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March 25, 2013

News Briefs March 25, 2013

Marines ID gunman, two victims in U.S. base shooting

A U.S. Marine who shot two of his colleagues to death and then killed himself was a tactics instructor at a school that tests Marines who want to become officers, military officials said Saturday.

Sgt. Eusebio Lopez, 25, gunned down 19-year-old Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata and Cpl. Jacob Wooley, 23, March 21 inside barracks at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., south of Washington, D.C. Other than to say the three Marines worked together at the school, military officials have not described their relationship or released a motive for the shooting.

Lopez was a teacher whose specialty was machine gunner. He joined the corps in May 2006 and deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Castromata was a warehouse clerk who had been in the Marines since December 2011. Wooley was a field radio operator. He joined the Marines in February 2010.

Lopez was an instructor at officer candidates school, known for its grueling 10-week program that evaluates Marines on physical stamina, intelligence and leadership. The candidates must complete obstacle courses, hikes in full combat gear and take classes on navigation and tactics that help them in the field, according to the school’s website.

Lopez’s great-grandfather, also Eusebio Lopez, said the Marines contacted their family on Friday night.

They told us they were investigating more, and they’d let us know. He wasn’t the type to do stuff like that, said Lopez, 81. AP

U.S. Navy: deployment of ship, sub canceled

U.S. Navy officials say deployments of a guided missile frigate and of a submarine have been canceled because of spending cuts known as sequestration.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet says the Secretary of Defense has approved the cancellations of deployments planned next month for the San Diego-based USS Rentz and USS Jefferson City.

The office says the San Diego-based USS Thach will also cut short its current deployment and return home in April.

San Diego television station NBC7 says the Thach left San Diego on Jan. 8 for what was scheduled to be a six-month deployment in Central America, but the ship is now due to return home in April.

The station says the ship and its 220 sailor have been targeting drug traffickers in Central America. AP

Boeing to lay off 800 in Washington

Boeing is planning to lay off about 800 workers in the Puget Sound area of Washington by the end of the year.

The company said March 22 it will cut another 1,200 to 1,500 jobs through attrition and other means.

The Daily Herald newspaper reports the job cuts will be mostly from the 747 and 787 jet programs in Everett, Wash. The company says production rates on those airplanes will not be affected.

Boeing has not issued layoff notices yet. The company has contacted the local district of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, which represents most workers who will be laid off.

The company also has moved 500 workers to other parts of the company. AP

U.S. military says 28 Guantanamo prisoners now on hunger strike; three in hospital for dehydration

The U.S. military says a hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay prison has grown to include at least 28 prisoners.

A prison spokesman says 28 men held at the U.S. base in Cuba meet the militaryís definition of a hunger striker. Navy Capt. Robert Durand said Monday that 10 of those men are being force-fed liquid nutrients to prevent dangerous weight loss. Three hunger strikers are at the hospital being treated for dehydration.

Defense lawyers say prisoners began the strike began on Feb. 6 to protest what they say are more intrusive searches of their cells and of their indefinite confinement. The lawyers say the strike involves most of the 166 men held at Guantanamo.

A Red Cross delegation is visiting Guantanamo this week. AP

Georgia Museum of Aviation cutting 1/3 of planes

The Museum of Aviation in Warner Robbins is eliminating about one-third of its collection.

Director Ken Emery said the museum is getting rid of 29 planes and three missiles. He said the museum didn’t have enough personnel to maintain all aircraft after Air Force personnel cuts in 2011 eliminated eight civilian positions at the museum.

He told The Macon Telegraph that it marks the first cutback in the museum’s 29-year history, but it’s a matter of preserving quality versus quantity.
Eight planes and one missile are already gone. Others are being disassembled. Some will be scrapped, some sent to private museums, and others sent to an Air Force storage facility in Arizona.

Some of the planes have been displayed outside and have deteriorated. Emery said the plane he hates to see go the most is the B-52 Stratofortress, a Cold War icon and one of the largest planes at the museum. He said the hull has rusted through underneath, and repairing it would be expensive.

Even if I were to invest a whole lot of money and put it in good condition, it is still sitting outside, he said.

Another of planes being removed is an EC-135 Stratotanker used by Gov. Norman Schwartzkopf in Desert Storm.

A member of the museum board, Houston County Commissioner Tom McMichael, said the museum had two models of the same plane in some cases, and downsizing is the right move.

Emery said the downsizing will free up space to move other planes indoors that the museum considers more significant, and it should put the museum in a position to acquire prized aircraft. AP




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