Report: Growing mental health problems in military

Mental problems send more men in the U.S. military to the hospital than any other cause, according to a new Pentagon report.

And they are the second highest reason for hospitalization of women military personnel, behind conditions related to pregnancy.

The Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance report from November examines “a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members.”

The 31-page report says mental disorders are a problem for the entire U.S. population, but that sharp increases for active duty military reflect the psychological toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Rep. Lewis passed over for powerful chairmanship

Republicans passed over  Rep. Jerry Lewis in favor of a veteran Kentucky lawmaker Wednesday to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

The party’s steering committee rejected Lewis’s request to waive term limits that bar him from reclaiming the post he held when Republicans last held the majority.

The decision deprives Lewis of a position that would have given him control over the federal government’s purse strings and a heightened ability to direct millions of dollars to his home district, which includes some of the Pass area.

See also: CREW’s Most Corrupt: Rep. Jerry Lewis

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Protest at White House: No New Korean War!

Washington, November 27 (RHC)– Protesters gathered Saturday in front of the White House in Washington to call for an end to the provocations against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The emergency anti-war rally was called in response to the latest escalation of hostilities in the Korean Peninsula.

Organizers of the anti-war protest said the provocations could lead to a new Korean War — “one that could expand to wider regional, and potentially nuclear, conflict.”

In a statement released just before Saturday’s protest rally began, organizers said that the biggest provocation in the region is the massive presence of U.S. military bases, troop, nuclear and conventional weapons. “In 2010, 65 years after the end of World War II, there are scores of U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine bases in the Republic of Korea, Okinawa, and all across Japan. This vast deployment of military power halfway around the world far exceeds that of any other country.”

The anti-war protesters said that the real purpose of this military machine “is to secure and further the interests of the U.S. corporate power and strategic domination in Asia and around the world. It is the enemy of the people of Korea, China, Japan and the people of the United States.”

Retired airman accused of soliciting minor

An outstanding warrant remains in effect for an Air Force officer accused of soliciting sex from a person he thought was a 15-year-old girl in an Internet chat room.

Maj. Reinaldo Canton was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of meeting a girl he met online at a mall in Layton, Utah. The “girl” was actually an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent working for an Internet sex crimes unit.

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Former airman convicted of killing 3-year-old

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A 22-year-old Great Falls man was convicted Monday of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

A Cascade County jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Jerimie Hicks guilty of deliberate homicide and solicitation to tamper with evidence in the death of Kaelyn Bray. Hicks, who was stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base at the time of the girl’s death, will remain in custody without bail until he is sentenced in six weeks.

County Attorney John W. Parker said he would seek a life sentence without parole.

Prosecutors said the former airman severely beat Kaelyn on Feb. 26, leading to her death from brain injuries three days later. But Hicks, who was the only one with the girl when she was injured, said she suffered minor injuries when he shoved her into the wall out of frustration. He told police she fell down the stairs later after tripping on their puppy.

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Captain pleads guilty to online enticement

An officer from Scott Air Force Base, Ill., pleaded guilty in federal court May 17 to a charge of online enticement after traveling to Tennessee to have sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Capt. Felix Tran, assigned to Air Mobility Command, will be sentenced Sept. 23 in Chattanooga, Tenn. He faces a minimum sentence of 10 years, said Bryan Hoss, Tran’s defense lawyer.

The 32-year-old officer met the girl five years ago while playing the online fantasy game Everquest II, according to court documents. The two developed a relationship via online chat, e-mail, MySpace, text messages and phone calls. The girl’s mother discovered the relationship after Tran mailed the teenager a sex toy, and an undercover employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation began working with the family in November.

The girl invited Tran to visit her in Chattanooga, where Tran was arrested shortly after he arrived Dec 18. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent, Tran knew the victim’s age and worried he was being set up by police.

He was taken into custody following his guilty plea, and Hoss said his client will be discharged from the Air Force soon.

“He was keeping his unit aware of what was going on,” Hoss said. “They knew this day was coming.”

Airman accused of killing bride’s ex

OPELOUSAS, La. — A 25-year-old airman is being held without bond in Opelousas after the shooting death of his bride’s ex-husband.

Jason Rolls, of Fort Dix, N.J., has been booked on manslaughter charges in the death of 32-year-old Michael Hall, a Krotz Springs firefighter shot and killed just hours after the couple married.

Police Chief Susie Lacassin said a judge declined to set bond for Rolls.

The shooting took place Friday. Lacassin says Jason and Twaila Rolls had been married for only a few hours when Hall appeared at their home and was shot after a brief argument.

Lacassin says Hall and Twaila Rolls had recently divorced.

Child porn cases appear to dominate the caseload handled by the various military appellate courts

This is strictly an unscientific sampling, but Suits & Sentences has observed in regular checks of military appellate court opinions that, more often than not, the underlying charges involve child porn. Maybe this reflects a serious child porn problem in the military. Maybe it reflects underlying potential vulnerabilities in child porn prosecutions. Maybe the cases themselves are simply so vivid that they seem to appear in greater number than they actually represent.

