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Entries in AWOL (3)

Sunday
Jun092013

Police Looking for Missing Navy Officer

Siri Stafford/Thinkstock(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) --  Authorities are trying to piece together where a respected Jacksonville, Fla. navy recruiter may have gone after he was reported missing 12 days ago.

Chief Petty Officer Kevin Williams, 39, was first reported missing by his wife, Vanessa, after the couple got into a fight in a mall parking lot on May 28.

In the heat of the argument, Vanessa Williams told ABC News that she walked off in the other direction, but told her husband to stay put.

"I was so mad with him, so I said 'Wait here. I'm not…I don't want to walk with you and argue anymore," she said.

But when she returned to the spot where she left him, Williams was gone, but he left his cell phone behind.

"He's a great dad, a great husband, [he's] very responsible," Vanessa Williams said.

Authorities said that Williams used his ATM card the evening of his disappearance.

While sheriff's deputies said the navy officer was last seen at an apartment complex on May 29, there has been no sign of Williams since.

"At this time, he is AWOL from the United States Navy, which is unusual since his rank is a chief," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Robert Schoonover told ABC News.

While Williams' disappearance was characterized as unusual, police do not suspect foul play.

Meanwhile, Williams' family just wishes he would return home.

"I just wish he would come home. Things just aren't the same without him," his daughter, Journi Williams told ABC News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul292011

Fort Hood Bomb Plot Suspect Arrested with Al Qaeda Magazine

Ben Sklar/Getty Images(KILLEEN, Texas) -- When police searched the hotel room of the AWOL American soldier accused of planning a deadly bombing and shooting spree outside Fort Hood, Texas, between the firearms, ammunition and bomb-making materials, senior law enforcement officials said they also picked up a possible clue to the soldier's motivation -- an article from a jihadi magazine produced by al Qaeda.

The officials told ABC News Private First Class Naser Jason Abdo -- who had been granted conscientious objector status over his Muslim faith --  had apparently stashed in the room an article from the first issue of al Qaeda's Inspire magazine called "How to Build a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom."

In addition to the magazine, one senior U.S. official told ABC News Abdo had also mentioned the name of one of the most high profile leaders of the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), American-born Anwar al-Awlaki.

Abdo made his first appearance in court in Waco, Texas, on Friday where he was charged with the federal crime of possession of a non-registered firearm in addition to previous charges of possession of child pornography and going AWOL from his unit.

Al-Awlaki is considered by some U.S. security officials to be one of the most dangerous men in the world because of his ability to reach out through the Internet to so-called "lone wolf" jihadis who would attempt to carry out attacks on behalf of al Qaeda, but without any actual material support from the terror organization.  Al-Awlaki is believed to have inspired several terror plots in the U.S., from the deadly 2009 massacre at Fort Hood and the bungled Christmas Day airline bombing.

AQAP, a media-savvy affiliate of al Qaeda, has produced six issues of Inspire so far, each featuring praise for martyrs and instructional sections on firearms and explosives for the prospective terrorist.

Abdo, a Muslim soldier who's in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, attempted to leave the military in 2010 after protesting the U.S.'s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In August 2010, he told ABC News he should not have to participate in what he called an "unjust war".

"Any Muslim who knows his religion or maybe takes into account what his religion says can find out very clearly why he should not participate in the U.S. military," Abdo said then.

Days after the Army approved Pfc. Abdo's conscientious objector discharge, his release was put on hold and he was charged with having child pornography on his government-issued computer.  Military investigators had been looking at Abdo's computer files after he made "radical statements," law enforcement sources told ABC News.

After he was told he would face a court martial, Abdo went AWOL from Fort Campbell on July 4.  Though vocal in his protestations against the mission in the Middle East, Abdo did not make any public threats against the military.

But when he was discovered Wednesday, Abdo was apparently in the final planning stages of a deadly attack.  He was caught in part because a wary local gun store owner called police after Abdo visited the store to buy ammunition and gunpowder.  He was acting "suspicious," Guns Galore owner Greg Ebert told ABC News.

"There was clearly something wrong with him," Ebert said.  "We made a decision to call the police and fortunately it worked out."

After his arrest, Abdo admitted he planned to plant two bombs at a local restaurant frequented by Fort Hood soldiers and hoped to gun down any survivors of the dual blast, according to law enforcement documents obtained by ABC News.

According to the documents, military officials believe the incident "was likely isolated to the Fort Hood area and the suspect in custody, and that arrest of the suspect has mitigated any further threats related to this incident."

Abdo's former lawyer, James M. Branum, declined to comment for an ABC News report except to say on Thursday that he hasn't spoken with his client "in a long time."  Abdo now faces federal charges in connection with the alleged plot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar242011

FAA Suspends AWOL Controller at Reagan National Airport

John Foxx/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Aviation Administration suspended an air traffic control supervisor Thursday at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport who went AWOL early Wednesday morning, leaving the control tower silent and forcing pilots of two commercial planes to land on their own.

"I am determined to get to the bottom of this situation for the safety of the traveling public," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement announcing the suspension while the investigation proceeds. The name of the controller was not provided. "As a former airline pilot, I am personally outraged that this controller did not meet his responsibility to help land these two airplanes," he said. "Fortunately, at no point was either plane out of radar contact and our back-up system kicked in to ensure the safe landing of both airplanes."

Federal transportation officials have launched an investigation of the incident and a comprehensive review air traffic controller staffing at airports across the country.

Pilots of an American Airlines and United Airlines plane each said they had been in contact with regional air traffic controllers before being handed off to the Reagan National tower for approach and landing.

But as the planes radioed their requests to land in the nation's capital early Wednesday morning, all they heard was silence.

"American 1900, just so you're aware the tower is apparently not manned," a regional controller told the pilots of one plane, according to radio recordings obtained by ABC News. "So you can expect to go in as an uncontrolled airport."

The pilot executed an airport flyover -- routine aviation procedure -- before landing on his own without help from the ground.

Fifteen minutes later, United flight 628 from Chicago was also unable to contact the Reagan tower.

"The aircraft went in just as an uncontrolled airport," one regional controller says on the recording. "It's happened before though."

The United pilot again treated the airport as unmanned and landed safely.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also looking into the incident, which occurred between midnight and 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

While Reagan National is staffed with multiple air traffic controllers during the day, the overnight shift is managed by just one controller, because there are no departures overnight and few arrivals.

"The reality is that we should probably never have just one controller at a major airport anytime, anywhere," said aviation expert John Nance. "But the fact that it's Washington, DC, obviously accelerates the questions like this."

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took the unusual step late Wednesday of immediately ordering a second air traffic controller at Reagan National Airport on the midnight shift. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio