War on Terrorism

Thursday, June 30, 2011

DOD Announces Iraq, Afghanistan Campaign Stars

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011 – Bronze campaign stars are now authorized for service members who have served in Iraq since Sept. 1, 2010, or in Afghanistan since Dec. 1, 2009, Defense Department officials announced today.

The new campaign stars, worn on the Iraq and Afghanistan campaign medals, recognize service during Operation New Dawn in Iraq and the Consolidation III campaign phase in Afghanistan.

Operation New Dawn began Sept. 1, 2010, marking the official end of Operation Iraqi Freedom and U.S. combat operations in Iraq and a new focus on advising, assisting and training Iraqi security forces.

The Consolidation III campaign in Afghanistan began Dec. 1, 2009, the date President Barack Obama committed to sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan with a plan to begin drawing down that force in July.

The services will announce implementing instructions to their members about wear of the new campaign stars.

Service members who have qualified for the ICM and ACM may display a bronze campaign star on their medal for each campaign phase in which they participated. A silver campaign star is issued in lieu of five bronze stars.

Six other campaign phases were previously identified for Iraq, and three in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, they are:

-- Liberation of Iraq, March 19 to May 1, 2003;

-- Transition of Iraq, May 2, 2003 to June 28, 2004;

-- Iraqi Governance, June 29, 2004 to Dec. 15, 2005;

-- National Resolution, Dec. 16, 2005 to Jan. 9, 2007;

-- Iraqi Surge, Jan. 10, 2007 to Dec. 31, 2008; and

-- Iraqi Sovereignty, Jan. 1, 2009 to Aug. 31, 2010.

In Afghanistan, the previously identified campaign phases are:

-- Liberation of Afghanistan, Sept. 11 to Nov. 30, 2001;

-- Consolidation I, Dec. 1, 2001 to Sept. 30, 2006; and

-- Consolidation II, Oct. 1, 2006 to Nov. 30, 2009.

The Defense Department first authorized campaign stars for service in Iraq and Afghanistan in April 2008.

Haqqani Network Leader Dies in Airstrike

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011 – The International Security Assistance Force today confirmed the death of a Haqqani network leader who’s linked to the June 28 suicide-bomb attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, military officials reported.

Officials said Ismail Jan and several Haqqani fighters were killed yesterday during a precision airstrike in the Gardez district of Paktiya province. Jan was the deputy to Haji Mali Khan, the senior Haqqani commander inside Afghanistan.

The Haqqani network, in conjunction with Taliban operatives, was responsible for the attack on the Intercontinental Hotel which killed 12 people, including a provincial judge.

Jan also served as an insurgent leader in the Khost-Gardez Pass area, along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. He reportedly moved into Afghanistan from Pakistan in late 2010. During this time he led approximately 25 to 35 fighters in conducting attacks against Afghan and coalition security forces.

The Haqqani network is linked to several high-profile attacks, including the assassination of former Logar provincial governor Mohammad Jan Abdullah Wardak. Wardak was assassinated in a massive explosive-device attack as he left his compound in September 2008.

Afghan-led security forces have captured or killed more than 80 Haqqani leaders and facilitators since January, primarily in the Paktika, Paktiya and Khost areas.

In Afghanistan operations yesterday:

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force killed two Haqqani insurgents and detained numerous suspects during a security operation in the Zurmat district of Paktika province. The target of the operation was a Haqqani leader who plans attacks against Afghan and coalition forces. Additionally, he maneuvers fighters and weapons from Pakistan into Paktika province. During the engagement, four Afghan civilians received minor shrapnel wounds from insurgent grenades. All were treated by the security force and three were taken to a medical facility for follow-up care.

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force detained two suspects while searching for a Taliban leader in the Char Bulak district of Balkh province. The leader is responsible for conducting small-arms and roadside-bomb attacks against Afghan security forces.

