Here is a sampling of recent news stories related to crimes and accidents involving military personnel.
The city Medical Examiner’s Office today identified the 27-year-old Schofield Barracks soldier who died in a motorcycle accident Thursday as Aaron Bennett.
Bennett, from Parma Heights Ohio, died at the crash scene on Fort Weaver Road near the recently closed Hawaii Medical Center-West. Witnesses told police that he was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic before losing control and crashing at about 5:30 a.m.
Bennett was an Army sergeant who joined the service in January 2007, and served as an infantrymen assigned to 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, according to the Army.
In June, he finished a year-long deployment to Iraq with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, where he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, an Army Commendation Medal and the Iraqi Campaign Medal with two campaign stars for his service.
The 2009 Yamaha motorcycle he was driving apparently sideswiped a 2001 Nissan sedan near the Farrington Highway junction, causing the motorcyclist to lose control, police said.
Bennett, a 25th Infantry Division soldier, was thrown from the vehicle and slid about 30 feet into a guardrail, severing his arm.
A 27-year-old Schofield man was found dead in a Wahiawa Police Substation holding cell from an apparent suicide Saturday morning.The man was arrested around 4:10 Saturday morning for drunk driving, reckless driving and speeding near Kamehameha Highway and Whitemore Avenue.He was then booked and processed at the Wahiawa Substation. His body was found alone and unconscious in the holding cell around 7 a.m. with his t-shirt next to him. It is believed that he hung himself with the shirt.[…]Police say the man is a husband of a Schofield based soldier.
In San Diego, four people were killed in an apparent murder-suicide involving two Navy pilots and the sister of one of the pilots. The AP reported “2 Navy Pilots Among Dead in Murder, Suicide” (1/03/2012):
Two Navy pilots and the sister of one of them were among four people killed in an apparent New Years Day murder-suicide on the wealthy island of Coronado off the coast of San Diego, officials say.
The two F/A-18 pilots were in training at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, the base said. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office initially posted on its website that the pilots were both 25-year-old males and that a third male among the dead was a 31-year-old resident of nearby Chula Vista.
The AP also reported that “Jealousy Eyed for Possible Role in Murder-Suicide” (1/06/2012):
Authorities were looking at all aspects of what could have led up to the gunfire at a Coronado condominium, including whether there was a relationship or romantic feelings between the Navy pilot who committed suicide and the sister of the other pilot who died, sheriff’s Capt. Duncan Fraser said.
John Robert Reeves shot himself in the head, and the three other people with him, including the sister, were murdered. They included Navy pilot David Reis, Karen Reis and Matthew Saturley.
Retired Naval pilot Steve Diamond said the case is shocking because it involves such high achievers.
“The first thing that most people think of even within the Navy community is how could such an enormously tragic thing happen involving people … who are the cream of the crop, highly trained, highly educated, national assets basically,” he said.
It takes years of training to get one’s wings as a Navy pilot, and fighter-jet pilots are considered to be among the top in that group.
They undergo a battery of rigorous physical, psychological and background tests before finishing the highly competitive program. Their top-notch skills and mental toughness were featured in the movie “Top Gun” — parts of which were filmed at Miramar.
A Navy ship commander pleaded guilty Friday to sexual assault and rape of two female sailors, and a military judge ordered his dismissal and sentenced him to more than three years in prison.
Cmdr. Jay Wylie was given a 10-year term but will serve 42 months as part of a plea agreement, said Sheila Murray, Navy spokeswoman.
Twenty officers have been relieved of command by the Navy this year.
It seems that the epidemic of sexual violence begins in officer training school. The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that “3 Air Force Academy Cadets Charged in Sex-Assault Cases” (1/06/2012):
Commanders on Thursday charged three Air Force Academy cadets with sexual assault in separate cases that occurred over the past 15 months.
Charging documents obtained by The Gazette show the three cases involve acts allegedly committed on the campus, including acts against fellow cadets.
A congressman says two 2.5-pound blocks of a powerful, military-grade explosive were found in a Soldier’s luggage at a West Texas airport. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway of Midland said Thursday that federal officials gave him details of the Saturday find in Trey Scott Atwater’s luggage at Midland International Airport.
And the Daily Press in Victorville, California reported in December “Military Weapons in Gangsters’ Hands” (12/05/2011):
Gangs are acquiring highpowered, military-grade weapons more frequently, according to the latest National Gang Intelligence Center Report. And FBI and law enforcement officials suggest gang members — both enlisted and those working at military bases as contract civilians — may be funneling the firearms to their street-level counterparts.
In late July, 27 AK-47s were stolen from a Fort Irwin warehouse, officials said.
Weapons getting loose could be really bad. In San Diego, the AP reported “Police: Navy SEAL Accidentally Shoots Self in Head” (1/06/2012):
San Diego police say a Navy SEAL is on life support after accidentally shooting himself in the head.
Officer Frank Cali tells U-T San Diego that officers were called to a home in Pacific Beach early Thursday morning on a report that a man had been playing with a gun and accidentally shot himself.
Cali says the man was showing guns to a woman he’d met earlier at a bar and put a pistol he believed was unloaded to his head. Cali says he then pulled the trigger.