The mysterious death of an American soldier in Eastern Europe last month is being investigated by the U.S. Army, while family members remain baffled as to how a night at a casino ended with the 37-year-old Iraq War veteran dead on a sidewalk outside his hotel in Belarus, Fox News reports.
The body of Maj. Kyle Tafel — a native of Smyrna, Georgia, who had served in the Georgia Army National Guard for 17 years — was returned to his family earlier this week in a casket draped with the American flag, and will be buried July 7 at the Georgia National Cemetery.
Tafel, an infantryman, deployed at least once to Iraq, a photograph of him in uniform shows. In a 2005 blog post written by someone who had served with Tafel in Iraqi city of Tikrit, he was described as a “modern day American hero.”
Last month, Tafel had joined his two aunts on a trip to Eastern Europe. One of his aunts was scheduled to compete in a bodybuilding competition in Belarus, which is situated between Poland and Russia, and Tafel’s father suspects that his son had gone on the trip to serve as protection.
“He was there to support her and in a way, I think, to try to protect them,” Kevin Tafel said in an interview with Fox 5. “He knew it was a rough neighborhood.”
On June 12, the trio’s last night in Belarus, Tafel went to a local casino, where he reportedly got into some type of argument that ended with Tafel being escorted by security back to the suite he was sharing with his aunts. The confrontation in the casino had deeply unnerved Tafel, who, according to his father, told his aunts that his antagonists “were out for blood.”
“Out of fear, they barricaded the door so nobody could get in or out,” Tafel told Fox 5.
What happened next remains a mystery. Tafel’s aunts were apparently woken up three hours later to police informing them that their nephew’s body had been found on the sidewalk below their 10th floor suite. Tafel’s father believes his son was murdered — “tossed off the roof or the balcony.”
As of July 5, Kevin Tafel had not contacted authorities in Belarus, nor had they contacted him, according to Fox 5. But he’s not eager to hear what they have to say.
“I have not asked any questions, I have not received any answers,” he said. “All the answers in the world is not going to bring Kyle back.”
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.