On April 30, for instance, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals considered the case brought by Airman Richard A. Usry. The appellate court upheld Usry’s conviction, with this effective rejoinder:

The appellant possessed over 30 video files showing explicit sex acts with children, and both sides addressed the appellant’s motivations in argument. The trial defense counsel told the military judge that the appellant was ‘simply curious because of his own abuse,’ and the trial counsel countered that viewing videos with names such as ‘Six Year Old Bedtime Rape’ is not some kind of therapy.”

Two of the five opinions rendered April 30 by the Air Force appellate court dealt with child porn.

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FBI: Ex-airman claimed he had dynamite

BANGOR, Maine — A former Air Force intelligence specialist showed signs of paranoia aboard a trans-Atlantic flight and told federal air marshals that he had dynamite in his boots and laptop computer, forcing the plane to be diverted to Maine, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

Derek Stansberry told the FBI that fellow passengers were talking about him, ridiculing him and using interrogation techniques on him, and suggested that he concocted the dynamite story to divert attention from the fact he held “classified information,” according to an affidavit.

Passengers reported that seat cushions, pillows and blankets were taken to the back of the plane, where federal air marshals erected a bunker of sorts around the boots and laptop “to dampen the effects of any potential explosion,” FBI Special Agent James McCarty wrote in the affidavit.

Stansberry, 26, of Riverview, Fla., is charged with false information and threats, and interfering with a flight crew. He was ordered detained pending a competency hearing.

The Air Force described him as a former intelligence specialist who served four years, ending his Air Force career as a senior airman in 2009 at Hurlburt Field, Fla.

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18 veterans commit suicide each day

Troubling new data show there are an average of 950 suicide attempts each month by veterans who are receiving some type of treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Seven percent of the attempts are successful, and 11 percent of those who don’t succeed on the first attempt try again within nine months.

The numbers, which come at a time when VA is strengthening its suicide prevention programs, show about 18 veteran suicides a day, about five by veterans who are receiving VA care.

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Remote-controlled Predator crashes at Victorville

VICTORVILLE – An unmanned Predator aircraft crashed Tuesday at the Southern California Logistics Airport. There were no injuries to anyone on the ground.

The $5 million aircraft was destroyed. Wreckage was seen at the end of the runway.

Air Force Lt. Colonel Brenda Hendricksen said the Predator was being remotely controlled from the airport and was on a training exercise.

“The aircraft was performing a touch-n-go. It’s not known if came down during the take-off or the landing.”

The Predator is being flown extensively over Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It can serve in a reconnaissance and forward observation role, and can also fire two Hellfire missiles at land-based targets. The aircraft has been in use since 1995. (INT)

Story Date: April 22, 2010

Thousands protest in Tokyo against U.S. military presence in Japan

Thousands of protesters from across Japan marched today in Tokyo to protest against U.S. military presence on Okinawa, while a Cabinet minister said she would fight to get rid of a marine base Washington considers crucial.

Some 47,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, with more than half on the southern island of Okinawa.

Residents have complained for years about noise, pollution and crime around the bases.

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Recruitment ad: About 66,000 gays are in military

Download the full research brief

About 66,000 gay men and women are serving in the military, making up 2.2 percent of the total force, according to a new study by demographer Gary Gates.

The number of gay, lesbian and bisexual service members represents a slight increase from the author’s 2004 estimates. At the time, Gates analyzed data from the 2000 U.S. Census to estimate that 65,000 gay men and women served in uniform.

The new study largely replicates statistical methods used in 2004, but with new data and assumptions about the prevalence of homosexuality in the general population.

Instead of the decennial Census, Gates draws on data from the 2008 American Community Survey, a smaller sample of the population. Neither the Census nor the ACS explicitly asks about military members’ sexual orientation, but inferences can be made based on whether respondents indicate they are in the military and part of a same-sex household.

Gates is the co-author of “The Gay and Lesbian Atlas” and serves as a distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.

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Psychiatric disorders spiral among US troops

A new study indicates US troops who were withdrawn from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for medical reasons were increasingly evacuated for psychiatric reasons.

Psychiatric disorders rose from 2004 to 2007, despite an increased focus on treating mental health problems, the research study revealed on Friday.

Only 14 percent of troops taken out of combat operations on medical grounds during the four-year period were because of a combat injury, AFP reported.

The biggest single cause for a pullout was ‘musculo-skeletal’ and joint problems, which accounted for 24 percent of medical evacuations.

In contrast, psychiatric grounds accounted for five percent of evacuations in Iraq and six percent in Afghanistan in 2004; these figures rose to 14 and 11 percent respectively in 2007.

Researchers also said that repeat missions and declining public support for the Iraq war may partly account for the rise.

