Lt Col Flando Jackson, US Air Force, Died of a Non Combat-Related Injury at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar

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Lt. Col. Flando E. Jackson, Washington National Guard, US Air Force

Lt. Col. Flando E. 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

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

Map of Middle East

Bahrain

20 Apr 08: PO1 Cherie Morton, Navy (medical, under investigation)
22 Oct 07: MASN Anamarie Camacho, Navy (gunshot wound, homicide)
22 Oct 07: MASN Genesia Gresham, Navy (gunshot wound, homicide)
1 Oct 07: MASA Shayna Schnell, Navy (injuries sustained in a vehicle accident)
16 Jan 07: MA1 Jennifer Valdivia, Navy (hazed and bullied by supervisor, carbon monoxide poisoning, death ruled suicide by NCIS)
19 Sep 06: LCDR Jane (Lanham) Tafoya, Navy (non-combat related causes)

Jordan

26 Jul 06: CIVILIAN Donna Marie Kerns (vehicle accident)

Kuwait

13 Sep 14: SSG Virginia Caballero, US Army Reserves (medical non-combat death en-route from Kuwait to US)
27 Aug 12: SSG Jessica Wing, Maine Army National Guard (death ruled suicide)
19 Feb 09: Spc Cwislyn Walter, Hawaii Army National Guard (non combat related vehicular accident)
12 Nov 07: Spc Ashley Sietsema, Army (injuries sustained in vehicle accident)
6 Nov 07: Spc Christine Ndururi, Army (medical, unexplained non-combat illness)
1 Oct 06: SSG Denise A Lannaman, New York Army National Guard (gunshot wound, death ruled suicide)
28 Oct 05: 1LT Debra A. (Butler) Banaszak, Missouri Army National Guard (non-combat related injury, death ruled suicide)

The Arabian Gulf

31 Dec 06: SN Sandra Grant, Navy (assigned to USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, medical, cardiac arrest)
18 Apr 02: SN Katrina Grady, Navy (non-combat illness, medically evacuated from USS Port Royal)

The Gulf of Aden/Indian Ocean

12 Feb 07: MA2 Laquita James, Navy (natural causes aboard Bataan off the Horn of Africa)

The Gulf of Oman

18 Jan 11: OS2 Dominique Cruz, Navy (she went missing from aboard the USS Halsey in the Gulf of Oman, found during search and rescue operations Jan. 19 in the Gulf of Oman after being reported missing Jan 18, under investigation)

The Persian Gulf

25 Oct 03: FN Jakia Cannon, Navy (assigned to USS Enterprise, medical, died of natural causes while underway)

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

A1C Kelsey Anderson, US Air Force, Found Dead of Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound in Hangar at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam (2011)

Kelsey Anderson

A1C Kelsey Anderson, US Air Force

Airman First Class Kelsey Anderson was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on June 9, 2011. According to media reports, she was found in a locked stall in a second-floor women’s bathroom inside an aircraft maintenance hangar at the base. The military investigation indicated that a few months after Kelsey arrived at Guam, she was stripped of her service revolver over mental health concerns. Although Kelsey’s weapons privileges had been restored about a month prior to her death. The reports stated that Kelsey may have been unhappy after trying and failing to be transferred from Guam or released from military service. Kelsey’s parents had to file a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to get the Air Force to turn over its investigation records. They simply wanted answers for their daughter’s tragic and unexpected, untimely death yet the Air Force concealed the details. Chris and Adelia Sue Anderson received the mostly redacted investigation reports almost two years after their daughter’s death. The final court settlement with the Air Force in September 2013 was for the cost of the attorney they had to hire in their quest to get the information they were entitled to have. It’s unfortunate that this family had to wait two years for answers and even more unfortunate that they were forced to go to court during one of the most difficult times of their life.

What could have been done to prevent this? What kind of mental health services were offered to Kelsey? Why did Kelsey want to leave Guam and/or get out of the military? Why was she upset after finding out that she was not able to transfer or get out of the military? What were the extenuating circumstances that made Kelsey feel like she had no options other then suicide? Is this a suicide? After so many families have come forward with concerns that their loved one was murdered despite a ruling of suicide, do we know for sure that this was a suicide? It happened in Guam. There is absolutely no one to hold the Air Force accountable in that setting. There is no way to ensure that the Air Force investigated the scene as both a potential homicide or suicide. It’s as simple as what the Air Force says happens is what happened. Every government entity should have a mechanism by which they are held accountable. Where does a grieving parent turn to when they do not agree with the military investigator’s or medical examiner’s findings? Who holds the individual branches or Department of Defense accountable? The only body of people that can hold the military industrial complex accountable is the US Congress and even they struggle. Time and time again we hear accounts from service members and families that contacting their congressional Representative or Senator did not help. Some help, some don’t, and some never call you back. Every level of government should have accountability of some kind because this country was founded on the principles of checks and balances in our system.

