Fort Hood Army Pfc. Brian Odiorne Died from a Non-Combat Related Incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq; Under Investigation (2017)

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Pfc. Brian Odiorne, US Army

Pfc. Brian Odiorne, 21, US Army, died from a non-combat related incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq on February 20, 2017. Pfc. Odiorne’s home of record is listed as Ware, Massachusetts and he joined the Army in October 2015. Pfc. Odiorne was a cannon crewmember supporting Operation Inherent Resolve and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. The incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Death of a Fort Hood Soldier
Obituary: Pfc. Brian P. Odiorne
Fort Hood soldier dies in Iraq
Fort Hood Soldier from Massachusetts Dies in Iraq
Fort Hood soldier from Massachusetts dies in Iraq
Soldier who died in noncombat incident in Iraq identified
Pfc. Brian Odiorne, a Ware native, dies in Iraq
Brian Odiorne, soldier from Ware, dies in Iraq
Ware, Mass. Soldier Dies In Iraq In ‘Non-Combat’ Incident
Baker to family of Ware soldier: “I’m calling you as a dad”
Family, friends mourn death in Iraq of Army Pfc. Brian Odiorne of Ware
Ware selectmen request moment of silence to honor Army Pfc. Brian Odiorne, who died in Iraq
Body of PFC Brian Odiorne returned to western Massachusetts
Bishop Rozanski delivers homily at funeral of Brian Odiorne
US Army Pfc. Brian Patrick Odiorne laid to rest in Ware
Army Investigating After Soldier From Ware Dies In Iraq
Death of Mass. soldier in Iraq under investigation
Why are flags lowered today? March 4, 2017
Why Have So Many Fort Hood Army Soldiers Died Stateside in the Last Year?
Violent Crime, Suicide, and Non Combat Death at Fort Hood, Texas
The Fort Hood Fallen on Facebook

Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members

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Objective: Provide support to families who have lost loved ones to non combat death, homicide, and suicide. Prevent non combat death, homicide and suicide by providing an expedited transfer option to whistleblowers and those who feel like their lives may be in danger.

This is a small sample of the many soldiers that have died of non combat deaths, homicide, and suicide. It was hard for me to choose which ones to feature. Given the amount of families who have questioned a ruling of suicide while their loved one was serving in the US military, it’s fair to say that some suicide rulings should have a second look to determine if a homicide was ruled out. It’s important to note that if the cause of death is determined to be suicide, then the military never has to investigate again.

Brief overview of need for expedited transfers for whistleblowers in general:

John Needham and Adam Winfield had a lot in common: they both claim to have witnessed war crimes, one in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan. They both wanted to report the war crimes but didn’t feel safe doing so. They both admitted to feeling like they were set up to die or participate in the war crimes. The only difference: John’s parents were able to get him out of Iraq after he started deteriorating mentally. Adam’s parents were not able to get him out of Afghanistan and he was charged with war crimes after he was set up to participate. On the Dark Side of Al Doura and the Kill Team Movie are must sees because they show the similarity in the cases and reveal how an expedited transfer option could have helped them & saved innocent civilian lives. I included a history of crime at the bases they were stationed at to demonstrate that the crime simply follows them overseas.

John Needham, Army (2008):
Retired Army Pvt John Needham Beat Girlfriend Jacqwelyn Villagomez to Death, Then Died of Overdose on Painkillers Awaiting Murder Trial
An Inside Look at Toxic Leadership in the US Army: On the Dark Side in Al Doura, Iraq
On the Dark Side in Al Doura, Iraq on YouTube
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Carson

Adam Winfield, Army (2010):
Army Soldier Adam Winfield Tried to Report War Crimes But Instead was Charged with War Crimes as Part of ‘The Kill Team’
PBS Documentary ‘The Kill Team’ Nominated for an Emmy
The Kill Team on Amazon Prime
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at JBLM

Would the expedited transfer option help prevent suicide or homicide in these cases?

Alyssa Peterson, Army (2003)

There were concerns that Alyssa committed suicide because she didn’t want to participate in war crimes like torture. Could her life have been saved if she felt like she had a way out? Did she commit suicide? Was homicide ruled out?

Gloria Davis, Denise Lannaman, & Marshall Gutierrez, Army (2006)

Reports indicate Gloria Davis, Army (2006) committed suicide hours after she provided names and testimony to CID investigators regarding soldiers involved in a bribery scheme in Kuwait. She was a witness to the crimes and a witness for the prosecution. Did she commit suicide? Was homicide ever considered? How could this have been prevented? She was one of 3 people in the same logistics group in Kuwait tied to the bribery scheme investigation that committed suicide. Both Denise Lannaman, Army (2006) and Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, Army (2006) deaths were ruled suicides by the Army as well. Were any of these cases investigated as homicides? Did anyone question why three soldiers from Kuwait tied to one investigation killed themselves?

Suzanne Swift, Army (2006)

Suzanne refused to redeploy for a third time for fear that she would be raped or assaulted this time. She went AWOL instead & was jailed. Could this have been prevented if she had a way out of Fort Lewis? She hadn’t been raped or assaulted yet. She was trying to prevent it given the isolation in Iraq. Does the expedited transfer apply to sexual harassment situations where the offender(s) are escalating? How could we have prevented this? If you look at the history of violent crime at JBLM and in Iraq, you can clearly see why Suzanne Swift was fearful for her life. She chose life and jail over rape and murder.

Genesia Gresham, Navy (2007)

Genesia and Anamarie Camacho were victims of homicide in Bahrain. Genesia was said to have been in a casual relationship with the shooter at one point. Were there red flags prior to the murder? Was the shooters behavior escalating? Does domestic violence, harassment, and stalking qualify for an expedited transfer? Could this have been prevented if Genesia had a way out when she realized she may have been in danger? The killer was never jail but instead institutionalized for mental health issues.

Jennifer Valdivia, Navy (2007)

Jennifer was at the center of command investigation of abuse of prisoners in Bahrain. It was reported that she did not want to participate in war crimes yet was belittled, harassed, and abused by a supervisor if she didn’t do what he asked. If she had a way out, could this suicide have been prevented? Was it a suicide? Was it ever investigated as a homicide?

Kelsey Anderson, USAF (2011)

The Anderson family reported that Kelsey’s health deteriorated after she learned that she could not transfer or get out of the military while stationed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. Why did she want a transfer? Why did she want to get out of the military all of a sudden? Did something happen to make Kelsey feel the need to get out of Guam as quickly as possible? Her death was ruled a suicide. Could this have been prevented if she was allowed to transfer? The Air Force took her gun privileges away shortly after she got to Guam because of mental health concerns. They gave it back to her a month before she died.

Danny Chen, Army (2011)

Danny was being hazed and bullied by fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. Could his death have been prevented if he had a way out of this situation? Does the expedited transfer apply to scenarios where an individual is being hazed, harassed, and physically assaulted? Did Danny fear murder? How could this have been prevented so Danny didn’t feel like suicide was the only way out?

Ciara Durkin, Mass Army National Guard (2007)

Ciara found discrepancies in the finance office in Afghanistan & feared that she made enemies. She asked her family to investigate if anything happened to her while she was overseas. Could we have saved Ciara’s life if once she realized that crimes may have been committed, she could leave and then safely report? Ciara was a witness to crime yet had to remain in the setting. Do expedited transfers apply to those who want to report crimes yet cannot do so safely in an isolated location?

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I researched the non combat deaths of female soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas. I was alarmed by what I learned. It appears that close to 30% of the deaths of female soldiers in Iraq alone are from homicide, suicide, or unknown causes. I am working on doing the same research for male soldiers but have been overwhelmed with the number of non combat deaths of male soldiers. I am starting with 2010 to 2016. Then will focus energy on 2001 to 2010.

Non Combat Death of Female Soldiers:
Iraq
Afghanistan
Other Areas

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There are many cold cases in the military. The Army has the most cold cases. This list is a small sample of the cold cases in the military. Each case has the same theme. The families feel like they can’t get cooperation from the military to figure out what happened to their loved one. The families are devastated by the loss and traumatized further by the indifference, lack of support, and bureaucracy. If the homicide occurred on a base, they have nowhere to turn but the military because of federal jurisdiction issues. Most civilian cold case investigators ask for other investigators to take a look at cases to give them a fresh set of eyes. New investigators can add additional expertise to help find answers and give families closure. Two must see documentaries highlighting some of the major issues with investigations in the military are The Tillman Story (Pat Tillman) and The Silent Truth (LaVena Johnson).

Cold Cases:
Gorden Hess, Army (1998)
Col Philip Shue (2003)
Lavena Johnson, Army (2005)
Tina Priest, Army (2006)
Kamisha Block, Army (2007)
Stacy Dryden, USMC (2008)
Blanca Luna, USAF (2008)
Keisha Morgan, Army (2008)
Cherie Morton, Navy (2008)
BG Thomas Tinsley, USAF (2008)
Anton Phillips, Army (2009)
Amy Seyboth-Tirador (2009)
Sean Wells, Army (2013)
Virginia Caballero, Army (2014)

Cases Solved by NCIS Cold Case Squad:
Lt Verle Hartley, Navy (1982)
Andrew Muns, Navy (1968)

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Other Areas of Concern:
David Dickson, US Army (1984) Tracking criminal behavior world wide
Kathleen Lipscomb, USAF spouse (1986) Jurisdiction Issues
Walter Smith, USMC (2006) Use of PTSD defense/stigma
Maria Lauterbach, USMC (2007) Expedited Transfer Policy
Jennifer Cole, Army (2008) Accountability/Investigations
Holley Wimunc, US Army (2008) Domestic Violence/Military Role
Morganne McBeth, Army (2010) Sentencing/Negligent Homicide
Mikayla Bragg, Army (2011) Mental Health/Suicide/Personnel Records
Kelli Bordeaux, Army (2012) Sex offender registry/Army role
Michelle Miller, Army (2013) Accountability of those in positions of power
Shadow McClaine, Army (2016) DV & attempted murder prior to homicide
Cati Blauvelt, US Army spouse (2016) DV/Accountability/Fugitives
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the SGLI
Army Vet Micah Johnson Responsible for Dallas Police Officer Shootings
6 Service Members Currently on Military Death Row at Leavenworth
The US Military Recruited Violent Felons to Support the War Efforts

History of Homicide/Suicide on Military Bases:
Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at US Military Bases

Recommendations:

  • Expand expedited transfer policy to include whistleblowers (war crimes, hazing, stalking, sex harassment, witnesses to crimes) in an effort to prevent homicide and suicide
  • Creation of cold case squads in the Army & Air Force to investigate homicide & suicide rulings
  • Centralized location for families to call to initiate an investigation of suicide ruling or cold cases, with mental health component
  • Official way to dispute findings of military investigators/medical examiners, ability to request a second independent investigation

The Feres Doctrine prevents soldiers and families from suing the Armed Forces to hold them accountable financially in an effort to force change. Therefore it only seems fair that we give families the support they need when they lose a loved one who is serving in the US military.

We need centralized databases so that records of criminal activity can be more readily tracked to prevent a violent criminal from escalating to homicide. The military is considered one team now and their criminal activity impacts service members in all branches and civilians in the US and other countries. Given the transient population and jurisdiction issues, it only makes sense to utilize the existing FBI national database in an effort to connect crimes committed on bases, overseas, deployed locations, and in the civilian jurisdictions here in the US. The overall goal is to prevent multiple victims and homicide.

Violent Crime, Suicide & Non Combat Death at Fort Campbell, Kentucky (US Army)

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*This research is not complete.

Fort Campbell is a United States Army installation located astride the Kentucky-Tennessee border between Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Tennessee. Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The fort is named in honor of Union Army Brigadier General William Bowen Campbell, the last Whig Governor of Tennessee. -Wikipedia

