military and defense

Captive Idaho Soldier
5:48 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

'Quiet, Thoughtful' Soldier From Hailey, Idaho Enters Fourth Year In Captivity

Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho went missing in June 2009, just a year after he entered the Army. He’s shown here at his graduation from Basic Training.
the Bergdahl family

Saturday marks three years since a Northwest soldier was captured by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl -- now 26 years old -- is the nation’s only soldier known to be in enemy hands.

Read more
NW Soldiers Killed
5:16 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

Twelve JBLM Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan Since January

Sgt. 1st Class Barett McNabb is the 12th Washington based soldier to die in Afghanistan this year.
Northwest News Network

An Army combat engineer has become the 12th Washington based soldier to die in Afghanistan this year. The pace of deaths has picked up in recent weeks as the summer fighting season begins.

The Army says Sgt. 1st Class Barett McNabb was killed by an improvised explosive device. He was on his fourth deployment, but his first to Afghanistan.

McNabb is just the latest soldier from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord to die in Afghanistan. May was the deadliest month so far this year with six soldier deaths.

Read more
Military Health Review
4:53 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Military Wide Review Of Behavioral And Mental Health Diagnoses

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta revealed the Departments mental health care review during a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing Wednesday.

Washington Senator Patty Murray chairs the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Murray grilled Panetta about the Department’s efforts to improve mental health care for both active duty service members and veterans.

One active duty service member a day commits suicide according to the Pentagon.

Read more
UW Grad and Soldier K.I.A.
4:38 pm
Fri May 25, 2012

UW Grad Is Latest Washington-Based Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

2nd Lt. Travis Morgado was “kind and considerate” says his mother.
Andrea Velasquez Kessler Northwest News Network

The cemetery at Joint Base Lewis-McChord will be the site of a Memorial Day ceremony to honor fallen service members. A University of Washington graduate is the latest Washington-based soldier to die in Afghanistan.

Army records indicate 25 year old Lt. Travis Morgado is the sixth soldier from the Army post near Tacoma killed in action so far this year.

Just before he deployed in March, Lt. Morgado spoke with NPR’s Martin Kaste outside Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He was reacting to news that a fellow soldier, Sgt. Robert Bales, had been accused of murdering 17 Afghan civilians.

Read more
Military Disability Evaluations
4:11 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Murray Hearing on VA / DOD Wait Time for Disability Evaulations

Washington Senator Patty Murray grilled VA and DOD leaders about the wait times during a committee hearing Wednesday.
U.S. Senate

Five years ago the Defense Department and VA made an effort to streamline the process. It hasn’t worked.

The evaluations are a critical step for injured service members who are preparing to leave the military. Washington Senator Patty Murray is Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Murray grilled VA and DOD leaders about the wait times during a committee hearing Wednesday.

Murray: “That’s unacceptable for someone just waiting to figure out what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives.”

The GAO’s report found that last year active duty troops waited nearly 400 days for evaluations, longer for National Guard and Reserve.Further Murray says she’s concerned about the evaluation process itself known as IDES which can have the effect of seeming to pit commanders against soldiers.

Read more
Drone Testing
6:28 am
Fri May 18, 2012

Central Oregon Considered For Drone Testing Area

For years now, the US military has flown unmanned drones over hotspots like Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones gather intelligence and at times conduct attacks on the battlefield. But here at home, drones have largely been absent from American skies. That however is about to change. The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to select 6 areas throughout the US for drone testing. And as OPB's David Nogueras reports, there’s an effort underway in Oregon to compete for one of those spots.

Read more
Idaho P.O.W.
4:10 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Parents Of Captured Idaho Soldier Want Prisoner Swap

A Taliban video from December 2010 appears to show Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in captivity.
Northwest News Network

The Idaho parents of the only U.S. soldier in Taliban captivity say they want the Obama administration to negotiate a prisoner swap to bring their son home. Bob and Jani Bergdahl broke their long silence in new interviews, hoping to build public pressure for a deal.

Read more
Army Helicopter Crash
5:13 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Human Error Blamed In JBLM Midair Collision That Killed 4 In December

Army vehicles leave the crash site near Rainier, Washington.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins Northwest News Network

Pilot negligence - not a mechanical failure- led to a deadly midair crash last December of two Army helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord . But poor communication and moonlight might also have been factors in the nighttime accident. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has details on an internal investigation released Monday.

Read more
Helicopter Crash
4:01 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Army Investigation: Midair Crash Killed Four Helicopter Pilots In December

OH58 Kiowa Warrior
Photo courtesy of US Army

For the first time, the U.S. Army is confirming it was a midair collision that brought down two helicopters last December at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The results of an internal investigation into the crash that killed four pilots was released Monday. It blames pilot error, not a mechanical failure.

Read more
5:06 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Soldiers At Joint Base Lewis-McChord Will Get New Layer Of Oversight

Army Secretary John McHugh At Joint Base Lewis-McChord To Announce New Oversight Of Combat Troops.
Photo credit: Austin Jenkins

Combat brigades at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord will soon get a new layer of supervision. That announcement from the Secretary of the Army comes nearly two months after a Washington-based soldier allegedly killed 17 Afghan civilians.

Read more