“Enlisting U.S. Sen. Jim Risch‘s office for help still didn’t yield results.” -Chris & Adelia Sue Anderson

In an interview the Andersons’ lawyer emphasized that the prolonged wait and anxiety of suing the federal government in a last-ditch effort for information intensified the couple’s pain after the loss of their daughter. He empathized as a father of three and shared that he could not imagine losing a child thousands of miles away and not knowing what happened to her. No parent should have to wait nearly two years before the government decides to produce the information they deserve to have.

Related Links:
AAFB Mourns Loss of Airman 1st Class Kelsey Anderson
AAFB airman’s death ruled suicide
Grieving parents sue Air Force for answers in daughter’s death
Adelia Sue Anderson Parents Sues Air Force Over Death Daughter
The Long Goodbye: What happened to Kelsey Anderson?
The Long Goodbye: An Idaho Family Fights to Learn the Truth About Their Daughter’s Death
Was it murder? Mystery as Air Force claims 19 year old airwoman committed suicide in Guam base but family deny she was depressed and say they’ve been blocked from getting answers
Family finally getting answers on daughters death
AP: Documents Shed New Light on Suicide of Idaho Airman
Documents reveal mental health struggles of Airman Kelsey Anderson
Idaho airman under mental scrutiny before death
AP: Parents of Kelsey Anderson, Idaho Airman Who Died of Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound on Guam Air Base, Settle Lawsuit with Air Force
Idaho airman’s family settles with Air Force
Air Force will Pay Idaho Parent’s Legal Fees in Suicide Case of Daughter


The grieving parents of a 19-year-old Idaho woman who died serving her country thousands of miles from home say the U.S. Air Force won’t give them information about the circumstances of her death.

Brig Gen Thomas Tinsley, USAF (2008)

Thomas Tinsley, USAF

Honoring Brig Gen Thomas Tinsley, USAF, who died July 27, 2008. He was serving as a Wing Commander at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska when he was found dead with a gunshot wound to his chest. He was a fighter pilot and flew the F-15, F/A-18 and F-22A. His unexpected death was ruled a suicide by military officials. The circumstances surrounding his death are being questioned by others including his family. His family deserves answers and that is why he is listed under cold cases.

Air Force officer in Alaska dies in likely suicide
Air Force Officer Dead; Likely a Suicide
General’s death in July ruled a suicide
Elmendorf wing CO dies of gunshot wound
Elmendorf general dies of gunshot on base
Brig. Gen. Tinsley, 3rd Wing commander at Elmendorf, dies of gunshot wound
Ex-Raptor commander at Langley dies in Alaska
Elmendorf mourns fallen commander
F-22 Safety Concerns Linger
General’s wife: ‘Raptor Cough’ contributed to husband’s suicide
New Questions Raised in 2008 Suicide of Air Force General Who Was F-22 Pilot, Commander at Alaska Air Base
Don’t Look for Many Details on Apparent “Suicide” of Gen. Tinsley from Here on Out

SrA Blanca Luna, USAF Reserve, Was Discovered Stabbed to Death in Base Lodging at Sheppard AFB in Texas, Incident is Under Investigation (2008)

SrA Blanca Luna, US Air Force (2008)

SrA Blanca Luna, US Air Force Reserve

On March 7, 2008, SrA Blanca A. Luna, 27, US Air Force Reserve, was found unresponsive and with injuries consistent with a stab wound in her billeting room at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas three days prior to graduating and heading back home. She was discovered with a knife in the back of her neck according to the death certificate and no pants or underwear and dried fluid near her groin according to the autopsy. She was taken to a local hospital in Wichita Falls where she died shortly thereafter. She was an Air Force Reservist on temporary duty at Sheppard AFB attending a technical training course for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC).  She was a Marine from 1997 to 2002 and then became a Reservist in 2007 at the 434rd Civil Engineer Squadron, Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana. She loved the military. She was living in the Chicago, Illinois area and studying Graphic Design.

