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Entries in Navy (31)

Thursday
Mar072013

Remains of Two Civil War Sailors Head for Arlington

Original Artwork: Print by Currier & Ives. Photo by MPI/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The remains of two sailors from the Civil War’s USS Monitor arrived at Washington’s Dulles Airport Thursday morning in preparation for their burial Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.  The remains of the two unidentified sailors were found inside the turret of the iconic ironclad ship when it was found in the waters off of Cape Hatteras, N.C., in 2002.

The Union ironclad sank in a storm off the cape on Dec. 31, 1862, nine months after its landmark sea battle with the Confederate ironclad, the CSS Virginia -- previously known as the Merrimack.  The two sailors were among the 16 believed to have perished with the ship when it sank to the ocean floor. Fifty other sailors were able to survive the ship’s sinking.

The Navy plans to bury the two unidentified sailors on the 151st anniversary of its encounter with the Virginia in the Battle of Hampton Roads.  The battle of the ironclads was considered a draw, but the era of wooden ships was over.

For the past decade the Navy has tried to identify the sailors’ remains through genealogical research and forensic work conducted at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii, the same lab that identifies the remains of Americans recovered from the battlefields of Korea and Vietnam.

Though their identities still remain to be determined through DNA analysis, the forensic work determined that both were Caucasians who stood about 5-feet-7, one was in his late teens to early 20s, the other in his 30s.

A year ago, clay models of what they may have looked like were made public after a forensic reconstruction of their skulls.

 

The two flag-draped caskets were transported from Hawaii aboard Delta Airlines flights.  The plane that arrived at Dulles was a connecting flight from Atlanta.

Following military custom and the law, Navy officers and a Navy Ceremonial Guard were on the windswept tarmac as part of the Dignified Transfer to escort the remains to two waiting hearses.

The plane’s passengers remained aboard the aircraft as airport workers made preparations to off-load the caskets from the plane’s cargo hold onto a conveyor belt.  Throughout the Dignified Transfer many of the passengers could be seen peering through the plane’s windows snapping photos with their phones.  The ceremony was also witnessed by people inside the terminal looking out the picture windows by the plane’s  airport gate.

As each casket was moved down the conveyor belt it was greeted by a Navy chaplain and other Navy officers who stood at attention and saluted the remains.

As the chaplain said a brief prayer over each casket, airport workers could be seen bowing their heads in prayer.

Sailors from the Ceremonial Guard then approached to carry solemnly each casket to its hearse.

The burial of the two sailors has generated nationwide interest.  Juan Garcia, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, the senior official on hand for Thursday’s arrival, said the interest is easy to explain.

“This resonates for the Navy, for the Navy’s and for the whole country. Everyone has a stake in this,” he told ABC News.

He described it as a message that carries over to today’s service members.

“The sense of ’thank you, folks,’ for paying the last full measure of devotion, for being willing to raise their right hand, to go into harm’s way.  And fulfilling our promise to bring them home and to lay them to rest properly, even if it takes a century and a half to do so,” Garcia said.

Navy officials have said that these sailors could be the last two Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, a cemetery established during the Civil War on Robert E. Lee’s estate.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec242012

Navy SEAL Commander’s Death Investigated as Possible Suicide

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Logsdon (RELEASED)(WASHINGTON) -- The death of a Navy SEAL commander in Afghanistan is being investigated as a possible suicide, military officials told ABC News on Sunday.

On Saturday, the Pentagon announced the death in Afghanistan of Navy Cmdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa.  Price died Saturday of what a Defense Department press release described as “a non-combat related injury” while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

Price was assigned as the commander of SEAL Team 4, a Naval Special Warfare unit based in Virginia Beach, Va.

The Pentagon release says Price’s death is under investigation.

Two military officials confirm to ABC News that Price’s death is being investigated as a possible suicide.  One of the officials said Price was found on base with an apparent gunshot wound to his person.

SEAL Team 4 is one of the Navy’s eight Special Operations teams that routinely deploy to Afghanistan.  Four are based on the West Coast and four on the East Coast.

The elite SEAL unit commonly referred to as Seal Team 6 is a separate unit.  It is the most well-known of the Navy SEAL units because of its involvement in high-profile missions such as the one that killed Osama bin Laden.

