About Crystal Chatham

Photojournalist and military blogger for The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, Calif. Army brat, aerospace junkie, and photo geek. For more military and Coachella Valley news, follow me on twitter @ChathamPhoto.

‘Wings of Freedom’ Warbirds landing in Palm Springs today

"Witchcraft," a B-24J Liberator, is displayed by The Collings Foundation in Bremerton, Wash. June 19, 2012. Witchcraft, a P-51C, and B-17 will be in Palm Springs Monday, April 22 until Wednesday, April 24 offering walk-through tours and rides. (Photo/Crystal Chatham)

A trio of classic warbirds are headed to Palm Springs this afternoon as The Collings Foundation lands its national Wings of Freedom Tour.

The foundation is flying in a pair of World War II heavy bombers including a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed “Nine O Nine” and a Consolidated B-24J Liberator nicknamed “Witchcraft.” Also on the tour is a P-51C Mustang fighter with dual controls.

The B-24J and P-51C are the last remaining flyable aircraft of their type.

The warbirds are scheduled to land between 12:30 and 1p.m Monday and will be in town through midday Wednesday at Atlantic Aviation, 145 N Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs.

Tours of the aircraft interiors and exteriors cost $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12.

Tours are free for WWII Veterans.

The foundation also offers flights aboard all three aircraft. Flights on either the B-17 or B-24 are $425 per person while P-51 flights are $2,200 for a half hour and $3,200 for a full hour.

The Collings Foundation is a non-profit educational foundation devoted to organizing living history events that allows people to learn more about their heritage and history through direct participation. The Nationwide Wings of Freedom Tour is in its 24th year and visits an average of 110 cities in over 35 states annually.

The Collings Foundation's B-24J Liberator is the last flyable aircraft of its make. After World War II, many of the heavy bombers were scrapped and few remain today. "Witchcraft" is seen here during a tour stop in Bremerton, Wash. last summer. (Photo/Crystal Chatham)

Highway collision with Humvee kills Yucca Valley woman

A High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or "humvee," travels on base to one of three forward operating bases set up during a training exercise at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms on February 21, 2007. (Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun)

The San Bernardino County Coroner’s office today released the name of a woman killed Friday when her vehicle was struck by a military humvee on Highway 62.

Kristin Thrawl, 26, of Yucca Valley was driving a 2010 Ford Focus westbound on Highway 62 in Joshua Tree at 3:30 p.m. when a humvee traveling in the opposite direction crossed the center divider and struck her. Thrawl was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:45 p.m.

The humvee was traveling eastbound along the highway and traveling in the direction of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

Humvee is a common nickname for the military’s HMMWV, or High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. The four-wheel drive utility vehicle comes in multiple body styles and various levels of ballistic plating.

The accident occurred 1 mile east of White Feather Road and is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

No mishap summary has been posted by the military’s Naval Safety Center at this time.

‘Be the hunter, not the hunted’ Marines were told before invading Iraq

Ten years ago, on the eve of war in Iraq in March 2003, 1st Marine Division commanding general then-Maj. Gen James N. Mattis, issued the following message to his Marines. Mattis reminded his Marines, including thousands who deployed from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, to “be the hunter, not the hunted” and “keep your honor clean” as they prepared to cross the Line of Departure from Kuwait into Iraq and commence Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Here is the full text of Mattis’ Message to All Hands:

March 2003

1st Marine Division (REIN)

Commanding General’s Message to All Hands

In 2003, Marines in 1st Marine Division were given this message in the days before war began in Iraq.

For decades, Saddam Hussein has tortured, imprisoned, raped and murdered the Iraqi people; invaded neighboring countries without provocation; and threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction. The time has come to end his reign of terror. On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.

When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight, and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender. While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam’s oppression.

Chemical attack, treachery, and use of the innocent as human shields can be expected, as can other unethical tactics. Take it all in stride. Be the hunter, not the hunted; never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down. Use good judgment and act in the best interests of our Nation.

You are part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.

For the mission’s sake, our country’s sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division’s colors in past battles…. who fought for life and never lost their nerve…. carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy” than a U.S. Marine.

For the mission’s sake, our country’s sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division’s colors in past battles – who fought for life and never lost their nerve – carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy” than a U.S. Marine.

