November 15, 2013 at 11:04 PM
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Barbera, who is charged with two counts of premeditated murder stemming from an incident in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, is being transferred to Joint Base Lewis-McChord to face military justice, according to an I CORPS news release.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord issued a news statement Friday saying that Barbera, 31, had been charged with two counts of murder in connection with the shootings of two civilians near the village of As Sadah in the Diyala province on March 6, 2007. Barbera was assigned to 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at the time of the shootings, according to the Lewis-McChord statement.
According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Barbera is accused of killing two deaf, unarmed Iraqi youths, then lying to his commanders about what happened.
He is currently assigned to 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.
Barbera is not in pre-trial confinement and is pending transfer to the Tacoma-area base, the news release said.
A date has not been set for Barbera’s Article 23 investigation, which is to determine if he will be court-martialed.
November 10, 2013 at 9:02 AM
Honoring veterans: Monday is Veterans Day, but some started honoring those who have served in the nation’s armed forces earlier this weekend. Auburn held a parade on Saturday, and the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship, 19300 108th Avenue SE, Renton, is celebrating its member veterans Sunday at both services.
What’s closed: Veterans Day is an official United States holiday, which means that on Monday post offices and government offices will be closed. Most banks and credit unions will also be closed, but garbage, food and yard waste collection are on regular schedules in Seattle and Bellevue. Metro bus service will be on a reduced schedule.
What’s free: There’s no charge for street parking Monday in Seattle, and the National Parks have been free to everyone all weekend, as they will be on Monday. That’s to honor veterans, but the free entry is for everyone. Just more more small reason to thank a vet.
If you go: If you decide to take advantage of the free National Parks today, you can expect morning rain and perhaps snow in the mountains. Temperatures in the passes will be in the mid-30s to low 40s. If you stay around Puget Sound, expect morning rain with cloudy skies, highs in the low 50s.
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October 8, 2013 at 10:33 AM
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD (AP) — A nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center and three of her fellow soldiers in a special operations force were killed by an improvised bomb blast Sunday in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said.
Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25, of San Diego, was based at the hospital at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and volunteered as a member of a cultural support team with a special operations task force that deployed in June.
Also killed in Sunday’s blast in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province were Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25 of Carlisle, Pa.; Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24, of Springfield, Mo.; and Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24, of Philomath, Ore.
Hawkins and Patterson served out of Fort Benning, Ga., with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Peters belonged to the 5th Military Police Battalion out of Vicenza, Italy.
Serving with a special operations cultural support team is one of the few ways for female soldiers to go outside the wire on combat missions with all-male Army Ranger or Green Beret teams, The News Tribune reported.
“We’ve lost a superb officer and a caring nurse who served with marked distinction and honor throughout her career.” said Madigan Command Col. Ramona Fiorey. “We are all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of this great American solider.”
Born in San Diego, Moreno received her commission as an Army officer after graduating from the University of San Francisco with a bachelor of science degree.
She graduated from the Army airborne course in 2009 and arrived at Madigan in 2010, where she served as a clinical staff nurse in a medical surgical unit until she sought a special operations assignment.
It’s a dangerous assignment that calls on American women to interact with Afghan females to gain information that might not be available to male soldiers because of cultural differences in a Muslim country, The News Tribune reported. In October 2011, medic Lt. Ashley White was killed on a mission in Afghanistan with two Rangers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Moreno “was a talented member of our team who lost her life while serving her country in one of the most dangerous environments in the world,” said Lt. Col. Patrick J. Ellis, Commander of 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. “Her bravery and self-sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the 75th Ranger Regiment. She was making a difference in Afghanistan and that legacy will live on.”
Moreno is survived by her mother, Marie V. Cordero, and her sisters Jearaldy Moreno and Yaritza Cordova of San Diego. Her brother, Ivan Moreno, serves in the Army.
September 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — The Department of Defense says a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier was one of the three American soldiers killed Saturday in Afghanistan.
They were shot by an Afghan wearing a security forces uniform.
The three soldiers were identified Tuesday as:
- Spc. Joshua J. Strickland, 23, of Woodstock, Ga., assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, Joint Base Lewis-McChord
- Staff Sgt. Liam J. Nevins, 32, of Denver, Colo., assigned to 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, Watkins, Colo.
- Sgt. Timothy R. McGill, 30, of Ramsey, N.J., assigned to 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, Middletown, R.I.
September 19, 2013 at 8:05 PM
BREMERTON — Puget Sound Naval Shipyard says it’s hiring more than 1,000 helper trainees in all trades.
The Kitsap Sun says starting pay is $15.11 an hour.
Shipyard spokeswoman Mary Ann Mascianica says the new helpers will boost the workforce to more than 11,500.
Major projects are under way on the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, ballistic missile submarine USS Kentucky and fast attack subs USS Jimmy Carter and USS Connecticut.
The newspaper says helpers work full time at the shipyard and can attend classes on their own time to get ahead.
September 18, 2013 at 3:17 PM
MADISON, Wis. — A judge has sentenced a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier accused of helping her husband hide his half-brother’s corpse in the Wisconsin woods to two years’ probation.
Shannon Remus, a military police officer at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, faced one count of being party to hiding a corpse in the death of Matthew Graville. Prosecutors have charged Remus’ husband, Jeffery Vogelsberg, with killing Graville in the rental home they shared in Mazomanie, Wis., last year.