Formally known as DEVGRU, an acronym for Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the unit is still most commonly known by its original name of SEAL Team 6.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct142012

Navy Submarine and Cruiser Collide Off Florida

(NEW YORK) -- Two Navy vessels collided Saturday afternoon off the coast of northeastern Florida, but there were no injuries aboard the submarine and cruiser involved in the collision.

According to a Navy statement the submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765) and the Aegis cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) collided at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET.

The statement adds that there were no injuries aboard either ship and that the submarine’s nuclear powered reactor “was unaffected by this collision.”

The incident is under investigation.

A Navy official says the two ships were participating in a “group sail” along with another vessel.  The three ships were participating in an anti-submarine exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment as part of the strike group for the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman.

The Navy official says that at approximately 3:30 p.m. the bridge watch aboard the San Jacinto saw the submarine Montpelier rise to periscope depth about 100 to 200 yards ahead of them.  The bridge ordered an “all back,” but still collided with the sub.

According to the official, the initial assessment of damage is that there was a complete depressurization of the sonar dome aboard the San Jacinto. Located below the water line of surface warships, sonar domes provide the bulbous shape to the bows of warships.

After the collision the official said the submarine surfaced and communications were established between all the ships on the scene.

The carrier USS Harry S Truman is also there, available to provide assistance.

The two ships involved in the collision are both operating under their own power.

Collisions between Navy submarines and surface warships are rare.

In March, 2009 the submarine USS Hartford suffered severe damage to its Con tower after colliding with the amphibious transport ship USS New Orleans in the Strait of Hormuz.  The subsequent investigation found fault for the collision lay with the commanders aboard the submarine. Several officers and crew aboard the submarine were later disciplined for their roles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun112012

Navy Drone Crashes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, $186 Million Burns

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(DORCHESTER, Md.) -- A U.S. Navy unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) valued at nearly $200 million crashed during a test flight Monday in an unpopulated marshy area of Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  No one was hurt in the crash nor was there any property damage, according to Navy officials.

Known as a Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Demonstrator (BAMS-D), the 44-foot-long drone crashed near Bloodsworth Island in Dorchester, Maryland about 22 miles east of the Patuxent Naval Air Station where it had taken off.   A Navy statement said the crash occurred at 12:11 p.m.

The BAMS-D is a testing version of a jet-powered high altitude aircraft, the Navy’s version of the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, which is designed to provide long-term surveillance and reconnaissance. In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office estimated that the Navy’s batch of 70 BAMS cost $13 billion, more than $186 million each.

The U.S. Coast Guard had set up a safety perimeter around the scene shortly after the crash.  In its statement, the Navy said that “cleanup of the site is underway [and] Navy officials are investigating the cause of the crash.”

Aerial footage of the crash scene taken by local news affiliates showed fires still smoldering in the wreckage.  There was little visible that could identify that what had crashed was a UAV.

The aircraft was one of five aircraft acquired from the Air Force Global Hawk program.  The Navy statement said the UAV has been “developing tactics and doctrine for the employment of high-altitude unmanned patrol aircraft since November 2006. ”

The unmanned craft have been flown in the Middle East region to provide maritime surveillance. The Navy said the BAMS-D provides more than 50 percent of overhead maritime surveillance in the region and “has flown more than 5,500 combat hours in support of combat operations since 2008.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May032012

Mystery Man Who Ran $100M Charity Scam Won't Reveal Identity

Courtesy US Marshals(WASHINGTON) -- The man accused of using a fake identity to set up a bogus Navy Veterans charity (and then pocket millions in donations) has been captured, but authorities still have no idea who he is.

In interviews with investigators, the fugitive who was captured in Portland, Oregon this week has refused to answer questions. His fingerprints yielded no matches. And when handed documents to sign, he scrawls only "X," according to U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott.

"He's not giving up anything," Elliott said. "Nothing. Nada."

As detailed in an ABC News investigation, the mustachioed man was charged in Ohio in 2010 on counts of identity theft, fraud, and money laundering in connection with a bogus charity called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association that raised more than $100 million from unsuspecting donors around the country.

As questions began to swirl about the charity, Thompson abandoned his residence in Florida. He was spotted in a New York City hotel lobby and then he vanished. Over the next two years, authorities believe he lived in Arizona, New Mexico, and near Boston. After a two year manhunt, the U.S. Marshals caught up with him outside a Portland bar. His moustache was gone, he walked with a cane, and was carrying a backpack filled with cash.

