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1 Rescued, 6 Missing After F/A-18 Fighter, Refueling Tanker Crash Off Japan

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Search-and-rescue operations continue for six U.S. Marines who were aboard a KC-130 Hercules refueling aircraft and an F/A-18 Hornet, both of which crashed about 200 miles off the coast of Japan early Thursday morning local time.

The aircraft launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and “were conducting regularly scheduled training when the mishap occurred,” officials with III Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement Wednesday.

The aircraft crashed around 2:00 a.m. local time, III MEF said.

Marine officials did not immediately disclose how many were on board each plane. CBS and ABC News, citing Marine Corps sources, reported there were five on board the KC-130 and two pilots on the Hornet.

Officials would not comment on the crew members’ conditions, but later confirmed one person involved in the mishap was being evaluated by medical authorities at MCAS Iwakuni.

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“Japanese search-and-rescue aircraft immediately responded to aid in recovery,” the statement said. “The circumstances of the mishap are currently under investigation.”

The latest mishap follows another F/A-18 crash last month in the Philippine Sea.

In that incident, two U.S. Navy pilots were rescued by crew from the Nimitz-class carrier Ronald Reagan and were in good condition, the service said at the time. The cause of that crash remains under investigation.

Last year, a Marine KC-130 crashed in Mississippi. All 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman were killed.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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Pearl Harbor Re-Burials Across the US Give Families Closure

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HONOLULU — More than 75 years after nearly 2,400 members of the U.S. military were killed in the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, some who died on Dec. 7, 1941, are finally being laid to rest in cemeteries across the United States.

In 2015, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency exhumed nearly 400 sets of remains from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii after determining that advances in forensic science and genealogical help from families could make identifications possible. They were all on the USS Oklahoma, which capsized during the attack, and had been buried as unknowns after the war.

Altogether, 429 sailors and Marines on board the Oklahoma were killed. Only 35 were identified in the years immediately after the attack. The Oklahoma’s casualties were second only to the USS Arizona, which lost 1,177 men.

As of earlier this month, the agency has identified 186 sailors and Marines from the Oklahoma that were previously unidentified.

Slowly, the remains are being sent to be reburied in places like Traer, Iowa, and Ontanogan, Michigan.

Here’s a look at some of those who have either already been reburied this year or who will be interred on Friday:

DURELL WADE

Wade was born in 1917 in the Hardin Town community of rural Calhoun County, Mississippi. He enlisted in the Navy in 1936 and in 1940 re-enlisted for another two-year tour.

His burial in his home state was originally planned for a weekend, when it would be more convenient for people to attend. But because of scheduling conflicts at the North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery, his family decided the 77th anniversary of the attack would be an appropriate date, even if some people have to take time off, said his nephew, Dr. Lawrence Wade.

He was one of the sailor’s relatives who provided DNA to help identify him.

“My middle name is his name, Durell. My grandson has that name also,” said the 75-year-old retired psychiatrist from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “I’d gone through my life not really knowing anything about him, other than I carried his name and he was killed at Pearl Harbor. Once this DNA process came along and made it possible to identify his remains, it just made him much more of a real person to me.”

Wade’s siblings included four older sisters and one older brother, according to a bio prepared by his nephew. The Wade children were educated by two teachers hired by their parents to live in the home and teach them until a community school was built on donated property. Wade had written home in September 1941 that he had just taken promotion tests from Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class to Chief Aviation Machinist Mate.

His nephew has been planning his funeral. A gospel singer will sing the national anthem. Bagpipes will play. Pilots will conduct a flyover. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Capt. Brian Hortsman, commanding officer of Naval Air Station Meridian, will make remarks.

WILLIAM BRUESEWITZ

Renate Starck has been pondering the eulogy she’ll give at the funeral for her uncle, Navy Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz, on Friday.

“We always have thought of him on Dec. 7,” she said. “He’s already such a big part of that history.”

Bruesewitz, of Appleton, Wisconsin, will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C. “It’s a real blessing to have him returning and we’ve chosen Arlington because we feel he’s a hero and belongs there,” Starck said.

About 50 family members from Wisconsin, Florida, Arkansas and Maryland will attend.

“We were too young to know him but we’re old enough that we felt his loss,” Starck said. “We know some stories. There’s this stoicness about things from that time that kept people from talking about things that hurt.”

Bruesewitz’s mother died in childbirth when he was 6 or 7, Starck said. Her father and Bruesewitz were close brothers. When Bruesewitz was 14, they built barns in Wisconsin, Starck said. They were educated in Lutheran schools.

WILLIAM KVIDERA

Hundreds of people filled a Catholic church in Traer, Iowa, in November for William Kvidera’s funeral.

The solemn ceremony in his hometown included full military honors, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

“It’s something like a dream,” his brother, John Kvidera, 91, said.

John Kvidera was 14 when he found out about the bombings at Pearl Harbor and remembers huddling around a radio to find out what was going on. The family initially received a telegram saying William, the oldest of six siblings, was missing in action.

