Steven Matula, brother of Mandy Marie Matula who has been missing from Eden Prairie, Minn., since the early hours of Thursday, May 2, 2013, directing volunteer search efforts along the Mississippi River in Sartell and Rice, Minn., from his mobile headquaters at Northside Park in Sartell on Sunday, May 5.
Facebook: Finding Mandy Matula
Volunteers break between searches for missing woman Mandy Matula on Sunday afternoon in Mississippi County Park between Sartell and Rice. (Photo credit: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)
By Ben Katzner
St. Cloud Times
May 5, 2013
The search for Mandy Matula — the 24-year-old Eden Prairie woman who went missing [Thursday, May 2, 2013] — stretched to St. Cloud and the surrounding areas Sunday, after previous searches yielded few clues about her whereabouts.
Matula has been missing since leaving her family’s home late Wednesday. The man police believe she was last with, 24-year-old David Roe of Victoria, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said Saturday.
Roe shot himself in the head Thursday in the Eden Prairie Police Department’s parking lot after previously agreeing to be questioned by authorities.
Matula’s brother, Steven, said in a Facebook post Saturday that the search stretched down the Interstate Highway 94 corridor in response to information gathered through Roe’s cellphone records. Josh Truax, a friend of Matula’s, led a search party of about 30 people at Mississippi River Park in Sartell. …
Truax began making his way to the St. Cloud area at about 10 a.m. Sunday. He, along with a larger search group, stopped at rest stops and any areas under suspicion along the way to the St. Cloud area. …
Roe was enrolled at St. Cloud State University, Adam Hammer, the university’s director of media relations, confirmed to the St. Cloud Times on Saturday. According to information posted by Steven Matula on the “Finding Mandy Matula” Facebook page, search locations have been dictated by areas where Roe’s cellphone got registered at a cellphone tower, also known as a ping. The night Mandy Matula went missing, Roe’s cellphone had pings leading up to St. Cloud.
“Based on things that we were told, there were some ties to the St. Cloud and Sartell area as well as Maple Grove,” Truax said. “We’ve just been following up with whatever (information) we’ve been privileged with … by the police.” …
Truax urged people in the area to check things such as trash bins and other possible hiding places for clues. The search has been limited to public property and Truax said he believes that if people on private property search their premises, it might be easier to unearth information.
St. Cloud State University softball players Jackie Manrique and Breana Canova were two of about 10 members of the team to participate in the search Sunday. The group found out about Matula’s disappearance as they were wrapping up play Sunday in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament in Rochester.
The news struck a particular chord with the team because Matula had played softball for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs throughout college. …
Important information for residents of Rice, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, and St. Cloud
If you think you saw David Roe or the vehicle in which he was traveling (see images below), please call the Eden Prairie Police Department at (952) 949-6200 to report the information.
Mandy Marie Matula
City of Eden Prairie
May 10, 2013
Public Information Officers
Katie (Beal) Bengtson: 612-743-0291
Joyce Lorenz: 612-220-6612
Eden Prairie, Minn. – Eden Prairie Police continue to actively investigate the whereabouts of 24-year-old Mandy Marie Matula, who has been missing since the evening of May 1.
Over the weekend, Police will continue to work closely with the Stearns County Sheriff’s Department to search targeted areas of the Mississippi River, with assistance from St. Louis County law enforcement teams.
In addition, the Eden Prairie Police Department will continue to conduct targeted searches of specific areas as warranted by the investigation.
To aid those participating in community searches over the weekend, Eden Prairie Police are releasing descriptions of two articles of clothing Matula could possibly have been wearing on the night she disappeared:
Areas of interest in Carver, Wright, Stearns, Sherburne and Benton counties have been established and outlined in maps of targeted search areas where Matula could be located.
To view the search area maps, visit edenprairie.org/searchmap.
Those who live within the targeted search areas, along with all residents of Eden Prairie, are asked to search their own property and neighborhoods, including nearby wooded and open areas.
While searching, Police remind the public to be safe, search only during daylight hours, avoid public roads and be respectful of private property.
Police continue to ask anyone with information on Matula’s whereabouts to call the Eden Prairie Police Department at 952-949-6200.
No further information about the investigation is available at this time. Future updates will be posted at edenprairie.org/missingperson.
Mississippi River County Park (Photo: Amy Ruegemer)
Based on cell phone pings, David Roe, who likely murdered Mandy Matula in Eden Prairie before shooting himself hours later, likely was traveling on Stearns County Road 1 between Sartell and Rice shortly before 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning, May 2, 2013.
The video below, taken late afternoon Sunday, May 12, depicts the terrain along this stretch of road adjacent to the west bank of the Mississippi River in northeast Stearns County, Minnesota.
This afternoon, Amy Ruegemer and I searched a 10-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from the Sartell dam upstream to the Rice bridge. I have a high degree of confidence that no human remains were floating on the surface or washed up on the shoreline. The surface water temperature was 58 degrees F, compared with 51 degrees on Saturday, May 11.
Many members of the public are unaware that the police have issued targeted search areas for Mandy Matula, so the volunteer search organization created “Please Check Your Property” door hangers to alert homeowners that their property is in that target area. Volunteers are needed to distribute door hangers in Eden Prairie, Victoria, Waconia, St. Cloud-Sartell, and surrounding areas in the target zone.
St. Cloud Times
May 17, 2013
The search for Mandy Matula — a 24-year-old Eden Prairie woman who’s been missing for more than two weeks — will continue in the St. Cloud area this weekend.
Matula was last seen when she left her family’s home with David Marshall Roe on May 1. Roe, 24, of Victoria, shot himself in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie City Center on May 2, before he could discuss Matula’s whereabouts with officers. He later died.
St. Cloud State University officials confirmed that Roe was a student there, and cellphone data has shown that Roe was in the St. Cloud area after Matula was believed to have gone missing.
Anyone interested in participating in the search are can meet at Riverside Park in St. Cloud. The search group will be leaving the park to search for Matula at 10 a.m. Organizers ask that those who are participating to arrive between 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m.
Anyone interested in participating in the search is asked to park at a base camp located across from the St. Cloud prison, which is at 2305 Minnesota Blvd. The group will search Riverside Park in St. Cloud. Those interested in helping are asked to meet before 10 a.m. Saturday.
Organizers are reminding those searching to wear bright, weather-appropriate clothing, bring water and to check regularly for wood ticks
Note: The search group will assemble in the area south of the St. Cloud Correctional Facility that shows up as white in the Google satellite image below. It is located across the street from St. Cloud prison visitor parking. Search team coordinator Josh Truax plans to park his silver Chrysler 300 with “Finding Mandy” flyer displayed on the rear window at the entrance to the street that leads to the assembly point.
KMSP-TV Fox 9 (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
May 17, 2013
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – A search warrant filed Tuesday in Hennepin County definitively identifies David Roe as responsible for the death or disappearance of his girlfriend, Mandy Matula.
“Harm has come to Mandy Matula at the hands of David Roe and she has either been injured by David Roe or is involuntarily captive in a place chosen by David Roe,” the filing said.
David Roe’s story
At about 11:15 p.m. on May 2, Roe spoke with Eden Prairie police by phone after learning Matula never returned home the previous night. He gave the following information:
‘Play the last video I took’
At about 1:35 p.m. on May 2, David Roe pulled into the Eden Prairie City Center parking lot, where he agreed to meet with police and give a statement.
Officers saw Roe put a gun to his head. They confronted him, urging him to put the gun down, but Roe shot himself.
A Post-It note was left on the driver’s window, which read, “Play the last video I took for my brother Pat – I love you Pat! 7780″
A cell phone was on the floor of the SUV in plain view. It is presumed the numbers 7780 were the code to unlock his iPhone.
Facts putting blame on Roe
Investigators believe David Roe is responsible for the death or disappearance of Mandy Matula for the following reasons:
Minnesota United volunteers Sara Eklund (left), Milaca, and Amy Ruegemer, St. Stephen, check maps Wednesday, May 22, 2013 as they prepare to talk to area residents in hopes of enlisting their help to find missing Eden Prairie woman Mandy Matula. (Photo: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)
By David Unze
St. Cloud Times
May 23, 2013
Volunteers were out again Wednesday in the St. Cloud area searching for missing Eden Prairie woman Mandy Matula.
Searchers met at Mississippi River County Park and distributed fliers at homes near the Rice bridge on the Mississippi River and in other areas north of Sartell. The fliers were hung on doorknobs at homes and encouraged people to search their land for any sign of Matula, who was last seen when she left her family’s home May 1 with David Marshall Roe.
Roe, 24, shot himself in the parking lot of the Eden Prairie City Center on May 2, before he could discuss Matula’s whereabouts with officers. He later died.
Cellphone data has shown that Roe was in the St. Cloud area after Matula was believed to have gone missing. Roe was a St. Cloud State University student.
Eden Prairie police have identified a swath of land on either side of the Mississippi from just south of Monticello to north of Sartell as an area they would like searched.
The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office has completed a search of the Mississippi River for Matula.
Police have said Matula might have been wearing a sweatshirt with a University of Minnesota-Duluth logo.
Information on St. Cloud-Area Search Saturday
(Edited from post by search coordinator Josh Truax on Finding Mandy Matula Facebook page)
We are meeting at Immaculate Conception Church (130 1st Ave NE, Rice, MN) at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, May 25. Search volunteers will be leaving the church at 10 a.m. We will have an RV in the parking lot with “Find Mandy” posters and plenty of parking available. Rain or shine, the search will continue.
Please wear appropriate clothing, such as jeans, boots, high socks, and the MN United t-shirt or a bright-colored shirt in general.
Safety: We are not liable for any personal injuries or accidents. We will have medical staff on hand, but we ask you to be careful (this includes dogs). Please be aware that we are walking through woods. We would prefer to not have children around, just because of the chance of losing a small child. The terrain will be challenging, and remember we are at this point looking for a body, so the circumstances are not child appropriate.
Eating: Please eat a good breakfast and stay hydrated throughout the day. We will have water available and each person will have a water bottle with them.
