Rawl’s Homicide/Suicide Puts 5th Spec. Ops. Group Under Spotlight

[SEE:  It is this “Warrior Mentality” Nonsense That Is Creating the Monsters]

South Bend native and LaSalle High School graduate Jessica Rawls (right) was killed April 13 at her Fort Campbell home during apparent domestic violence incident involving her husband, Army Specialist Rico Rawls Jr. He died Monday. (Photo Courtesy of Jessica Rawls family / April 18, 2012)

Rawls homicide puts 5th Group in spotlight

Sources: Command knew of problems with husband year ago, deployed him anyway

Written by
Philip Grey
Leaf-Chronicle

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Details emerged on Wednesday regarding the Friday the 13th slaying of Army Reservist Spc. Jessica Rawls and subsequent actions by authorities that stand in stark contrast to Army policy.

Spc. Jessica Rawls, mother of three and an information management technology specialist with the 290th Military Police Brigade headquartered in Nashville, died in her Fort Campbell home of gunshot wounds at around 10 p.m. on Friday.

Her husband, Spc. Rico Rawls of 5th Special Forces Group, led police on an 80-mile high-speed chase from Hamilton County, Tenn., into Bartow County, Ga., where he was stopped using spike strips by the Bartow County Sheriffs Office.

Rico Rawls shot himself before being apprehended and died at about 2 p.m. Monday.

Of Jessica Rawls’ three children, only her youngest, 1-year-old Zoey, was at the residence when the shooting occurred, sleeping in an upstairs front bedroom.

Jessica Rawls’ mother, Dawn Sult-Williams of South Bend, Ind., was not notified of her daughter’s death until nearly four days later, according to posts on her mother’s Facebook page and reports from a fellow soldier at Jessica Rawls’ unit and Rawls’ Fort Campbell neighbor and friend Angie Kitchen, an Army spouse who drives a bus for Fort Campbell’s Warrior Transition Battalion.

Sult-Williams posted the following to her friends on Facebook on Tuesday night, along with a Leaf-Chronicle link to the story of Rico Rawls’ death that was published on the website Tuesday evening:

“Yes. It is true. My daughter was murdered Friday night. … Just in case you are wondering why I have said nothing until now … no one bothered to tell us until today… They “couldn’t find my number”? They have her cell phone. It’s under “Mom”!

A subsequent post alleged a lack of action on behalf of 5th Group prior to Friday’s incident:

“Thank you everyone for your support. But as for my son-in-law Rico … He came back from Iraq a different person … We asked, pleaded, and begged for help for him. No one listened. No one listened and they are trying to cover that fact at this point. ….

“I pray that someone will listen now. Especially since he is the 2nd soldier in 5th group to do this in less than one month! I am not angry at Rico … I am angry at the situation, and I am sad … beyond sad …

The pre-Iraq Rico Rawls would not have done this … Someone needs to listen … And act. Or this will continue to happen.”

The other violent incident involving 5th Group soldiers occurred March 18 when Sgt. 1st Class Frederic N. Moses, 26, was shot in a subdivision off Tiny Town Road near Peachers Mill Road in Clarksville. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has charged Sgt. Benjamin Schweitzer with criminal homicide in the case.

Lack of notification

Kitchen, the Rawls’ neighbor at their Fort Campbell housing area, related details of the incident in an interview on Wednesday, and lambasted Fort Campbell law enforcement officials and 5th Group leaders for the late notification to Jessica Rawls’ mother, which was delivered by a phone call.

“Jessica and her family were treated with ultimate disrespect,” Kitchen said. “Rico Rawls’ unit failed the Army Family Covenant.”

Kitchen said she and other neighbors told a plainclothes Army Criminal Investigation Division officer on Friday night that Jessica Rawls was a soldier serving in a Military Police unit in Nashville. According to a soldier of the 290th MP Brigade, who has asked that his name not be used, the unit was not notified of Jessica Rawls’ death until Tuesday morning, prior to notification of Rawls’ mother.

The soldier said he and others in his Reserve unit became worried when Rawls missed weekend drill, and he drove up to Fort Campbell Tuesday to check on her.

“I pulled up and saw the house was boarded up with a tag on it and got really scared,” said the soldier, who is also a family friend of the Rawls’. “There were candles and flowers – graveyard flowers – at the door. I asked a neighbor if she knew what happened. She told me.

“Needless to say, I didn’t take it very well at all.”

History of problems

The soldier related that the MP’s had been called to the Rawls’ residence last year for domestic violence around Easter, months prior to Rico Rawls’ second deployment in August to Iraq as part of 5th Group.

“I know that several times (Jessica) had gone to his chain of command, saying, ‘Look, (Rico) is having problems – numerous problems – and his command didn’t do anything.