A telegram in February 1943 notified the family of his death.

ROBERT KIMBALL HOLMES

The remains of Marine Pfc. Robert Kimball Holmes were interred in August in his hometown of Salt Lake City.

“It’s strange, isn’t it, to be here honoring a 19-year-old kid killed 77 years ago,” nephew Bruce Holmes said.

Only one person in attendance at the graveside services — another nephew and namesake Bob Holmes — had any personal memories of the Marine, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The younger Bob is now more than four times older as the sailor when he died. He remembers his uncle coming home on leave in the summer of 1941 when he was 6 years old.

Bob Holmes recalled talking to a friend of his uncle who served with him on the Oklahoma: “He said, ‘One of the things that I remember most about Bob is that he had this attitude. Not just a Marine attitude, but a Holmes boy attitude — defiance, aggression and don’t-mess-with-me.”

LOWELL VALLEY

For 20 years, Navy Fireman 2nd Class Lowell Valley’s brother worked to identify USS Oklahoma sailors.

Now that Valley has been identified and his remains have been returned home to Ontonagon, Michigan, Bob Valley expects his role in helping identify a group of 27 sailors will soon be over. All 27 have been located.

Lowell Valley was buried at the Holy Family Catholic cemetery in July, the Iron Mountain Daily News reported.

LEON ARICKX

More than 76 years after he died, the remains of Navy Seaman 1st Class Leon Arickx were buried on a brilliant summer day at a small cemetery amid the cornfields of northern Iowa.

Hundreds gathered in July for Arickx’s graveside service at Sacred Heart Cemetery outside Osage, Iowa, in a sparsely populated farming region just south of Minnesota, where Arickx grew up. Among them was his niece, Janice Schonrock, who was a baby when Arickx died.

“My family talked about him all that time,” said Schonrock, 77. “I felt I knew him because everyone talked about him.”

Although they didn’t have Arickx’s remains, his family held a memorial service and placed a grave marker at Sacred Heart Cemetery in 1942. When his remains were finally returned, they were buried at a site not far away.

Schonrock said her family appreciates the work it took to identify her uncle, but she believes it’s essential to identify as many service members as possible.

“I think we need to honor these people who give their lives to our country and bring them back to their home country where they can be close to family who can honor them,” she said. “No one should be left behind.”

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Associated Press writers Jennifer Sinco Kelleher in Honolulu and Scott McFetridge in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

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National Guard Hears ‘Heartbreaking’ Cancer Stories

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PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — More than 200 people who turned out for a meeting at the 157th Air Refueling Wing heard story after story about guardsmen who died from cancer, or suffered with other health ailments after serving at the Pease Air National Guard base.

The guard hosted a “listening session” Friday afternoon to hear the health concerns of retirees, their widows and families, along with active duty guardsmen.

Led by Doris Brock, who lost her husband Kendall Brock, a 35-year member of the guard who died in June 2017 from bladder and prostate cancer, a group of widows and retirees have pushed the Air Force to conduct a health study because of what they believe is an unusually high number of cancers at the base.

Brock reminded the people in attendance that it took 35 years before the Veterans Administration sought presumptive disability status for veterans who served at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina with acknowledged water contamination.

“I don’t want to wait that long for us. It has to be faster,” Brock said. “We’ve lost a lot of good people.”

She believes her husband’s exposure to 12 different chemicals on the base known to be carcinogens — along with drinking contaminated water at the former air base — caused his cancer.

She told the crowd to remember that one person can make a difference.

“We were just a group of a few spouses who were interviewed in this newspaper and look at the people sitting in this room today,” she said about herself and other widows who spoke to Seacoast Sunday. “I have to tell you I’m blown away.”

Patricia Brodeur-Gammon lost her husband Roger Brodeur to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 1997. She believes her husband’s service at the guard base caused his cancer. Brodeur, who served at the base from 1975 to 1998, spent the last two years of his life going through treatment, his widow told the crowd gathered in a hangar Friday afternoon at the guard base.

“He did it with courage. He went through surgery after surgery, (along with) many chemo treatments,” she said.

Finally, her husband received a bone marrow transplant and in September 2017 he was given the “all clear” as the couple readied to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

“Three and a half months later he was gone,” she said.

Joanne Dionne didn’t intend to speak when she showed up for Friday afternoon’s meeting. But as she heard the stories, she stood up and told the crowd that doctors initially thought her husband had lung cancer. But eventually the guard veteran was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis of his lungs.

“They don’t know what causes it,” she said. “He loved his job here. He loved his job.”

She recalled one of her husband’s doctors telling him to “get your affairs in order” and that he had three to five years to live.

“But God has been on my side, he’s going on seven years now,” she said. “His quality of life is diminishing. I treasure every day I have with him.”