The study drew on data from more than 34,000 US personnel who had been evacuated to the main US military receiving hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.  [ Probably the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. ]

Steven P. Cohen of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore led the research team.

Another soldier accused of murder

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — A 21-year-old airman stationed at Holloman Air Force Base has been accused of fatally shooting his 23-year-old roommate and fellow airman.

Erik M. Wilhelm is being held in the Otero County Detention Center on an open count of murder in the death of Airman Sean McGinnis of Wichita Falls, Texas.

McGinnis was shot Sunday night at the apartment the two shared.

District Attorney Diana Athena Martwick says Alamogordo police officers found McGinnis unconscious when they responded to a call to the apartment.

He was taken to the Alamogordo hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 11:10 p.m.

According to magistrate court records, Wilhelm told police McGinnis took Wilhelm’s handgun away from him, then shot himself.

Back Away from GPS: AF Chief

In the face of threats from jamming and attacks on satellites the United States must lessen its dependence on the Global Positioning System and develop alternatives to GPS, the top Air Force general said today.

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, told a conference organized by Tufts University’s Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis that GPS signals are particularly vulnerable in time of war since enemies know of the reliance U.S. forces place on its highly accurate signal. Everyone has read about the amazing accuracy of smart bombs and cruise missiles but few remember that those weapons depend on receiving a signal from a constellation of satellites orbiting the earth.

Schwartz’s call is driven by serious threats to GPS, according to officials familiar with the issue who would not discuss current threats in detail but confirmed that GPS has been jammed or interfered with recently.

The fact that the U.S., which invented GPS and most of what depends on it (ATMs, gas pumps, trucking companies and lost spouses), would consider stepping away from the system marks a cultural and technological milestone

Among the tools that could be used to lessen the dependence of troops on GPS are highly accurate digital maps which can be distributed electronically or even rely on that quaint old technology known as printing. In more developed environments cell phone tower networks can be used as does Apple’s iPhone. Of course, the US would have to control the cell phone network for that to work.

Schwartz’s comments come as the Space Posture Review, scheduled for release with the QDR but now delayed for as long as a year, has tentatively recommended that the U.S. scrap building five more GPS satellites and engage European allies on sharing their proposed Galileo global navigation satellite system.

Air Force to take over ‘Trust’ case

The Air Force has taken over an investigation of an airman accused of fatally shooting another airman during a game of “Trust.”

Airman 1st Class Corey Hernandez allegedly shot Senior Airman Michael Garcia on Dec. 11 while playing the game at an apartment near Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., where the two were stationed.

Hernandez’s civilian lawyer, James Martin Davis, told Air Force Times in December that Garcia brought out a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, gave it to Hernandez, and said, “Trust me. Now point it at me and shoot.”

Hernandez had been charged with manslaughter and use of a weapon to commit a felony in Sarpy County Court, the local civilian jurisdiction. It is not yet known what charges he will face in military court. The Air Force will complete the investigation begun by Sarpy County officials, said Offutt spokesman Ryan Hansen. Lt. Col. Randy Sparks — commander of Hernandez’s unit, the 55th Communications Squadron — will then make a recommendation and send it up the chain of command.

Sarpy County Attorney Lee Kenneth Polikov said the Air Force requested jurisdiction over the case, and it was appropriate to hand over control because Garcia, Hernandez, and all witnesses were on active duty.

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Police: Master sgt. committed murder-suicide

An Air Force master sergeant killed his wife, fired a shot at his teenage stepdaughter, and then turned his .45-caliber handgun on himself and pulled the trigger, according to Alabama police.

Master Sgt. Ronald Zaremba Jr. and his wife, Jenni Zaremba, were found dead by police in their master bedroom early on Jan. 3 at their Enterprise, Ala., home. They were both 37 years old.

Evidence indicated that Zaremba shot his wife twice and fired one shot into his 14-year-old stepdaughter’s bedroom before shooting himself, police said. The girl was not injured.

Police said the couple had been out with friends the evening of Jan. 2 and began arguing when they got home.

Zaremba had been assigned to the 23rd Flying Training Squadron at Fort Rucker, said Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., spokesman John Cochran. Zaremba’s squadron was part of the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland. Zaremba was an aircraft maintenance technician who was deployed to Iraq from October 2006 to May 2007, Cochran said. He had been on active duty in the Air Force since Nov. 12, 1991.

Ex-Air Force spouse gets 30 years for killing boy

A former U.S. Air Force spouse convicted of beating his 8-year-old stepson to death while living near Kadena Air Base in 2007 has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge.

Roberto DeLeon, 28, was found guilty in October of murdering Jordan Peterson and had faced a maximum of life in prison. He was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, according to The Associated Press.

The Air Force handed off the case to federal prosecutors early last year because DeLeon was a civilian spouse charged with felony offenses. Since 2000, such cases fall under the Department of Justice.

Peterson was found unresponsive while under DeLeon’s care at their home in April 2007 and was pronounced dead at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Camp Lester later the same day.