Photo update: Search volunteers en route from Eden Prairie to St. Cloud and Rice (Photo credit: Nora Mobarry / Facebook)
Photo update: Search volunteers prepare to head out from the command center at Immaculate Conception Church in Rice (Photo credit: Jodi ‘Brehm’ Reiter / Facebook)
By Jim Maurice
WJON (St. Cloud)
May 22, 2013
RICE – Another local search is being organized for a missing Eden Prairie woman. Volunteers are organizing a search for 24-year-old Mandy Matula for this Saturday.
If you are able to help, you’re asked to meet at the Immaculate Conception Church in Rice at 9:30 a.m. The group will then head to the Blanchard Dam near Royalton. You do not need to sign-up ahead of time.
Matula was last seen with her ex-boyfriend Dave Roe on May 1st. Cell phone towers later registered his cell phone between Sartell and Rice. He shot and killed himself in the Eden Prairie Police Department parking lot before he could be questioned.
KMSP-TV Fox 9 (Minneapolis-St. Paul)
May 23, 2013
ST. CLOUD, Minn. – As the search for Mandy Matula continues, the Hennepin County sheriff’s office confirms they have deputies looking in the St. Cloud, Minn. area.
Sources said those deputies are focusing on parks and waterways in the town of Waite Park, just west of St. Cloud. The focus on that area wasn’t born out of any specific tip or lead – just a random search. …
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call 952-949-6200 …
As of Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at least 2,207 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to iCasualties.org.
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 17,674 U.S. service members have been wounded as of Sept. 30, 2012, according to iCasualties.org.
Air Force Capt. James Michael Steel, 29, Tampa, Fla., died April 3, 2013 in the crash of an F-16 near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.
Army Spc. Wilbel A. Robles-Santa, 25, Juncos, Puerto Rico, died April 6, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while delivering textbooks to children in Zabul, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army Spc. Deflin M. Santos Jr., 24, San Jose, Calif., died April 6, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while delivering textbooks to children in Zabul, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward, 24, Oak Ridge, Tenn., died April 6, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device while delivering textbooks to children in Zabul, Afghanistan. He was a cavalry scout assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 Matthew P. Ruffner, 34, Tafford, Pa., died April 9, 2013 in Pachir Wa Agam District, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed. He was assigned to the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment, 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.
Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jarett M. Yoder, 26, Mohnton, Pa., died April 9, 2013 in Pachir Wa Agam District, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed. He was assigned to the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment, 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard, Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.
Army Pfc. Barrett L. Austin, 20, Easley, S.C., died April 21, 2013 in Landstuhl, Germany, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, April 17. He was assigned to the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard, 32, Selah, Wash., died April 23, 2013 in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy indirect fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Army 1st Lt. Robert J. Hess, 26, Fairfax, Va., died April 23, 2013 in Pul-E-Alam, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy indirect fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Aviation Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.
Air Force Capt. Brandon L. Cyr, 28, Woodbridge, Va., died April 27, 2013 near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of an MC-12 aircraft. He was assigned to the 906th Air Refueling Squadron, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard A. Dickson, 24, Rancho Cordova, Calif., died April 27, 2013 near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of an MC-12 aircraft. He was assigned to the 306th Intelligence Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Daniel N. Fannin, 30, Morehead, Ky., died April 27, 2013 near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of an MC-12 aircraft. He was assigned to the 552nd Operations Support Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
Air Force Capt. Reid K. Nishizuka, 30, Kailua, Hawaii, died April 27, 2013 near Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, in the crash of an MC-12 aircraft. He was assigned to the 427th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif.
5/3/13 update: Army Pfc. Charles P. McClure, 21, Stratford, Okla., died May 2, 2013 in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. He was assigned to 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
5/3/13 update: Army Spc. Trinidad Santiago Jr., 25, San Diego, Calif., died May 2, 2013 in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, of injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. He was assigned to 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
5/3/13 update: Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Michael H. Simpson, 30, San Antonio, Texas, died May 1 in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit on April 27 with an improvised explosive device in Arian, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
5/5/13 update Air Force Tech Sgt. Herman Mackey III, 30, Bakersfield, Calif., died May 3, 2013 near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, in the crash of a KC-135 aircraft. He was assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.
5/5/13 update Air Force Capt. Victoria A. Pinckney, 27, of Palmdale, Calif., died May 3, 2013 near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, in the crash of a KC-135 aircraft. She was assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.
5/5/13 update Air Force Capt. Mark T. Voss, 27, Colorado Springs, Colo., died May 3, 2013 near Chon-Aryk, Kyrgyzstan, in the crash of a KC-135 aircraft. He was assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.
5/6/13 update: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Eric D. Christian, 39, Warwick, N.Y., died May 4, 2013 [in an apparent "insider attack" by a soldier with the Afghan National Army] while conducting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
5/6/13 update: Army Spc. Kevin Cardoza, 19, Mercedes, Texas, died May 4, 2013 in Maiwand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/6/13 update: Army 1st Lt. Brandon J. Landrum, 26, Lawton, Okla., died May 4, 2013 in Maiwand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/6/13 update: Army Spc. Thomas P. Murach, 22, Meridian, Idaho, died May 4, 2013 in Maiwand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/6/13 update: Army Staff Sgt. Francis G. Phillips IV, 28, Meridian, N.Y., died May 4, 2013 in Maiwand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/6/13 update: Army Spc. Brandon J. Prescott, 24, Bend, Ore., died May 4, 2013 in Maiwand, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when his vehicle was attacked by an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/6/13 update: Marine Corps Cpl. David M. Sonka, 23, Parker, Colo., died May 4, 2013 [in an apparent "insider attack" by a soldier with the Afghan National Army] while conducting combat operations in Farah province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
5/17/13 update: Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey C. Baker, 29, Hesperia, Calif., died May 14, 2013 in Sanjaray, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to 766th Ordnance Company, 63rd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, Fort Stewart, Ga.
5/17/13 update: Army Spc. Mitchell K. Daehling, 24, Dalton, Mass., died May 14, 2013 in Sanjaray, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/17/13 update: Army Spc. William J. Gilbert, 24, Hacienda Heights, Calif., died May 14, 2013 in Sanjaray, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/17/13 update: Army Pfc. Cody J. Towse, 21, Elk Ridge, Utah, died May 14, 2013 in Sanjaray, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
5/17/13 update: Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Trenton L. Rhea, 33, Oakley, Kan., died May 15, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after drowning while attempting to cross a body of water during combat operations. He was assigned to the 603rd Military Police Company, 530th Military Police Battalion, 300th Military Police Brigade, 200th Military Police Command, U.S. Army Reserve, Belton, Mo.
5/17/13 update: Army Sgt. Eugene M Aguon, 23, Mangilao, Guam, died May 16, 2013 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Fort Juan Muna, Guam.
5/17/13 update: Army Spc. Dwayne W. Flores, 22, Sinajana, Guam, died May 16, 2013 in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Fort Juan Muna, Guam.
Faces of the Dead
An interactive look at each U.S. service member who died in Afghanistan or Iraq
Maj. Gen. Robert Steel, then-comandant of the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, D.C., and his son, 1st Lt. James Steel, then a 63rd Fighter Squadron student pilot, talk in this file photo. (Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Ian Dean / Air Force Times — file)
By Jeff Schogol
Air Force Times
April 5, 2013
The F-16 pilot killed in an April 3 crash in eastern Afghanistan is the son of retired Maj. Gen. Robert Steel, former commandant of the National War College.
Capt. James Michael Steel, 29, of Tampa, Fla., died in the crash near Bagram Airfield, according to the Defense Department. Steel was assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. …
Steel graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2006, following in the footsteps of his father and other family members.
His father, a fighter pilot, was commandant of the National War College at Fort McNair, Washington D.C., before he retired in 2011. …
Just after 11 p.m. local time April 3, the F-16 lost contact with its wingman and the tower while it was getting ready for final approach to Bagram, said Capt. Natassia Cherne, a spokeswoman for Air Forces Central Command.
“There was no indication of enemy activity at the time of the incident,” Cherne said in an email. “The cause of the accident is still under investigation. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the airman’s family. The loss of our airman will be felt throughout the Air Force.” …
Four Americans killed in Afghanistan (NBCNews.com, April 6, 2013) – The State Department has confirmed that one civilian employee was killed in the eastern Afghanistan region. Meanwhile, three more Americans, all of them U.S. troops, were killed in a separate incident in southern Afghanistan. MSNBC’s Craig Melvin reports. (00:22)
By Ismail Sameem
April 6, 2013
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A car bomb attack killed six people, including three U.S. soldiers and an Afghan doctor, in southern Afghanistan on Saturday and an American civilian died in a separate attack in the east, local and international officials said. …
The American troops were traveling in a convoy of vehicles in Qalat, the capital of Zabul province, when the car bomb exploded. Provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Nasery was unharmed but a local doctor and two foreign civilians also died, according to local and NATO officials. …
In a separate attack in Afghanistan’s east, an American civilian working with the U.S. government was killed during an insurgent attack, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. …
The killings come in the wake of a bloody Taliban assault in the country’s west on Wednesday that killed 44 people in a courtroom in Farah province. The United Nations says civilians are being increasingly targeted in 2013. …
U.S. Black Hawk helicopters arrive at the scene after a NATO helicopter crashed in a field killing two American service members near Gerakhel in the Pachir Agam district of Nangarhar province, eastern Afghanistan, on April 9, 2013. (Photo credit: Rahmat Gul / AP)
By John Newland
April 9, 2013
Two American service members were killed in a helicopter crash Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan, the military said.
A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said Tuesday that there was no enemy activity in the area when the crash occurred and that the cause was under investigation. …
5 service members killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan (MSNBC, May 4, 2013) – MSNBC’s Craig Melvin reports that five U.S. service members were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. (00:28)
By Kiko Itasaka, Jason White and Matthew DeLuca
May 4, 2013
Seven U.S. troops were killed Saturday in two separate incidents in Afghanistan – the second time in the past week that so many American lives were lost in a single day in the war-torn country.
Five were killed in an attack involving an improvised explosive device in the southern part of Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. Kandahar governor’s spokesperson Jawed Faizel said the device was a large roadside bomb.
Two other U.S. troops died after an Afghan National Army soldier turned his weapon on them in what is commonly referred to as a “green on blue” attack [link added], the ISAF said. In addition, the ISAF said another coalition service member died after an insurgent attack in northern Afghanistan, but the nationality was not released.
Nineteen American personnel have died over the past week, including a series of air crashes and the attacks on Saturday. Seven people died when a U.S. civilian cargo plane crashed and exploded shortly after takeoff from Bagram Airfield outside Kabul earlier in the week. [video link added] …
At least 12 killed by suicide bomber in Afghanistan (NBC “Today,” May 16, 2013) – At least six Americans and six Afghan citizens were killed after a convoy carrying two American soldiers and four contractors was targeted by a suicide bomber. NBC’s Atia Abawi reports. (00:51)
By Atia Abawi and Fazal Ahad
May 16, 2013
KABUL, Afghanistan — Six Americans were among at least 15 people killed when a suicide bomber targeted a convoy carrying foreign troops in Kabul on Thursday, NATO sources and local officials said.
The American victims included two soldiers and four civilian contractors, the NATO source added.
Two children were among the Afghan victims, Afghan officials said.
About 40 people were injured in the powerful blast, which took place at around 8 a.m. local time. …
Video and Photos Released in Boston Marathon Bombing Case
|View and download higher resolution images|
More at: http://www.fbi.gov/bostonbombings
Submit tips to: https://bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov
To Provide Tips in the Investigation
If you have visual images, video, and/or details regarding the explosions along the Boston Marathon route and elsewhere, submit them on https://bostonmarathontips.fbi.gov/. No piece of information or detail is too small. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), prompt #3, with information.
Boston Marathon Terrorist Manhunt: Latest News
Police with guns drawn search for a suspect on April 19, 2013 in Watertown, Mass. (Photo credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images; Matt Rourke / AP)
By Pete Williams, Richard Esposito, Michael Isikoff and Tracy Connor
April 19, 2013
Boston and its surburbs, universities and transit system were on total lockdown Friday as police hunted for marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — on the loose after his accomplice brother was killed in a stunning chain of events that left one cop dead and another injured, officials said.
Authorities were confronting a double-edged nightmare: a ruthless killer at large in a densely populated area and a four-mile stretch of road possibly littered with explosive devices tossed from the suspects’ getaway vehicle during a wild chase and firefights.
Two unidentified people were taken into custody at the Cambridge, Mass., home where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan grew up, but they were not being described as additional suspects. Three dozen FBI agents were ringing the house. …
The lockdown initially affected more than 300,000 people in Cambridge, Watertown, Newton, Brighton, Allston and Belmont, but by 8 a.m., the entire city of Boston was paralyzed, officials said. …
The overnight violence began near MIT, just before 11 p.m., about six hours after the FBI released surveillance photos of the two men suspected of planting two bombs near the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding 176.
Tips about the identity of the suspects were still pouring in when the Tsarnaev brothers robbed a 7-Eleven, then fatally shot Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer Sean Collier, 26, in his vehicle at 10:20 p.m., law enforcement officials said.
The brothers — of Chechen origin, but legal permanent residents of the U.S. who moved here a decade ago — stole the officer’s cruiser and then carjacked a Mercedes SUV, holding the driver captive for a half-hour while they tried to use his cash card to get money from three ATM’s, a source said.
The carjacking victim was released unharmed at a gas station in Cambridge, sources said. He told police the brothers said they were the marathon bombers and had just killed a campus officer.
As the duo sped in his car toward Watertown, a police chase ensued and they tossed explosive devices out the window, officials said.
“There was a long exchange of gunfire,” Andrew Kitzenberg of Watertown told NBC News in an interview.
“They were also utilizing bombs, which sounded and looked like grenades, while engaging in the gunfight,” he said. “They also had what looked like a pressure-cooker bomb.
“I saw them light this bomb. They threw it towards the officers,” he said. “There was smoke that covered our entire street.”
A transit officer, identified as Richard H. Donahue, 33, was injured in the gunfight. …
Kitzenberg said he saw the firefight end when Tamerlan Tsarnaev ran toward the officers and ultimately fell to the ground.
Tamerlan — the man in the black hat from FBI photos released six hours earlier — had an improvised explosive device strapped to his chest, law enforcement officials said.
Dzhokhar — who was wearing a white hat in the surveillance photos from the marathon — drove the SUV through a line of police officers at the end of the street, he said.
Police said he has a Massachusetts driver’s license and lived in Cambridge. He was described as light-skinned and with brown, curly hair, and wearing a gray hoodie. The FBI was releasing more photos of him. …
The two marathon bombing suspects. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, in the black hat, has been killed. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, in the white hat, remains at large. (Photo: FBI.gov)
An ATF agent leans over Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after he was taken into custody in Watertown, Mass., on April 19, 2013. (Photo credit: ATF via NBC News)
By Pete Williams, Richard Esposito, Michael Isikoff and Tracy Connor
April 19, 2013
The Boston Marathon bombing suspect was captured alive but wounded Friday night — after holing up in a boat in a suburban backyard following a bloody rampage that left a cop dead and a daylong manhunt that shut down the city.
The arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and the earlier death of his brother during a firefight with cops, ended five days of terror sowed by the double bombing at the marathon finish line, which killed three people, wounded 176 and left the city of Boston on edge. …
Police cornered Tsarnaev — a naturalized U.S. citizen of Chechen origin — around 7 p.m., less than an hour after police lifted a stay-indoors order for the city and its suburbs.
A resident had gone outside to smoke and noticed a tarp on the boat was flapping, a relative told NBC News. When he went to investigate, he saw what looked like a curled-up person and bloody clothes.
The man “freaked out,” ran into the house and called police, the relative said.
Thermal imaging from helicopters confirmed there was a person in the boat, officials said.
Over the course of two hours, several bursts of gunfire could be heard. The police exchanged fire with Tsarnaev, threw flash-bang grenades designed to disorient him and brought a negotiator to the scene as night fell, officials said.
Just before 9 p.m., the wounded Tsarnaev was taken into custody. “He sustained significant blood loss,” a law enforcement official at the scene said. …
Authorities are also not sure of a motive or whether the suspects had help. …
Tsarnaev will be questioned by a federal team called the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which includes officials of the FBI, CIA, and Defense Department, an Obama administration official said.
His apprehension capped a manhunt that had the city of Boston and its suburbs on total lockdown after the execution of a college campus patrol officer, a carjacking and the death of Tsarnaev’s 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, during a 200-bullet confrontation with cops. …
By Erin McClam
May 1, 2013
More details about the Boston Marathon bombing emerged Wednesday — two and a half weeks after the attack killed three people and wounded more than 200 — when two college friends of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were charged with removing a backpack and a laptop from his dorm room and another was charged with lying about it to the feds. …
Now, as the pool of evidence against Tsarnaev grows, so does the list of people related to or involved in the case. The friends — college classmates Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Robel Phillipos — are only the most recent names to be added to a list that includes family members, a boxing coach, law enforcement officials, a car hijacking victim, a mechanic and of course the victims killed April 15: Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lingzi Liu.
Here is a guide to the many people involved in the Boston Marathon bombing case, and what we know (and don’t) about them.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 (Photo credit: The Lowell Sun & Robin Young via AP)
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, Anzor Tsarnaev, Katherine Russell, and Ruslan Tsarni (Photo credit: Reuters, AP, Getty Images)
Azamat Tazhayakov, left, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (Photo credit: Vkontakt)
MIT campus police officer Sean Collier, left, and MBTA transit police officer Richard Donahue (Photo credit: MIT via Getty Images, MBTA via AP)
The Marathon Victims
Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu (Photo credit: AP, Campbell family)
The Personality Profile
of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un
Aubrey Immelman, Feiran Chen, Eun-Ah Kim, and Madison Skudlarek
Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics
A remote psychological assessment of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is currently in progress, using the third edition of the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM-IV.
How firmly Kim Jong-un is in control of North Korea is not fully known.
(Photo credit: Kyodo, via Reuters)
Preliminary analysis suggests that Kim Jong-un is not calling the shots, and therefore either not fully in control of the leadership in North Korea or permitting others to take the lead in military matters; the bellicose rhetoric emanating from the DPRK is inconsistent with Kim Jong-un’s personality pattern.
Immelman, A. (2003). Personality in Political Psychology. In I. B. Weiner (Series Ed.), T. Millon & M. J. Lerner (Vol. Eds.), Handbook of Psychology: Vol. 5. Personality and Social Psychology (pp. 599–625). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Immelman, A. (2005). Political Psychology and Personality. In S. Strack (Ed.), Handbook of Personology and Psychopathology (pp. 198–225). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Immelman, A. (2008). Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria Manual (3rd ed.). Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, St. Joseph and Collegeville, MN.
Immelman, A. (2012). Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (3rd ed.). Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, St. Joseph and Collegeville, MN.
Immelman, A. (2012). Containing North Korea: The Psychological Profile of Kim Jong-Il. Paper presented at the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Chicago, July 6–9, 2012.
Compilations in the Public Domain
Kyodo News via Associated Press
Kim Jong-un (News about Kim Jong-un, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times)
Kim Jong-un (Wikipedia)
North Korea’s Nuclear Threats (The New York Times)
Timeline of Topical Reports in the Media
South Korean protesters hold pictures of the North’s Kim Jong-Il and a boy believed to be his annointed successor, Kim Jong-Un, 26, in Seoul, February 2009. (Photo credit: Jung Yeon-je / AFP — Getty Images)
June 2, 2009
South Korean protesters with portraits of North Korean Kim Jong Il, right, and his alleged third son Kim Jong Un, shout a slogan during a rally against North Korea’s recent military policy in Seoul, on March 9, 2009. (Photo credit: Ahn Young-joon / AP file)
June 2, 2009
SEOUL, South Korea — One photo shows a chubby-cheeked boy with an impish grin. Former classmates at a Swiss boarding school describe a shy student who loved basketball and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Recent reports describe him as overweight and a heavy drinker.