Bonnie Peterman of Dover told the crowd she and retired guardsmen Wayne Perreault were married in April 2008. In June 2009, Perreault, whose family had no history of cancer, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, spleen, liver, stomach and pancreatic cancer. She believes his service at Pease caused the cancer.

Perreault died exactly two months after he was diagnosed, she said.

“It was heartbreaking. We truly had hoped for a longer time,” she said.

Pamela Bapp of Durham said her husband and guardsman Gregory Bapp started bleeding rectally at age 39. After a couple of years with failed diagnoses, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, which ultimately claimed his life.

“What scares me here today is we’re going to leave and someone is going to tell me we have to collect more data. If you want to collect more data, the first thing we have to do is test everybody,” she said during Friday’s meeting.

But she added, “nothing is going to bring back Greg.”

Col. John Pogorek, wing commander at the Pease Guard base who hosted the meeting, acknowledged at the beginning of the meeting that “this is an emotional subject.”

“None of the stories we will hear today are good,” he said.

After the meeting, Pogorek said “it was more than I thought we’d hear,” when asked about the stories he heard from those in attendance. “A lot of these stories are hard to hear but are important to tell, because we need that information.”

He noted the wing has formed a working group of retirees, family members and health experts to address the health concerns.

“I think we can have a plan to move forward, I think that’s what we’re all interested in. The truth will lead us to what needs to be done and we’re all about the truth,” he said.

Brock called the stories she heard Friday “just heartbreaking.”

She believes the working group and the guard must strive to move forward to form an action plan.

“I think we need that database of what they did, what years they worked, what chemicals they were exposed to and what cancers they had,” she said.

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Neglected Maintenance, Corroded Propeller Blade Caused Catastrophic Crash

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A corroded blade that came loose on a Marine Corps KC-130T transport aircraft at 20,000 feet above Mississippi caused the deaths of 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman last year, according to a Marine Corps accident investigation released Thursday.

The propeller blade — improperly maintained by Air Force maintenance crews in 2011 and later overlooked by the Navy, according to officials — set off a series of cascading events that would cut the aircraft into three pieces before it fell to the ground on July 10, 2017, in a LeFlore County field, officials wrote in the investigation.

“Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex failed to remove existing and detectable corrosion pitting and [intergranular cracking] on [Propeller 2, Blade 4] in 2011, which ultimately resulted in its inflight liberation,” investigators wrote. “This blade liberation was the root cause of the mishap.”

The accident investigation was first reported in a joint Military Times and Defense News article Wednesday.

The aircraft, which belonged to Marine Aerial Refueling Squadron 452, out of Newburgh, New York, had been tasked with transporting six Marines and a sailor belonging to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command from Cherry Point, North Carolina, to Yuma, Arizona, for team-level pre-deployment training.

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Seven service members were from MARSOC’s 2nd Marine Raider Battalion; nine Marine aircrew belonged to the squadron, VMGR-452. All 16 troops aboard the aircraft perished in the crash.

“I found that the deaths of Maj. Cain M. Goyette, Capt. Sean E. Elliott, Gunnery Sgt. Mark A. Hopkins, Gunnery Sgt. Brendan C. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Robert H. Cox, Staff Sgt. William J. Kundrat, Staff Sgt. Joshua M. Snowden, Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan M. Lohrey, Sgt. Chad E. Jenson, Sgt. Talon R. Leach, Sgt. Julian M. Kevianne, Sgt. Owen J. Lennon, Sgt. Joseph J. Murray, Sgt. Dietrich A. Schmieman, Cpl. Daniel I. Baldassare and Cpl. Collin J. Schaaff occurred in the line of duty and not due to their misconduct,” an investigator said.

“Neither the aircrew nor anybody aboard the KC-130T could have prevented or altered the ultimate outcome after such a failure,” officials said.

The crew had come over in two KC-130Ts from Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York. The two planes swapped missions, investigators said, “due to difficulties with cargo and embarkation” with one of the aircraft.

The destination of the flight, call sign “Yanky 72,” was Naval Air Facility El Centro, California.

The KC-130T carried thousands of pounds in cargo, including “two internal slingable unit 90-inch (ISU-90) containers, one Polaris Defense all-terrain utility vehicle (MRZR), and one 463L pallet of ammunition,” officials said. Also on board were 968 lithium-ion batteries, 22 cans of spray paint, one compressed oxygen cylinder, personal baggage and military kits, weighing about 2,800 pounds.

Propeller Two, including the corroded Blade Four, or P2B4, on the aircraft had flown 1,316.2 hours since its last major overhaul in September 2011, according to the documents. The aircraft had last flown missions May 24 through July 6, accumulating more than 73.3 hours within those two weeks.

The aircraft entered service in 1993. The propeller in question was made by UTC Aerospace Systems.

On the day of the accident, after it had detached from the rotating propeller, P2B4 sliced through the port side of the main fuselage, the 73-page investigation said.