-- In Zabul province, a combined Afghan and coalition force captured a Taliban leader and two suspects during a security operation in the Qalat district. The leader was responsible for both facilitation and attack coordination within the Qalat district. He moved weapons and communications equipment for fellow insurgents and has conducted several attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force captured a Taliban leader and several suspects during a security operation in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province. The leader procured weapons, including roadside bombs, for Taliban commanders in the area. The security force also discovered and safely destroyed several pounds of opium.

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force killed several insurgents during a security operation in the Maiwand district of Kandahar province. The security force was engaged by insurgents with small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. The force returned fire, killing several insurgents.

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force discovered a weapons cache during a security operation in the Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan province. The cache consisted of 960 7.62 mm rounds, eight AK-47 rifle magazines, 13 grenades and 12 fuses.

-- In the Panjwa’i district of Kandahar province, a combined Afghan and coalition force discovered a drug cache consisting of 496 pounds of hashish. All the drugs were destroyed by security forces.

In June 28 Afghanistan operations:

-- An ISAF patrol discovered a weapons cache during an operation in the Gelan district of Ghazni province. The cache consisted of eight RPGs, five RPG boosters and 100 12.7 mm rounds.

-- A combined Afghan-led operation detained one suspect while discovering a weapons cache in the Nizam-e Shahid district of Herat province. The cache was hidden in a truck and consisted of 207 antipersonnel mines, 7,716 pounds of homemade explosives, 772 pounds of aluminum powder, five suicide vests, 1,181 feet of detonation cord, 20 electric blasting caps, 100 radio frequency transmitters and receivers and various improvised explosive device-making materials.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Nicholas P. Bernier, 21, of East Kingston, N.H., died June 25 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries suffered June 22 when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire in Kherwar, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La.

For more information, the media may contact Fort Drum Public Affairs at 315-772-8286.

CORRECTION:  June 30, 2011 -- The public affairs contact is corrected from Fort Polk.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Soldiers handle Stinger missile as part of training for Operation Clear Skies

Pfc. Michael Forrest, a gunner with Bravo Battery, 2nd Battalion, 174th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, crouches atop a Humvee and receives a Stinger missile launch tube from his team leader Sgt. David Cook while performing Avenger missile reload procedures May 13, 2011, at the unit’s McConnelsville, Ohio armory. Soldiers with the 2-174th are conducting Avenger crew drills in preparation for a scheduled mobilization to the national capital region. This is the second time the battalion has been selected to support Operation Clear Skies, a mission which provides continuous air defense of the skies over Washington, D.C. The National Guard has provided air defense artillery units for the mission to safeguard the national capital region since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Ohio National Guard Photo by Sgt. Peter Kresge)

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. Mark R. Goyet, 22, of Sinton, Texas, died June 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, Calif.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at 760-725-8766.

Face of Defense: Sergeant is ‘Voice’ of Deployed Soldiers

By Army Spc. Kandi Huggins
1st Advise and Assist Task Force Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE WARRIOR, Iraq, June 29, 2011 – For Army Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Haynes, being the “voice of the soldier” here is one more way of accomplishing his tasks as an equal opportunity advisor with the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Advise and Assist Task Force.

“My primary job is to be the eyes and ears for the brigade commander, making him aware of any issues within the brigade whether it’s discriminatory, sexual harassment, leadership, or human resource issues,” said Haynes, a Galesburg, Ill., native.

“My secondary mission,” he said, “is to take care of the soldiers and keep an eye on the climate of the brigade. I interact a lot with the people here, making sure things such as work areas are clean and remain a healthy environment.”

Because there is no rule book that covers how to handle each specific situation that arises, Haynes has relied on his training and previous experience as a platoon sergeant, which others say have served him well.

“I’ve known Haynes for about three years from our time as platoon sergeants,” said Sgt. 1st Class Adam Adams, a personal security detail platoon sergeant with the task force. “A lot of the junior platoon sergeants looked to him for guidance because he was seasoned with a wealth of knowledge, and knew how to get things done.”