Because this death occurred on a federal installation, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) was the lead on the investigation. They initially labeled the death a “suspicious incident”. According to AFOSI, the FBI assisted with the investigation. The FBI processed the crime scene and collaborated with the ensuing Air Force investigation. The AFOSI referred to the death as a homicide in the media in the early stages of the investigation. Six months later they would be accused of leading the family to believe it was a suicide despite evidence suggesting otherwise. Six months after her death, no official determination was made as to the manner of death: homicide, suicide, or accident. Eventually, the family learned from the autopsy report that the official manner of death was considered “undetermined”. No suspects were ever identified.

“AFOSI has been the lead investigative agency since Airman Luna’s death. At AFOSI’s request, the FBI sent an evidence response team to process the scene immediately after Airman Luna was found, and the two agencies have continued to cooperate in the investigation. Agents have been assigned to the case on a full-time basis, and more than 350 interviews have been conducted at locations across the country. Findings have been reviewed by a diverse team of experts, including specialists in forensics, polygraph, computer investigation, behavioral psychology and forensic pathology…More than 200 DNA tests have been done.”

Two of Blanca’s friends who had visited her at the base noted that she had talked about problems with some airman in her classes. She felt that they resented her because of her rank and the fact that she was a woman in a leadership position. When Blanca’s body arrived in Chicago, the family observed bruises on Blanca’s face as if she had been punched or had fallen and scratches between her fingers that appeared to be defensive wounds. Luna’s family insists that she would never commit suicide and that the evidence does not support that suggestion. In October 2008, Gloria Barrios traveled to Texas from Chicago to get some answers, including the autopsy report, from the Air Force but she didn’t get anything except a tour of the base. Gloria had questions about the bruises, defensive wounds, and the fluid found near Blanca’s groin but never received any answers. Blanca’s mom feels that this is a cover-up.

The family believes that AFOSI did not investigate the crime with due diligence and was trying to lead them to believe Blanca committed suicide. They initially determined that it was a homicide and investigated it as a crime. This is problematic because instead of listing the death as an unsolved murder or cold case, it can be written off as a suicide and never investigated again. After Gloria’s visit to Sheppard AFB, the Air Force released a statement that said “deaths are investigated as homicides initially, but that nothing suggests that anyone on base is in danger.” This statement is troublesome because the murder occurred within the confines of a secure military base. One cannot get onto the base without military identification. It had to be someone affiliated with the base that either lives and/or works there. The Air Force cannot guarantee the base’s safety when they do not even know who committed the crime. Blanca’s mom wants answers from military officials, and she wants them to classify Luna’s death as a homicide and find the culprit. Was the DNA collected at the scene compared to the national DNA database (CODIS)? Five years later, still with no answers, Gloria Barrios was battling depression and hospitalized. Eight years later, the case is still considered “under investigation” and highlights the need for cold case squads in the military.

“My gut feeling is they are looking for a culprit outside of the base, but the murderer is on the base. They’re looking in the wrong place…I can’t express what I feel about these people. They’re [Air Force] treating me like dirt. They are driving me crazy. It’s like they’re playing with my mind, giving me bad information.” -Gloria Barrios (Blanca’s mom)

The incident is under investigation by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Sheppard AFB security forces squadron. Anyone with information regarding the case should call Sheppard Air Force Base security forces at (940) 676-2981 [or Sheppard AFOSI at (940) 676-1852].

Related Links:
Air Force identifies deceased Airman
Air Force Identifies Murdered Reservist
‘Suspicious’ death: Student airman with stab wound dies in hospital
Texas Air Force Reservist Found Stabbed to Death in Hotel
Indiana Air Force reservist found fatally stabbed in Texas
Indiana Airman found dead at base in Texas
Grissom Airman found dead in Texas
Military probes reservist’s slaying
Murder on the Base?
OSI continues to investigate March 7 death
Airman’s Mom Seeks Truth About Death
Mother of Murdered Female Airman To Request Meeting on Oct. 3 with Sheppard Air Force Base officials on Status of Investigation
Blanca Luna’s mother went to Texas but learned nothing about her daughter’s death on an air force base
Dead airman’s family unhappy about lack of progress in case
Family suspects cover-up in airman’s death on base
The Murder of Military Women Continues
Our Town: Gloria Barrios
Justice for Blanca Luna
5th Anniversary of Unsolved Murder on Sheppard Air Force Base
Find a Grave: Blanca Adriana Luna (1980 – 2008)

MA1 Jennifer Valdivia, US Navy, Died in a Non Combat Related Incident in Bahrain, NCIS Ruled Death Suicide by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (2007)

Honoring Jennifer Valdivia @USNavy (2007)