When Marshals were handcuffing him, he told them: "It's my right under the U.S. Constitution not to make any statements." Those are the last words he has spoken, Elliott said.

While they have few clues about his identity, investigators say, there are some details emerging about his life on the run. Late Tuesday, when they opened the locker, U.S. Marshals say they found two suitcases filled with $1 million in cash, as well as birth certificates, lists of social security numbers and other public records that authorities believe were intended to help Thompson manufacture new identities.

"It appears he's had numerous names," Elliott said.

The man rented the storage locker in December under the name Alan Lacey.

The same name was on a fake Canadian resident alien card that the fugitive had on him at the time of his capture, according Elliott, who headed a three-member fugitive task force that spent years on the case.

Investigators also now believe he attempted to start another charity while in the Boston area, called the Plymouth Rock Society of Christian Pilgrims. Elliott said investigators believe that when a story about the man known as Thompson appeared on America's Most Wanted, he fled Boston and moved to Portland.

Since his capture, Thompson has been held in the Multnomah County Jail where he is awaiting extradition to Northern Ohio, a move that is expected to occur in the next 72 hours.

Anyone with information regarding "Thompson's" identity is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service for the Northern District of Ohio at: 1-866-4-WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the tip to 847411 (tip411). Tipsters may remain anonymous and a cash reward may be available.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May032012

Feds: We Found Fugitive's $1M Stash

Multnomah County Sheriff's Dept./U.S. Marshals(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Marshals said Wednesday they have found $1 million in cash in a storage locker rented by the recently captured fugitive known as Bobby Thompson.

The man accused of setting up a fake Navy Veterans charity and siphoning away millions of dollars was captured earlier this week by U.S. Marshals in Portland, Oregon, after nearly two years on the run.

Now, the Marshals said they have located a stash of cash in a storage facility rented under the name Alan Lacey. The name was on a fake Canadian identity card that the fugitive had on him at the time of his capture, according to Pete Elliott, the U.S. Marshal in northern Ohio who headed the fugitive task force that spent two years on the case.

The alleged con artist, who mostly went by the name Bobby Thompson, has continued to refuse to reveal his identity after Marshals took him into custody last night, according to the Ohio Attorney General's office.

Investigators are still unsure of the true identity of "Thompson" and will be working on that as well as identifying his alleged ongoing criminal activity. Thompson was transported to the Multnomah County Jail where he will await extradition to Northern Ohio.

As detailed in an ABC News investigation, the mustachioed man known as Thompson was charged in Ohio in 2010 on counts of identity theft, fraud, and money laundering in connection with a bogus charity called the U.S. Navy Veterans Association that raised more than $100 million from unsuspecting donors around the country.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Navy Mom's Surprise Return Caught on Tape

ABC News(CHINO, Calif.) -- After five long months away on duty, Petty Officer First Class Toni Debem decided she could not just make a usual return home to her family, greeting them when her ship docked in California. Instead the mother of two decided to surprise her daughter, Nadia, at a place and time the third-grader would least expect it: right in the middle of library time at Edwin Rhodes Elementary School in Chino, Calif.

"She thinks that she is going to get out of school on Thursday, and she thinks that she's going to drive to San Diego and see the ship pull in because that's what happens usually," Debem told local affiliate KABC of her plan.

Nadia instead got to see her mom two days early, on Tuesday, when Debem, a Navy counselor, walked into the library to surprise her daughter, grabbing her and hugging her from behind. The reunion, in which many "I missed yous" and "I love yous" were exchanged, was all caught on camera.

"My teacher told me that there was going to be cameras, but I thought to do an interview for the school," Nadia told KABC. "I didn't know it was for my mom coming home."

Debem is also the mother of an 18-month-old son.

"I just miss our one-on-one time, and the family outings and going to the zoo and going to the Sequoias and being able to have those funny, silly moments that I've missed out on," Debem said.