J.N. Mattis

Major General, U.S. Marines

Commanding

Local units involved in 2003′s Invasion of Iraq

A mural in downtown Twentynine Palms commemorates local units and the 1st Marine Division's participation in the 2003 invasion of Baghdad and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thousands of Marines from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center deployed in support of OIF. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

Thousands of Marines from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms deployed for the initial wave of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the U.S. invaded Iraq in the spring of 2003. The following list accounts for all Combat Center units involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom from March-November 2003.

  • Headquarters Company, 7th Marines
  • 1st Battalion, 7th Marines
  • 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines
  • 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines
  • 1st Tank Battalion (Reinforced)
  • 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (Reinforced)
  • 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines
  • 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion (Reinforced)
  • Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 1

Initial source: “U.S. Marines in Iraq, 2003: Basrah, Baghdad and Beyond” published 2007 by the History Division, United States Marine Corps, Washington D.C.

 

Marine dies in bulldozer mishap at training in Twentynine Palms

Marines from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines take cover behind rocks and an amphibious assault vehicle during a simulated firefight at Mojave Viper in February 2007. On Monday, a Marine from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines died during the latest version of the predeployment training program, dubbed Integrated Training Exercise (ITX). Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

A 20-year-old Marine died Monday during a bulldozer mishap while training at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

Private First Class Casey J. Holmes’ unit, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, announced his death today. The Chico, Calif. native was at the Combat Center for the Marine Corps’ new training program called Integrated Training Exercise (ITX).

Cpl. Reece Lodder, Media NCO for Marine Corps Base Hawaii, said Wednesday that Holmes’ death is under investigation by NCIS, which is a standard protocol for Marine deaths.

The Desert Sun confirmed with Combat Center Public Affairs that the event is the same as a Naval Safety Center Marine Corps – On Duty Mishap Summary reported 12 March citing that an E-2 Private First Class died in a bulldozer mishap while participating in ITX.

ITX replaced Enhanced Mojave Viper (EMV) as the Marine Corps’ premiere pre-deployment training program in January. Holmes’ unit is part of the second ITX evolution.

The program is a nearly month-long training workup to build skills from the personal and squad level up to a battalion-wide final exercise. It is the latest incarnation of units’ mandatory pre-deployment training after the mid-2000s Mojave Viper and Enhanced Mojave Viper, which started in 2009.

Holmes, who had not yet been deployed, was trained as a rifleman in the 0311 military occupational specialty (MOS), Lodder said. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in May 2012 and was stationed in Hawaii with 3/3 in October.

His personal decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, which is awarded to personnel in all service branches for active service during wartime. It has inclusive dates for the Korean War, Vietnam War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and since September 11, 2001 for the Global War on Terrorism. Forward deployment is not required to earn the decoration.

He also received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. The medal is awarded to personnel who work in support of the Global War on Terrorism including Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) for 30 days in a row or at least 60 non-consecutive days. It can be earned forward deployed or at a home base for personnel who work in support of the operations. It is awarded “approximately 30 days after they arrive to the Fleet Marine Force,” Lodder said.

This has been a deadly week for military training.

Three Naval aircrew members also died Monday when their EA-6B Prowler jet crashed during a scheduled low-level flight in Washington, the Naval Safety Center reports. They were assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 129 (VAW-129) at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington and went down about 50 miles from Spokane.

Camp Pendleton Marine KIA, first in 2013

A Camp Pendleton Marine was killed in action Friday, the Department of Defense announced today.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan D. Davis, 34, of Kayenta, Ariz., is the first Marine killed in Afghanistan in 2013, and the first Marine KIA since the December 14 death of another Camp Pendleton Marine, Sgt. Michael J. Guillory, 28, of 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion.

Davis was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 32nd Georgian Liaison Team, Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. He was conducting combat operations in Helmand province, the DoD said.

He becomes the third American service member killed in Afghanistan this year. Two soldiers were killed in January, and another died stateside of wounds suffered during a December attack.

 

Entire F-35 fleet grounded – updated

An F-35B Joint Strike Fighter from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) takes off from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., on Thursday, February 21, 2013 launching the squadron's first orientation flight. (Marine Corps photo by Cpl. William Waterstreet / Released)

The Department of Defense grounded the entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet on Friday after a cracked engine blade was found in an F-35A at Edwards Air Force Base. The base is near Palmdale and about 3.5 hours northwest of Palm Springs. All variants of the F-35, including the Marine Corps’ F-35B Lighting II, are affected.