Jennifer Valdivia, US Navy

MA1 Jennifer Valdivia, 27, US Navy, died in a non combat related incident in Bahrain on January 16, 2007. MA1 Valdivia was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the naval security force for Naval Support Activity in Bahrain. At the time of the press release the Department of Defense announced that her death was under investigation and Bahrain was located within the designated hostile fire zone. Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) eventually ruled her death suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Toussaint, who led the Bahrain unit until March 2006, was at the center of a 2007 command investigation that documented more than 90 instances of abuse, including sailors being ordered to simulate homosexual sex in training videos, hogtied to chairs and force-fed dog treats. “If my daughter didn’t do what he told her to do, he would embarrass her in front of everybody in the kennel, belittle her,” Young said. “Everybody who was friends with Jennifer tells me the same story: She was the fall person. She was the scapegoat.” ~Pilot Online

Jennifer was at the center of command directed 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 told her to do. If she had a way out, could this suicide have been prevented? Was it a suicide? Was it ever investigated as a homicide? Who found her? Was it reported to the Commander first? Did the Commander do an initial investigation? Does the Navy have NCIS located in Bahrain? How quickly did NCIS respond to the scene located in what is described as a designated hostile fire zone?

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Navy Casualty
Navy Master-at-Arms 1st Class Jennifer A. Valdivia
Report Leaked on Navy Suicide
Report: Sailors hogtied, fed dog treats
U.S. Navy sailors say they were hazed, abused
Abuse Probe May Have Pushed Navy Sailor To Suicide
Navy: Investigation drove sailor in dog-handling unit to kill self
Report outlines security unit hazing, assault
Gay Sailor: My Comrades Locked Me In A ‘Feces-Filled Dog Kennel’
‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Didn’t Protect Me From Abuse in the Navy
Ex-sailor denies hazing by senior
Brutal Navy Hazing Rituals Probed
Navy petty officer to face punishment in hazing
Navy Admits it Was Wrong in Case of Dog Handler
Navy Chief in Anti-Gay Hazing Case to Retire with Full Rank and Pay
Navy’s reprimand of leader not enough for man who lost daughter
Two years later, sailor to be forced out for role in hazing scandal
AP’s Misleading Report on Navy Reversal: I Did Not Ask for Anti-Gay Hazing
Navy veteran combats ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
Is There an Army Cover Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?
The Deadliest Year, In ’07 the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars Claimed More Than 1,000 U.S. Lives, Bringing the Death Toll to 4,354
Top female navy commander sacked over humiliating initiation ordeals on board ship
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)

Sandra Grant, 23, US Navy, Died of Natural Causes While Aboard the USS Eisenhower in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2006)

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Seaman Sandra Grant, US Navy

Navy Seaman Sandra Grant, 23, died of a natural causes (cardiac arrest) while aboard a ship in the Arabian Sea on December 31, 2006. Seaman Grant was a Damage Control Fireman supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Naval officials reported the death was under investigation but preliminary findings pointed to natural causes. Sandra was a sailor, a family member, a friend, a wife, and the mother of a baby boy. She was also one of three sailors announced in the Department of Defense press release that died of ‘natural causes’ or an ‘accident’ in a hostile fire zone in support of OIF.  Lt. Cmdr. Jane Lanham, 43, died from natural causes on September 19, 2006 in Bahrain. Petty Officer 3rd Class Roger Napper, 20, died of trauma from a single motor vehicle accident on October 7, 2006 in Bahrain.

[Sandra’s] father said the news came as a total shock because she was always healthy and didn’t have any prior medical condition. –The-Dispatch.com

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Navy Casualties
Navy Seaman Sandra S. Grant
SMN Sandra Stephanie Grant Fry
Sandra Stephanie Grant, US Navy
Sailor carried on family’s legacy

Sgt Denise Lannaman, US Army, Died in a Non Combat Related Incident in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait (2006)

Denise Lannaman

Sgt. Denise Lannaman, US Army

Sgt Denise Lannaman, 46, US Army, died in a non combat related incident in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on October 1, 2006. Sgt. Lannaman Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the New York Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company in Newburgh, N.Y. Sgt. Reports indicate that Lannaman was found dead in a jeep with a gunshot wound. At the time of the press release, the Department of Defense announced that the incident was under investigation. Sgt. Lannaman’s death was ruled a suicide by the Army. She was one of three people in the same logistics group in Kuwait tied to a bribery scheme investigation that committed suicide. Major Gloria Davis, Army (2006) and Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, Army (2006) deaths were also ruled suicides by the Army.