“That bothers me. It bothers me that soldiers aren’t being taken care of.

“I can’t help but be extremely p—-d off at (Rico), but the soldier side of me says that soldier wasn’t taken care of like he should have been.”

According to Kitchen, a staff sergeant in Rico Rawls’ chain of command at 5th Group arrived on the scene of the shooting last Friday night and told her the unit had known of the domestic violence problem since April last year.

“I asked why they hadn’t referred them to family advocacy,” Kitchen said. “He looked right at me and said that the command decided to deploy (Rico) instead.”

“Rico and Jessica were willing to go to counseling last year,” Kitchen said. “Instead, they got another deployment … another stress point.”

Nearly as bad as the late notification of Jessica Rawls’ mother, said Kitchen, was a failure to enact the couple’s family care plan, which she said is mandatory for two married soldiers, detailing what to do with children in the event of deployment or an emergency.

“You have to have a dual family-care plan,” said Kitchen. “The unit knew. (Jessica) was deceased. (Rico) was in custody. But for at least four days, their child was in state custody. I don’t know about today.”

For Kitchen, the big question is why – despite being told of Jessica Rawls’ status as a soldier and despite the high likelihood of a family-care plan on file at both units – was notification to Jessica’s mother so late in coming, and done by phone call?

She answered her own question bitterly. “The number one thing was to cover themselves.”

Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg was contacted at 2 p.m. and informed of the allegations, but did not respond before press time beyond Lt. Col. April Olsen’s statement that the notification of Jessica’s death given to her mother by phone was a violation of Army protocol.

Philip Grey, 245-0719

Military affairs reporter

philipgrey@theleafchronicle.com

Israeli Company Receives $24 Million Order for “International Missile Program”

SAN DIEGO, April 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq:KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that its Herley Industries, Inc. subsidiary has received a $24 million purchase order from an international customer for the production and supply of three specialty microwave products for a new missile platform. This order, from an existing customer, is related to a new international missile program and was awarded to Herley’s international division based in Israel.No additional details are being provided due to customer and other sensitivities.

Richard F. Poirier, President of Herley, commented, “We are extremely pleased to win this award and to continue to provide Herley products to this valuable customer.The performance of our Herley operation in Israel continues to build and strengthen our role supporting critical U.S. and international programs.”

Herley Industries, Inc. is a leader in the design, development and manufacture of microwave technology solutions for the defense, aerospace and medical industries worldwide. Based in Woburn MA, Herley has seven manufacturing locations and approximately 1,000 employees. Additional information about the company can be found on the Internet at http://www.herley.com/ .

CIA Seeks Authority To Kill More Yemenis, Even Though It Doesn’t Know Who They Are

CIA seeks to expand Yemen drone campaign

bendbulletin.com

By Greg Miller / The Washington Post

The CIA is seeking authority to expand its covert drone campaign in Yemen by launching strikes against terrorism suspects even when it does not know the identities of those who will be killed, U.S. officials said.

Securing permission to use “signature strikes” would allow the agency to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of suspicious behavior, such as imagery showing militants gathering at known al-Qaida compounds or unloading explosives.

The practice has been a core element of the CIA’s drone program in Pakistan for several years. But Director David Petraeus has requested permission to employ the tactic against the al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen, which has emerged as the most pressing terrorism threat to the United States, officials said.

If approved, the change would probably accelerate a campaign of U.S. airstrikes in Yemen that is already on a record pace, with at least eight attacks in the past four months.

For President Barack Obama, an endorsement of signature strikes would mean a significant, and potentially risky, policy shift. Until now, the administration has placed tight limits on drone operations in Yemen to avoid being drawn into an often murky regional conflict and risk turning militants with local agendas into potential al-Qaida recruits.

A senior Obama administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations, declined to discuss what he described as U.S. “tactics” in Yemen but said that “there is still a very firm emphasis on being surgical and targeting only those who have a direct interest in attacking the United States.”

U.S. officials acknowledge that standard has not always been upheld. Last year, a U.S. drone strike inadvertently killed the American son of Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader. The teenager had never been accused of terrorist activity and was killed in a strike aimed at other militants.

Some U.S. officials have voiced concern that such incidents could become more frequent if the CIA is given the authority to use signature strikes.

“How discriminating can they be?” asked a senior U.S. official familiar with the proposal. Al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen “is joined at the hip” with a local insurgency whose main objective is to oust the country’s government, the official said. “I think there is the potential that we would be perceived as taking sides in a civil war.”

U.S. officials said that the CIA proposal has been presented to the National Security Council and that no decision has been reached.

It is this “Warrior Mentality” Nonsense That Is Creating the Monsters

It is the Spec Ops mentality that is producing these mass-murderers,  baby-killers and corpse desecraters.   Even worse, this indoctrination of a warrior mentality into average men who are soon released from service, straight into the arms of their loving families, is responsible for a national epidemic of suicidal, trigger-happy, over-medicated veterans upon an unsuspecting public.