Adams said he replicated a lot of Haynes’ techniques to aid in his own professional development.

“We were in charge of maintaining the health and welfare of 39 soldiers and fostering them into leaders,” he said. “Haynes worked well with the soldiers, and they genuinely respected him as a strong leader.”

Haynes said he faces problems that arise from any level and hopes soldiers know he is available for them.

Another experience Haynes credits in helping him as an EOA is the three years he served as a drill sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga.

“As a drill sergeant, I was able to interact with people,” he said. “Being busy all the time and on a schedule, I had to be precise in how I dealt with people -- in being resourceful, and in utilizing the potential of every soldier in order to make the team stronger.”

Haynes said his experiences taught him how to deal with problems as soon as they occur, which is a primary duty of an EOA.

“I attack issues at any level, and I must be forthright and tactful in doing so,” he said. “I learned to pay attention to details really well as a drill sergeant, and I’ve found that attribute to help as I’ve continued my service in the Army.”

Haynes said he encourages people to not only understand themselves, but also understand the people around them to help foster good order, discipline, leadership and respect.

“I hope soldiers learn to take care of each other, and how to handle situations as they arise with dignity and respect,” he said.

Three Men Each Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 25 Years in Prison for Plotting to Bomb Bronx Synagogues and Shoot Down U.S. Military Planes

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JAMES CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, and ONTA WILLIAMS, were each sentenced today to 25 years in prison for plotting to bomb synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York, and to use Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles to shoot down military planes located at the New York Air National Guard Base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York. The defendants were convicted in October 2010 after a two-month jury trial. United States District Judge COLLEEN McMAHON, presided over the trial and imposed today’s sentences.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “James Cromitie, David Williams, and Onta Williams voluntarily agreed to target synagogues and military planes using what they thought were real bombs and missiles. As reflected in the sentences imposed by Judge McMahon, these were extremely serious crimes that targeted New York and its citizens. Today’s sentences ensure that the defendants will be punished for their actions.”

According to the evidence presented at trial and other documents and proceedings in this case:

In June 2008, an informant working with the FBI was approached by CROMITIE in Newburgh, New York. CROMITIE explained to the informant that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and that he was upset about the war there. CROMITIE expressed interest in returning to Afghanistan and said that if he were to die a martyr, he would go to “paradise.” He also expressed an interest in doing “something to America.”

The following month, CROMITIE and the informant discussed Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, with which the informant claimed to be involved. CROMITIE stated that he would be interested in joining the organization to “do jihad.”

During further meetings with the informant, CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, ONTA WILLIAMS, and a fourth defendant, LAGUERRE PAYEN, discussed their desire to attack certain targets in New York, including synagogues in the Bronx and military aircraft located at the Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York. CROMITIE asked the informant to supply surface-to-air guided missiles and explosives for the planned operations. The informant responded that he could provide CROMITIE with C-4 plastic explosives.

After CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, ONTA WILLIAMS, and PAYEN selected the synagogues they intended to target and conducted surveillance of military planes at the Air National Guard Base, CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, and PAYEN drove with the informant toward Stamford, Connecticut, to obtain what the defendants believed would be a surface-to-air guided missile system and three improvised explosive devices (“IEDs“) containing C-4 plastic explosive material. The informant provided the defendants with a Stinger surface-to-air guided missile provided by the FBI that was not capable of being fired, telling the defendants that he had obtained it from Jaish-e-Mohammed. The informant also provided three IEDs that each contained over 30 pounds of inert C-4 plastic explosives, again telling the defendants that he had obtained them from Jaish-e-Mohammed. CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, and PAYEN transported these weapons back to Newburgh.

Two days later, CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, ONTA WILLIAMS, and PAYEN met to inspect the “missile system” and the “explosive devices” and to further discuss the logistics of the operation. Law enforcement officers arrested the four men on May 20, 2009, as they took active steps to carry out the operation.

CROMITIE, DAVID WILLIAMS, and ONTA WILLIAMS, were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States, three counts of attempting to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States, one count of conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, one count of attempting to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, and one count of conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the United States. CROMITIE and DAVID WILLIAMS were also found guilty of one count of attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States.

In addition to the prison terms, CROMITIE, 45, DAVID WILLIAMS, 30, and ONTA WILLIAMS, 35, all of Newburgh, New York, were each sentenced by Judge McMAHON to five years of supervised release. CROMITIE and DAVID WILLIAMS were each ordered to pay an $800 special assessment. ONTA WILLIAMS was ordered to pay a $700 special assesment.

LAGUERRE PAYEN was also convicted in October 2010 after the jury trial. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Mr. BHARARA praised the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force—which principally consists of agents of the FBI and detectives of the New York City Police Department—the New York State Police, and the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations for their extraordinary work in the investigation of this case. He also thanked the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice for its assistance in the case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys DAVID RASKIN, JASON P.W. HALPERIN, and ADAM HICKEY are in charge of the prosecution.

Officials Condemn Insurgent Attack on Kabul Hotel

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2011 – Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, the country’s Ministry of the Interior, and the International Security Assistance Force jointly condemned yesterday’s insurgent attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, military officials reported.

ISAF also commended the rapid response by Afghan security forces that cleared the building and secured the situation, officials said.

“We join President Karzai in condemning this cowardly attack on Afghan civilians,” said Navy Rear Adm. Vic Beck, ISAF director of public affairs. “Even though insurgents have declared their intention to avoid civilian casualties, this attack put Afghan lives at risk and demonstrates their complete disregard for the Afghan people.”

Officials said Afghan police and security forces responded quickly and professionally to clear the area, demonstrating their ability to defeat the insurgents and protect Afghans in jeopardy. Initial Afghan reports indicate as many as 10 people were killed and eight wounded during the suicide attacks.

“This attack will do nothing to prevent the security transition process from moving forward,” Beck said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the dead and injured.”

In other Afghanistan news yesterday:

-- In Kunduz province, a combined Afghan and coalition force detained numerous suspected insurgents while searching for a Taliban organizer in the Archi district. The organizer supports a roadside bomb and suicide attack network within Archi, and is directly involved with securing weapons and ammunition, coordinating personnel movements and facilitating the collection of illegal taxes.

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force captured a Taliban financier and one of his associates in the Sangin district of Helmand province. The financier provided funding for roadside bomb operations and direct attacks, targeting Afghan and coalition forces.

-- In the Zharay district of Kandahar province, a combined security force captured several suspected insurgents.

-- In the Sharan district of Paktika province, a combined Afghan and coalition force killed several insurgents. The force was engaged by insurgents with small-arms fire. After positively identifying the insurgent’s position, the force returned fire, killing several insurgents. Initial reports indicate no civilians were harmed during the operation.

-- A combined Afghan and coalition security force detained several suspected insurgents during a security operation in the Ghazni district of Ghazni province. The Afghan-led force was searching for a Haqqani network facilitator who procures weapons for future attacks in the province.

-- In Khost province, a combined Afghan and coalition force captured a Haqqani network facilitator and several suspected insurgents during a security operation in the Khost district. The facilitator provided supplies, weapons, suicide vests and roadside bombs from Pakistan to senior Haqqani leaders.

In June 27 Afghanistan operations:

-- Several insurgents were killed and one was wounded during a combined Afghan and coalition operation conducted in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province. The injured insurgent was treated at the scene by coalition medics before being taken to a medical facility for further treatment. The combined force confiscated a light machine gun and 400 7.62 mm rounds.