Now 26, Kim Jong Un has reportedly been tapped to become the next leader of nuclear-armed North Korea. …
Recollections of teachers and former students at a state school in Switzerland may offer a glimpse of the young man some say is destined to lead North Korea.
A boy identified by South Korean TV station KBS as Kim Jong Un, the third son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, is seen in this photo. Kenji Fujimoto, who claims to have worked as a cook for the family for 13 years, says Kim Jong Un was aged 11 when the photo was taken. (Photo credit: Kenji Fujimoto / Reuters)
By Andrew Higgins
July 16, 2009
LIEBEFELD, Switzerland — In August 1998, as famine reached a terrible climax in North Korea, the destitute Asian nation enrolled a shy teenager in a Swiss state school. He arrived with a fake name, a collection of genuine, top-of-the-line Nike sneakers and a passion for American basketball.
“We only dreamed about having such shoes. He was wearing them,” recalled Nikola Kovacevic, a former schoolmate of the curiously well-heeled North Korean. Each pair, estimates Kovacevic, cost more than $200 — at least four times the average monthly salary in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, where perhaps 1 million people died as a result of food shortages in the mid- and late 1990s.
Today, the student — who vanished from this sleepy Swiss district as mysteriously as he appeared — is a key figure in a puzzle that U.S. and Asian intelligence services are scrambling to solve: Who will lead nuclear-armed North Korea — and where to — once its gravely ill leader, Kim Jong Il, passes from the scene?
The answer is of vital importance to Washington, which has about 25,000 troops in South Korea, on guard against any resumption of a conflict frozen — but never formally ended — by a Korean War armistice accord in 1953. Who rules North Korea will decide whether Seoul, Tokyo and perhaps even Hawaii risk attack from a nation that has tested two nuclear devices, the most recent in May, and built up an arsenal of missiles and long-range artillery. The Pentagon has sent missile-defense systems to Hawaii just in case. North Korea marked July 4 this year by test-firing seven more rockets.
North Korea shrouds the biographies of its rulers and their offspring in a fog of fiction and silence. “It is pretty amazing how very little real information we have,” said Victor Cha, who served as a Korea expert on the National Security Council in the Bush administration.
A rare insight into this sealed world is offered by Swiss recollections of the young North Korean who, from 1998 until late 2000, lived here in Liebefeld at No. 10 Kirchstrasse, a sedate suburban street with two pizza joints, a Credit Suisse bank and a Coop supermarket. He was around 17 when he abruptly left in the middle of the school year, apparently to return to Pyongyang.
There are many signs that he may now be the next leader of North Korea — 26-year-old Kim Jong Un, the third and youngest son of Kim Jong Il.
Known as “Pak Un” to his teachers at Liebefeld-Steinhözli Schule, a German-speaking state school, he was registered with Swiss authorities as the son of an employee at North Korea’s embassy in the nearby city of Bern, Switzerland’s capital, according to Ueli Studer, director of education in the local administration.
Throughout Pak Un’s time in Liebefeld, however, neither friends nor teachers ever met the parents. “I never saw his father or mother,” said the school’s principal, Peter Burri, recalling how they repeatedly failed to show up for parents’ night. Attending in their place, Burri said, were assorted North Koreans who apologized for the parents’ absence and said this was due to their inability to speak German.
A more likely reason: The boy’s father didn’t work in Bern at the embassy but was more than 5,000 miles away in Pyongyang.
Maria Micaelo, the mother of one of Pak Un’s closest school friends, said the North Korean teenager once confided to her son, Joao, that his father was the leader of North Korea. She recalled that she dismissed the claim as a fanciful teenage boast, but had second thoughts when her son saw pictures of Kim Jong Il on television and told her that he’d seen the same man in a photograph with Pak Un. Joao Micaelo, now a cook in Vienna, did not respond to repeated e-mail messages seeking comment.
Kongdan Oh Hassig, an expert on North Korea at the Alexandria-based Institute for Defense Analyses, which does research for the Pentagon, says Pak Un certainly appears to be Kim Jong Il’s third son, Kim Jong Un, adding that members of North Korea’s elite usually use bogus names outside their homeland. Pak is a very common Korean surname akin to Smith.
When reports of a Pyongyang succession plan began to leak out of North Korea this year, heir apparent Kim Jong Un was widely reported to have attended the International School of Berne, a private, English-speaking establishment near the North Korean Embassy in the Swiss capital.
But, North Korea watchers say, that student — who went by the name “Pak Chol” — was most likely Kim Jong Un’s older brother, Kim Jong Chol. Both were born to Kim Jong Il’s third wife, a former dancer who died in 2004. The North Korean leader has another son, his oldest, by another wife. He also has four daughters. The oldest son, Kim Jong Nam, also studied for a time in Switzerland under an alias, as well as in the Soviet Union. …
Question of Culture’
The Swiss education of North Korea’s apparent future leader raises a tantalizing question: Did it open his horizons beyond the narrow, xenophobic worldview of his homeland, where schools bombard pupils with the evils of “U.S. imperialism” and instill unquestioning obedience to a highly centralized state headed by a leader-for-life? This is in stark contrast to Switzerland, a democratic federal state in which power is widely diffused, where all laws can be challenged by citizens through referendum, and where the presidency is a rotating position that changes every year.
“There is a big difference between attending a school in a free country and a school where everyone has to salute,” said Studer, the local education director. Schooling, he added, is a “question of culture,” and a North Korean schooled in Liebefeld “will take something away that will have an effect on his life.” Pak Un, along with fellow students, had three classes a week on Swiss history from 1291 and the evolution of the country’s modern system of governance known as “direct democracy,” as well as current events, which in 2000 included the U.S. election campaign.
The North Korean Embassy in Bern, housed in an elegant villa festooned with geraniums in the capital’s most expensive neighborhood, declined to comment. Some analysts in South Korea have expressed uncertainty about whether Kim Jong Un has definitely been selected as successor, noting that no official announcement has yet been made by Pyongyang.
A propaganda display on the embassy’s ivy-covered wall obliquely addresses the issue of succession, stressing the reinvigorating vitality of youth, a frequent theme of North Korean propaganda in recent months as the regime prepares for a transfer of power. Featuring photographs of young soldiers, young athletes and Youth League zealots, it shows Kim Jong Il as he “hands over the torch of revolution to young vanguards of Juche,” the regime’s idiosyncratic state ideology.
Since North Korea’s founding in 1945, power has passed exclusively from father to son. A hereditary dynasty, it mixes communist cant with Confucian emphasis on the primacy of family ties. Its founder, Kim Il Sung, known as the Great Leader, fabricated a patriotic lineage stretching back to the mid-19th century. After his death in 1994, power passed to his eldest son, the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, who, according to his own falsified biography, was born on a Mount Paektu, a sacred mountain. He was really born in the Soviet Union, where he was known as Yuri.
With Kim Jong Il, 67, now ailing, North Korea is preparing to hand the baton to the third generation — and gearing up for a new round of hagiography and mythmaking. …
Last month, according to Open Radio for North Korea, a Seoul-based group with extensive contacts in North Korea, Pyongyang began holding lectures for selected audiences to trumpet the “greatness” of Kim Jong Un, the heir apparent. He was celebrated as a “genius of literary arts” and tireless patriot who “is working without sleep or rest” to promote North Korea as a nuclear superpower, according to the organization’s account of the sessions. Among his purported feats: He so inspired North Korea’s national soccer squad that it recently qualified for the World Cup finals, the first time the team has done so since 1966.
A confidential report prepared in May by the Open Source Center, a U.S. agency that monitors foreign media outlets, said North Korea began to prepare the way for a hereditary successor to Kim Jong Il in 2001 with an essay in a party newspaper titled “A Brilliant Succession.” It didn’t name anyone but defined father-son succession as a “pure” tradition, and warned that any revolution that doesn’t follow tradition is “dead.”
This subtle campaign accelerated sharply, according to the report, after Kim Jong Il fell seriously ill, possibly suffering a stroke, last August and vanished for months. U.S. analysts, seeking clues in mountains of North Korean propaganda, noted increasingly frequent mentions of the importance of “bloodlines” and detected veiled endorsements of Kim Jong Un.
Kim Jong Il’s eldest son, Jong Nam, was for a time viewed as a likely heir but apparently bungled his chances in 2001 by trying to sneak into Japan under a fake Chinese name on a bogus Dominican Republic passport. He told Japanese immigration officials he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland. Interviewed briefly last month in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau by Japanese television, Jong Nam said he had heard reports that his younger brother, Jong Un, had been chosen as successor but couldn’t comment because that “is a very sensitive question.”
Focused and Competitive
Kim Jong Un has not been seen in public since his apparent time in Switzerland. Neither his name nor his photograph has ever appeared in North Korean media. After leaving Europe, he is reported to have attended Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Military University, an officer training school, but virtually nothing else is known about him.
A senior U.S. official says he appears to have “the same interests as most 26-year-olds,” noting that these do not generally involve nuclear strategy.
If Liebefeld’s former student Pak Un is indeed Kim Jong Un, the memories of his former friends and teachers here offer a sketch of his character. He first started school after the summer holidays in 1998, a time when it looked as if North Korea might soon collapse. At about the same time, Kim Jong Il launched a secret program to produce highly enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb.
During his first few months in Liebefeld, Pak Un attended a remedial language course for foreign students with poor German. A swift learner, he soon switched to a regular class, said Studer, the education official, who described the boy as “well-integrated, diligent and ambitious.” Friends recalled that Pak Un spoke fluent, if sometimes ungrammatical, German but struggled with the Swiss dialect. He also knew English.
A video of a school music class he attended shows a lithe, intense-looking Asian boy wearing black sweat pants, Nike Air Jordan shoes and a long-sleeved black sports shirt. He sways uncomfortably while classmates pound African drums and beat tambourines. Though generally quiet in class and sometimes awkward, particularly around girls, Pak Un showed a different personality on the basketball court, former friends recalled. He fell in with a group of mostly immigrant kids who shared his love of the National Basketball Association. Kovacevic, who shot hoops with the North Korean most days, said Pak Un was a fiercely competitive player.
