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The sailor behind the Pearl Harbor shooting reportedly came from a troubled submarine
The troubled 22-year-old Pearl Harbor sailor identified as shooting three shipyard workers Wednesday and then killing himself may have come from a troubled ship.
Gabriel Romero, a sailor on the submarine USS Columbia, fatally shot two civilian workers and wounded a third while the Los Angeles-class vessel is in Dry Dock 2 for a two-year overhaul, according to The Associated Press and other sources.
Romero "opened fire on shipyard personnel with his M-4 service rifle and then turned his M9 service pistol on himself," Fox News Pentagon reporter Lucas Tomlinson reported, citing a preliminary incident report.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam was not able to provide information Thursday on a report that multiple suicides have occurred on the Columbia.
Hawaii News Now said Romero was undergoing disciplinary review and was enrolled in anger management classes.
Questions have arisen as to how a sailor entrusted to be on sensitive submarine duty and with weapons as part of a dry-dock security detail could have fired on shipyard workers.
Bryan Clark, a former submariner now with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said submariners don't go through a special psychological screening, but they do get annual physicals where problems can be observed.
"And then also your crewmates will watch you very closely because you are in a very small crew in a very confined space," Clark said.
Normally, if a submariner is having emotional problems, "it would have been noticed by somebody on the crew generally, or it would have been noticed in their annual physical" and addressed, he said.
Military officials and the FBI are expected to hold a news conference this morning to provide the names of the deceased after next of kin were notified.
Tara Kapoi told The Associated Press that her 30-year-old husband, Vincent Kapoi Jr., was one of those killed. She said he worked at the shipyard and grew up in Waianae. "We don't know what happened," she said Thursday.
The couple married April 12, according to a Facebook post.
A third man, 36, who was shot was taken to The Queen's Medical Center and was listed in stable condition Thursday morning.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam was put on lockdown after the gunfire as military security forces as well as multiple law enforcement agencies and emergency medical responders arrived on scene.
The 2:30 p.m. shooting occurred in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, which has its own secured "controlled industrial area." Sources said the shooting took place not at the dry dock, but a bit away from it near a couple of buildings.
Some who work on base complained that the text alert system that provides notices of exercises did not not warn of an "active shooter" — even though a lockdown was put into effect.
The shipyard, which has more than 6,000 employees, remained shut down through Thursday with the exception of emergency work. The yard is expected to reopen today.
A statement issued by the White House late Wednesday said, "The President has been briefed on the shooting at Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam in Hawaii and continues to monitor the situation."
The tragedy cast a pall over the upcoming 78th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attack. As more than two dozen Pearl Harbor survivors and World War II veterans have been arriving to red carpet treatment and a hero's welcome, the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center was also closed to incoming visitors Wednesday afternoon as Navy patrol boats loitered offshore.
Capt. Greg Burton, commander of the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, issued a message to shipyard personnel that was posted on Facebook.
Burton said "no words will convey the full measure of sorrow" from the deaths of two workers in the shipyard and wounding of another.
"This loss will be felt throughout our shipyard 'ohana, greater shipyard & (Naval Sea Systems Command) family, submarine force, and the Navy as a whole," Burton said.
"Looking ahead, we will honor the life and legacy of those lost. Even now, as we mourn the loss of members of our 'ohana, please take the opportunity to reconnect with each other and to reinforce and strengthen the bonds with each other. We value each one of you deeply and we are here for you," he said.
Clark, who served on four different submarines during his Navy career, said it's common to have a "topside watch" on a submarine that's armed to protect the ship when in port.
Normally, armed sentries will be on top of the boat and on the pier to check identification. "Depending on your proximity to an outside (harbor) barrier, and depending on the threat situation, you may or may not issue different weapons to your topside watch-standers," Clark said. "So it's not surprising at all that he might have an M-4 and 9 mm."
He added that the military "has had issues in the past where people have committed suicide or shot somebody else with their service weapons, and it's obviously something that we try to be very careful about."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Against a blistering 56 mph wind, an F/A-18F Super Hornet laden with fuel roared off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford and into the brilliant January sky.
Chalk up another step forward for America's newest and most expensive warship.
The Ford has been at sea since Jan. 16, accompanied by Navy test pilots flying a variety of aircraft. They're taking off and landing on the ship's 5 acre flight deck, taking notes and gathering data that will prove valuable for generations of pilots to come.
The Navy calls it aircraft compatibility testing, and the process marks an important new chapter for a first-in-class ship that has seen its share of challenges.
"We're establishing the launch and recovery capabilities for the history of this class, which is pretty amazing," said Capt. J.J. "Yank" Cummings, the Ford's commanding officer. "The crew is extremely proud, and they recognize the historic context of this."
Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.