even meet the standard of circumstantial. In his case, the government admitted during trial to having no actual evidence, but only a “reasonable inference” that a crime could have been committed.

As a recruiter, Costas could not and did not participate in G-RAP. There were no Army regulations that governed G-RAP because the program was run by a private Alabama-based contractor called Docupak. Docupak was essentially incentivized to run a sloppy program, earning a 17% markup on every new enlistment, on top of their contract fees and administrative expenses. This lack of training stands in sharp contrast to how the Army usually operates, with manuals and rules on almost every action and procedure.

The one rule that the prosecution seized on to brand soldiers and veterans as felons regarded the relationship between the Recruiting Officer and the Docupak civilian contractors known as Recruiting Assistants (RAs). When G-RAP began, those contractors were regarded as assistants to the Recruiting Officers. The Recruiting Officers might use the RAs to give that extra push to a potential applicant considering enlisting. The Recruiting Officers were encouraged to ask the RAs to attend recruiting events and help with the finding of potential candidates. The original program outline stated that the Recruiting Officer would provide specifics for each possible enlistment to the RA, including legal name, birth date and social security number. That information was used by Docupak to verify enlistments and process payments to their RA contractors. In later descriptions of G-RAP, the social security number would go from the new recruit to the RA contractor, bypassing the Recruiting Officer, which not a single RA contractor reports ever seeing or any evidence has ever been produced by Docupak that verifies it.

This procedural change has resulted in hundred of indictments and scores of convictions for identity theft and wire fraud. Soldiers and veterans are in prison. Costas, sadly, is on his way.

After the government filed more than 50 felonies against Costas, his defense team could not overcome the wrath of the United States and he was convicted by a jury who felt that with so many felonies filed, Costas certainly had to have done something wrong.

He did not. G-RAP was a tangle of mismanagement; the soldiers who were on duty during its tenure are paying the price of administrative failures by their command. In an internal investigation done by the Puerto Rico National Guard pertaining to G-RAP in 2012, the Investigating Officer admitted that “Recruiters had no formal training on how G-RAP operated.”

Costas and his family had their hearts broken when the prosecution opened with statements calling him a “cheater, stealer and a liar.” He said these words, “pierced the core of his soul.”

Presumption of Innocence or even the “benefit of the doubt” was never given. In the end the Government spent an estimated $100,000 prosecuting Costas and the jury found Costas guilty on three charges amounting to $3,000. Although never having a criminal record and an impeccable military career, the judge sentenced Costas to prison. In the end “reasonable inference” and circumstantial evidence weighed more than 26 years of honorable service willing to sacrifice life and limb.

Recently the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th District reversed and vacated a conviction of an accused soldier involving G-RAP and determined, that the “Government did not retain a revisionary interest in the funds and that it did not exercise supervision or control over the funds”. This decision cannot be applied to Costas unless the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st District, the Supreme Court, or Congress rules on it.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
― Carl Sagan

The claims were extraordinary. The evidence was missing. And yet, a United States military hero and veteran has been sacrificed.

We respectfully request that Congress or the White House appoint a commission to review the G-RAP investigation, to identify Soldiers that have been unjustly stigmatized by it, and to recommend suitable cases for clemency and pardon.

Related Links:
Stop G-RAP Injustice | Facebook
The Conspiracy Behind the G-RAP War on American Soldiers (March 30, 2016)
If You Look at the Dollars, Guard Recruiting Assistance Program Investigations Make No Sense (July 12, 2016)
Top Ten Problems with the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) Investigations (December 15, 2016)
An Open Letter to Congress Regarding the Investigations of the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (June 5, 2017)