Trial Set to Begin for Navy SEAL in Islamic State Prisoner’s Killing

The trial of a decorated Navy SEAL charged with killing an Islamic State prisoner in his care is set to begin Monday following months of turmoil in one of the Navy’s most prominent war crimes cases.

The court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, which begins with jury selection, has included the removal of the lead prosecutor for tracking the defense team’s emails and suggestions by President Donald Trump that he may pardon the defendant.

Gallagher has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder in the killing of the prisoner in his care and attempted murder in the shootings of two civilians in Iraq in 2017 in separate incidents. Gallagher says disgruntled platoon mates fabricated the allegations because they didn’t like his tough leadership.

His lawyers asked the Navy judge to dismiss the case because they say investigators and prosecutors withheld evidence that could help the defense and violated his rights to a fair trial by embedding tracking software in emails sent to them.

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Bill Clinton speaks at funeral for CDT Christopher Morgan

The West Point cadet killed in a horrific training accident was laid to rest over the weekend in a service attended by more than a thousand mourners, including former President Clinton.

Slain cadet Christopher Morgan’s dad was once a member of Clinton’s security detail.

The funeral service was held Saturday at the US Military Academy for Morgan, who was killed earlier this month when the armored personnel transport he and 21 others were riding in flipped and fell several feet down a steep embankment.

Morgan, a 22-year-old West Orange, NJ, native, was “an exemplary classmate and teammate” who was “tremendously proud to be a cadet,” said Maj. Gen. Steve Gilland, West Point’s Commandant of Cadets.

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Man arrested in ’87 cold case slaying of Fort Carson soldier

A suburban Denver man has been arrested in the unsolved slaying of a soldier in Colorado 32 years ago after DNA evidence was used to create an image of what a suspect might look like, authorities said Friday.

Civilian and Army investigators arrested Michael Whyte of Thornton in the 1987 strangulation death of Darlene Krashoc, 20, a soldier stationed at Fort Carson outside Colorado Springs.

Whyte, 58, was arrested at his home Thursday on suspicion of first-degree murder. Online jail records did not indicate whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Krashoc’s body was found behind a Colorado Springs restaurant on March 17, 1987. Investigators said she had gone to a nightclub the previous evening with other soldiers from her unit, a maintenance company.

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CADET PASSES FOLLOWING INJURY IN TRAINING ACCIDENT

– June 7, 2019 USMA release

Cadet Christopher J. Morgan, Class of 2020

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Cadet Christopher J. Morgan, Class of 2020, died due to injuries sustained from a military vehicle accident in the U.S. Military Academy’s training area.

“Cadet Morgan was a valued member of the Corps of Cadets and will be missed by all. The entire community is ensuring that our cadets are being cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” said Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, 60th Superintendent, U. S. Military Academy. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Morgan family.”

Morgan, 22, of West Orange, New Jersey, passed away at the scene of the accident. He was a Law and Legal Studies major, and a recruited athlete who was a standout member of the Army Wrestling Team.

“We are devastated by the news of Chris’ passing. He was a talented, hardworking, and determined athlete who loved his sport,” said Army West Point Wrestling Coach Kevin Ward. “Chris had an infectious personality with a smile big enough to fill any room, and a heart big enough to love everyone around him. He made everyone around him better and he will be greatly missed.”

The Corps of Cadets will hold a vigil to honor Morgan tonight. A memorial ceremony for the West Point community and private funeral service will be held at the academy next week.

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TAPS VIGILS

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Cadet dead, 22 hurt after cargo truck overturns at West Point

WEST POINT, New York — A 5-ton cargo truck overturned in West Point Thursday morning, killing one cadet and injuring 22 others.

The Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) overturned where Route 293 connects with the Camp Natural Bridge training site around 6:45 a.m.

20 cadets and two active-duty soldiers were injured and taken to three different area hospitals.

There is no word yet on the extent of their injuries.

Route 293 was closed for a short time, but has since reopened.