“He was very explosive. He could make things happen. He was the playmaker,” said Kovacevic, who now works as a tech specialist in the Swiss army. “If I wasn’t sure I could make a shot, I always knew he could.”
Marco Imhof, another Swiss basketball buddy, said the Korean was tough and fast, good at both shooting and dribbling. “He hated to lose. Winning was very important,” recalled Imhof. Pak Un also liked action films featuring hand-to-hand fighting, particularly those starring the Hong Kong kung fu star Jackie Chan, and played combat games on a Sony PlayStation.
This picture of a focused, competitive young man matches what until now has been the only firsthand account of Kim Jong Un. That was provided by a Japanese sushi chef who claims to have worked in Pyongyang as a cook for the Kim family. The chef, who wrote a book on his experiences in Japanese under the pseudonym Kenji Fujimoto, described the boy as strong-willed, proud and “boss-like.”
During his time in Liebefeld, friends remembered, Pak Un showed scant interest in politics and never vented publicly against Americans. Instead, he worshiped American basketball stars. He spent hours doing meticulous pencil drawings of Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan.
At his spacious apartment on Kirchstrasse, said one friend who visited, Pak Un had a room filled with American basketball paraphernalia. He proudly showed off photographs of himself standing with Toni Kukoc of the Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. It is unclear where the pictures were taken. On at least one occasion, a car from the North Korean Embassy drove Pak Un to Paris to watch an NBA exhibition game.
With no parents in sight, Pak Un was watched over and waited on by North Koreans who appeared to combine the duties of servants, guardians and guards. A pair of Korean women, says Imhof, often observed him playing basketball and sometimes videotaped the action. A Korean-speaking man frequently hovered nearby. “It was a bit strange,” Imhof said. But he figured this was just “a Korean thing.”
Pak Un’s ultimate guardian in Switzerland was Ri Tcheul, North Korea’s veteran ambassador in Bern. Ri has served in the Swiss capital for 21 years, making him the city’s longest-serving foreign envoy. Over the years, he has turned the embassy into the nerve center for Pyongyang’s sometimes furtive contacts with businessmen, bankers, officials and aid workers from across Europe.
Studer, the local education official, said school authorities never had reason to question whether Pak Un really was the son of an embassy employee. Now that he’s gone, he added, “there is no need to go into the matter.”
Pak Un’s former friends are more curious and say they’d like to know the real identity of the teenager they used to hang out with. They last saw him in 2000, when he suddenly vanished. He left no address and didn’t tell anyone where he was going.
“We thought he was ill or something and would soon be back. He never came to school again. He totally disappeared,” said Kovacevic, his former friend. He and others asked teachers what had happened. They had no idea either. “We were just playing basketball — now he is going to be a dictator,” said Kovacevic. “I hope he is a good leader, but dictators are usually not that good.”
The front page of North Korea’s Rodong Shinmun newspaper on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010 shows a group photo of senior North Korean officials, including Kim Jong Un. The newspaper identified Kim Jong Un as being second from left in the front row. (Photo credit: The Associated Press)
The Associated Press and Reuters via MSNBC.com
September 30, 2010
North Korea on Thursday released what is believed the first official image of leader Kim Jong Il’s youngest son and heir apparent. …
The photo’s release comes after the younger Kim earlier this week was handed top military and party posts at a Workers’ Party conference.
The ascension of Kim Jong Un to a prominent ruling party post put him well on the path to succeed the supreme leader at the helm of nuclear-armed North Korea and carry the family dynasty into a third generation.
Rising with him were the ailing Kim Jong Il’s sister and her husband, creating a powerful triumvirate ready to take over the family dynasty that has ruled North Korea since its founding after World War Two.
Kim’s Swiss-educated, youngest son was made a four-star general in his first mention in North Korea’s state media on Tuesday. Early Wednesday, the communist nation announced that Kim Jong Un was appointed to the Workers’ Party Central Committee.
After months of speculation, the state KCNA news agency announced on Wednesday that the untested Kim Jong Un had been made second in command to his father at the ruling party’s powerful Central Military Commission.
“It is another step toward a new power structure which will consist of Kim Jong Un, a young and inexperienced dictator, and two people — his aunt and her husband — who will be making all real political decisions while mentoring the young leader,” said Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University. “A figurehead and a couple of powerful regents, if you like.”
Kim Jong Il’s sister Kim Kyong Hui, 64, retained her position as a department director on the Central Committee and gained a new post as a member of the Central Committee’s Political Bureau — the country’s second-highest political body. She has risen sharply in prominence in recent months and has been seen frequently at her brother’s side.
Her husband was also awarded new political titles. Jang Song Thaek was named an alternate Political Bureau member, KCNA said. …
Kim Jong Un is believed to be only 27 and until this week held no known political or military positions. However, he was always his father’s favorite, and the most like him in looks and ambition, the family’s former chef wrote in “I Was Kim Jong Il’s Cook” under the pen name Kenji Fujimoto. …
Experts are skeptical of any new dawn.
“Even with a new leader, North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear ambitions,” said Anh Yinhay of Korea University. …
Kim Jong Un anointed next leader of North Korea
North Korea’s next ruler raises red flags for West (NBC Nightly News, Oct. 10, 2010) – Kim Jong Un, a young man with little experience in global negotiation, will soon control the fifth largest army in the world. NBC’s Angus Walker reports. (01:27)
By Jean H. Lee
October 11, 2010
PYONGYANG, North Korea — The party in Pyongyang stretched into Monday as North Koreans took the day off to celebrate a major political anniversary and to revel in the unveiling of leader Kim Jong Il’s heir-apparent, son Kim Jong Un. …
Until two weeks ago, Kim Jong Un’s anointment as his father’s successor was little more than rumor and speculation outside North Korea.
But his promotion to four-star general late last month, followed by his appointment to key political posts within the Workers’ Party, confirmed what had been suspected for more than a year: that he is being groomed to succeed his 68-year-old father and to take the Kim family dynasty into a third generation.
Believed to be 26, the untested son would face a mountain of challenges if he were to take over soon as leader, including tensions with regional powers over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and a faltering economy further strained by sanctions imposed by the U.S. and United Nations. …
[North Koreans] seemed ready to embrace the son already familiarly known as the Young General. Though he has been a figure of mystery outside North Korea, adulation of the heir-apparent is already well in place inside the country. …
North Korea leader Kim Jong Il’s son Kim Jong Un attends a military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Oct. 10, 2010. (Photo credit: Vincent Yu / AP)
By Jean H. Lee
October 10, 2011
PYONGYANG, North Korea — The Illustrious General has had a busy year.
Since making his international debut a year ago Monday, Kim Jong Un has been serving as military strategist, political statesman and trusted deputy to his father, leader Kim Jong Il.
The newly minted four-star general, believed in his late 20s, is widely credited at home with orchestrating a deadly artillery attack on a front-line South Korean island that nearly brought the foes to the brink of another war. He appears regularly with his father at marquee events and accompanies him on inspection trips to farms and factories — visits now commemorated with plaques bearing his name.
Officials even say Jong Un, who was on hand for a recent state visit by Laos’ president, has been entrusted with full leadership of the country while his father has made extended trips to China and Russia over the last year.
At least that’s the official portrait emerging of the young man who in just one year has cemented his status as North Korea’s next leader. …
Kim Jong Un vowed ‘real war’ if rocket was shot down (AP, Reuters, Jan. 8, 2012) — North Korea’s young leader vowed in 2009 to wage war if the country’s enemies shot down a rocket, footage aired on state television showed Sunday in the first official word of his role in military operations before his father’s death. The documentary … was aimed at showing that he was in charge of the armed forces long before his father, former leader Kim Jong Il, died of a heart attack last month. …He has pledged to uphold Kim Jong Il’s “military first” policy. … Full report
Kim Jong Un inspects an armored vehicle in this undated still image taken from video released by North Korean state TV KRT on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012. (Photo credit: KRT via Reuters)
Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, waves after an interview in Macau in June 2010. (Photo credit: Joongang Sunday / AFP — Getty Images)
The Associated Press via MSNBC.com
January 17, 2012
PYONGYANG, North Korea — Kim Jong Il’s eldest son has predicted that North Korea’s regime will “not last long” under the rule of his half brother, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Citing e-mails exchanged between Kim Jong Nam and a Japanese journalist, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper said that the dictator’s son described the country’s dynastic succession as “a joke to the outside world.”
Kim Jong Nam also predicted that his half brother Kim Jong Un would be “just a nominal figure,” adding: “The members of the power elite will be the ones in actual power.”
Kim Jong Un was vaulted into the leadership role with the death of his father, Kim Jong Il, in December. He had made his public debut as anointed successor only 15 months earlier.
His half brother suggested that North Korea’s new leader, who is believed to be aged 27, faced many challenges.
“Without reforms, North Korea will collapse, and when such changes take place, the regime will collapse,” the newspaper quoted Kim Jong Nam as saying. “The Kim Jong Un regime will not last long.” …
Among Kim Jong Il’s three sons, Kim Jong Un is seen as most like his father in manner and personality.
Kim Jong Nam is aged about 40 and is known for his playboy lifestyle and love of casinos. He is believed to have fallen out of favor with his father after being caught trying to enter Japan on a fake passport in 2001 saying he wanted to visit Disney’s Tokyo resort. Kim Jong Nam has lived in China in recent years.
“Because I was educated in the West, I was able to enjoy freedom from early age, and I still love being free,” Kim Jong Nam reportedly told the Japanese journalist. “The reason I visit Macau so often is because it’s the most free and liberal place near China, where my family lives.”
According to Chosun Ilbo, Kim Jong Nam said his half brother had traveled to Japan in the past using a “fake Brazilian passport.”