An autopsy revealed that the boy died of massive internal injuries to his liver.

DeLeon severely beat Peterson, killing him with blunt force trauma to the abdomen, according to court records.

Evidence in the case pointed to past abuse and the boy’s death raised questions about the involvement of the Air Force and Japanese child welfare officials.

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Retired Air Force colonel pleads guilty to fatal DUI

BATON ROUGE, La. — Authorities say a retired Air Force colonel who was intoxicated when he rear-ended a car on an interstate service road in Baton Rouge in 2008, killing two Ascension Parish teenagers, has pleaded guilty.

Fifty-eight-year-old Chris Michael Bourgeois was sentenced Monday to two years in prison.

He must serve one year of home incarceration after his release from prison, then will be placed on active supervised probation for five years.

State District Judge Louis Daniel also ordered Bourgeois to use an ignition interlock device on his vehicle as a condition of his probation.

Bourgeois was scheduled to stand trial Monday on two counts of vehicular homicide in the deaths of 15-year-old Ladarius Favorite and 13-year-old Andre Queen. He instead pleaded guilty to the charges.

Another Stupid Soldier

Airman 1st Class Corey Hernandez pulled the trigger. Nothing was supposed to happen, except the metallic click of the hammer striking the firing pin.

Instead, the pistol fired.

Senior Airman Michael Garcia fell to the floor of his apartment, just outside Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., a bullet in his head from his own gun fired by one of his best friends.

Police called what the airmen were doing “horseplay.”

The men had been playing a game, one that tests faith and wills, one increasingly common in the military. Two months ago, four Marines received time in the brig for their roles in the death of a Marine killed in Iraq while playing the game, called Trust.

Until Dec. 10, when the 23-year-old Garcia died, the Air Force had not had any reported incidents of airmen playing Trust.

Today, Hernandez, 21, faces charges of manslaughter and use of a weapon to commit a felony. A preliminary hearing is set for Jan. 11 in Sarpy County Court, the local civilian jurisdiction. If convicted of both charges, he could be sentenced to up to 70 years in prison, according to Nebraska sentencing guidelines.

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Iraqis outraged as Blackwater case thrown out

In this Oct. 2007 image, Mohammed Hafiz holds
a picture of his 10-year-old son, Ali Mohammed,
who was killed when guards employed by
Blackwater allegedly opened fire at Nisoor
Square in Baghdad. Iraqis responded with
bitterness and outrage Jan. 1 at aU.S. judge’s
decision to throw out a case against Blackwater
guards accused in the killings.

BAGHDAD — Iraqis seeking justice for 17 people shot dead at a Baghdad intersection responded with bitterness and outrage Friday at a U.S. judge’s decision to throw out a case against a Blackwater security team accused in the killings.

The Iraqi government vowed to pursue the case, which became a source of contention between the U.S. and the Iraqi government. Many Iraqis also held up the judge’s decision as proof of what they’d long believed: U.S. security contractors were above the law.

“There is no justice,” said Bura Sadoun Ismael, who was wounded by two bullets and shrapnel during the shooting. “I expected the American court would side with the Blackwater security guards who committed a massacre in Nisoor Square.”

What happened on Nisoor Square on Sept. 16, 2007, raised Iraqi concerns about their sovereignty because Iraqi officials were powerless to do anything to the Blackwater employees who had immunity from local prosecution. The shootings also highlighted the degree to which the U.S. relied on private contractors during the Iraq conflict.

Blackwater had been hired by the Department of State to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq. The guards said they were ambushed at a busy intersection in western Baghdad, but U.S. prosecutors and many Iraqis said the Blackwater guards let loose an unprovoked attack on civilians using machine guns and grenades.

“Investigations conducted by specialized Iraqi authorities confirmed unequivocally that the guards of Blackwater committed the crime of murder and broke the rules by using arms without the existence of any threat obliging them to use force,” Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement Friday.

He did not elaborate on what steps the government planned to take to pursue the case.

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Threatening troops may become a felony in SC

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A South Carolina lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would make it a felony to threaten violence against military members or their families because they are serving their country.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the proposal would make the threats a felony with up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Rep. Harry B. “Chip” Limehouse III says he came up with the bill after authorities accused an Army major and psychiatrist of killing 13 people and injuring 30 at Fort Hood in Texas in November.

The Charleston Republican says he wants to create another layer of protection for American soldiers and their families, who should never feel threatened on this country’s soil because of their service.

Langley-Eustis merger on track for Jan. 31


HAMPTON, Va. — Two Virginia military bases will merge next month, but officials say little will change in the short term.

Langley Air Force Base and Fort Eustis will become Joint Base Langley-Eustis starting Jan. 31.

Military officials say the process of combining operations is expected to last through October.

Col. Kevin Altman, commander of the 1st Mission Support Group at Langley, says the merger is not designed to reduce the number of military personnel or civilian workers at the bases. Instead, he says it’s a way to become more efficient and save money in the long term.

