Army Pfc. Kai Yancey, 26, died at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, Texas after complications from a short illness on January 1, 2017. Pfc. Yancey’s home of record was listed as El Paso, Texas; he entered active-duty military service in February 2015 as a motor transport operator. Pfc. Yancey was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood since 2016.
“He was a member of East Side Church of Christ, where he was a past member of the Youth Group and enjoyed watching movies, skate boarding, wrestling, boxing, water skiing, para-sailing and target shooting. He was a past member of the Warren Boxing Association, where he was the Undefeated Lightweight Champion and a 2009 graduate of Howland High School, where he excelled in wrestling. He married Janelle March 16, 2016.” –Obituary
Why did a 20-year-old recruit jump to his death at the Marine Corps training facility at Parris Island? That question spurred an internal investigation, which uncovered a larger pattern of hazing and abuse. William Brangham joins Judy Woodruff to offer a closer look at the investigation. -PBS NewsHour
The Kill Team is a PBS documentary featuring the Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers in Washington who were accused of murdering innocent Afghanistan civilians on a deployment in 2010. The media came up with ‘The Kill Team’ designator to describe the actions of five Army soldiers specifically who were involved in this scandal. It turns out it wasn’t the scandal the media made it out to be after all yet all five soldiers featured in the media were sanctioned regardless. There were a total of eleven enlisted soldiers who were punished for their actions in Afghanistan. No Army leadership at the base were held accountable. The real scandals are the lack of oversight in Afghanistan, the lack of accountability for leadership, and the broken military justice system. This film clearly shows how the military justice system operates differently then the civilian justice system. If you want to learn more about how military justice works, watch this film. This film depicted the toxic leadership in the ‘Platoon from Hell’ and the dangers of being a whistleblower in the US Army. The Kill Team was nominated for an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The Kill Team is now available for purchase on I-Tunes, Amazon Prime, Netflix, or where ever you purchase or rent films digitally.
SSgt Craig LeBlanc was a Basic Military Training Instructor at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. He is also one of the 35 instructors courts martialed after a base-wide investigation into sexual abuse claims referred to as the Lackland Sex Scandal. He was accused of having inappropriate relationships with recruits, adultery, and sexual assault. He was found not guilty of sexual assault. Nonetheless, SSgt LeBlanc was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in February 2013. Although the actions for which he was found guilty were unprofessional and in fact Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) infractions, they were not criminal in nature yet he got prison time for consensual sex and adultery, a law that doesn’t exist in the civilian world. The Air Force gave SSgt LeBlanc the fourth longest prison sentence. SSgt Eddy Soto was sentenced to four years for the rape of a trainee but a year and a half later, the Air Force Criminal Court of Appeals overturned the conviction and set aside the original prison sentence. The rape charge lacked evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. SSgt Luis Walker and MSgt Michael Silva were both sentenced to twenty years for rape and sexual assault convictions. SSgt LeBlanc attempted to appeal his sentence but the military appeals court denied it.
“The dismissal of these two specifications does not dramatically change the penalty landscape; in fact, only the maximum confinement authorized would change. Without the convictions on these two specifications, the confinement exposure is reduced from 22 years and 1 month to 18 years and 1 month. The appellant was sentenced to confinement for 30 months. Having considered the totality of the circumstances, we would reassess the appellant’s sentence to the same sentence approved by the convening authority.” -USAF Court of Criminal Appeals (March 2015)
Sgt. Denise Lannaman, New York Army National Guard
Army National Guard Sgt. Denise Lannaman, 46, died in a non combat related incident at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait on October 1, 2006. Sgt. Lannaman was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom on behalf of the New York Army National Guard’s 1569th Transportation Company in Newburgh, New York. 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 allegedly died by 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
Army veteran Andrea Floyd was found raped and murdered by Army spouse and special operations soldier Brandon Floyd in a murder-suicide in their North Carolina home on July 19, 2002. The murder was the one of five domestic abuse incidents that occurred in a six week period at Fort Bragg. According to the book Army Wives, Andrea was planning on divorcing Brandon and had informed him that either she or he was leaving because the relationship was over. Their children were in Alliance, Ohio with Andrea’s family at the time of the incident.
“On July 19 the perfect picture shattered. After a loud argument that was overheard by neighbors, Brandon Floyd shot his wife, then turned his gun on himself. The double slaying was the fourth domestic tragedy at Fort Bragg in recent weeks. On June 11 Sgt. First Class Rigoberto Nieves, 32, shot himself and his wife, Teresa, 28, two days after returning from Afghanistan. Over the next six weeks Master Sgt. William Wright, 36, allegedly strangled his wife, Jennifer, 32; Sgt. Cedric Griffin, 28, allegedly stabbed his estranged wife, Marilyn, 32, and set fire to her home; and Maj. David Shannon, 40, was shot while sleeping in his home, a killing in which police have said that the wife remains a suspect.”