Chosun Ilbo said Yoji Komi, a former Seoul correspondent for Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, exchanged almost 100 emails with Kim Jong Nam between 2004 and December. They also spoke on at least two occasions. …
Kim Jong Un promises ‘happy and civilized’ North Korea (Reuters and NBC News, Aug. 3, 2012) — North Korea’s new young leader has told chief backer China that his priority is to develop the decaying economy and improve living standards in one of the world’s poorest states, the latest sign that he may be planning economic reforms. Kim Jong Un, who took over the family dictatorship last December, has presented a sharply contrasting image to his austere father. He was shown most recently in public at a Pyongyang theme park with his young wife on his arm and riding a roller coaster in the company of a man reported to be a British diplomat. … Full story
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch a basketball game in Pyongyang on Feb. 28, 2013 in this image released by North Korea’s official news agency. (Photo credit: KCNA via AFP / Getty Images)
By Erin McClam
March 5, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry took a shot Tuesday at eccentric former NBA star Dennis Rodman’s controversial visit to North Korea. …
Rodman visited North Korea last week and met with leader Kim Jong Un, pronouncing him an “awesome guy.” In Pyongyang, on his way out of the country, the lip-studded basketball player said of Kim: “Guess what? I love him.” …
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a meeting with his generals where he ordered strategic rocket forces to be on standby to strike U.S. and South Korean targets. [Note: The map against the wall appears to show the West coast of the United States, with the text reading 미본토타격계획 ("U.S. Mainland Strike Plan").] (Photo credit: KCNA via EPA)
Is Kim Jong Un crazy — or crazy like a fox?
Analysts said Friday there’s a familiar method to the madness coming out of North Korea, where the rookie supreme leader has put rockets on standby, threatened to “settle accounts” with the U.S., and posed near a chart that appeared to map missile strikes on American cities. On Saturday, North Korea said it had entered a “state of war” against South Korea, according to a statement reported by the north’s official news agency, KCNA.
Kim Jong Un’s father and grandfather were also serial saber-rattlers when they headed the secretive regime, and experts said there are clear strategic reasons why the world’s youngest head of state is ramping up the rhetoric now, after little more than a year in power.
But if the bluster is predictable, the results may not be.
North Korea has enhanced its nuclear capabilities and Kim Jong Un has something to prove to his people and the world. Some outside observers are warning that a misstep, or overstep, by Pyongyang could bring north[east] Asia to the brink of war.
“I think there is always room for miscalculation and things spiraling out of control,” said Sung-Youn Lee, professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “But he is following the playbook set by his father and grandfather.”
North Korea is “very adept at engaging at psychological warfare,” Lee said. It cranks up the tensions, putting pressure on Seoul and Washington, and is rewarded with aid and concessions when it tones things down, Lee said.
“No leader wants a foreign policy crisis created by North Korea on their hands … the impulse is to de-escalate,” Lee added. “North Korea has been very good at playing this game — nuclear diplomacy, even extortion — for the past 20 years.”
This time around, foreign-policy watchers said, a confluence of circumstances have set the stage for Kim Jong Un’s provocations:
Joel Wit, visiting fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said that from the North Korean perspective, Kim Jong Un and his lieutenants “aren’t crazy” and are falling back on a tried-and-true strategy.
“They’re a very small country dealing with much more powerful countries, and they can’t show any weakness. For them, the best defense is a good offense,” he said.
Yet Snyder said Kim Jong Un’s standing as a new, untested ruler is “the real wild-card factor that makes this different.” …
A hit on U.S. targets seems highly unlikely and would be “suicidal,” Lee said. But South Korea and Japan are within striking distance, and many experts say it’s not impossible that Kim Jong Un could act rashly.
“While these weapons can’t reach the U.S., it’s an extremely tense situation, and wars don’t always start logically,” Wit said. …
Kim Kyong Hui, with Kim Jong Un (right) behind her in 2011. (Photo credit: Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service — AP)
News Limited Network
April 8, 2013
As North Korea – under its 29-year-old leader – makes ever-more bellicose threats against the United States and South Korea, the spotlight is falling on those older heads often seen standing beside him.
The son of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il was hurriedly promoted to the rank of four-star general before succeeding his father following Kim Jong-il’s death in December, 2011.
Despite the best efforts of state media, North Korea has had a tough time shedding Kim Jong-un’s image as a pudgy kid who grew up in Pyongyang and Switzerland playing video games.
It’s had an even tougher time convincing the world that Kim is a legitimate leader and a tough military general.
When he came to power, Kim, dubbed the Supreme Leader, was reported as having a power battle with his aunt and uncle.
Surprise, surprise, Kim Kyong-hui and Jang Sung-Taek are the ones really pulling the strings.
The 66-year-olds were pictured alongside Kim Jong-un at a recent meeting of the Workers’ Party, where Kim describe nuclear weapons as “the nation’s life treasure”.
The aunt and uncle were reportedly asked by the late Kim Jong-il to act as senior advisers and help the hugely inexperience Kim Jong-un with hands-on action. …
North Korea’s November 25, 2010 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong island, in conjunction with the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, 2010, most likely is indicative of a hardline policy shift in North Korea coinciding with the military leadership cementing its control over Kim Jong-il’s successor, Kim Jong-un.
In that context, my 2003 assessment of the threat posed by North Korea, conducted for the U.S. military, should no longer be regarded as valid.
Consequently, South Korea, the United States, and their allies now face an elevated military threat from North Korea, with the imminent risk that miscalculation on the part of South Korea or the U.S. could prompt misperception on the part of North Korean decision-makers, resulting in a military conflagration.
As suggested in my 2003 threat assessment and associated briefing reports in 2004 and 2005, the ability of the United States and its allies to emerge victorious from a militarily conflict with North Korea is not at issue; the point is that it will be a Pyrrhic victory, considering the capacity of the North to inflict mass civilian casualties on South Korea — most notably in Seoul — where fatalities could run into the hundreds of thousands.
Pyongyang blusters, and U.S. worries about quieter risks (Choe Sang-Hun and David E. Sanger, New York Times, March 30, 2013) — “We’re all trying to put [Kim Jung-un] on the couch,” said Jonathan D. Pollack, a North Korea expert at the Brookings Institution. “A year ago the U.S. and the Chinese saw at least the possibility that you could do business with him. But he has steadily reverted to form,” adopting the approach of his father and grandfather in using the perception of an external threat to solidify support at home. … Full report
Aggressive talk from North Korea concerns U.S. leaders (Ernesto Londoño and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, March 30, 2013) — The senior official agreed that Kim’s style is sharply different from his father’s, “including putting himself out in front of the cameras. He’s got a sort of assertive, outgoing and more egocentric character. His father was very reclusive and preferred to shove other people out into the limelight.” … Deterrence involves both prevention and punishment, Adm. James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. … “We believe that this young lad ought to be deterred,” Winnefeld said, referring to Kim. “And if he’s not, we’ll be ready.” … Full report
Analysis: What’s Kim Jong Un up to? (Joe Sterling, CNN, March 28, 2013) — Is [Kim Jung-un's] behavior erratic or staged? Is he competent enough to run a government? … Is Kim insane? David Kang and Victor Cha, writing in Foreign Policy, say “don’t bet on it.” They say he’s a contrast to his introverted dad, Kim Jong Il. In power for more than a year, Kim is very much an extrovert who loves to appear in public, watch his beloved hoops and deliver speeches. … This month, a senior administration official told CNN that Kim Jong Un was “acting in ways a bit more extreme than his father, who was colder and more calculated.” … Kang and Cha said the question that should be asked about Kim is whether he is turning out to be adventurous or cautious. … Full report
Young Kim looks to build his own legacy in North Korea (Paul Armstrong, CNN, February 12, 2013) — Far from floundering in his own inexperience, Kim has worked swiftly to consolidate his power base domestically by replacing senior figures in the military — many loyal to his father — with his own people. … But some North Korea watchers believe the Swiss-educated fan of Western movies and basketball lacks the absolute power enjoyed by his father and his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea. “I believe he is in overall control of the Korea Workers Party, the military, and the state — but with the help of his uncle, Jang Sung-taek, and his family confidante, Choe Ryong Hae, chief of the general political bureau of the Korea People’s Army,” said Chung-in Moon, Professor of Political Science at Yonsei University in South Korea. … Moon added that his aunt, Kim Kyung-hee, is the other main influence on the younger Kim. … Full report
North Korean vice marshal may be pushing war (NBC “Today,” April 10, 2013) – Threats of war from North Korean may be spiking due to an aggressive vice marshal [Choi Ryong Hae] close to leader Kim Jong Un. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports. (01:57)
By Richard Lloyd Parry
The Times (London)
April 10, 2013
The torrent of warlike rhetoric from North Korea is being directed by an upstart military officer, who is positioning himself to become the number two to the supreme leader, Kim Jong-Un, South Korean experts have concluded.
Choi Ryong Hae, a 62-year-old vice-marshal who was almost unknown outside North Korea two years ago, is behind the campaign of near-daily menaces and confrontation, according to scholars at the government-affiliated Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.
The believe that he has started to threaten the position of Chang Sung Taek, uncle of Kim Jong-Un …
A Musadan intermediate-range missile is carried on a vehicle during a military parade in October 2010 in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Photo credit: KCNA via EPA)
By Tracy Connor
April 12, 2013
Faced with annoyed allies and unblinking enemies, North Korea is likely to pull the plug on the current crisis by test-firing a missile or two and declaring victory ahead of a national celebration on Monday, analysts say.
After weeks of escalating tensions and threatening nuclear war, shooting off a missile that causes no damage will give Kim Jong Un the opportunity to save face with his people — and appease his military — without inviting serious retaliation, experts say. …
Observers caution, however, that with so much unknown about the political situation inside the secretive rogue state, it’s possible that North Korea could take more aggressive action that would goad a fed-up South Korea into a forceful reaction. …
Experts agree, however, that because the leadership dynamics in Pyongyang are murky, it’s impossible to know how far Kim, or whoever is running the country, will go.
Many believe Kim’s incessant saber-rattling — irritating even China and Russia — is an effort to recompense North Korea’s powerful military leaders and consolidate a weak power base. …
[Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute] said the danger of trying to predict North Korea’s next move is the lack of intelligence about who holds the upper hand there: Is it the party or the military? Is it young Kim, his aunt and uncle, or the generals? …
Clapper: Family has some influence on young N. Korean leader (NBC News, April 11, 2013) – National Intelligence Director James Clapper discusses his assessment of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un while testifying on Capitol Hill Thursday. (01:28)
By Jethro Mullen
April 18, 2013
President Barack Obama has said he doesn’t believe North Korea can fit a nuclear warhead on a missile, casting strong doubt on an alarming assessment disclosed last week by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm.