About 16,000 soldiers and airmen are currently stationed at the bases.

Not Just Drones: Militants Can Snoop on Most U.S. Warplanes (Updated)

Tapping into drones’ video feeds was just the start. The U.S. military’s primary system for bringing overhead surveillance down to soldiers and Marines on the ground is also vulnerable to electronic interception, multiple military sources tell Danger Room. That means militants have the ability to see through the eyes of all kinds of combat aircraft — from traditional fighters and bombers to unmanned spy planes. The problem is in the process of being addressed. But for now, an enormous security breach is even larger than previously thought.

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Troops admit to abusing prescription drugs

About one in four soldiers admit to abusing prescription drugs, most of them pain relievers, in a one-year period, according to a Pentagon health survey released Wednesday.

The study, which surveyed more than 28,500 U.S. troops last year, showed that about 20 percent of Marines had also abused prescription drugs, mostly painkillers, in that same period.

The findings show the continued toll on the military from fighting wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Those wars have required troops to serve multiple combat deployments.

“We are aware that more prescription drugs are being used today for pain management and behavioral health issues,” Brig. Gen. Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force, said Wednesday. “These areas of substance abuse along with increased use of alcohol concern us.”

The survey showed that pain relievers were the most abused drug in the military, used illicitly at a rate triple that of marijuana or amphetamines, the next most widely abused drugs.

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Predator drones hacked in Iraq operations

Iraqi insurgents have reportedly intercepted live video feeds from the U.S. military’s Predator drones using a $25.95 Windows application that allows them to track the pilotless aircraft undetected.

Hackers working with Iraqi militants were able to determine which areas of the country were under surveillance by the U.S. military, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, adding that video feeds from drones in Afghanistan also appear to have been compromised.

Meanwhile, a senior Air Force officer said Wednesday that a wave of new surveillance aircraft, both manned and unmanned, were being deployed to Afghanistan to bolster “eyes in the sky” protection for the influx of American troops ordered by President Obama.

This apparent security breach, which had been known in military and intelligence circles to be possible, arose because the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles do not use encryption in the final link to their operators on the ground.

Read more of “U.S. was Warned of Predator Drone Hacking” at

Offutt airman killed in apartment shooting

BELLEVUE, Neb. — An airman stationed at Offutt Air Force Base has died after being shot in the head at a Bellevue apartment.

Bellevue Police Department officials identified the victim as 23-year-old Michael Garcia.

Another airman, 21-year-old Corey Hernandez, has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

Police say Hernandez was among three men in the apartment with Garcia at the time of the shooting. It was reported just before 1 a.m. Friday.

Hernandez was being held by the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department jail.

The Department of Gomer Pyle

I was an average high school student. I had to attend summer school between my junior and senior years just to graduate with my class and even then, on graduation night, I wasn’t sure thered be a diploma waiting for me. I was always more interested in playing ball and chasing girls. I was more successful at the former than the latter.

After graduation I did manage to earn an athletic scholarship to play baseball at a small Florida college but after two years of playing ball, and earning less than one years worth of college credit, I realized I was wasting my time as well as the colleges resources and decided I needed to do something else until I figured out what I wanted to do.

So, being the son of a 20-year retired Air Force Tech Sergeant, I joined the military. I spoke to all the branches and in the end it was the Navy that won me over for a six-year enlistment. They enticed me with visions of advanced electronics training, fantastic marketability in the civilian world and a chance to see the world. Remember the old Navy slogan: Its not just a job, its an adventure.” Oh boy!

From the moment I arrived in Orlando, Florida for my basic training I realized what a joke it was. If you want to know what military basic training is like just watch any episode of Gomer Pyle, its exactly like that. Just as ridiculous.

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Japan finds proof of 1960 secret deals with US

A state-commissioned research panel in Japan finds evidence of Tokyo‘s 1960 secret pacts with Washington which allow the US to ship nuclear weaponry via the Japanese territory.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada was notified of the discovery by the 15-member team, which found the files while examining ministry documents.

“The probe is now in the final stage, and we will announce the outcome in January,” Okada said, Kyodo News reported on Saturday.

Nuke-laden American Navy warships and Air Force aircraft were sanctioned by the 1960 deals to enter the Japanese waters. The clandestine understanding has already been pointed to in US documents and confirmed by those involved in the negotiations.

A former Japanese official who served in key ministry posts in the 1980s and 1990s has also confirmed the existence of the document.

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Trial begins for ex-Air Force nurse in 3 deaths

SAN ANTONIO — A former Air Force nurse intentionally gave three elderly Texas patients lethal doses of medication, killing them with his self-described “aggressive” care for end-of-life patients, prosecutors said Tuesday at the start of a court-martial.

Capt. Michael Fontana has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder and a charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

The three patients who died in intensive care last summer at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio were nearing the end of their lives, but family members wanted them comfortable, not hastened to death, said Capt. Ja Rai Williams, an Air Force prosecutor.