The blade cut into the aircraft and then “passed unobstructed through the [mishap aircraft’s] interior, and did not exit the airframe but rather impacted the interior starboard side of the cargo compartment where it remained until cargo compartment separation,” it said. Its impact cut into the starboard interior support beam.

The violent force shook through the plane, causing the third propeller engine to separate from the aircraft. It bounced back into the aircraft, striking the right side of the fuselage and forcing a portion of one of the fuselage’s longerons to buckle. Its impact also caused significant damage to the starboard horizontal stabilizer, causing “the stabilizer to separate from the aircraft,” the investigation said.

Soon after, the aircraft’s cockpit, center fuselage and rear fuselage would all break apart mid-air during its rapid descent.

The pilots and crew involved in the cataclysmic event likely experienced immediate disorientation and shock, rendering them immobile, officials said.

Investigators said an average of 5 percent of blades processed in the past nine years by Warner Robins (WR-ALC) were Navy or Marine Corps blades. The maintenance paperwork for the 2011 work on P2B4 no longer exists because, per Air Force regulations, work control documents are destroyed after a period of two years, the investigation noted.

During the quality control and quality assurance process, where items are inspected and approved or rejected based on their conditions, investigators said Warner Robins used ineffective practices and bypassed critical maintenance procedures.

Some of the other blades and propellers also were considered unsatisfactory, investigators said.

According to the report, the aircraft also missed an inspection in the spring. A 56-day conditional inspection is required when, within 56 days, the engine has not been run or the propeller has not been manually rotated “at least three consecutive times” on the aircraft, or a propeller has not “been flowed on a test stand at an intermediate level maintenance activity.” Investigators said there was no supported evidence that a checkup was conducted.

The Navy also neglected to impose a check-and-balance system on the WR-ALC’s work, investigators stated.

“Negligent practices, poor procedural compliance, lack of adherence to publications, an ineffective QC/QA program at WR-ALC, and insufficient oversight by the [U.S. Navy], resulted in deficient blades being released to the fleet for use on Navy and Marine Corps aircraft from before 2011 up until the recent blade overhaul suspension at WR-ALC occurring on 2 September 2017,” officials said.

A Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) liaison stationed at WR-ALC also did not check on the maintenance being done, according to Military Times and Defense News. Leaders at the base had “no record” of the liaison ever checking procedures, the report said.

Since the accident, multiple agencies — including the Navy; Air Force; respective commands; UTC Aerospace, maker of the propeller; and officials from Lockheed Martin, the aircraft’s manufacturer — have convened to streamline practices and procedures to prevent any more similar catastrophic events, the documents said.

Investigators recommended the joint team’s primary objective be to create a “uniform approach” to overhauling procedures for both Air Force and Navy C-130T blades.

“WR-ALC plans to upgrade and improve their … process[es],” which will include the use of additional robotics, automation, and a wider scope of what’s inspected, the investigation said.

That includes more refined paperwork filings into “one consolidated electronic document identifying all defects and corrective actions,” it said.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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5 Missing, 2 Found After F/A-18 Fighter, Refueling Tanker Crash Off Japan

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TOKYO — A Marine refueling plane and a fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan’s southwestern coast after colliding early Thursday, and rescuers found two of the seven crew members, one of them in stable condition, officials said.

The U.S. Marine Corps said that the 2 a.m. crash involved an F/A-18 fighter jet and a KC-130 refueling aircraft during regular refueling training after the planes took off from their base in Iwakuni, near Hiroshima in western Japan.

The crash took place 320 kilometers (200 miles) off the coast, according to the U.S. military. Japanese officials said it occurred closer to the coast, about 100 kilometers (60 miles), and that’s where the search and rescue mission found two crew members.

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The two aircraft were carrying seven crew members in total, two in the F/A-18 and five others in the KC-130, when they collided and crashed into the sea south of the Muroto Cape on Shikoku island in southwestern Japan. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

The Maritime Self-Defense Force, which dispatched aircraft and vessels to join in the search operation, said Japanese rescuers found one of the crew from the fighter jet in stable condition. The Marines said that the rescued crew was taken to a hospital on the base in Iwakuni, but did not provide any other details.

Details of the second crew, including his or her condition, were unknown immediately.

The crash is the latest in recent series of accidents involving the U.S. military deployed to and near Japan.

Last month, a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea southwest of Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, though its two pilots were rescued safely. In mid-October, a MH-60 Seahawk also belonging to the Ronald Reagan crashed off the Philippine Sea shortly after takeoff, causing non-fatal injuries to a dozen sailors.

More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan under the bilateral security pact.

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Air Force Failed to Forward Gunman’s Fingerprints 4 Times: IG

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Early on in his Air Force career, Devin P. Kelley was red-flagged: he often failed to pay attention to directions and orders, and sometimes, he disobeyed them entirely. He was in the service barely a year when the Air Force Office of Special Investigations opened an inquiry into his involvement in his own stepson’s assault.