Dhaifal Ali, US Army (2016): Accidental Drowning

Seth Brabant, US Army veteran (2016): Homicide Victim

Jeffrey Cooper, US Army (2016): Non Combat Death, Kuwait

MarStratton Gordon, US Army (2016): Homicide Victim

Kyle Heade, US Army (2016): Charged with Theft/Attempted Homicide

Zachary James-Earl Ponder, US Army (2016): Charged with Homicide

Matthew Lewellen, US Army (2016): Ambushed at Military Base in Jordan

Shadow McClaine, US Army (2016): Body Missing, Homicide

Kevin McEnroe, US Army (2016): Ambushed at Military Base in Jordan

James Moriarty, US Army (2016): Ambushed at Military Base in Jordan

Marcus Rogers, US Army (2016): Failing to Follow Military Orders

Deashawn Thomas, US Army (2016): Homicide/Suicide

Katelyn Thomas, US Army spouse (2016): Homicide Victim

Zackery Alexander, US Army (2015): Charged with Homicide

Joseph Bankston, US Army dependent (2015): Homicide Victim

Liperial Easterling, US Army (2015): Homicide Victim

Terrence Harwell, US Army (2015): Homicide Victim

Cornell Hurley Jr, US Army (2015): Homicide

Kevin Rodriguez, US Army (2015): Preventable Training Accident Death

Chelcee Sine-Garza, US Army (2015): Attempted Homicide Victim

Annely Turner, US Army spouse (2015): Attempted Homicide

Malcolm Turner, US Army (2015): Attempted Homicide

David Wi, US Army (2015): Charged with Homicide

Christian Martin (2014): Mishandling Classified Info/Simple Assault

Robbie Knight, US Army (2012): Homicide

Frederic Moses, US Army (2012): Homicide Victim

Jeremy Priddy, Civilian (2012): Homicide Victim

Nery Ruiz, US Army (2012): Sexual Abuse/Sodomy of Child

Benjamin Schweitzer, US Army (2012): Reckless Homicide

Michael Korolevich, US Army (2011): Homicide

Kathleen McGee, US Army spouse (2011): Homicide Victim

Linzi Jenks, US Army spouse (2010): Homicide Victim

Robert Jenks III, US Army (2010): Homicide

Ashley Barnes, US Army (2009): Homicide Victim

Khaleefa Lambert, US Army (2009): Homicide

Tracy Birkman, US Army (2008): Non Combat Death, Iraq

Jennifer Cole, US Army (2008): Negligent Homicide, Iraq

Brent Burke, US Army (2007): Homicide

Tracy Burke, US Army spouse (2007): Homicide Victim

Karen Comer, US Army family (2007): Homicide Victim

Steven Green, US Army (2006): Rape/Homicide of Iraqi Civilian

LaVena Johnson, US Army (2005): Death Ruled Suicide, Iraq

Hasan Akbar, US Army (2003): Homicide/Death Sentence

Barry Winchell, US Army (1999): Homicide Victim

Laura Cecere, US Army (1996): Homicide Victim

Max Roybal, US Army spouse (1996): Acquitted of Homicide

David Housler Jr, US Army (1994): Homicide Conviction Overturned

Warrant Officer Travis Tamayo, US Army, Died of a Non Combat-Related Incident in United Arab Emirates (2016)

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Warrant Officer Travis Tamayo, US Army

Warrant Officer Travis Tamayo, US Army, died of a non combat related incident in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on September 16, 2016. WO Tamayo was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 202nd Military Intelligence Battalion in Fort Gordon, Georgia. According to the Department of Defense press release, the incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Deployed Fort Gordon soldier dies in UAE
Army Officer from Brownsville Killed Overseas
Brownsville native, proud military member dies at age 32
DoD: Soldier dies in non-combat related incident in UAE
Department of Defense investigating death of deployed Ft. Gordon soldier
Death of deployed Fort Gordon soldier under investigation
U.S. Army intelligence soldier supporting OIR dies in United Arab Emirates
US Anti-Daesh Operation Serviceman Dies in UAE in Non-Combat-Related Incident

SSG Jessica Wing, US Army, Died of a Non Combat Related Incident in Kuwait City, Kuwait (2012)

Jessica Wing, US Army (2012)

SSG Jessica Wing, US Army

SSG Jessica Wing, US Army, died of a non combat related incident in Kuwait City, Kuwait on August 27, 2012. SSG Jessica Wing was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Maine Army National Guard in Bangor, Maine. According to the Department of Defense, the incident is under investigation.

“The tags belonged to Staff Sgt. Jessica Wing, 42, who took her own life on Aug. 27, 2012, in Kuwait while serving with the 126th Aviation Medevac Unit, based in Bangor. It was her sixth deployment. With 23 years of military duty, she spent nearly all of her adult years in uniform.” -Bangor Daily News

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Wing
Maine Soldier Dies in Kuwait
Virginia soldier SSG Jessica Wing dies in Kuwait
Funeral held for helicopter crew chief from Maine
Remembering fallen Maine soldier Staff Sgt. Jessica Wing
‘We need to do everything we can’: In culture shift, Maine National Guard opens up about suicide prevention
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)

Questions Are Discouraged When Women in Military Die

Department of DefenseQuestions Are Discouraged When Women in Military Die

Pentagon seeks to spin, squelch stories on female fatalities

More than 140 U.S. military women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military has officially placed nearly 50 of these deaths in the ambiguous “non-combat” category. In at least two of the 20 deaths under scrutiny, the military has tried to strongarm media that were questioning the official ruling, in one case threatening to pull military advertising if a story were to run.