“All three people had something in common: excess doses of medication given by the accused resulting in a quicker death than anticipated,” Williams told the military judge, Col. William Burd, who will decide the case at Lackland Air Force Base.

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America Owned by Its Army

Paris, November 3, 2009 – It is possible that the creation of an all-professional American army was the most dangerous decision ever taken by Congress. The nation now confronts a political crisis in which the issue has become an undeclared contest between Pentagon power and that of a newly elected president.

Barack Obama has yet to declare his decision on the war in Afghanistan, and there is every reason to think that he will follow military opinion. Yet he is under immense pressure from his Republican opponents to, in effect, renounce his presidential power, and step aside from the fundamental strategic decisions of the nation.

The officer he named to command the war in Afghanistan, Stanley A. McChrystal, demands a reinforcement of 40 thousand soldiers, raising the total U.S. commitment to over 100 thousand troops (or more, in the future). He says that he cannot succeed without them, and even then may be unable to win the war within a decade. Yet the American public is generally in doubt about this war, most of all the president’s own liberal electorate.

President Obama almost certainly will do as the the general requests, or something very close to it. He can read the wartime politics in this situation.
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Fairchild instructor charged with rape

A former soldier who teaches at the US Air Force Survival School at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., is accused of taking a date into the school and raping her, choking her unconscious at one point.

Michael W. Fassbender, 32, of Spokane faces one count of first-degree rape in the alleged Oct. 19 incident. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

The woman is a civilian whom Fassbender met through an online dating service, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, which handled the complaint with the help of base security officials and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Fassbender was arrested and released on $20,000 bond. He was to be arraigned Nov. 3 in Spokane County Superior Court, according to the sheriff’s office. Fassbender’s attorney, Christian J. Phelps, did not return calls to his cell phone or office seeking comment.

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Cannon airman faces new child porn charges

CLOVIS, N.M. — The Curry County sheriff’s department has again arrested a Cannon Air Force Base airman on 100 additional counts of manufacturing child pornography.

Senior Airman Zebulon Benne was charged in August with 50 counts of sexual exploitation of children and 10 of manufacturing child pornography.

Sheriff’s investigators say a preliminary scan of the 24-year-old airman’s computer revealed 50 images of children engaged in sexual acts. The computer was seized and more images were found during a complete forensic scan.

Benne is being held at the Curry County Adult Detention Center in lieu of $100,000 bond.

Community Groups vs. Military Recruiters

Military recruiters today have unprecedented access to students and other young people, particularly in poor neighborhoods. There are generally more Army recruiters at high schools than there are college counselors, says Elmer Roldan, fundraising director at Community Coalition of South Central Los Angeles, and there is “a more aggressive strategy to militarize them than to prepare them for college.” He notes that military recruiters target the best and brightest students, particularly young women.

So when high school senior Stephanie Hoang started working with the Oakland, California–based organization BAY-Peace, educating her peers about the potential risks of joining the military and helping to build alternative education and employment opportunities, her truth-in-recruitment work was more than just an internship: “It’s my peers being affected,” she says. “[Recruiters] are looking at me and thinking that I’m the person they want in the military.”

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Military Children in Crisis

A seven-year-old second-grader attempted suicide while his father was serving yet another tour in Iraq. Seven years old. Seven. His mother was one of half a dozen military spouses I have spoken with about soldiers’ kids who have attempted suicide during their fathers’ deployments.

When I was seven, it was 1972, and there were 69,000 US troops in Vietnam. Men were still being drafted and deployed, but not my dad. So I was spared the circumstances that led a seven-year-old to try to kill himself.

Three-plus decades ago, parents were exempt from conscription because of overwhelming concern about the harmful effects of deployment on children. Today, roughly half of the troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are parents, many of whom have served multiple tours. Repeat deployments stress soldiers and escalate the likelihood of psychological injuries that can last for a lifetime. There is a small, but rapidly growing, body of evidence suggesting that the same is true of their children.

The Associated Press reported that “After nearly eight years of war, soldiers are not the only ones experiencing mental anguish…. Last year, children of US troops sought outpatient mental health care 2 million times, double the number at the start of the Iraq war…. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, inpatient visits among military children have increased 50 percent. (“War stresses military kids,” July 12, 2009.)

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs latest research on mental health issues of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that “the prevalence of new diagnoses in early 2008 had nearly doubled from four years prior in 2004.” (“Study reveals sharp rise in diagnoses of disorders,” Stars & Stripes, July 18, 2009.)

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Military Recruiters: Criminal, Abusive or Suspect Activity

Eight-year Chronological Review of Public Reports as of August 28, 2009 Compiled by Learning Not Recruiting – Toledo, Ohio

Click here for report

Air Force lieutenant arrested for sex crimes

An Air Force officer stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., was arrested on base Tuesday for allegedly committing sex crimes against a child in Alabama, that state’s attorney general announced in a news release.