The move comes one day after Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121) held its first operational flight for the F-35B at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz. MCAS Yuma is about three hours southeast of Palm Springs.

In a Marine Corps press release published yesterday, VMFA-121 commander Lt. Col. Jeffrey Scott said Thursday’s flight was a milestone. “This flight was another important and successful milestone in the F-35 program and for the Green Knights of VMFA-121 as we continue to build capability in the squadron and in the Marine Corps,” Scott said.

Scott’s unit became the first operational F-35 squadron when it received its first F-35 aircraft in November and was redesignated; it was previously an F/A-18 Hornet squadron. By late 2013, VMFA-121 is scheduled to have 16 of the F-35B Lightning II strike fighters.

With today’s decision from the Pentagon, VMFA-121′s aircraft are grounded until further notice.

Below is the DoD statement issued this afternoon:

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 103-13
February 22, 2013

F-35 Cautionary Suspension of Flight Operations: F135 Engine Crack

A routine engine inspection revealed a crack on an engine blade of the F135 engine installed in F-35A aircraft AF-2 operating at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Engineering teams are shipping the engine’s turbine module and its associated hardware to Pratt & Whitney’s Engine Facility in Middletown, Conn., to conduct more thorough evaluation and root cause analysis.

As a precautionary measure, all F-35 flight operations have been suspended until the investigation is complete. It is too early to know the fleet-wide impact of the recent finding. The F-35 Joint Program Office is working closely with Pratt & Whitney and Lockheed Martin at all F-35 locations to ensure the integrity of the engine, and to return the fleet safely to flight as soon as possible.

Soldier in finals at Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Palm Springs

Team USA's Dennis Bowsher, who is an Army Spc. and 2012 Olympian, had the lead of his group going into the combined 3km cross-country race and shooting event and finished second for the group during the men's qualifier at the 2013 World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Palm Springs, Calif. on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. During the qualifier, athletes compete in four events including epee fencing, 200mm freestyle swim, and the combined run and shoot. During the finals, show jumping will be added. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

A Fort Carson, Colorado soldier is in the men’s final of the Modern Pentathlon World Cup today in Palm Springs.

Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher, is the only American to advance to today’s finals. He’ll be competing against 2012 Olympic gold medalist David Svoboda of Czech Republic and and bronze medalist Adam Marosi of Hungary. Also in the field is world #1 ranked Aleksender Lesun of Russia.

Team USA's Dennis Bowsher nears the finish line in the combined 3km cross-country race and shooting event to qualify for the finals at the 2013 World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Palm Springs, Calif. on Wednesday. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

During Wednesday’s men’s qualifying round, Bowsher started the final event — a combined run and shoot — in the lead for Qualification Group C. He scored a personal best 1032 in fencing, and 1264 in swimming with a time of 2:08.16. He finished the combined event second with a time of 12:12.85 after only Christopher Patte of France who came in at 12:07.17.

Another service member, Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer, was the top American in Qualification Group A. He finished 14th for the group, but did not make the cut for today’s final.

Bowsher is part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) which provides soldiers with elite-level athletic qualifications to represent the Army while they train and compete. Though Bowsher travels on the competition circuit, he is a soldier first and had to apply for the WCAP after basic combat training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and advanced individual training (AIT) where he became an 88M Motor Transport Operator.

A 2012 London Olympics veteran, Bowsher told The Desert Sun sports reporter Patti Myers he is focused on Rio de Janiero in 2016. “Rio is gonna’ be our main focus and the main push for everything leading up that point,” he said. “Everything I learn from here it’s gonna be something I put in my bag for Rio.”

He and the rest of the finals field started the morning with fencing. The other four events will follow with swimming at 12:25 p.m., horse jumping at 2:35 p.m., and the combined 3km run with shooting between laps tonight at 5:25 p.m. The event’s presentation is scheduled at 5:55 p.m. All events are within walking distance of each other at Palm Springs Stadium and Sunrise Park in Palm Springs.

Two servicemen competing in Modern Pentathlon World Cup

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Temple, Jr. meets with service members and Team USA pentathletes and Olympians Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher (left) and Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer (right) after the opening ceremony of the 2013 World Cup of Modern Pentathlon in Palm Springs, Calif. on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun

A pair of servicemen, both Olympians, are competing in this week’s World Cup of Modern Pentathlon, currently underway in Palm Springs.

Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher and Air Force Reserve Maj. Eli Bremer are set to compete in this week’s event.

They carry on a legacy of service member pentathletes in a list that includes Gen. George S. Patton, who competed in modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Helen Patton, the general’s granddaughter, offered the keynote address at Tuesday’s opening ceremony.

After the opening ceremonies, both Bowsher and Bremer were greeted by retired Army Lt. Gen. Herbert Temple, Jr. who also spoke at the competition’s kickoff. During his speech, Temple challenged all the athletes to “be audacious.”

Throughout the week athletes will compete in five events including epee fencing, 200mm freestyle swim, show jumping, laser shooting, and a 3km cross-country race.

Bowsher, who is stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado, competed for Team USA in London at the 2012 Olympic games and placed 32nd overall with a point total of 5324. He is training for the next 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Bowsher completed Basic Combat Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, and is trained as an Army 88M Motor Transport Operator for his occupational specialty.

He applied for and is now part of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) which offers elite-level athletic training to soldier-athletes in Olympic sports. Soldiers are selected from active duty, Army Reserve, and the National Guard. On the Army WCAP website, the program is described as “A program that provides outstanding Soldier-athletes the support and training to compete and succeed in national and international competitions leading to Olympic and Paralympic Games, while maintaining a professional military career and promoting the U.S. Army to the world.” The program falls under the Army’s Recruiting Command and is an outreach tool to promote a positive image of the Army.

Bremer competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and comes to the Palm Springs event from Colorado Springs. According to his website, Bremer is a 2000 Air Force Academy graduate and competed for the Academy in swimming and fencing. After graduating, he was part of the Air Force’s World Class Athlete Program, which is similar to the Army’s WCAP detailed above. He earned an MBA from University of Colorado in 2006 and co-founded a corporate motivational training company, 5Ring Insight, in 2008. He continues to serve as a reservist and reports to Robins Air Force Base in Georgia when not in Colorado Springs.

Both athletes will compete in the Men’s Qualifying Round on Wednesday at venues located at Sunrise Park in Palm Springs. During the qualifiers, athletes compete in four out of five events with equestrian show jumping left for the finals and mixed relay days only.

Military deaths: December 5, 2012 – February 14, 2013

The following is a listing of military deaths between December 5, 2012 – Feb. 6th. The Debrief‘s last casualty post was December 5. This post is broken into sections including Operation Enduring Freedom deaths as well as other military deaths due to on and off duty mishaps.


Department of Defense announced the following military casualties which occurred during deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

No OEF deaths have been reported by the DoD thus far in February.

20 Jan. 2013: Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, of Plainwell, Mich. died Jan. 20, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device on Dec. 15, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to the 32nd Transportation Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

16 Jan. 2013: Sgt. David J. Chambers, 25, of Hampton, Va., died Jan. 16, in Panjwai District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device while on dismounted patrol.  He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

10 Jan. 2013: Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, of Chester, Va., died Jan. 10, in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when he was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade while on mounted patrol.  He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.

29 Dec 2012: Army Pfc. Markie T. Sims, 20, of Citra, Fla., died Dec. 29 in Panjwal, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 38th Engineer Company, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

• 24 Dec. 2012: Army Sgt. Enrique Mondragon, 23, of The Colony, Texas, died Dec. 24, in Baraki Barak, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by small arms fire while on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany.

• 22 Dec. 2012: Navy Cdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Dec. 22 of a non-combat related injury while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. Price was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit in Virginia Beach, Va.

14 Dec. 2012: Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin E. Lipari, 39, of Baldwin, N.Y., died Dec. 14 in Logar province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to HHC 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Bamberg, Germany. This incident is under investigation.

14 Dec. 2012: Marine Corps Sgt. Michael J. Guillory, 28, of Pearl River, La., died Dec. 14 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif. This incident is under investigation. The Naval Safety Center posted a mishap summary involving a Marine killed during an ATV rollover in Afghanistan on the same day and with the same rank (E-5).

13 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas J. Reid, 26, of Rochester, N.Y., died Dec. 13 in Landstuhl, Germany from wounds suffered on Dec. 9, in Sperwan Village, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  He was assigned to the 53rd Ordnance Company (EOD), 3rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

13 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Nelson D. Trent, 37, of Austin, Texas, died Dec. 13 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 56th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 36th Infantry Division, Fort Worth, Texas.