During a decade of war, the old observation that truth is war’s first casualty has been reconfirmed. Perhaps most notoriously, the military was caught lying that Army Ranger Pat Tillman had died from enemy fire, when in fact his own unit had cut him (Nation, 5/25/09). The Tillman family accused the Department of Defense of covering up the real reason of death so as to protect the military’s image as it aggressively sought volunteers for the “Global War on Terror.”

Read more here.

Pvt Danny Chen, US Army, Died of a Non Combat-Related Incident in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan (2011)

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Pvt Danny Chen, US Army

Pvt. Danny Chen, 19, US Army, died of a non combat-related incident in Kandahar province, Afghanistan on October 3, 2011. Pvt Chen was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Pvt. Danny Chen
Hazing and Harassment in the Military
Army charges 8 in Afghanistan in death of fellow U.S. soldier
8 soldiers charged in death of fellow serviceman
8 U.S. Army Soldiers Charged in Death of Fellow Serviceman in Afghanistan
Danny Chen’s family seeks justice in Army hazing death
Pvt. Danny Chen’s Family Speaks Out Against Military Hazing As Final Soldier Faces Punishment
Pvt. Danny Chen, 1992–2011
Why Black America Should Care About Private Danny Chen’s Suicide
Death of Private Danny Chen: Military Admits Chen was Target of Race-Based Hazing on Daily Basis
Charges referred in Pvt. Danny Chen case
Pvt. Danny Chen committed suicide a day before he was to be transferred, witness says
Army suicide testimony: Sergeant taunted Danny Chen with slurs
As Danny Chen Case Continues, Questions About Soldiers’ Punishments
A Young Private’s Suicide Reflects a Massive Failure of Leadership
Platoon Leader Dismissed from Army for Hazing Death of Pvt. Danny Chen
Military Court Convicts US Soldier in Hazing Trial
Soldier Convicted in Pvt. Danny Chen Suicide Case
Three Years Later, A Moment of Silence for Private Danny Chen
OCA remembers Private Danny Chen
Who Killed Private Danny Chen?
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, Pvt. Danny Chen, and our highly conditional love of American soldiers
An Opera Remembers The Tragedy Of An Asian-American Soldier
Manhattan Street Renamed for Danny Chen, Soldier Bullied into Suicide in Afghanistan
Outrage over Army platoon’s ‘Racial Thursdays’ where soldiers would hurl slurs at fellow troops and private who committed suicide once served

Spc Dennis Poulin, US Army, Died of a Non Combat-Related Incident in Konar Province, Afghanistan (2011)

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Spc. Dennis Poulin, Massachusetts Army National Guard

Spc Dennis Poulin, 26, US Army, died of a non combat-related incident in Konar Province, Afghanistan on March 31, 2011. Spc. Poulin was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard in Milford, Massachusetts. Spc. Poulin was killed after his vehicle rolled over in Afghanistan.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Spc. Dennis C. Poulin
Mass. Guardsman killed in Afghanistan
Army Spc. Dennis C. Poulin honored in dignified transfer April 8
Massachusetts Guardsman remembered for selfless service
Wake to be held for Mass. National Guard soldier killed in Afghanistan
Fallen Soldier Army Specialist Dennis C. Poulin Honored at Memorial Service in Pawtucket
Mass. National Guard Soldier Laid To Rest In RI
Hero’s Farewell~Army Spc Dennis C Poulin
Army Specialist Dennis C. Poulin | Run for the Fallen
Honor SPC Dennis Poulin with a Purple Heart
RI to honor fallen Mass. National Guard soldier Dennis Poulin
27 fallen soldiers honored in Providence’s Garden of Heroes
Massachusetts Fallen Heroes
Our War Dead

 

Spc Christopher Opat, US Army, Died of a Non Combat-Related Incident in Baquah, Iraq (2010)

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Spc Christopher Opat, US Army

Spc. Christopher W. Opat, 29, US Army, died of a non combat related incident on June 15, 2010 in Baquah, Iraq. Spc. Opat was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. According to the Department of Defense, the circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Spc. Christopher W. Opat
Cresco soldier dies in Iraq
Local residents show support for fallen soldier
Father of fallen soldier says son was dedicated to service
Christopher Wesley Opat | Remembering the Fallen
Spc. Christopher W. Opat
Christopher Opat, 29, Lime Springs
Procession for fallen Army soldier to go through Spring Valley Tuesday morning
U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Opat laid to rest
A family buries a hero
Flags lowered in Iowa in honor of soldier Christopher Opat
US troops who have died while serving in Iraq and Kuwait