Special Forces (United States Army)

1st Special Forces Group – Headquartered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

3rd Special Forces Group – Headquartered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

5th Special Forces Group – Headquartered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) – Headquartered at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

10th Special Forces Group – Headquartered at Fort Carson, Colorado

What Is Different About Ft. Carson, Colorado Soldiers?

 

Special Forces Suicides Raise Questions

Associated Press  |  October 12, 2005

DENVER – Chief Warrant Officer William Howell was a 15-year ArmySpecial Forces veteran who had seen combat duty all over the world. Sgt. 1st Class Andre McDaniel was a military accountant. Spc. Jeremy Wilson repaired electronics.

They had little in common, other than having served in Iraq with the 10th Special Forces Group based at Fort Carson, Colo. They did not know each other, and they had vastly different duties.

Each, however, committed suicide shortly after returning home, all within about a 17-month period.

The Army says there appears to be no connection between the men’s overseas service and their deaths, and Army investigators found no “common contributing cause” among the three. The fact they were in the same unit is only a coincidence, Special Operations Command spokeswoman Diane Grant said at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Others are not so sure. Steve Robinson, a former Army Ranger and veterans’ advocate, said he suspects there were problems in the men’s unit – namely, a macho refusal to acknowledge stress and seek help.

“It could be that there’s a climate there that creates the stigma which prevents people from coming forward,” said Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center. “The mentality of this particular group seemed to be `Ignore what you think and feel and keep doing your job and don’t talk to me about that (expletive) combat stress reaction stuff.’”

Special Forces soldiers specialize in what the Army calls “unconventional warfare” – commando raids, search-and-destroy missions, intelligence gathering. They go through specialized psychological screening. They also undergo rigorous physical training and learn survival techniques and other skills, including foreign languages.

Howell, 36, a father of three, shot himself March 14, 2004 – three weeks after returning from Iraq – after hitting and threatening to kill his wife, Laura.

She said she did not see any warning signs until the night he threatened her.

“You look back every day and think what could I have done different. I can’t think of anything,” she said.

She said she did not know of any connection between her husband and the two other soldiers, and did not know them or their families. But she agreed with Robinson that Special Forces soldiers might have a more difficult time than other military personnel overcoming the stigma associated with seeking counseling.

“My husband would probably see getting help as a weakness,” she said.

Protests at Fort Campbell Over Deployment of Wounded Soldier

101st Airborne Division soldier

Suspect in Afghan shooting from U.S. base with troubled past

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.

Soldier suicides, disputes spur probe of Fort Bragg WTU

Reports of soldier suicides, crimes and allegedly wrongful discharges of soldiers from the Army has led to an investigation of a Warrior Transition battalion. Above, an Army Warrior Transition Unit insignia is seen.

ARMY Reports of soldier suicides, crimes and allegedly wrongful discharges of soldiers from the Army has led to an investigation of a Warrior Transition battalion. Above, an Army Warrior Transition Unit insignia is seen.

Fort Bragg’s 18th Airborne Corps commander Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick has called for an investigation of the post’s Warrior Transition Battalion following a number of suicides and domestic violence cases, according to the Army Times.

This investigation comes after six suicides and 25 domestic disputes were reported at the North Carolina base over a five-week span, the Times reported, and an emotional Feb. 15 meeting between a dozen wounded soldiers, spouses and others. Those who attended the meeting complained of alleged overmedication and lack of care of soldiers in the transition battalion, the Army Times reported.

Col. Maggie Dunn, 18th Airborne Corps’ inspector general, will conduct the investigation, looking into the policies and procedures of the Warrior Transition Battalion, the Army Times reported.

Brigade that posed with dead Afghan bombers showed signs of trouble

[This brigade was working under extreme mental duress after multiple deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, just like the troubled brigade which  produced the man or men responsible for the slaughter of 17 Afghanis  in March (SEE: Afghan Shooter Said To Be Suffering Traumatic Shock, a.k.a., “Battle Fatigue”).  

 The deep visceral resentment being felt because of this Pentagon policy which keeps men separated from their families often reveals itself in the form of dehumanized soldiers who come to see "the enemy" as something less than human.  Anger at the Army's breech of promise for forcing multiple deployments upon them may be acted-out in murderous rampages or in acts of human desecration, with the intention of embarrassing the Army whenever the evidence trail which they are leaving is exposed to the media.  Whenever "professional" soldiers repeatedly trash religious artifacts and desecrate the dead it demonstrates a common attitude which must arise from a common source--from their training.  These rampaging soldiers and the idiots who create photographic evidence of their behaviors are really screaming-out to the Army, that something bad is wrong and then leaving the hard evidence to prove it.  