10 Dec. 2012: Army Staff Sgt. Wesley R. Williams, 25, of New Carlisle, Ohio, died Dec. 10 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

8 Dec. 2012: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., died of combat related injuries suffered Dec. 8, while supporting operations near Kabul, Afghanistan. Checque was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit. Checque was a Navy SEAL and died during a mission to rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, who was abducted by Taliban insurgents, CNN Reports.

As of 10 a.m. EST, Thursday, Feb. 14, U.S. casualties during Operation Enduring Freedom totaled 2,168 including 2,047 in Afghanistan, 118 in other locations, and 3 DoD civilians. 18,255 military personnel have been wounded in action which is an increase of 146 WIA from statistics cited in The Debrief’s previous casualties post last on Wednesday, December 5.


The following on-duty non-OEF related military deaths have been reported for December – present.

15 Jan 2013: (FLORIDA) An Army National Guard Soldier died Jan. 15, from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash. The 20-year-old Soldier was driving a HMMWV on a Florida highway when he lost control of the vehicle while attempting to change lanes and the vehicle overturned. HMMWV is the acronym for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, also known as a “Humvee” tactical vehicle. According to police, the soldier was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the vehicle. He was air evacuated from the crash but died following the medical transport at the hospital.

14 Jan 2013: (MacDill AFB, FL) Air Force Staff Sgt. Emily Elizabeth Clayburn, 29, of Palatine Bridge, N.Y., died in an industrial area accident. She was assigned to 6th Logistic Readiness Squadron, 6th Air Mobility Wing,

09 Jan 2013: (Abilene, TX) Marine Corps E-7 died on 18 Jan from injuries sustained in a multi-vehicle mishap. He was driving a government vehicle.

09 Dec 2012: (Camp Pendleton, CA) Navy E-4 was killed after he was ejected during a HMMWV rollover. HMMWV is the acronym for High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, also known as a “Humvee” tactical vehicle.


The following off-duty military deaths have been reported for December – present. This list includes all deaths and mishap investigations The Debrief has access to, but does not include all PLRs posted by the U.S. Army Combat Readiness / Safety Center.

06 Feb 2013: (Camp Pendleton, CA) Marine Corps E-3 died in a single-vehicle mishap.

05 Feb 2013: (Meridian, MS) Navy E-5 passenger died on 07 Feb from injuries sustained in a single-vehicle mishap.

24 Jan 2013: (Naples, Italy) Navy E-4 died in a multi-vehicle mishap.

20 Jan 2013: (St. Lucie County, FL) Navy E-6 died in an automobile mishap.

20 Jan 2013: (Hawaii) Army soldier Trevor McGurran, 23, of Wahiawa, Hawaii died in a motorcycle accident. He was assigned to 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

20 Jan 2013: (Houston, TX) A 38-year-old Soldier died Jan. 20 from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash while on leave in Houston, Texas. The Soldier was driving his vehicle at a high rate of speed through a construction zone when he lost control, struck a curb, and slammed into a concrete pillar. He was evacuated to a local medical center where he was pronounced deceased.

19 Jan 2013: (Georgia) A 47-year-old Army officer died Jan. 19 from injuries sustained in a single vehicle crash in Georgia. He was driving his vehicle when he lost control in a curve. The vehicle exited the roadway and struck a tree. Seatbelt use has not been reported but initial reports indicate he was ejected from his vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

13 Jan 2013: (Jacksonville, FL) Navy E-5 found deceased in hotel hot tub.

06 Jan 2013: (San Diego, CA) Navy E-4 died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle mishap.

03 Jan 2013: (Newport News, VA) Navy E-5 killed in motorcycle accident involving a tractor-trailer.

27 Dec 2012: (Beaufort, SC) Marine Corps E-4 died in a motorcycle mishap when he was struck head on by another vehicle.

27 Dec 2012: (Wichita, KS) Marine Corps E-3 passenger died in a single-vehicle mishap after the vehicle hit a ditch, went airborne and overturned.

24 Dec 2012: (Pagat Caves, Guam) Navy E-3 drowned while swimming.

19 Dec 2012: (Escondido, CA) Marine Corps E-5 motorcyclist died in a multi-vehicle mishap.

01 Dec 2012: (Mission Bay, CA) Marine Corps E-3 died in a recreational diving mishap.


Sources: Department of Defense, Naval Safety Center, Air Force Safety Center, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center.