In June 26 Afghanistan operations:

-- A combined Afghan and coalition force discovered a weapons cache in the Kandahar district of Kandahar province. The cache consisted of one AK-47 rifle, two full AK-47 magazines, one 80 mm mortar round, 75 7.62 mm rounds, 64 pounds of explosives, ten pressure plates, one mine, one pistol, some homemade bomb-making materials, one set of binoculars and a radio. Eight insurgents were detained and the weapons were seized by security forces.

Force Seizes Marijuana in Kandahar

Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2011 – A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered 992 pounds of marijuana in the Panjwa’i district of Afghanistan’s Kandahar province today, military officials reported.

The force also found rocket-propelled grenade propellant and three chest rigs.

In operations in Afghanistan yesterday:

-- A combined force captured a senior leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and detained two others in Kunduz province’s Kunduz district. The leader tried to disguise himself as a woman by wearing a burka.

-- Several insurgents were killed during a combined operation that targeted a mid-level Taliban leader in Nimroz province’s Khash Rod district. Several insurgents tried to engage the security force from elevated positions. An air weapons team killed three and two others were killed on the ground. The force confiscated and destroyed several assault rifles.

-- A combined force detained several people with suspected Taliban ties in Zabul province’s Qalat district during a search for a Taliban organizer who obtains and moves weapons for insurgents.

-- In a separate security search in Kandahar province’s Zharay district, a combined force detained a suspected insurgent.

-- A combined force found 705 pounds of wet opium in Helmand province’s Washer district, and detained several people.

-- A combined force killed an insurgent and detained another person in Ghazni province’s Deh Yak district while searching for a Taliban organizer who supports roadside and suicide bomb operations there. The force noticed the insurgent, armed with an assault rifle, attempting to flee. After an engagement ensued, the force killed the man.

-- A Haqqani terrorist network leader and two suspects were captured by a combined force in Paktika province’s Mata Khan district. The leader was responsible for roadside bomb and ambush attacks targeting Afghan security forces.

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Lance Cpl. John F. Farias, 20, of New Braunfels, Texas, died June 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 1st Marine Division public affairs office at 760-725-8766.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Donald V. Stacy, 23, of Avondale, Ariz., died June 28 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

For more information the media may contact the 82nd Airborne Division public affairs office at 910-432-0661 or 910-813-3891.

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Cpl. Michael C. Nolen, 22, of Spring Valley, Wis., died June 27 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 2nd Marine Division public affairs office at 910-450-6575.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

They died June 25, at Kunar province, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their units with small arms fire.

Killed were:

1st. Lt. Dimitri A. Del Castillo, 24, of Tampa, Fla.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and

Staff Sgt. Nigel D. Kelly, 26, Menifee, Calif. He was assigned to 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

For more information, please contact 25th Infantry Division public affairs office at 808-655-6351.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Spc. Kevin J. Hilaman, 28, of Albany, Calif., died June 26, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

For more information, media may contact the 25th Infantry Division public affairs office at 808-655-6354.

Face of Defense: Officer Recalls WAC Era

By Jon Connor
Deputy Commander-Regional Support, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, June 28, 2011 – The 1970s probably seem like a long time ago for today’s new soldiers, but for one officer serving in Afghanistan, the era is still a vivid memory of when female soldiers were treated differently than men.

Army Lt. Col. Kimberly Marlowe is reminded of that time whenever she glances down at a gold ring she wears on her left hand. The ring is a symbol of her time as a member of the Women’s Army Corps.

“We are a dying breed,” said Marlowe, 53, who is deployed here with Regional Support Command-South, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. Marlowe serves as the command’s transition officer for geographical and institutional functional areas.

When not deployed, Marlowe is an environmental quality analyst for the Military and Veterans Affairs Department in Grayling, Mich.

On her ring is a depiction of Pallas Athena, the insignia of the Women's Army Corps. Athena is a Roman and Greek goddess associated with a variety of womanly virtues. Athena, along with the traditional “U.S.” was selected for the lapel uniform insignia -- cut out for officers and placed on discs for enlisted women.