Debem was deployed with the Washington-based aircraft carrier USS Stennis.  She is on leave until March 15, when she has to report for duty again.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb102012

Navy Announces USS Gabrielle Giffords

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Navy’s newest ship will be the USS Gabrielle Giffords.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus made the announcement Friday at a Pentagon ceremony, calling Giffords someone whose name is synonymous with courage.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords looked on at the Pentagon as Mabus made the announcement in a public ceremony. Also in attendance at the brief ceremony in the Pentagon Courtyard was Roxana Green, the mother of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. Green was among those killed in last year’s deadly shooting rampage in Tucson that targeted Giffords as she met constituents outside a supermarket. Roxana Green will be the ship’s sponsor.

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Giffords is still recovering from the gunshot wounds to her head that she suffered during last January’s shooting incident. Just two weeks ago she stepped down from Congress.

The ship named Friday for her will be the Navy’s 10th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a new type of ship designed to bring the Navy fighting power into shallow coastal areas. The first two ships in this class were called Freedom and Independence, but since then the conventional practice has been to name the other ships in the class after a city.

Giffords also visited the White House earlier in the day to watch President Obama sign the last piece of legislation she sponsored as a member of Congress. The Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012 was passed late last month and gives law enforcement broader authority to counter illicit drug trafficking on U.S. borders.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan252012

Who Are the Members of Navy SEAL Team Six?

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The world will probably never find out which Navy SEALs rescued two aid workers in Somalia, or who fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

As part of the elite force that takes on the world's most dangerous assignments and took down the world's most wanted terrorist, members of SEAL Team Six are never identified, according to standard procedure, and don't seek personal fame.

American Jessica Buchanan and Danish citizen Poul Hagen Thisted were rescued Tuesday night by a team of SEALs in a raid near Gadaado, Somalia. Buchanan, 32, and Thisted, 60, had been held for three months after being captured by a band of Somalis in October.

So what do we know about the Navy SEALs whose operation involved parachuting into the area and engaging in a firefight with the Somali kidnappers? We know that it was an all-male rescue team, because all SEALs are men.

The average Navy SEAL is about 30 years old, with a bachelors and possibly a masters degree. He is most likely white and may have a wife and children, and is no doubt in perfect physical shape. Top-tier operators, as they're also known, are sometimes described as, without irony, warrior-athletes.

"They have gazelle legs, no waist and a huge upper body configuration and almost a mental block that says, 'I will not fail,'" said Richard Marcinko, the retired Navy SEAL commander who created the elite Team Six in 1980.

But he is also most likely hiding beneath a slightly disheveled exterior. Unlike other Navy SEALs, the members of SEAL Team Six most likely do not appear as clean cut. He probably uses "modified grooming standards" including a beard and longer hair designed to help him blend in when operating overseas.

Despite their nerves of steel and their real-life-action-movie day jobs, the men are nearly always unassuming. "If you've never met a Navy SEAL and you ran into one at a bar, you probably still wouldn't know he's a Navy SEAL," said former SEAL member Howard Wasdin.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan252012

Rescued American Sold Her Belongings to Become Missionary

Danish Refugee Council(NEW YORK) -- Jessica Buchanan, the woman rescued from Somalia bandits by U.S. special forces, is so dedicated to helping others that she sold all of her belongings to become a missionary in Somalia.

Buchanan, 32, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Valley Forge University, a Christian college in Phoenixville, Pa., in 2007. She was a student teacher in Africa before graduating and her romance with the continent began.

Buchanan started as a student teacher at Nairobi's Rosslyn Academy in 2007 because of, "God's call on her life to teach overseas," according to her biography on the school's web site. She student taught first and sixth graders before being hired as a fourth grade teacher in 2008.

Buchanan left the school in 2009. She moved to Hargeisa, Somalia with her Danish husband, Erik Landemalm, who she met in Africa.  

Buchanan, 32, was kidnapped on Oct. 25, 2011, along with her Danish co-worker Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, in Galkayo, Somalia. The two worked together for the Danish Demining Group, a division of the Danish Regugee Council, Buchanan served as a regional education adviser, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Over the three months of her captivity, concern grew about Buchanan's deteriorating health, which was described as possibly "life-threatening" and a, "window of opportunity for mission success" presented itself, according to Pentagon spokesperson George Little.

The two were rescued Wednesday by the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6, the same covert group that successfully carried out the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

Buchanan is doing, "as well as you would expect given what she has gone through," a military official told ABC News.

Buchanan is currently at U.S. Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

According to officials, she is expected to be reunited with her family in the next day or two, however the location of the reunion remained unclear.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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