The Army has reopened an investigation into the 2007 death of Spc. Kamisha Block, which was originally blamed on friendly fire but has since come under heavy scrutiny.
Block's family was originally told the 20-year-old soldier, a member of the 401st Military Police Company, was killed while deployed to Iraq after one gunshot to the chest. But when her body arrived in Texas, there were "five gunshot wounds, including one to the head," according to Stars and Stripes, which first reported the Army was reopening the case.
The family learned that she had been shot by her boyfriend, Staff Sgt. Paul Brandon Norris, Stars and Stripes reports, who killed himself immediately after killing Block. The relationship between the two was not allowed, given Norris' higher rank and that he was still legally married, though going through a divorce at the time.
A friend of Block's, former sergeant with the 57th Military Police Company James Rattigan, told Stars and Stripes that Norris "never beat her per se," but that he was physical. Another sergeant in Block's platoon, David Womack, described Norris as "very aggressive, very quick to scream and yell and get how about stuff that was not that big of a deal."
Rattigan said he told Block's platoon sergeant about the "volatile situation" between Block and Norris, though he reportedly didn't know anything about it.
Three days later, Norris went into Block's room and "ordered her roommate to leave." He then shot Block, and turned to point the gun at her roommate who had opened the door upon hearing gunshots, and shot himself. Womack told Stars and Stripes that in the days following the shooting, it was "eerie how little it was discussed."
Documents obtained by the Block family through a Freedom of Information Act request show that leadership in the platoon knew about a "perceived" relationship between Block and Norris.
A childhood friend of Block's who also joined the Army, Amanda Simmons, said she grew more suspicious about her friend's murder after she spoke a medic who had tried to help Block. The medic "described cutting Block's bulletproof vest from her body," but Simmons knew that had Block been wearing a bulletproof vest, some of her wounds may have been avoided.
"I said, 'Don't lie to me,'" Simmons told Stars and Stripes. "I said, 'I went to her funeral and spoke to her family. Don't disrespect me and don't disrespect her.' It was very awkward."
Chris Grey, spokesman for Army Criminal Investigation Command, told Task & Purpose that the investigation into Block's death was reopened in August 2018. He declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.
Block's sister, Shonta Block, started digging into her sister's case two years ago. She said she wants Army leadership "court-martialed" for failing to stop her sister's murder.
"I want them to have to pay for the decisions they made that hurt other people," she told Stars and Stripes. "And not just my sister, but other women and other soldiers."
U.S. Air Force Col. Jeannie Leavitt, the outgoing commander of the 4th Fighter Wing, pilots an F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft over North Carolina May 29, 2014. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman John Nieves Camacho)
WASHINGTON — Former Air Force and Navy fighter pilots are calling on the military to begin cancer screenings for aviators as young as 30 because of an increase in deaths from the disease that they suspect may be tied to radiation emitted in the cockpit.
"We are dropping like flies in our 50s from aggressive cancers," said retired Air Force Col. Eric Nelson, a former F-15E Strike Eagle weapons officer. He cited prostate and esophageal cancers, lymphoma, and glioblastomas that have struck fellow pilots he knew, commanded or flew with.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.