That investigation was the first opportunity the service had to submit Kelley’s fingerprints to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. But the service failed to do so. Three more opportunities to forward the airman’s fingerprints along to authorities — a move that may have prevented him from purchasing firearms — presented themselves, but it never happened, according to a report released Friday by the Defense Department Inspector General.

On Nov. 5, 2017, Kelley, wearing black tactical gear and armed with a Ruger AR-556 semiautomatic rifle, entered First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and started shooting congregants during a church service. When the shooting was over, 26 people were dead and 22 wounded. He later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein directed OSI and Security Forces officials to conduct reviews of all airmen with “reportable offenses” dating back to 2002 following the shooting. Two task forces of 30 members from each organization reviewed the action, which officials said at the time could result in a review of some 60,000 records.

The review was completed in late Dec. 2017, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said Friday. It had “generated 21 recommendations to correct deficiencies in criminal history reporting,” she said in a statement. Twenty “of the 21 recommendations have already been completed and the remaining recommendation, primarily focused on enhancing efficiency, will be completed in July,” she said. Stefanek said some of the reviews searched dated back to 1998.

The DoDIG said the other services are following similar review processes.

According to multiple witnesses, including friends, former girlfriends, family, historical records and video, Kelley was prone to being abusive and violent. There were instances of sexual assault, according to the 138-page DoDIG report, multiple letters of reprimand, failure to obey lawful orders and orders from his chain of command to seek counseling.

Kelley was discharged from the Air Force in 2014 after serving four years, spending six months of his enlistment in confinement. He was discharged after he was convicted of assault — a crime that should have forced the Air Force to submit Kelley’s fingerprints to the federal government — the fourth opportunity it had — according to the OIG.

“Because of that conviction, the Air Force should have sent his fingerprints and final disposition report to the FBI, which should have prevented him from legally buying a gun,” the DoD Inspector General said. “However, the Air Force did not submit his fingerprints or a final disposition report documenting his conviction to the FBI for inclusion in its criminal history databases, which allowed him to purchase the weapons he used in the shooting.”

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“On four occasions, Kelley purchased firearms from stores that were federal firearms licensees and completed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Form 4473, which is required to obtain a firearm license,” the investigation said.

Striking his loved ones

Kelley graduated from basic military training in January 2010. He received orders to the 316th Training Squadron, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, to attend technical school to become a network intelligence analyst, according to his service records.

Poor performance on four tests, as well as an inability to meet academic standards caused him to fail out of the training. He then was transferred to technical training at Fort Lee, Virginia, to become a traffic management specialist. Shortly thereafter, he began dating Tessa Brennaman, whom he previously knew from his hometown in New Braunfels, Texas.

According to the year-long IG investigation, Kelley abused both Brennaman and her son. Kelley hit the youngster, who later became his stepson, for the first time in March 2011. He then struck him again two months later after he had married Brennaman. Bone and chest x-rays and multiple emergency room and doctors visits were required to treat the child. On one occasion, physicians treated Brennaman’s son for vomiting during the ordeal, reportedly a skull fracture.

According to court documents provided by the Pentagon last year, Kelley beat a child under the age of 16, “by striking him [with his hands] on the head and body with a force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm.”

As the family had moved to the 49th Logistics Readiness Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, AFOSI Detachment 225 at Holloman opened an investigation on June 9, 2011, for assault on a child, listing Kelley as a suspect based on information provided from a social worker.

“The same day, the AFOSI conducted a subject interview of Kelley and collected his fingerprints,” the DoDIG said. “Submission of Kelley’s fingerprints should have occurred if the detachment received a probable cause determination from the staff judge advocate or other legal advisor that Kelley committed the crimes he was accused of, as required by DoD Instruction (DoDI) 5505.11, ‘Fingerprint Card and Final Disposition Report Submission Requirements,'” investigators wrote.

“We reviewed AFOSI’s investigative documentation and did not find any evidence indicating that a probable cause determination to submit Kelley’s fingerprints to the FBI CJIS Division had occurred.”

Two weeks later, Brennaman told an Air Force reservist that Kelley had physically assaulted her by “grabbing her around the throat, choking her, and throwing her against a wall.”

Leadership at the 49th investigated but “determined no crime had been committed, and there was no evidence of any injuries to either party.” Detachment 225 was notified because of the ongoing child abuse allegation investigation.

Between Sept. 7, 2011, and Feb. 22, 2012, Kelley voluntarily sought psychiatric treatment, and was treated 17 times at the Holloman Mental Health Clinic. During this time, Kelley was prescribed atomoxetine, a cognition-enhancing medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as drugs used to treat inflammation and pain.

Brennaman, now Tessa Kelley, left her home in February, alleging Kelley had abused her again.

“Tessa Kelley got on the telephone and told the first sergeant [at the 49th Security Forces Squadron] that Kelley’s actions caused her to fear for her life,” the DoDIG report said.

