Saturday, July 02, 2011

The fallen and the missing

3 US soldiers serving in Iraq were killed in an attack Wednesday. Today the Defense Dept issued the following release:

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of three soldiers who were supporting Operation New Dawn.
They died June 29 in Badrah, Iraq, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked their unit with indirect fire. They were assigned to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.
Killed were:

Capt. David E. Van Camp, 29, of Wheeling, W.Va.; and

Spc. Robert G. Tenney Jr., 29, Warner Robins, Ga.

More information, including follow-up releases and photos are available at Media representatives can submit queries by emailing To speak directly with a public affairs representative, call 254-449-4023.

The Des Moines Register reports the third US soldier killed in that attack was 27-year-old Capt Matthew G. Nielson who is remembered warmly by friends at Fareway store where he worked from 2001 through 2007. Greg Rooney remembers him as a big fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and says, "He really wasn't that interested in any other sports team." Shelley Hanson (The Intelligencer and the Wheeling News-Register) reports that David VanCamp's neighbors remember him as the kid who played "hockey and basketball in the streets with his friends." Amy Birch remembers, "We all hung out together. We played kickball and had a good time. He was a good-hearted person. It tore me up when I heard. Him being raised around here makes it harder to accept. He was a neighborhood-street kid. He got along with all the neighbors. . . . I've been in and out all day -- I'll just start crying. He was young, he still had a life to live. But he was doing this to help the rest of us." Earl Ray Tomblin is the Governor of West Virginia, his office issued the following today:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today issued the following statement after learning Wheeling native and U.S. Army Captain David Edward Van Camp died on June 29, 2011 from injuries he suffered as a result of an indirect fire attack from insurgent forces in Iraq.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Van Camp," Gov. Tomblin said. "Van Camp was committed to serving his country and he demonstrated valor, even in the face of danger. Joanne and I offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Captain Van Camp. As our nation prepares to recognize our independence, we extend our sincere gratitude to all our military families, especially those who have lost loved ones. We are forever indebted to those who protect America’s freedoms. I ask that all West Virginians keep the Van Camp family and all our military families in their prayers."
Van Camp had been stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas with the 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
He is survived by his wife, Chelsea Van Camp, his parents and extended family.

KCEN TV (link has text and video) notes
Wednesday's deaths "brings the number of Fort Hood casualties in Iraq to six just this week alone. In the month of June, eight Fort Hood soldiers total died in that country." 15 soldiers died in the Iraq War last month. One of them was 20-year-old Spc Dylan Jeffrey Johnson. Manny Gamallo (Tulsa World) reports that a memorial service will be held for Dylan Johnson at Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian, 2:00 p.m., this Wednesday. Gamallo reports:

His family noted that Johnson "had a big heart and a natural gift for bringing humor and light to everyone, even in difficult times. He was an avid skateboarder who went through many pairs of shoes, jeans and bandages in his quest to perfect his talent. He also loved music and played guitar, often accompanying himself with electronic drum sequences he programmed himself."
One talent that emerged during Johnson's high school years was his penchant for cooking.
"Dylan inherited his ability to put together a great meal from scratch from his mother, using a wide variety of ingredients that he found in the kitchen. He and his mother enjoyed cooking meals together, and they tasted so good he had talked of entering a culinary school after his commitment to the Army was completed," the family wrote in his obituary.

If you read the death notices MNF used to issue or the ones USF now sometimes issues, you're familiar with the statement that the death "is under investigation." David Zucchino (Los Angeles Times) reports on an aspect of that:

Air Force Lt. Col. Laura Regan literally lays hands on remains of the dead. For U.S. troops killed in action, she is among the last service members to touch them as she tries to provide families of the fallen with the full truth about their deaths.
As the military's only active duty forensic anthropologist, Regan unravels mysteries borne of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the most common cause of death is not a bullet but a homemade bomb. She uses DNA, fingerprints, tissue analysis and painstaking observation to make positive identifications. Part of her "noble mission," she says, is making sure the remains survivors receive belong to their loved ones — and no one else.
These are the first wars in which every American battlefield death is autopsied — and, since 2004, the first in which every set of American military remains undergoes a CT scan. In previous wars, autopsies on American combat casualties were rare and CT scans were never done.

From the fallen to the missing, David Feith (Wall St. Journal) observes, "Ahmed Altaie and Bowe Bergdahl—one born 1965 in Baghdad, the other two decades later in Hailey, Idaho—wouldn't seem to have much in common. But this weekend, as Americans take to beaches and barbeques to celebrate our independence, Messrs. Altaie and Bergdahl share a unique, practically unknown bond: They are the only two U.S. soldiers currently held captive as prisoners of war."

The following community sites -- plus, Washington Week, Adam vs. the Man and ACLU -- updated last night and today:

Adam vs. The Man is on the permalinks -- both as its own site and also from RT's show page (Ann had noted the showpage this week on her Facebook page when Adam's site was down) and I've added Michael S. Smith's site as well. We'll close with this from the Feminist Majority Foundation:

July 1, 2011
Contact: Annie Shields
Phone: 310.556.2500

Anti-abortion Extremist Convicted of Stalking Doctor

Today, 12 jurors in Charlotte, N.C., found anti-abortion extremist leader Flip Benham guilty of criminally stalking a Charlotte-area physician who performs abortions. This is the second time Benham, who is director of Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, was convicted for conduct that caused a person to fear for their safety or the safety of their family.

"For too long, Benham and his organization have been able to stalk and terrorize abortion providers and their families with impunity," said duVergne Gaines, legal coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation, who attended the 5-day trial. "They have distributed WANTED posters and engaged in other outrageous conduct in an attempt to intimidate doctors out of providing safe, legal abortions for women here in Charlotte," continued Gaines.

"This trial and its outcome are important," said Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "We hope this verdict will encourage other district attorneys and the Department of Justice to prosecute extremists who, like Benham, are terrorizing abortion doctors across the country," continued Spillar.

The Feminist Majority Foundation has been working with Charlotte-area clinics and doctors to stop anti-abortion extremist harassment. "We have been alarmed by the extremists' brazen use of old-West-style WANTED posters to target doctors at their homes and offices," explained Spillar.

Indeed, in key testimony for the prosecution, Charlotte Police Detective Harris presented compelling details of how abortion extremists have murdered doctors who were initially featured on WANTED posters, just as is happening in Charlotte today. "Harris' statements underscore the importance of prosecuting extremists to the full extent of the law in order to prevent threats from escalating to violence," observed Gaines.

In addition to the guilty verdict, the Judge entered an extensive protective order preventing Benham from entering the residential community where the doctor lives, and from coming within 500 feet of the doctor's office and the two women's health clinics where he performs abortions. Additionally, Benham is prevented from contacting in any manner the doctor and his family, and from publishing WANTED posters or other materials, including on his website or online, that reference the doctor or his home or office address. Benham has entered a notice of appeal of the verdict. However the protective order will remain in force until the appeal is heard.

The Feminist Majority Foundation runs the National Clinic Access Project, which is the oldest and largest clinic defense project in the nation - researching and tracking extremist groups, organizing community support for clinics, providing safety assessments, sponsoring litigation to defend clinics, and working with law enforcement to stop violence against abortion providers.

Interviews with duVergne Gaines and Katherine Spillar can be arranged by calling 310 556 2500.


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