Metro-East News

Roger That: Troops feel betrayed by the ‘dumping’ of military dogs

Hundreds of American soldiers have returned to America after forging deep bonds in Iraq and Afghanistan with military dogs who daily guarded their lives and sniffed-out bombs and terrorists. But these veterans, who had hoped to adopt their beloved canines, are now complaining bitterly that these dogs have simply vanished, and the company that took custody of them, K2 Solutions, has no explanation.

The New York Post is reporting that at least 200 military handlers have been told their dogs were secretly dumped out to civilians by K2 Solutions in February 2014, the Post investigation has found.

At least three government workers were also involved and may have taken dogs for themselves. “It’s a scandal that continues to this day, with hundreds of handlers still searching for their dogs — and the Army, the Pentagon and K2 Solutions covering up what happened, and what may still be happening,” the newspaper reported.

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More than two years after his aircraft crashed following an intelligence-gathering mission in Afghanistan, the Army has released the results of an investigation into the death of Sgt. Drew M. Scobie, the only Hawaii National Guard soldier to be killed in fighting in the country, according to Military.com.

Scobie, 25, an aerial sensor operator, was one of three aboard the specialized turboprop RC-12 Guardrail on Jan. 10, 2014, when it likely went into a spin, stall or roll on final approach just under 2 miles from the end of Runway 03 at Bagram Airfield, the Army investigation said. All were killed in the crash.

The spy plane apparently encountered wake turbulence from a much bigger C-17 cargo carrier it was following into Bagram, but the exact cause of the crash likely will never be known.

The RC-12 is an Army version of the Beechcraft C-12 Huron turboprop plane. The Air Force version of that aircraft is the MC-12. In late April 2013, an Air Force MC-12 spy plane commanded by Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, a member of the 906th Air Refueling Squadron, based at Scott, crahsed outside Bagram, killing Cyr and three crew members. An Air Force investigation later determiend the crash was caused by errors committed by pilot Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, the pilot.

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The head of a religious watchdog group says the major general who heads up the Air Force Recruiting Service has reneged on a promise to quickly remove a video in which a Protestant chaplain touts his role as a minister who brought someone to Christ during a deployment to Iraq, according to Military.com.

In the 2-1/2 minute video, Chaplain and Air Force Capt. Christian Williams talks about the chaplaincy being “one of the most rewarding ministries in the world,” serving a pluralistic environment of airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines of different backgrounds and cultures.

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said the video is perfectly fine until it hits the two-minute mark, when Williams departs from talking about serving and counseling troops to celebrating successfully bringing a female airman to Jesus.

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The Veterans Affairs Department has shifted management of its suicide hotline to a director who successfully fixed the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, VA officials said Friday, according to Military Times.

Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said as of last week, the Veterans Crisis Line reports to Matt Eitutis, the Veterans Health Administration's acting director for member services.

According to Gibson, Eitutis repaired the homeless veterans line after a 2014 VA inspector general report found a quarter of its calls went to an answering machine.

“That line now is absolutely humming. You don’t see calls being dropped or sent to voice mail,” Gibson said.

The decision to shift oversight of the suicide line stemmed from dissatisfaction with the pace of improvements to the call center, based in Canandaigua, New York, Gibson said.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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