Tessa Kelley told the 49th SFS that on Dec. 24, 2011, Kelley “pushed her against a wall and choked her because she had told him that she did not want to visit his family and stated, ‘You better pack your bags or I’ll choke you to the ceiling and pass you out.'” During another argument, Kelley choked her, kicked her in the stomach, and then dragged her by her hair into the bathroom.

“Kelley told her ‘I’m going to water-board you’ and stuck her head directly under the showerhead,” the report said.

On multiple occasions over the course of their relationship, Kelley threatened to choke her if she did not do as he said, and “would slap her, kick her, pull her hair, drag her through their house, and control her.”

Devin Kelley told her if “she ‘said anything to anybody he would bury her in the desert somewhere,'” the report said.

The 49th Security Forces Squadron investigators attempted to interview Kelley on Feb. 17, but Kelley requested a lawyer. “At this time, the 49th Security Forces Squadron did not collect his fingerprints,” the report stated.

“DoD and USAF policies required the submission of a fingerprint card (Federal Document 249 [FD-249], ‘Arrest and Institution Fingerprint Card’) to the FBI CJIS Division when a law enforcement official determined, after coordination with the servicing staff judge advocate or legal advisor, that probable cause existed to believe that the person committed an offense listed in DoDI 5505.11, Enclosure 2.”

Officials said that “although the 49th Security Forces Squadron incident report states that the staff judge advocate was briefed on the investigation, there is no indication that there was a probable cause determination made by either the staff judge advocate or anyone in the 49th Security Forces Squadron.”

It had marked the second opportunity for the service to submit Kelley’s fingerprints to the FBI CJIS Division.

Gun threats, taped confession

After Tessa Kelley issued a no-contact order, Kelley voluntarily entered inpatient care at Peak Behavioral Health Services (PBHS), where he remained until March 8, 2012. He expressed mood swings and severe anxiety. Physicians noted on his report that, “the patient reported feeling suicidal with a plan to shoot himself with a gun after his wife informed him that she was filing assault charges for an altercation that occurred three weeks prior to admission.”

Kelley was then prescribed Strattera for ADHD, Wellbutrin for depression, clonazepam for anxiety and Ambien for insomnia, the report said.

According to the report, staffers observed that Kelley was experience a positive recovery, and he soon left inpatient treatment. But in mid-March, as he and Tessa Kelley attempted to reconcile, Kelley pointed a loaded gun at her. “Tessa Kelley watched as Kelley put one bullet in a .38 Special revolver. Tessa Kelley stated that Kelley then pointed the gun at his own head and pulled the trigger three times. Kelley then pointed the gun at Tessa Kelley and ‘threatened’ her,” the report stated.

The following month, during an argument in the car, Kelley would point a gun at Tessa again, asking, “Do you want to die?”

Kelley confessed in April 2012 to Tessa Kelley he had struck her son. She had convinced him to make a video recording of the confession. Kelley admitted to pushing him down multiple times, striking, slapping his stepson, as well as bruising his face. Kelley said he also shook him on at least two occasions, and admitted some of the abuse stemmed back to when they were dating in New Braunfels in March 2011.

Tessa Kelley later provided the recording of Kelley’s confession to his first sergeant, who handed the recording over to AFOSI Detachment 225.

Days later, Kelley stated he was going to shoot himself and his sergeant. Health officials put him on the “high-risk notification alert list” due to his homicidal and suicidal indicators after he voluntarily sought inpatient treatment. He was at the facility over a month.

While Devin Kelley was in treatment, Tessa Kelley met with investigators. She told them Kelley had recently stated to her, “If the cops show up at my door, I will shoot them.” She added that he he also told her, “My work is so lucky I do not have a shotgun because I would go in there and shoot everyone.”

More opportunities to submit evidence

In June 2012, Kelley’s commander started the process to begin pretrial confinement, based on witness testimony and accrued evidence. Kelley had left the PBHS facility and was considered absent without official leave by his chain of command.

The pre-trial package “included a memorandum stating that Kelley’s commander was ‘convinced’ that Kelley was ‘dangerous and likely to harm someone if released.'”

Kelley was found by El Paso police at a Greyhound bus station and he was taken into Air Force custody and entered pretrial confinement. However, the DoDIG determined that the 49th Security Forces Squadron Confinement Facility either failed to take Kelley’s fingerprints, or they weren’t filed.

“USAF Corrections System policy required the confinement facility personnel to fingerprint Kelley during the in‑processing into the confinement facility and to submit those records to the FBI after sentencing,” the report said. The records and the fingerprints, if they were taken, were “lost,” DoDIG said.

“We do know that Kelley’s fingerprints were not submitted after his sentencing, as required,” the report said.

“Because AFOSI Detachment 225 special agents were in possession of Kelley’s confession, conducted a subject interview, and Kelley was ordered into pretrial confinement, DoD policy required the special agents to collect and submit Kelley’s fingerprints to the FBI CJIS Division. …

This was the third opportunity for the USAF to collect and submit Kelley’s fingerprints to FBI CJIS Division,” the report noted.