And he warned the young North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that weeks of threats against the United States and South Korea had only served to isolate the regime further. …
Obama said that North Korea’s recent behavior under Kim Jong Un was both familiar and counterproductive.
“This is the same kind of pattern that we saw his father engage in and his grandfather before that,” he said, referring to the two previous North Korean leaders Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung. “Since I came into office, the one thing I was clear about was, we’re not going to reward this kind of provocative behavior. You don’t get to bang your spoon on the table and somehow you get your way.”
‘I’m not a psychiatrist’
Asked if he thought Kim Jong Un was unstable, Obama said, “I’m not a psychiatrist, and, I don’t know the leader of North Korea.”
But he said that “the actions they’ve taken, the rhetoric they’ve engaged in has been provocative.” …
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, on Feb. 16, 2012.
(Photo credit: David Guttenfelder/Associated Press)
By David E. Sanger and Choe Sang-hun
May 6, 2013
WASHINGTON — The black hole of North Korea intelligence gathering is getting blacker. …
When President Obama and South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, meet for the first time at the White House on Tuesday, intelligence officials and outside experts say, they will be working, by necessity, from a deeply incomplete understanding of their common adversary. At a time when the United States has learned to conduct drone strikes with increasing accuracy in Pakistan, and direct cyberweapons at specific nuclear centrifuges deep under the Iranian desert, its understanding of North Korea’s leadership and weapons systems has actually gotten worse. …
The most recent intelligence failures included what administration officials now acknowledge was the C.I.A.’s initial judgment — now reversed — that the North’s young new leader, Kim Jong-un, was probably more interested in economic reform than in following his father’s and grandfather’s “military first” policy of bolstering the North’s missile and nuclear arsenals, and threatening to use them unless the world came to its door. …
In a sign of continuing confusion, the Defense Intelligence Agency — the Pentagon’s intelligence arm — recently declared with “moderate confidence” that the North can now shrink a nuclear warhead to fit onto one of those missiles, only to find its assessment disputed, in public, by both President Obama and the director of national intelligence. …
The depth of the inability to figure out what is happening was reflected on Thursday in an unclassified Pentagon report to Congress on North Korea’s military capabilities, which read much like it had been written in the late 1980s. It also cast, by implication, significant doubt that returning to negotiations would do much good: “In North Korea’s view,” it concluded, “the destruction of regimes such as Ceausescu, Hussein and Qaddafi was not an inevitable consequence of repressive government, but rather of a failure to secure the necessary capabilities to defend their respective autocratic regime’s survival.”
But the more immediate concern is that Kim Jong-un could follow North Korea’s recent playbook and create another provocation — akin to the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in 2010 or the recent cyberattack on South Korean banks and news media companies. It took weeks of investigation before South Korea could blame the North for those past provocations. …
But the heart of the intelligence weakness centers on Mr. Kim, who is thought to be in his late 20s. The Chinese, who regularly invited his father, Kim Jong-il, to Beijing for consultations, praise and occasional dressing-downs, contend they have had few meetings with him. The only American to have dealt with him, quite famously, is Dennis Rodman, the former basketball star, whom the F.B.I. was reported to have debriefed after he returned from a recent trip to North Korea. …
In fact, in South Korea there is a theory that behind his baby-faced look and easy smile is a Machiavellian who already has top generals and party secretaries cowering at home, and is gambling that he can force Washington to accept the North as a nuclear power.
South Korean officials were surprised to conclude in recent months that despite Mr. Kim’s youth and inexperience, his government and party are exerting control over the military, which many regarded as too influential and too corrupt for that to occur. By some counts, two-thirds of the North’s senior generals have been demoted, replaced or shunted to less-powerful jobs; a few have been banished by the young leader. All have had to sign loyalty letters.
Yet the view that Mr. Kim has become as powerful as his father is not universal. “Who is in charge in North Korea? It’s hard to say,” said a senior South Korean policy maker. “How strong is Kim Jong-un? We don’t know exactly. Who is giving orders in Pyongyang? Apparently, it’s Kim Jong-un, but we are not sure about the inner-circle decision-making process.” [emphasis added]
It is a measure of the varying interpretations inside the United States government that, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the head of the Pacific Command, called Mr. Kim “impetuous” and “more unpredictable” than his father. But speaking to the same committee, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s director, called Mr. Kim a leader “firmly in control” who “possesses a charisma that his father did not,” and who understands realpolitik, including that he could not survive full-scale war. …
Topical reports on this site
Kim Jong Un rides a horse in this undated still image taken from video released by North Korean state TV KRT on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012. (Photo credit: KRT via Reuters)
North Korea Steps Up Nuclear Threat Against U.S. (Jan. 27, 2013)
Looming North Korean Nuclear Threat (Jan. 11, 2011)
Winds of War in Korea (Nov. 25, 2010)
Perilous Flare-Up of Korean War (Nov. 24, 2010)
North Korea ‘Very Dangerous’ (Nov. 22, 2010)
Kim Jong-un Succession in North Korea (Oct. 11, 2010)
North Korea Threatens ‘Sacred War’ (July 23, 2010)
No Chinese Support on North Korea (May 30, 2010)
North Korea Fraud Charge (May 28, 2010)
North Korean Saber-Rattling (May 20, 2010)
Iran, North Korea Threat Level Rises (Dec. 13, 2009)
North Korea Ready to Deal? (July 26, 2009)
Independence Day Missile Barrage (July 4, 2009)
North Korea Nuclear Threat (June 16, 2009)
Kim Jong Il Threat Assessment (May 31, 2009)
Tensions Rise in Korean Peninsula (May 30, 2009)
Tense Stand-off with North Korea (May 28, 2009)
North Korea Warns of Possible Military Action (May 27, 2009)
North Korea Launches Rocket (April 5, 2009)
U.S. Warns North Korea on Missiles (Feb. 17, 2009)
Korea Headache Looms for Obama (Jan. 28, 2009)
Obama Faces Daunting Challenges (Nov. 6, 2008)
As of Sunday, March 31, 2013, at least 2,193 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to iCasualties.org.
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 17,674 U.S. service members have been wounded as of Sept. 30, 2012, according to iCasualties.org.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Larry D. Bunn, 43, Bossier City, La., died March 7, 2013 at an undisclosed base in Southwest Asia of a heart attack. He was assigned to the 307th Maintenance Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
Army National Guard Spc. Cody D. Suggs, 22, West Alexandria, Ohio, died March 7, 2013 at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, as a result of a noncombat incident. He was assigned to the 1487th Transportation Company, 371st Sustainment Brigade, Ohio National Guard, Piqua, Ohio.
Army Staff Sgt. Steven P. Blass, 27, Estherville, Iowa, died March 11, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
Army Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Henderson, 27, Franklin, La., died March 11, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
Army Capt. Sara M. Knutson, 27, Eldersburg, Md., died March 11, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash. She was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
Army Green Beret Capt. Andrew M. Pedersen-Keel, 28, South Miami, Fla., died March 11, 2013 in Jalrez District, Afghanistan, of small-arms fire from an Afghan security forces member. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.
Army Staff Sgt. Rex L. Schad, 26, Edmond, Okla., died March 11, 2013 in Jalrez District, Afghanistan, of small-arms fire from an Afghan security forces member. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army Staff Sgt. Marc A. Scialdo, 31, Naples, Fla., died March 11, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash. He was assigned to the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
Army Spc. Zachary L. Shannon, 21, Dunedin, Fla., died March 11, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Christian Michael Pike, 31, Peoria, Ariz., died March 13, 2013 in Landstuhl, Germany, as a result of combat-related injuries sustained March 10 while conducting stability operations in Maiwand District, Afghanistan. He was a Chief Cryptologic Technician assigned to Naval Special Warfare Support Activity 1, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif.
Army Spc. David T. Proctor, 26, Greensboro, N.C., died March 13, 2013 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., from injuries sustained during a noncombat incident March 3, in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army Chief Warrant Officer James E. Groves III, 37, Kettering, Ohio, died March 16, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter crash. He was assigned to 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. The incident is under investigation.
Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class James F. Grissom, 31, Hayward, Calif., died March 21, 2013 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of wounds suffered from small-arms fire March 18 in Paktika Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Army Sgt. Tristan M. Wade, 23, Indianapolis, Ind., died March 22, 2012 in Qarah Bagh District, Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 573rd Clearance Company, 2nd Engineer Battalion, White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
Army Sgt. Michael C. Cable, 26, Philpot, Ky., died March 27, 2013 from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by enemy forces in Shinwar District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Curtis S. Reagan, 43, Summerville, S.C., died March 29, 2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, from a noncombat-related illness. He was assigned to the 603rd Aviation Support Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
Faces of the Dead
An interactive look at each U.S. service member who died in Afghanistan or Iraq
By Kim Gamel
April 1, 2013
KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan teenager fatally stabbed an American soldier in the neck as he played with children in eastern Afghanistan, officials said Monday, as the U.S. death toll rose sharply last month with an uptick in fighting due to warmer weather. …
Just one U.S. service member was killed in February — a five-year monthly low — but the American death toll climbed to at least 14 last month. …
The attack that killed Sgt. Michael Cable, 26, of Philpot, Ky., last Wednesday occurred after the soldiers had secured an area for a meeting of U.S. and Afghan officials in a province near the volatile border with Pakistan.
But one of two senior U.S. officials who confirmed that Cable had been stabbed by a young man said the assailant was not believed to have been in uniform so it was not being classified as an insider attack.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the attacker was thought to be about 16 years old. He escaped so his age couldn’t be verified.
Cable’s brother Raymond Johnston, a 42-year-old waiter in Owensboro, Ky., said the Army told the family the basics of what happened and that his brother was stabbed in the neck from behind.