2nd Lt. Zachary Mullins, a student assigned to the 392nd Training Squadron at Vandenberg, is being held at the Santa Barbara Detention Facility. It is not yet known whether he will voluntarily return to Alabama to face the charges or if Alabama will seek to extradite him.

Mullins, 22, is charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor for allegedly having sexual intercourse and sexual contact with a child between the ages of 12 and 16.

The Decatur (Ala.) Daily reported that the incident allegedly occurred in 2006, before Mullins was in the Air Force, at the home of a second-grade teacher at a local school.

The teacher, Jessica Heather Defoor, is on administrative leave from her teaching job and also faces charges.

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Military Drug Abuse: It Can’t Function Without It

(MOLALLA, Ore.) – The Oregonian reported this on Sept. 7, 2009. This should surprise nobody. Recruits historically are TRAINED to use alcohol and tobacco from their first weeks in boot camp, at least in the Army. If it wasn’t for the beer tranquilizer in the PX the rookies probably couldn’t survive psychologically the crap which is shoveled on them.

There’s gotta be some psychological escape if even for a few hours. On hourly(?) breaks, “smokum if you gottum” is almost biblical. Ok, do they still do that same crap now?

I’m not even writing about that stuff but the army does run on booze. More about that later.

The Oregonian quotes Col. Erin Edgar, a physician commanding the 28th Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad in 2006 & 2007. Where the unit treated 2,332 cases of drug induced heart arrhythmia or fainting spells. This is not acceptable! And much worse it is only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Probably thousands more are using these stimulants.

The drugs were caffeine pills and ephedrine pills (junior grade METH) both of which cause the above. In fact they both are dangerous but the worst part is that they both are a symptom of pushing the troops too hard just like my hated Gen. George “blood and guts” Patton did with my gang in ’44 & ’45.

If a soldier must use brain and heart stimulants to comply with rear echelon officers orders, they are being pushed beyond reasonable limits. It just reminds me of the saying They Are Expendable. This excessive PUSHING is responsible for the high levels of PTSD.

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Troops reportedly popping more painkillers

WASHINGTON — Narcotic pain-relief prescriptions for injured U.S. troops have jumped from 30,000 a month to 50,000 since the Iraq war began, raising concerns about the drugs’ potential abuse and addiction, says a leading Army pain expert.

The sharp rise in outpatient prescriptions paid for by the government suggests doctors rely too heavily on narcotics, says Army Col. Chester “Trip” Buckenmaier III, of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

By 2005, two years into the war, narcotic painkillers were the most abused drug in the military, according to a survey that year of 16,146 servicemembers.

Preschoolers with parent at war are more aggressive, study finds

CHICAGO — Preschoolers with a parent away at war were more likely to show aggression than other young children in military families, according to the first published research on how the very young react to wartime deployment.

Hitting, biting and hyperactivity — “the behaviors parents really notice” — were more frequent when a parent was deployed, said lead author Dr. Molinda Chartrand, an active duty pediatrician in the U.S. Air Force.

The study, which was small and included fewer than 200 children, adds to previous evidence of the stress that deployment puts on families. Last year, a study of almost 1,800 Army families worldwide found that reports of child abuse and neglect were 42% higher during times when the soldier-parent was deployed.

This time, researchers looked at families living on a large Marine base in 2007. (The base wasn’t identified in the study.) Children, 3 to 5 years old, with a deployed parent scored an average of five points higher for behavior problems on two questionnaires widely used in child psychology than did the children whose Marine-parents weren’t deployed.

About 1 in 5 of the older preschoolers with a parent at war displayed troubling emotional or behavioral signs.

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Army considers middle-school JROTC program

WICHITA, Kan. — The U.S. Army wants middle school students.

The Wichita school district in south-central Kansas is one of a few nationwide offering middle school programs based on the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps curriculum. Top Army officials are studying its programs to see if they could be a model for others nationwide.

The Army is collaborating with the National School Boards Association to develop a so-called JROTC-plus program that would use the high school JROTC curriculum as a basis for a middle school program, Army JROTC director Col. John Vanderbleek said.

“We want to reach students at that age before they make decisions that put them at risk,” said Vanderbleek, who came to Wichita recently from Fort Monroe, Va., to see the Kansas program for himself.

The Army plans to fund a pilot program next school year, and the money will most likely go to an existing program like the one in Wichita.

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Ex-Eglin contractor set for sentencing

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A former government contractor at Eglin Air Force Base is scheduled for sentencing in federal court Tuesday after pleading guilty in June to destroying corporate records and other charges.

Theodore Sumrall faces 25 years in prison and more than $500,000 in fines if convicted of two counts of destroying records and helping a supervisor at the Eglin lab conceal his connection to Sumrall’s company.

Sumrall is among several criminal defendants cooperating with federal prosecutors who are looking into alleged wrongdoing by defense contractors with ties to U.S. Representative John Murtha. The Pennsylvania Democrat is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Retired AF officer on trial in China spy case

A convicted spy who sold U.S. military secrets to China told jurors Monday how he recruited a retired Air Force officer into divulging classified information on U.S.-China military relations and other sensitive topics over the span of a decade.