In the space of three months last year (2006), three members of the U.S. Army who had been part of a logistics group in Kuwait committed suicide. Two of them — a colonel and a major — had power over contract awards and had been accused of taking bribes just before they killed themselves. The third was Sgt. Denise A. Lannaman of Queens. ~New York Times

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Sgt. Denise A. Lannaman
Queens Sarge Killed in Kuwait
From Queens to Kuwait, Where a Life Was Ended
What Really Happened to Denise Lannaman?
U.S. Military Is Keeping Secrets About Female Soldiers’ ‘Suicides’
Camp Arifjan Bribe Scheme Nets 17 Convictions and Three Soldier Suicides
U.S. Military Covering Up Possible Murders of Female Service Members
No, You Can’t Have My Daughter
Non Combat Deaths of Female Soldiers in the US Military (Other Areas)

Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, US Army, Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Kuwait, Death Ruled Suicide (2006)

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Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, US Army

Lt. Col. Marshall Gutierrez, US Army, died of non combat related injuries in Camp Virginia, Kuwait on September 4, 2006. Lt. Col. Gutierrez was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the Area Support Group in Arijan, Kuwait. At the time of the Department of Defense press release, the incident was under investigation. The Army ruled Lt. Col. Gutierrez’ death a suicide by prescription pills and anti-freeze. Lt. Col. Gutierrez was initially a whistleblower in a wide spread bribery scheme in Kuwait but after he reported the illegal activity, he soon found himself accused of bribery by a Kuwaiti contractor. Reports indicate the allegations left his military career and his marriage in ruins. Three soldiers connected to the bribery scheme investigations allegedly committed suicide. Major Gloria Davis was a witness for the prosecution and was found dead of a gunshot wound in Iraq. Sgt. Denise Lannaman was also involved in the investigation and she was found dead of a gunshot wound in her jeep on post at Camp Arijan, Kuwait.

Related Links:
Obituary: Lt. Col. Marshall A. Gutierrez
DoD Identifies Army Casualty
Army Lt. Col. Marshall A. Gutierrez
Camp Arifjan Bribe Scheme Nets 17 Convictions and Three Soldier Suicides
Inside the Greed Zone
Tainted by Corruption or an Innocent Victim?
The Price of US Army ‘Confidentiality’
The ODD Death of LTC Gutierrez
From Queens to Kuwait, Where a Life Was Ended
Kuwaiti Contractor Accused of Bilking Army
Kuwait-based military contractor wins court delay
PWC says whistleblower filed 40 ‘unsuccessful’ actions in Kuwaiti Courts
Defense contractor employee (Dorothy Ellis) pleads guilty to bribery
Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War

Army Captain Gordon Hess Found Stabbed to Death at Fort Knox in Kentucky, Military Investigators Ruled Suicide Despite the 26 Stab Wounds to Neck & Chest Area (1998)

Gordon Hess

Captain Gordon Hess, US Army

Captain Gordon Hess, US Army, was found dead in a creek bed at Fort Knox, Kentucky on March 4, 1998 while there on temporary duty with the New York Army National Guard. Army investigators ruled the cause of death was ‘suicide’ but the family and an outside forensic pathologist dispute those findings given the autopsy revealed that Captain Hess had twenty-six stab wounds to the neck and chest area. Doreen Hess shared with the LA Times: “Even as we attempted to bury his mutilated body, the Army stabbed him again with a suicide ruling.” The Army claims that it fully investigates all undetermined deaths as a homicide initially but after a thorough investigation of this case, including hundreds of interviews, they determined that Captain Hess committed suicide. The family vehemently disagrees with the Army investigator’s findings based on the forensic evidence and a history of the Army ruling a soldier’s death a suicide when in fact it was most likely a homicide. An important fact to remember is that if an Army investigation determines the cause of death is suicide, they never have to investigate it again despite the impact on the families left behind.

“Absolutely no way did this man commit suicide. This gentleman was murdered.” -Charles DeAngelo, Esq.

Learn more: Military Families for Justice

Related Links:
Dead soldier with 26 stab wounds declared ‘suicide’ by Army investigators
Widow Ends Effort to Clear Guardsman’s Name, but Maintains Her Belief in Him
Long-Deserved Honor
Another Suspicious Suicide
Autopsy photos are often used to refute official conclusions
The Death of Gordon Hess
Captain Gordon Hess – Homicide or Suicide? An Equivocal Death Analysis and Case Study
Wolves in Wolf Clothing
Top 10 Questionable Deaths Ruled as Suicides
Unsolved Mysteries and Scary Stuff: Bizarre Cases of the Missing and Murdered
Cold Case Files: Who Killed Captain Gordon Hess?
Military Families for Justice: Captain Gordon Hess, Army National Guard