Governor Cuomo released a statement saying,

“My heart breaks for all those involved in the tragic training accident at West Point this morning. These courageous cadets and soldiers represent the best of New York State and our country, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their bravery in choosing to serve our country and protect our freedoms. This incident is made all the more heart wrenching as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day today, a day where we remember those who gave their lives for our country.

“I am grateful to the first responders who are on the scene right now and am directing the State Office of Emergency Management to provide any resources necessary to assist.

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Judge allows racist FB page as evidence in fatal stabbing of newly commissioned 2nd lieutenant

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Racist memes on a cellphone and a racist Facebook page can be used as evidence in the trial of a white man charged with murder and a hate crime in a black student’s fatal stabbing on the University of Maryland’s campus, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Sean Urbanski’s attorneys argued it would deprive their client of a fair trial if jurors were to see evidence that the 24-year-old liked a Facebook page called “Alt-Reich: Nation” and had at least six photographs of racist memes on his phone.

Prince George’s County prosecutors said the racist content found on Urbanski’s cellphone point to a motive for the killing, indicating he stabbed Bowie State University student Richard Collins III because he was black.

“These photographs show that the defendant has a bias against black people,” said deputy state’s attorney Jason Abbott. “These photos show violence against black people.”

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The last Akwesasne Mohawk code talker from World War II has died

ST. REGIS INDIAN RESERVATION, N.Y. — The last of the remaining Mohawk “code talkers” who were belatedly honored for their World War II service has died at age of 94.

The WWNY-TV reports that Louis Levi Oakes’s funeral was held Saturday on the Mohawk reservation, which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border.

The Press-Republican of Plattsburgh report s that Oakes was one of 17 Akwesasne (og-wuh-SAHZ’-nee) Mohawks to receive the Congressional Silver Medal for his military contributions as a Native American code talker in 2016. Code talkers used their various native languages for military communications.

The newspaper said the Silver Star recipient served in the Army for six years and saw action in the South Pacific, New Guinea and Philippines theaters.

Oakes kept his role as a code talker secret for decades, even to relatives.

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Soldier who went missing during Korean War accounted for, DoD says

BOSTON — A soldier from Massachusetts who went missing during the Korean War has been accounted for.

The remains of Army Sgt. George R. Schipani, of Somerville, Massachusetts, were identified in January, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced Monday.

Schipani’s unit was involved in the Battle of Unsan and he was reported missing in action as of Nov. 2, 1950.

After the war, returning American prisoners said Schipani had been captured and died in a POW camp in February or March 1951. Based on that information, Schipani was declared dead.

Remains returned to U.S. authorities that couldn’t be identified were buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu.

Schipani’s remains were disinterred last July and identified using dental, anthropological and chest X-ray comparison analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

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Army returns to World War II look with new uniforms

The U.S. Army is in the process of rolling out a new service uniform that harkens back to its World War II attire, The New York Times reported Monday.

“We went back and asked, when is the most prominent time when the Army’s service to our nation was universally recognized, and the answer came very quickly,” Daniel A. Dailey, the sergeant major of the Army, told the Times. “That victory, that impact on the nation, is still felt today by the sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of the ‘Greatest Generation.’”

The planned uniform change was first announced in November, and the garb has since been put to use in field tests with recruiting battalions and some other troops. The Times reported that the Army plans to give the uniforms to all soldiers starting in 2020.

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Trump pardons former US soldier who killed Iraqi prisoner

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has pardoned a former U.S. soldier convicted in 2009 of killing an Iraqi prisoner, the White House announced Monday.

Trump signed an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon, for former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, of Oklahoma, press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Behenna was convicted of unpremeditated murder in a combat zone after killing a suspected al-Qaida terrorist in Iraq. He was paroled in 2014 and had been scheduled to remain on parole until 2024.

A military court had sentenced Behenna to 25 years in prison. However, the Army’s highest appellate court noted concern about how the trial court had handled Behenna’s claim of self-defense, Sanders said. The Army Clemency and Parole Board also reduced his sentence to 15 years and paroled him as soon as he was eligible.

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