The hard truth remains that the US Army is supposed to represent "the best of the best," defending America's ideals, but, over and over it shows the world this kind of primitive behavior instead.  The image that is being slowly defined in the media is the brutal, bestial side of the American Republic, which we have so far, managed to keep hidden from most of the world.  

The fact remains that the longer we remain in a state of perpetual war, the more our inhumanity is exposed.  Beliefs in "American exceptionalism," as the basis of the military philosophy inculcated in successive waves of trainees, has to come-out everyday on the battlefield, whenever soldiers see common Afghans daring to shoot at Americans.]

Brigade that posed with dead Afghan bombers showed signs of trouble

Christian Science Monitor

Newly published photos show US soldiers posing with dead Afghan insurgents, trophy-like. In 2009, before that brigade had left for Afghanistan, its commander was uneasy.

By Anna Mulrine, Staff Writer

Soldiers from 4th Brigade, 82nd Airborne division are silhouetted as they walk during a mission in the Maiwand district of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan this month. Some troops from the brigade posed for pictures with dead Afghan insurgents in 2010.

Baz Ratner/Reuters

WASHINGTON

Col. Brian Drinkwine had an inkling of trouble even before his 4th brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division left for Afghanistan.

Originally slated to go to Iraq, the brigade received a change in orders: become badly-needed mentors for Afghan security forces. At the time, the brigade was the largest single Army unit ever given the specific mission of training Afghan troops, a mission that senior Pentagon officials acknowledged had too few resources and too little focus.

The troops of the 4th were less than enthusiastic, said Colonel Drinkwine in a June 2009 interview.

“I cannot say there wasn’t some initial disappointment when we learned that’s what we would be doing,” he said, suggesting that his troops were concerned by the notorious corruption in Afghanistan.

He predicted confusion and uncertainty on the battlefield. “When I was young, I had a jeep. You could look under the hood and know what’s going on, how it all works,” he said. The tour for his brigade in the months to come would not be like that, he acknowledged.

Now, the Los Angeles Times has published photos taken in 2010 of members of that brigade posing with the body parts of insurgent bombers who had blown themselves up. The news raises questions about the tensions between the rigors of war for soldiers on multiple deployments and the possible breakdown of leadership within the brigade run by Drinkwine, a former division one hockey goalie at West Point.

Command climate becomes increasingly important in the face of the stress of multiple deployments, as troops of the 4th experienced, says Christopher Swift, fellow at the University of Virginia’s Center for National Security Law. Failures in good order and discipline – such US soldiers posing with enemy body parts – can point to “failure of command responsibility,” Dr. Swift adds, “rather than a fundamental pathology on the part of soldiers.”

Failure of leadership has been a recurring theme among US forces in Afghanistan this year.

  • In January, it came to light that Marines – including a squad leader – had urinated on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters, videotaping the incident for posterity.
  • This was followed closely by charges of insensitivity and possible leadership failure after US service members burned Qurans, sparking a week of riots and the death of six US troops.
  • In March came a shooting rampage by a US soldier that left 17 Afghan civilians dead.

But he also said the photos represented “a breakdown in leadership and discipline that he believed compromised the safety of the troops.”

Revelations of the photographs had senior defense officials once again promising an investigation “that could lead to disciplinary measures.” Said Pentagon spokesman George Little: “Anyone found responsible for this inhuman conduct will be held accountable in accordance with our military justice system.”

But critics point out that the photographs are two years old, yet no disciplinary action has been taken in the interim, even though the names of most of the soldiers who participated in the photographs are known, according to the Times.

Historically, the US military has chosen not to hold commanders responsible for the actions of “renegade” troops. The trial earlier this year of a Marine charged with crimes for the murder of two dozen Iraqi civilians in Haditha resulted in six Marines who had their cases dropped, and one found not guilty. A low-ranking officer, Capt. Randy Stone, was initially charged with dereliction of duty and violating a lawful order, but these charges, too, were dropped.

In the notorious case of Abu Ghraib, the highest ranking officer to be brought up on charges, Col.Thomas Pappas, was relieved of his command for allowing military dogs to be present during interrogations or Iraqi prisoners. Lt. Col. Steven Jordan was acquitted of all prisoner mistreatment charges. The remainder of those who faced charges were low-ranking enlisted soldiers, who received sentences that ranged from three months of hard labor to 10 years in prison.

Senior US military officials overwhelmingly tend to stress instead that the actions were those of a few bad apples. In the statement released on the heels of this latest scandal, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta did not veer from this approach. “These images by no means represent the values or professionalism of the vast majority of US troops serving in Afghanistan today,” wrote Mr. Little on Secretary Panetta’s behalf.