Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

On Post Shooting at Ft Bragg, Officer shot during formation, more casualties of Untreated PTSD

The Shooter- Ricky Elder, Ranger- PTSD

Stars and Stripes July 15, 2012

In October 2006, Elder deployed to Iraq. Nine months later, medical records show, he was working as a gunner on a Humvee when it was hit by a roadside bomb. The explosion threw Elder out of the turret, causing him to lose consciousness momentarily. His buddy died in the blast.

According to medical documents, the doctors who examined the then 22-year-old Elder shortly after the blast found that he suffered from post-concussion amnesia, as well as “irritability, dizziness, visual disturbance and ringing in his ears.”

Afterward, at Elder’s request, he was allowed to go to the morgue to see the body of his friend who had died.

“Patient crying heavily. Heard saying in heavy tears, ‘I don’t want to live anymore,’ ” a doctor wrote in a narrative summary.

After he was returned to his room, the summary says, Elder became “instantly agitated after crying on bed” and struck a bulletproof window so hard that it shattered the glass.

Updated 6 pm

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) — One soldier from the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade is dead and two others are wounded following a shooting incident June 28, 2012.

During a unit safety brief a Soldier shot another member of the unit and then turned the weapon on himself. The shooter was injured and is in custody. A third Soldier who was in the area was also slightly wounded in the shooting.

“This is a tragedy for our community. We don’t yet know the reasons for the shooting, but are working with the unit and the affected Families to help them through this difficult period,” said Col. Kevin Arata, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg Public Affairs Officer.

ABC News  June 28, 2012

FORT BRAGG, NC (WTVD) — Fort Bragg law enforcement said it is responding to a shooting incident on-post that occurred at about 3:30 p.m.

Officials urged drivers and pedestrians to avoid the historic district of Fort Bragg until further notice.

The historic district is an area near Knox Street close to the 18th Airborne Headquarters and FORSCOM near the heart of Fort Bragg.

Officials did not immediately release more information. Sources told ABC11 that an officer was shot during a formation. The officer’s condition was not known.

June 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Schofield soldier admits guilt in slaying of contractor in Iraq

William Cole at The Star Advertiser

Garciapagan said Velez started acting strangely several days before the shooting, thinking there were wanted posters with his face and name around the base.

A Schofield Barracks soldier pleaded guilty this week in military court to murdering a civilian contractor in Iraq and was sentenced to 26 years in prison, officials said yesterday.

Spc. Beyshee O. Velez, 32, a medic and three-time Iraq war veteran, was days away from leaving the country when he shot contractor Lucas “Trent” Vinson on Sept. 13, 2009, at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in northern Iraq.

Vinson, 27, worked for the Houston-based company KBR at COB Speicher with his father, Myron “Bugsy” Vinson, and an uncle. KBR provided troops with services such as housing, meals, mail delivery and laundry.

As part of a plea deal, Velez, of Cleveland, was found guilty of the murder of Vinson “by recklessly pointing his loaded M-4 carbine at Mr. Vinson, who died when the weapon discharged,” the 25th Infantry Division said.

The agreement required a sentence not in excess of 28 years in prison, officials said.

Velez, who was with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, also was found guilty of assaulting three other contractors by pointing a loaded weapon at them, and of fleeing apprehension by authorities, the Army said.

Officials said the shooting occurred in a sport utility vehicle on base. Witnesses at a previous hearing testified that Velez then forced a driver out of a 15-passenger van that belonged to KBR and drove erratically at high speed around the sprawling base before getting stuck in a ditch.

The presiding military judge, Lt. Col. Kwasi L. Hawks, also sentenced Velez to a reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, total forfeitures of pay and a dishonorable discharge, the Army said in a news release.

The Army said Velez is confined at the Naval Brig at Ford Island but will be turned over to the Army Corrections Command. A trial was held Tuesday and Wednesday at Wheeler Army Airfield, with sentencing Wednesday, the Army said.

Velez’s civilian attorney, Philip D. Cave, said in February 2010 that an Army mental fitness board found the soldier likely experienced a “short psychotic episode.”

However, an Army mental health board found Velez fit to stand trial, officials previously said.

The shooting occurred at about 8:30 a.m., and a standoff with Velez lasted until about 8 p.m. as he blared the radio, chain-smoked cigarettes and put his M-4 rifle to his head in the van, witnesses and Army officials said.

Col. Thomas Wheatley, a chaplain who was at the scene, had said his gut feeling was that Velez was going to kill himself.

“He said, ‘I’m a medic, I know how to do it,'” Wheatley had testified.

A friend of Velez, Spc. Leo­nel Gar­cia­pa­gan, talked to Velez and was finally able to remove the soldier’s rifle. Gar­cia­pa­gan testified in February that Velez was confused and was not aware of the shooting.

“He wasn’t aware of nothing,” Gar­cia­pa­gan said. “When he talked to me, I figured out his mind wasn’t right.”

Garciapagan said Velez started acting strangely several days before the shooting, thinking there were wanted posters with his face and name around the base.

April 15, 2011 Posted by | Contractor Casualties, Iraq | , , , , , , | Leave a comment