Charges

Kelley was charged with five specifications under Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice for assaulting his spouse and their child. Kelley pleaded guilty to two specifications during his general court martial at Holloman in November 2012.

Yet in his pretrial agreement — taking a plea deal before sentencing — three of the five specifications were dropped before Kelley’s sentence was handed down.

The plea deal was orchestrated between Kelley, his attorney, and the convening authority, Lt. Gen Robin Rand, who has since retired.

The jury never saw three charges that were withdrawn and dismissed with prejudice after arraignment. They described the act of assault by unlawfully striking a child on the body with hands between April and June 2011; pointing a loaded firearm at his wife between; and pointing an unloaded firearm in April 2012, according to court documents.

Two other specifications under an additional Article 128 charge also were dismissed: The instances where Kelley pointed a loaded gun and an unloaded gun at Tessa Kelley were withdrawn.

Kelley was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and reduction to an E-1 rank. Again, the Air Force should have submitted his fingerprints to federal authorities.

“According to AFOSI policy, AFOSI Detachment 225 also should have submitted the final disposition report following the court-martial on the fingerprint card or the FBI-Department of Justice Form R-84, ‘Final Disposition Report,’ to the FBI within 15 days of Kelley’s sentencing,” the report said.

The final disposition report for Kelley’s criminal history was the last time the Air Force could provide the records to the FBI. “We determined that this final disposition report was not submitted to the FBI,” DoDIG said.

Kelley’s bad conduct discharge was executed in April 2014. He officially left the service in May.

“The calculation incorporated Kelley’s sentencing date (November 7, 2012), the sentence of 12 months, and credit for his time served in pretrial confinement (5 months and 2 days),” the report said.

Gun purchases

Kelley was able to make the following gun purchases as a result of the Air Force’s negligence in providing evidence to the FBI, according to DoDIG:

February 12, 2012: Kelley purchased a European American Armory Windicator .38 Special revolver from the Holloman Base Exchange. He completed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Forms 4473, “Firearms Transaction Record.” The Holloman Base Exchange completed the required [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] check on the same day. The response provided was that the Federal Firearms License could proceed with the sale.

April 12, 2012: Kelley purchased a Sig Sauer P250, a 9-millimeter, semi-automatic handgun, from the Holloman Base Exchange. Kelley completed the ATF Forms 4473. The Holloman Base Exchange completed the required NICS check on the same day. The response provided from NICS personnel was that the FFL could proceed with the sale.

December 22, 2014: Kelley purchased a Glock Model 19, a 9-millimeter, semi-automatic handgun, from Specialty Sports and Supply, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He completed the ATF Forms 4473 and the store completed the required NICS check on the same day. The response provided was that the FFL could proceed with the sale.

June 26, 2015: Kelley purchased a Ruger GP100, a .357 Magnum, revolver handgun, again from Specialty Sports and Supply in Colorado Springs. He completed the ATF Form 4473 and the store completed the required NICS check on the same day. The response provided was that the FFL could proceed with the sale.

April 7, 2016: Kelley purchased a Ruger AR-556, a 5.56-millimeter, semi-automatic rifle, from Academy Sports and Outdoors (Store No. 41), in San Antonio, Texas. He completed the ATF Form 4473, and the store completed the required NICS check on the same day. The response provided was that the FFL could proceed with the sale.

October 18, 2017: Kelley purchased a Ruger SR22, a .22 caliber, semi-automatic handgun, from Academy Sports and Outdoors (Store No. 46), in Selma, Texas. He completed the ATF Form 4473 and the store completed the required NICS check on the same day. The response provided was that the FFL could proceed with the sale.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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Military Officials Unveil Damage from Powerful Alaska Earthquake

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Last week’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake near Anchorage caused multiple problems at the sprawling Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, including damage to steel frameworks, ceilings, and sprinkler and heating systems, military officials said Friday.

But as with the rest of the earthquake zone, there were no deaths, serious injuries or widespread catastrophic damage.

In fact, Air Force Lt. Col. Jacob Leck, originally from Idaho, expected far worse in his first-ever earthquake, he said Friday during a news briefing on the impact of the Nov. 30 quake that struck 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of Anchorage. Such was the force felt during the quake, which has been followed by thousands of aftershocks.

“I thought for sure that we had significant damage and that it was going to be a catastrophic loss of some facilities,” said Leck, commander of the 773D Civil Engineer Squadron and director of the base emergency operations center. “And to this date, we have not found anything of the magnitude that I ever expected.”

The base was quickly ready to receive aircraft, with three C-130s landing within an hour after the quake, according to officials.

The base is home to two F-22 Raptor fighter squadrons. None of the more than 40 F-22s on base was damaged in the earthquake, JBER spokeswoman Erin Eaton said.