Remus agreed to plead guilty to two new misdemeanor counts of obstructing police. In exchange, prosecutors agreed to dismiss the hiding a corpse charge if she completes two years of probation.
Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese approved the deal on Wednesday and ordered Remus to begin serving probation.
Vogelsberg’s trial is set for October.
August 14, 2013 at 11:54 AM
A team of Army prosecutors can remain on the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for his sentencing next week, even after they read documents they weren’t supposed to, a military judge said Wednesday.
Lawyers for Bales, who pleaded guilty to killing 16 Afghan civilians during nighttime raids last year, asked the judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, on Tuesday to dismiss the prosecutors because they had read compelled statements their client gave to Army doctors.
In a brief email Wednesday morning, Nance denied the motion, one of the defense attorneys, John Henry Browne, told The Associated Press. The email offered no reasons for the decision, Browne said.
The issue arose last month after Nance inadvertently sent the prosecutors a six-page, un-redacted document that included statements Bales made to Army psychiatrists. Bales was required to participate in the “sanity review,” aimed at determining whether he was sane at the time of the attacks and whether he was capable of standing trial.
It isn’t clear what the statements concerned, but they are protected by Bales’ Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself, and neither they nor any information derived from them can be used against him during his sentencing.
Because of the difficulty in figuring out whether arguments by prosecutors or testimony by witnesses might have been informed by the protected statements, Bales’ defense team suggested removing the prosecution team from the case and appointing new prosecutors who would have no knowledge of their contents.
That would almost certainly have required the sentencing to be delayed. Bales faces life in prison either with or without the possibility of parole.
During Tuesday’s hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle, three substitute prosecutors argued that removing the trial team would be too drastic. Instead, they suggested measures to help ensure that the protected statements don’t make their way into court.
“The Constitution prohibits the use of statements,” said Capt. Chad Fisher. “It doesn’t prohibit disclosure.”
Among the safety measures, he said, was that the government gave the judge a DVD containing the prosecution’s entire case as it existed on July 17 — one day before prosecutors received the compelled statements — along with summaries of what each government witness would testify about at sentencing. If the witnesses or the government vary from those statements, the judge could require the prosecutors to prove that none of the information presented was based on anything Bales told doctors, Fisher said.
Browne said the judge’s ruling would probably require a special hearing to determine whether any of the evidence presented at the sentencing originated from the protected statements.
“The judge is making this unnecessarily complicated,” Browne said.
Bales, an Ohio native and married father of two young children who was on his fourth combat deployment, admitted leaving his post in Kandahar Province before dawn on March 11, 2012, to attack two villages of mud-walled compounds nearby. He pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death penalty.
July 19, 2013 at 3:17 PM
ATLANTA — A soldier from Eastern Washington accused of running an anti-government militia has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for a double slaying.
Pvt. Isaac Aguigui of Cashmere, Chelan County, pleaded guilty as part of a deal that spared him the death penalty on two counts of murder with malice. He also pleaded guilty to four counts of violating Georgia’s anti-gang law. He was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Prosecutors said Aguigui and three fellow soldiers stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia were part of a militia group called Forever Enduring Always Ready (FEAR). The defendants were accused of fatally shooting a former member of their Army unit and the man’s 17-year-old girlfriend.
Investigators say Aguigui ordered the deaths of Michael Roark and Tiffany York in 2011 to keep them from exposing the group’s plans.
Aguigui’s attorney, Newell Hamilton Jr., declined to comment.
Aguigui was home-schooled in Cashmere, joining the Army after graduation. He married fellow soldier Dierdre Wetzker at Fort Stewart, according to news reports and interviews with family.
Wetzker, 24, died in 2011 at Fort Stewart while pregnant with the couple’s son. Aguigui was charged in her death in April, and earlier this month, there was an Article 32 hearing, similar to a grand jury in civilian court, to determine whether there was enough evidence for a court martial and whether to seek the death penalty, according to the online news site FortStewart Patch.
Information from The Seattle Times archives was included in this report.
July 17, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Some 2,200 men and women of the 446th Airlift Wing of Joint Base Lewis-McChord recently received the Air Force Outstanding Unit award for a two-year period of accomplishments ending in September 2012.
Their accomplishments included deploying more than 100 medical specialists to Southwest Asia and moving more than 1,200 sick and wounded patients.
In 2012, the 446th flew about 5,200 passengers and more than 6 million pounds of cargo in Operation Deep Freeze, which services National Science Foundation research activities in Antarctica.
June 12, 2013 at 8:41 PM
Several provisions of a bill to combat military sexual assault introduced by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wa and Sen. Kelly Ayotte R-NH, have been included in legislation under consideration by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
They include a measure to provide victims of sexual assault with a special victims counsel — a military lawyer who would assist sexual-assault victims throughout the legal process. Another provision would help improve the tracking of military sexual-assault statistics.
However two provisions included in Murray’s and Ayotte’s bill did not make it into the committee bill.
One would have referred cases to general court marital level when sexual assault is charged or to the next superior competent authority when there is a conflict of interest in the immediate chain of command.
Another would have barred sexual contact between instructors and trainees during and within 30 days of completion of basic training or the equivalent.
I’m very pleased that a central focus of my bill, giving victims a dedicated advocate in their corner through this emotional and painful process, has been included in the first draft of the bill. But this effort is far from over,” Murray said Wednesday. “I will be closely reviewing the Committee’s bill language, continuing to debate this, and will be pushing for the aggressive solutions we need to address this crisis in any final bill once it’s open for consideration on the Senate floor.”
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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