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‘This is a tragedy for our entire team’ — Alaska airman killed in armed confrontation with police
An Alaska-based airman died on Thursday after local police shot him for brandishing a shotgun in front of them. The airman, 26-year-old Tech Sgt. Gage Southard, was assigned to 673rd Communications Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, base officials said in a statement sent to Task & Purpose.
"The loss of Tech. Sgt. Southard is devastating," said Col. Patricia Csànk, Joint Base Commander. "My deepest condolences and prayers are with Tech. Sgt. Southard's wife and family, and his fellow Airmen. This is a tragedy for our entire team."
According to a dispatch from the Alaska State Police, state troopers responded to a domestic disturbance report at a house in Palmer, Alaska at about 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. When troopers got there, a woman with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries and two children left the house, the dispatch said. The woman told police that Southard was in the garage armed with a shotgun.
Soon after that, Southard drove out of the garage and out of the neighborhood in a Dodge Journey SUV, the dispatch said. Police officers from Wasilla attempted to stop Southard on the Palmer Wasilla Highway, but he drove into a ditch and soon got out of the SUV "brandishing a shotgun," the dispatch said.
Police shot Southard at around 2:50 a.m., according to the dispatch. Despite efforts by first responders to save him, Southard died shortly afterwards at a local hospital. The incident is under investigation by the Alaska State Troopers' General Investigative Unit.
Southard's neighbor said the airman was a very polite man, according to the local news station, KTUU.
"It doesn't make any sense," the anonymous neighbor was reported as saying. "He was always very aware and respectful to his neighbors. He was a gentleman."
Though the Army has yet to actually set an official recruiting goal for this year, leaders are confident they're going to bring in more soldiers than last year.
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, head of Army Recruiting Command, told reporters on Wednesday that the Army was currently 2,226 contracts ahead of where it was in 2019.
"I will just tell you that this time last year we were in the red, and now we're in the green which is — the momentum's there and we see it continuing throughout the end of the year," Muth said, adding that the service hit recruiting numbers in February that haven't been hit during that month since 2014.
KABUL/WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United States and the Taliban will sign an agreement on Feb. 29 at the end of a week long period of violence reduction in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban said on Friday.
Active-duty service members, Reservists and National Guard members often serve side-by-side performing highly skilled and dangerous jobs, such as parachuting, explosives demolition and flight deck operations.
Reservists and Guard members are required to undergo the same training as specialized active-duty troops, and they face the same risks. Yet the extra incentive pay they receive for their work — called hazardous duty incentive pay — is merely a fraction of what their active-duty counterparts receive for performing the same job.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, led by U.S. Rep. Andy Kim, D-3 of Moorestown, are partnering on legislation to correct the inequity. Known as the Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equity Act, the bill seeks to standardize payment of hazardous duty incentive pay for all members of the armed services, including Reserve and National Guard components.
Another Marine was hit with jail time and a bad-conduct discharge in connection with a slew of arrests made last summer over suspicions that members of a California-based infantry battalion were transporting people who'd crossed into the U.S. illegally.
Some Fort Bragg paratroopers who left for the Middle East on a no-notice deployment last month came home Thursday.
About 3,500 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team were sent to Kuwait beginning Jan. 1 as tensions were rising in the region. The first soldiers were in the air within 18 hours of being told to go.