The Women's Army Corps began as the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps in 1942, in the early part of World War II, but was shortened to WAC within a year. Its first director was Oveta Culp Hobby, a prominent society woman from Texas.

A physical training manual, published by the War Department in July 1943, aimed at bringing the female recruits to top physical standards. The manual begins by stating their responsibility: “Your Job: To Replace Men. Be Ready To Take Over.”

While most military women served in the States during the war, some served in Europe, North Africa and New Guinea.

The thousands of women that served during World War II enabled the equivalent of seven divisions of men to fight. Army Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower stated that "their contributions in efficiency, skill, spirit, and determination are immeasurable."

Women mainly served in administrative and nursing positions. During the Vietnam War women could only be in their 20s to serve in theater, Marlowe said. In 1972, 56,000 women were serving in the Army.

After the Vietnam War ended, much had changed in American society. The Army had changed, too, and recognized that the concept of having a separate women’s corps was outdated.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., began accepting female cadets in 1976. That year, 119 women were admitted. Four years later, 62 graduated and paved the way for more to follow.

The Women's Army Corps “dissolved because of equal opportunity,” Marlowe said. “The 60s and 70s were huge in women’s equal rights.”

In October 1978, President Jimmy Carter abolished the WAC -- women and men now would train together and be treated as equals regarding promotions, assignments and military protocol.

“The WAC had a lot of history," Marlowe said. "It just felt like that was being taken away.”

Yet, ending the WAC “was a good thing,” Marlowe said.

“Men and women started training together,” she said. “Women were taken more seriously. The men got to see them doing the same training they did.”

After completing 11th grade, Marlowe said she was sick of school and quit in 1975. Her mother told her to finish school or join the military. After earning her GED, that’s exactly what Marlowe did in November of that year.

“When I came in, I was a 17-year-old kid who hated school,” Marlowe said. The Army, she added, pushed her to excel.

Marlowe decided to become a military policewoman. “I just thought it would be fascinating,” she said.

Marlowe’s first three years in the Army were in the WAC. She served in Wurzburg, Germany, when the Army was still using the quarter-ton jeep.

After three years of active duty, she opted for National Guard duty, serving in the engineering field where she stayed for nearly two decades. She then left engineering and joined the 46th Military Police Command.

In 1989, Marlowe enrolled in Officer Candidate School after it was suggested to her.

“As an officer, maybe I could do more,” she explained. Fifteen months later Marlowe was commissioned as an officer in the Army’s engineer branch.

Marlowe also went onto earn a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife management in 1998 from Lake Superior State University, Mich. In 2006, she received her master’s degree in organizational management from Spring Arbor University, Mich.

In 1999, Marlowe was named the first female to command an engineer company -- an Assault Ribbon Bridge company -- in the Michigan Army National Guard.

“I learned a lot,” she said. “I had great soldiers working for me.”

In 2004, Marlowe transferred into military intelligence, and also taught Officer Candidate School for three years. She deployed to Iraq in 2008 and served in Mosul, Baghdad and Taji as a combat engineer adviser.

When she isn’t in uniform or at her civilian job, Marlowe runs a 20-acre farm breeding horses. She currently has 13 horses and two donkeys.

She also plans to stay in the National Guard until 2015 and then retire with 40 years of military service.

Looking back, Marlowe knows she’s come a long way -- a private running a traffic control point in Germany to a lieutenant colonel traveling the world.

“I’ve had a wonderful ride with this," she said. "There’s a lot of pride in this for me. For a kid coming up now, the opportunities are endless.”

Marlowe knows this firsthand. She has three children, with a son in the active-duty Army serving in Hawaii as a utilities equipment repairer. He was deployed in Bagram, Afghanistan, when Marlowe was in Iraq.

Marlowe’s choice of both an Army and civilian career has allowed her to experience the “best of both worlds,” she said.