James W. Fondren Jr., who retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel in 1996 and later worked at the Pentagon as a civilian, went on trial in U.S. District Court on espionage-related charges, including aiding and abetting a foreign agent.

Fondren allegedly funneled classified military information to Tai Shen Kuo, a New Orleans furniture salesman and naturalized U.S. citizen who turned out to be a spy for the People’s Republic of China.

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Ellsworth airman charged with attempted murder

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Authorities have released details in the criminal case of a man stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base charged with shooting another airman now in the hospital.

Rapid City investigators say Vinicius Santana, 21, shot David Piland, 21, over the weekend after the two were involved in a disturbance with each other.

Police say that after the shooting, Santana was beaten up by a witness and taken to the hospital. He has since been arrested for attempted murder and taken to jail.

Piland is listed in good condition at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Ex-airman gets prison sentence in Arizona

TUCSON, Ariz. — A former Air Force sergeant was sentenced Wednesday to more than two years in prison for his role in a cocaine and corruption sting that snared nearly 70 mostly military and law enforcement personnel in Arizona.

Prosecutors say 33-year-old Rommel I. Schroer was given a 28-month prison term by a federal judge, ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and serve three years of supervised release.

Schroer pleaded guilty in February to one count of conspiring to obtain cash bribes from persons he thought to be narcotics traffickers who distributed cocaine from Arizona to other locations in the southwestern U.S.

However, the traffickers were undercover FBI agents.

Authorities say the bribery and extortion scheme operated from January 2002 through March 2004 before being exposed by the FBI’s undercover operation.

Suicide soars among US soldiers

As the US government throws its weight about the globe, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children fall before Uncle Sam’s swinging scythe.

But, those at the cutting edge of the scythe are falling too, often by their own hands, in the inescapable confines of their homes or quarters in the barracks back on the US soil.

In 2008, 143 soldiers committed suicide, the highest number in the three decades that the army has kept records, reports Washington Post.

But, with months still to go till the new year and 141 suicides since January, that figure has almost been reached, with no sign of a slow-down in self-destructive drives of the US soldiers.

The US military, thus, faces a difficult challenge.

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USAF Sgt. sentenced to 20 years in child porn case

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A sergeant at Ellsworth Air Force Base has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for possessing child pornography.

Authorities say they found numerous videos on 31-year-old Timothy Taylor’s laptop showing children involved in sex acts. Judge Jack Delaney said one child was believed to be as young as 4 years old.

Taylor, of Box Elder, in July pleaded guilty to three felony counts, and two other counts were dropped. He will be eligible for parole in five years.

Officials said in court that Taylor is to receive a medical discharge from the Air Force.

US to expand anti-drug missions in Colombia

Washington is closing a deal with Bogota to lead its anti-drug mission from bases in Colombia after losing its Manta regional base in Ecuador.

The agreement, which both parties seek to seal soon, would let Americans lead Air Force drug interdiction missions from bases in a central valley in Colombia.

The Colombian Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez described the deal as a means of making the war on drugs more “efficient and stronger.”

“We are deepening cooperation agreements that already exist in our common struggle against narco-trafficking and terrorism,” Bermudez said on Wednesday.

Critics maintain that such an agreement will increase the US military presence in Colombia and will make Bogota more dependent on the White House.

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From recruiting to rape

Anti-war advocates aren’t surprised by shocking abuse charges

LOS ANGELES ( – Prosecutors have set a $1 million bail for a U.S. Marine charged with pimping, kidnapping, and intending to rape a 14-year-old girl.

Reports indicate that Staff Sgt. Bryan Damone Cunningham, of San Pedro, California was previously honored three times for good conduct.

Military watch groups say the incident presents an opportunity to shed light on illegal recruitment methods, primarily targeting minors.

According to reports, after arranging the plot online, the recruiter drove 18-year-old Justin Willard and 19-year-old Homer Daskalakis to Hemet, Calif., to have sex with the girl. Afterward, he attempted to take her from the southeast location to Los Angeles.

Police discovered the plot when they stopped the car, which was being driven erratically, reports said.

See also:

Police: Marine recruiter planned to pimp Hemet 14-year-old girl

Marine recruiter, two others, charged with rape of Hemet girl

Assembly Bills Aim at Recruiting Youngsters for Overseas Wars

Former Marine recruiter pleads guilty to rape

Recruiter charged in child prostitution sting

Army’s New Recruiting Tool – Video Arcade for Mallrats

Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind

Former Marine Recruiter, Sgt. Victor Sanchez-Millan, Sentenced for rape

Marine Recruiter Sgt. Arthur Pledger Arraigned in Rape Case

“No Child Left Behind “: “Trojan Horse” for Pentagon Recruiters

America’s Child Soldiers: US Military Recruiting Children

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