Damage at the base is still being assessed, with a subsurface assessment planned by an airfield pavement evaluation team heading to Alaska from Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, officials said.

Base officials unveiled damage to a swimming pool room in a base fitness building during Friday’s briefing. Ceiling panels were still missing, and the floor near the empty pool was littered with debris. The building is among several that remain closed at the base.

The 123-square-mile (319-square kilometer) base, located on Anchorage’s north side, is home to about 1,000 buildings, plus another 3,200 housing units. Only one household was displaced, and that was because of a water outage.

None of the seven bridges on base was damaged.

The base has provided emotional support to those who need it, said Col. Michael Staples, commander of the 673D Civil Engineering Group. “The chaplain has been very busy,” he said.

The main earthquake damaged structures over a wide swath of the temblor’s impact zone area in Anchorage and beyond, disrupting power and cracking roads.

As of early Friday afternoon, there had been more than 3,100 aftershocks, including 15 with a magnitude of 4.5 and above, said seismologist Natalia Ruppert with the Alaska Earthquake Center.

Anchorage police warned Friday that rockfalls were still occurring along a six-mile stretch of the cliff-lined Seward Highway.

___

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Marine Corps Identifies Pilot Killed in Midair Collision Off Japan

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The Marine Corps has identified one of the pilots killed following a collision Thursday between an F/A-18 Hornet and a KC-130 Hercules off the coast of Japan.

Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard, 28, was pronounced dead after he was found during search and rescue operations off Kochi on Dec. 6, officials said in a release Friday.

Resilard, a Miramar, Florida native, served as an F/A-18 pilot with Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 (VMFA(AW)-242), stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

“The Bats are deeply saddened by the loss of Capt. Jahmar Resilard,” said Lt. Col. James Compton, VMFA(AW)-242 commanding officer. “He was an effective and dedicated leader who cared for his Marines and fellow fighter pilots with passion. His warm and charismatic nature bound us together and we will miss him terribly. We honor his service and his contribution to the Marine Corps and our great nation. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

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Officials said Thursday rescuers have recovered two of the seven crew members involved in the crash, which occurred during routine refueling training around 2:00 a.m. local time.

Five Marines are still missing.

The U.S. 7th Fleet is supporting ongoing search-and-rescue operations with a Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft flying out of Kadena Air Base, Japan.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japanese Coast Guard are also providing assistance, III Marine Expeditionary Force officials said Thursday. That includes Japanese ships, a submarine and helicopters, according to a report Military Times.

Additionally, Air Force pararescue and special tactics airmen with the 353rd Special Operations Group and 320th Special Tactics Squadron out of Kadena are involved in the massive hunt, which includes MC-130 Combat Talons and CV-22 Ospreys, Military Times said.

The Marine aircraft launched from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni early Thursday morning for routine refueling training. The accident occurred about 200 miles off the coast of Japan, officials said.

The other Marine, reportedly one of the F/A-18 pilots as well, is in stable condition, according to Military Times.

— Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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Hearings Postponed for SEALs, Marines Charged in Green Beret’s Death

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NORFOLK — A preliminary hearing for two Virginia Beach-based Navy SEALs and two Marines Raiders charged in connection with the death of an Army Green Beret in Africa in 2017 has been pushed to 2019.

Article 32 hearings, the military’s equivalent to a civilian preliminary court hearing, were originally set for Dec. 10 at Naval Station Norfolk. The Navy did not say why the hearings were pushed back but indicated it expected to hear the case in March.

The Navy has not released the names of those charged. The SEALs are chief petty officers assigned to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, commonly known as SEAL Team 6. The Marines are assigned to Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. One is a staff sergeant and the other is a gunnery sergeant.

Charge sheets accuse the special operators of breaking into Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar’s bedroom in Bamako, Mali, while he was sleeping, restraining him with duct tape and strangling him by placing him in a chokehold. In addition to murder, they have also been charged with involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary.

Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Commander Adm. Charles Rock decided last month to go forward with the charges after he was provided a Naval Criminal Investigative Service report into the death. The purpose of the Article 32 hearings is to consider the charges and to make recommendations on them.

If convicted, all four could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

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Loved Ones Gather to Mourn Airman Killed in Afghanistan

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HOOKSTOWN, Pa. — Friends and family are paying their respects to U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan Elchin at a public memorial service.

The services got underway Thursday afternoon at Impact Christian Church, in Moon Township.

Due to strict military rules, Elchin’s body didn’t return to Beaver County for the service.

Loney Duez, Elchin’s stepfather, tells the Beaver County Times that a local service was important because he had so many friends and family.

Motorcyclists of the Patriot Guard Riders escorted Elchin’s family on Interstate 376 from their home to the church.

Several fire departments were stationed along the route, displaying U.S. flags in tribute.

Elchin was one of three service members who died when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last week. A fourth— Sgt. Jason Mitchell McClary, from Export, Pennsylvania — died this week.

Elchin will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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