However, “once you’re a soldier, you’re always that soldier,” she said.

Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation New Dawn.

They died June 26, in Diyala province, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with an improvised explosive device.  They were assigned to the 4th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Killed were:

Staff Sgt. Russell J. Proctor, 25, of Oroville, Calif.; and

Pfc. Dylan J. Johnson, 20, of Tulsa, Okla.

For more information the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9398/9400 or 254-449-1824.

Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation New Dawn.

Spc. Matthew R. Gallagher, 22, of North Falmouth, Mass., died June 26 in Wasit province, Iraq, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident.  He was assigned to the 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation.

For more information the media may contact the Fort Hood public affairs office at 254-287-9398/9400, or 254-445-1824.

Air Force Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Douville, 33, of Harvey, La., died June 26 as a result of injuries suffered from an improvised explosive device on the border of the Nad 'Ali district of Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 96th Civil Engineer Squadron, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

For more information media may contact the 96th Air Base Wing public affairs office at 850-882-3931.

Marine Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Gunnery Sgt. Ralph E. Pate Jr., 29, of Mullins, S.C., died June 26 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the 2nd Marine Logistics Group public affairs office at 910-451-3589.

Gates Thanks Troops, Bids Farewell

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2011 – It’s 110 degrees in the shade, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is answering questions from about 200 soldiers at a bleak U.S. installation near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in mid-June.

At the end of the session, he tells them he has one more thing to say: “I’ve come out here to thank you for the last time for your service and for your sacrifice. More than anybody except the president, I’m responsible for you being here. I’m the person that signed the deployment papers that got you here. And that weighs on me every day.”

It’s tough for the secretary to get through this statement. He steps away from the microphone, and there are tears in his eyes. The soldiers in the audience -- from the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade -- are moved, as well. Gates receives prolonged applause. As he hands out commemorative coins to the troops, they thank him for his service and all he has done for them.

“I’ve told friends that I would be more than happy if the only legacy I took away from this job is those kids out there in the field knew they had someone who was looking after them, all the time,” Gates said in a recent interview with American Forces Press Service during his last trip to visit deployed troops.

Gates will retire as defense secretary June 30. The U.S. Senate has confirmed CIA Director Leon E. Panetta to take his place.

It has been a sacred trust for the secretary to ensure the troops fighting the nation’s wars have what they need to succeed.

“If I had the knowledge that those [privates first class] and lance corporals, petty officers and airmen knew, that way up there in the chain of command there was somebody watching their back all the time, trying to figure out what they needed, that was most important to me,” he said.

When Gates became defense secretary at the end of 2006, Iraq was gripped by a growing insurgency, and U.S. casualties were mounting. The Army and Marine Corps were being stretched almost to the point of breaking to maintain the level of forces in Iraq and, to a lesser degree, in Afghanistan.

Something had to be done -- quickly. The secretary said he had to make four decisions very soon after taking office that still have ramifications.

“The first was the decision, which I actually discussed in my interview with President [George W.] Bush, to increase the Army by 65,000 and the Marine Corps by 27,000 to bring relief,” Gates said. The Army and Marine Corps, he added, simply weren’t big enough at that time to handle all the missions assigned to them.

The second decision was part and parcel of the Iraq surge, and that was extending all Army deployments in U.S. Central Command to 15 months.

“That was a really difficult decision and the [Joint Chiefs of Staff] chairman, [Marine Corps Gen.] Pete Pace, the vice chairman, [Navy Adm.] Ed Giambastiani, the Army chief of staff, everybody was telling me that I had to do this to provide some stability for the troops,” he said.

Gates was convinced that the only way he could give the troops a year at home, given the surge, was to extend the deployed tour to 15 months. “If we didn’t do that,” he explained, “we would be down to six or seven months at home and still have a year to 15-month tours.”

Gates knew this decision would be hard on the troops and their families, and even today, he thinks officials underestimated how painful and difficult that was for everybody.

