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December 13, 2013

News Briefs December 13, 2013

Tuskegee airman William Booker dead at 90

William L. Booker, one of the black military aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen, has died at the age of 90.

Booker’s family says he died Nov. 30 at a Kirkland, Wash., nursing home after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Booker served as a navigator and flight engineer on B-25 bombers with the 477th Bombardment Group based at Godman Field, Ky. He flew with all-black crews with pilots trained in Alabama at Tuskegee Institute.

After World War II, he worked for Boeing for 34 years. He served 10 years as president of the local Tuskegee Airmen’s chapter.

Booker is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dolores, two sons, two daughters and grandchildren.
A memorial will be held Dec. 14 at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle. AP

Minn. man accused of Army ID theft

A Minnesota National Guard member and self-described commander of a militia group is accused of stealing classified information from his former military unit at Fort Bragg, N.C.

According to a federal affidavit obtained Dec. 11 by The Associated Press, 25-year-old Keith Michael Novak stole names, Social Security numbers and clearance levels of roughly 400 members of the 82nd Airborne Division to make fake identities for his militia.

Documents also say Novak threatened violence if arrested.

Prosecutors say Novak served with the 82nd Airborne from 2009 to 2012.

Novak is in federal custody. His father’s phone number is unlisted. The federal defender’s office has been assigned the case, but an attorney has not been selected to represent him.

The guard and the Fort Bragg unit say they’ll cooperate with the investigation. AP

House votes to dig up veteran involved in homicide

The House has passed legislation that instructs the Veterans Affairs Department to unearth the remains of an Army veteran buried with military honors after police said he killed an Indianapolis woman and injured three others before taking his own life.

Current law prohibits military burials in national cemeteries for those who commit capital crimes, but it doesn’t make provisions for removing a veteran who is buried in violation of that law.

That’s what happened in the case of Michael LeShawn Anderson. He was buried last year in Michigan’s Fort Custer National Cemetery after police said he fatally shot Alicia Dawn Koehl.

The VA said it found out about the circumstances surrounding Anderson’s death only after he had been buried and it needed authorization from Congress to remedy the mistake. AP

Air Force Academy leader seeks to end spy program

The Air Force Inspector General has been ordered to investigate the case of former Air Force Academy cadet Eric Thomas, who was expelled in April for actions Thomas said were part of his work as a confidential informant for the academy.

The academy’s top general, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, said Dec. 10 the academy will also try to eliminate the need for cadet confidential informants.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported the Air Force employs a system of secret cadet informants to search out misconduct.

The newspaper reported earlier this month that informants are told to deceive classmates, professors and commanders while snapping photos, wearing recording devices and filing secret reports, despite an honor code that bars cadets from lying. AP

Gulf nations to create joint military command

Six Gulf Arab nations wrapped up a summit meeting in Kuwait by agreeing to establish a joint military command, paving the way for tighter security coordination as their regional rival Iran pursues outreach efforts.

The official Kuwait News Agency said Dec. 11 that the military partnership was one of several initiatives agreed by the Gulf Cooperation Council member states.

It gave no details on when the command would be formed, how it would be structured or the extent of its mandate.

Saudi Arabia and other Western-allied Gulf states are wary of Iran’s influence in the region. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week visited four of the six Gulf nations in an effort to improve ties.

The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. AP




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