“That decision is a burden that I’ve never put down,” he acknowledged.

The secretary’s next decision was to “regularize” the use of the National Guard and to try to get it to the point where they were being deployed as units.

“I particularly personalized it with the [explosive ordnance disposal] guys,” the secretary said. “You know, if I’m in that kind of a business, I’d sure as hell like to know the guy next to me, and have trained with him and have confidence and trust in him, instead of some guy from a different state I just met two weeks before we deployed.”

Gates’ final decision at that time involved the cessation of the so-called stop -loss policy which involuntarily extended service members’ time in the military, the secretary recalled.

“I said, ‘We have to get rid of stop-loss,’ and I kind of tied it to the increase in the end strength of the Army,” which had almost 25,000 soldiers stop-lossed, he said.

“I felt that stop-loss was a break in the contract, a breach of trust,” Gates said. “As far as I’m concerned, once we announce a decision, it’s a commitment to the troops. Then, for bureaucratic reasons, someone will come back later and try to make exceptions -- extending this or doing that. That’s breaking our word to the troops. No wonder none of them trust any one of us up the chain of command, because we can’t be counted on to keep our word once we’ve given it to them.

“So, I have felt very, very strongly about that the whole time I’ve been in this job,” he added. “Once we’ve made a commitment to these men and women, we have a huge obligation to keep.”

Contractor Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison for Death of Afghan National in Kabul, Afghanistan

WASHINGTON – Justin Cannon, 29, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for his role in shooting and killing an Afghan national while on an unauthorized convoy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on May 5, 2009, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.   U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar also ordered Cannon to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term.

On March 11, 2011, Cannon and Christopher Drotleff, 31, of Virginia Beach, Va., were convicted of involuntary manslaughter while working as contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense in Afghanistan.  Cannon and Drotleff were acquitted of other charges, including second-degree murder, assault resulting in serious bodily injury and firearms offenses.  On June 14, 2011, Drotleff was sentenced to 37 months in prison.

“Justin Cannon was hired to support the Defense Department mission in Afghanistan,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer.  “Instead, he recklessly fired on a civilian car, killing an Afghan national.  He dishonored the American military, the Afghan people, and the many men and women in uniform who serve this country honorably.   Today’s sentence brings some measure of justice to an otherwise tragic situation.”

“Justin Cannon opened fire with an AK-47 at the rear of a retreating vehicle and took the life of an innocent Afghan,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “While Mr. Cannon was in Afghanistan to support to U.S. troops, his incredibly reckless behavior instead undermined our military mission and weakened the bond of trust with the Afghans.  Those serving overseas – even in dangerous places like Afghanistan – must follow the law and not make up their own rules.  Today’s sentence makes clear that those who break the law will be held accountable, regardless of where their crimes occur.”

Cannon and Drotleff were charged under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) in a superseding indictment filed on Aug. 5, 2010.  Cannon and Drotleff were Department of Defense contractors employed by a subsidiary of Xe (formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide).  

According to evidence presented at trial, on May 5, 2009, both men left their military base without authorization to transport local interpreters.  The evidence at trial established that, after the lead vehicle in the convoy crashed and was overturned on the side of the road, Cannon and Drotleff fired multiple shots into the back of a civilian car that had attempted to pass the accident scene. The passenger of the car was fatally shot and the driver was seriously injured.  An individual who happened to be walking his dog in the area was also killed in the shooting.  The jury found the defendants guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the death of Romal Mohammad Naiem, the front-seat passenger.  They were acquitted of charges relating to the death of the person walking his dog and injuries to the driver.

According to court records, as contractors, Cannon and Drotleff provided training to the Afghan National Army for the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the use and maintenance of weapons and weapons systems. 

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Robert McGovern of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy C. Stoker and Alan M. Salsbury from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia - Norfolk Division.  The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.