Johnston said his brother, who also did a tour of duty in Iraq, was “prepared before he left for anything that happened” in Afghanistan. …
The Afghan and American dignitaries were attending the swearing-in ceremony of Afghan Local Police in Shinwar district in Nangarhar province, senior district official Zalmai Khan said. Afghan Local Police, or ALP, recruits are drawn from villages and backed by the U.S. military.
The soldier was playing with children outside when the attacker came from behind and stabbed him in the neck with a large knife, Khan said. Other guards nearby didn’t immediately notice what had happened because there was no gunshot, and the assailant was able to flee to neighboring Pakistan, he added.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid identified the attacker as a 16-year-old local man named Khalid. He said Khalid was acting independently when he killed the soldier but had joined the Islamic militant movement since fleeing the scene. …
The killing comes as the U.S. death toll rose to 14 in March, compared with four in the previous two months of the year, partly fueled by the start of the spring fighting season when the Taliban and other insurgents take advantage of improved weather to step up attacks. …
Rep. rips health law, avoids CNN reporter
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., gestures March 15, 2013 as she speaks at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md. (Photo credit: Jacquelyn Martin / AP)
By Larry Bivins
Times Washington correspondent
St. Cloud Times
March 24, 2013
Excerpts from the article, annotated with links, sidebars, and video
WASHINGTON — A week that began with media coverage suggesting U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann had become a kinder, gentler politician in the aftermath of her narrow re-election victory ended with the firebrand conservative lobbing a grenade at President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Spliced in between were postings by The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog branding two recent Bachmann statements as “whoppers;” a news clip of the congresswoman speedwalking away from a CNN reporter who was trying to ask her about the assertions; and yet another Bachmann Democrats-are-out-to-get-me online plea for money.
After having been out of the national spotlight since starting her fourth congressional term in January, Bachmann has re-emerged with a bang.
Bachmann, who has been one of the Affordable Care Act’s harshest critics, went viral with her latest attack Thursday.
Speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives, Bachmann urged her colleagues to “repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee pounced on the statement in a news release headlined “Bachmann’s Back.” …
Bachmann declined a request for an interview for this story.
The week started on what could be considered a good note for Bachmann, a 2012 candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. On Monday, a National Journal story asked “What happened to Michele Bachmann?” in an article saying the congresswoman had suddenly gone silent. …
On the same day, Roll Call ran a story saying Bachmann had departed the national stage to spend more time in her district. The story said she also was undergoing a political makeover. …
Both stories quoted Bachmann allies saying the woman who burst onto the national scene after organizing an anti-health care law tea party rally in the fall of 2011 was keeping a low profile.
Yet, also on Monday, Washington Post Fact Checker posted a blog item debunking a statement Bachmann made the day before during a speech at an annual gathering of conservative activists.
The blogger gave Bachmann four Pinocchios, the maximum, for her claim that the president was living a lavish $1.4 billion-a-year lifestyle at taxpayer expense that includes five chefs on Air Force One and a dog-walker at the White House.
SIDEBAR: The Washington Post’s Fact Checker
Fact Checker concluded Bachmann’s claim was misleading, as “the money spent on the presidency and the so-called perks she describes appear to be no different for Obama than for (George W.) Bush or other presidents.”
On Tuesday, The Fact Checker slapped four Pinocchios on a Bachmann statement made during the same speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference. Bachmann told the audience 70 cents of every federal dollar for the poor goes to bureaucrats.
“So $3 in food stamps for the needy,” she said, “$7 in salaries and pensions for the bureaucrats who are supposed to be taking care of the poor.”
SIDEBAR: The Washington Post’s Fact Checker
When a CNN reporter confronted Bachmann at the Capitol on Tuesday about the claims, the congresswoman became testy and snapped that the thrust of her speech was about the Obama administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate at Benghazi in Libya, not dog walkers. She then sped off with the reporter unable to keep up. …
Bachmann dodges questions on White House claims (CNN “Anderson Cooper 360,” March 20, 2013) – Dana Bash runs after Michele Bachmann to ask her about some false claims she made about Pres. Obama’s “lavish” lifestyle. (02:55)
While granting some credibility to reports Bachmann was focusing more attention on her district and trying to recast herself as a compassionate conservative, University of Minnesota political expert Larry Jacobs said the congresswoman at core “pretty much remains the same conservative firebrand that she has been.”
Jacobs said Bachmann has been more visible in her redrawn 6th Congressional District after having been “essentially missing in action for much of 2012.”
Bachmann was on the presidential campaign trail and for a moment enjoyed frontrunner status, winning the Iowa straw poll in August before dropping out five months later after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. …
Though Bachmann would not grant an interview, spokesman Dan Kotman provided a statement acknowledging she has been “actively crisscrossing Central Minnesota focusing her time and energy on serving her constituents and holding listening sessions with community leaders in every county in the 6th District.”
While Jacobs and others see Bachmann’s increased time in her district as an attempt to atone for being away so much during her White House run, some supporters view it as the congresswoman simply resettling into a personable grassroots style that propelled her political career from the start.
“My sense is she’s kind of come back to her roots,” said Minnesota GOP consultant Ben Golnik, who was the state party executive director during Bachmann’s inaugural congressional run in 2006. “She’s doing what she’s always done.”
And one of the things she’s always done is turn negative publicity into a fundraising opportunity. That was what she did Wednesday in an online solicitation citing a Roll Call story saying the DCCC has her “on the top of their list for defeat.”
“And, in addition to working overtime to defeat our campaign, they have willing accomplices in the liberal media to continue their dirty work,” the Dear Fellow Conservative letter said.
Bachmann, a prodigious fundraiser, hauled in $14.9 million for her 2012 congressional race, spent $11.9 million and had more than $2 million in the bank at the start of the new campaign cycle in January. …
Is Senate run in Michele Bachmann’s future? Representative touts time she is spending with constituents (Mark Sommerhauser, St. Cloud Times, March 17, 2013)
Michele Bachmann’s March of Folly (2009-2010)
Michele Bachmann Up-Close (2010-2011)
Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Campaign for President (2011-2012)
As of Friday, February 28, 2013, at least 2,178 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to iCasualties.org.
Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 17,674 U.S. service members have been wounded as of Sept. 30, 2012, according to iCasualties.org.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jonathan D. Davis, 34, Kayenta, Ariz., died Feb. 22, 2013 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, 32nd Georgian Liaison Team, Regimental Combat Team 7, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Faces of the Dead
An interactive look at each U.S. service member who died in Afghanistan or Iraq
Chuck Hagel and his brother Tom sit atop an armored personnel carrier in Vietnam. (Photo credit: AP)
February 26, 2012 (p. A24)
Barring some last-minute snag, the Senate is expected to vote to end a Republican filibuster [today] and then move on to confirm Chuck Hagel as defense secretary. The filibuster was pernicious from the start, and Mr. Hagel should be approved without further delay.
Nothing in the public record remotely warrants disqualification, despite a vicious and long campaign by Republicans against him. In particular, Mr. Hagel has been pilloried by former Republican colleagues in the Senate who proclaim devotion to the nation’s defense but thought nothing of politically battering Mr. Hagel even if, as many admit, they could not defeat him. …
Yet the debate rages on. Senator John McCain, a Republican who can’t forgive Mr. Hagel for opposing the Iraq war, once again called him a friend on CNN on Sunday and said he deserved to have the Senate vote on his nomination. But Mr. McCain declared that a man he once suggested should be considered for defense secretary is not qualified and wouldn’t have his vote.
The Senate has a constitutional duty to review top executive appointments. But it’s one thing to raise serious questions about a candidate’s character or political views; it’s quite another to distort a nominee’s views on Israel and Iran as some conservative Republicans and the most rigidly pro-Israel groups have with Mr. Hagel. Some accused of him of receiving money from a group called “Friends of Hamas” — a rumor that started with a joke about a nonexistent group. …
A decorated Vietnam veteran, Mr. Hagel is one of a fading breed of moderate Republicans whose independence and past willingness to challenge Republican orthodoxy on Iraq, sanctions on Iran and other issues is admirable. …
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) testifies during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be Defense Secretary, on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, in this January 31, 2013, file photo. (Photo credit: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)
By Tom Curry
National Affairs Writer
February 26, 2013
Chuck Hagel’s seven-week struggle to win confirmation as secretary of defense appears near the end with an expected Senate vote [today] on his nomination.
President Barack Obama’s choice to run the Pentagon is expected to win confirmation since a few Republicans announced that they’ll join Senate Democrats in voting for him.
The vote would put an end to a rocky nomination process that came after Hagel’s GOP foes succeeded in delaying the confirmation.
Lead opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, insinuated two weeks ago that Hagel might have given as-yet undisclosed speeches to “extreme or radical groups” or received money from foreign sources or from defense contractors in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
But Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., rebuked the latter saying Hagel complied with the committee’s financial disclosure requirements and deserved confirmation.
Last week 15 GOP senators asked Obama to withdraw Hagel’s nomination, but it was clear that not enough Republican senators would vote to further delay Hagel’s confirmation by extended debate or filibuster.
The former Nebraska Republican senator … harshly criticized President George W. Bush after the Iraq war became unpopular in 2006, suggesting at one point that Bush might be impeached. …
From the beginning, Obama portrayed Hagel as a man who was ideally qualified to head the Defense Department because, as the president said when announcing the nomination, he “knows that war is not an abstraction. He understands that sending young Americans to fight and bleed in the dirt and mud, that’s something we only do when it’s absolutely necessary.”
In presenting Hagel as his pick, Obama declared that “Chuck represents the bipartisan tradition that we need more of in Washington.”
Obama said that he was courageous and independent in his views “and that’s exactly the spirit I want on my national security team, a recognition that when it comes to the defense of our country, we are not Democrats or Republicans; we are Americans.” …
By Patricia Zengerle
February 26, 2013
WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s new secretary of defense on Tuesday, after an unusually acrimonious confirmation fight that threatened to complicate his work as civilian leader at the Pentagon.
The Senate voted 58-41 to confirm the former Republican senator, the closest vote ever to approve a defense secretary.
Just four Republicans – Mike Johanns of Nebraska, who holds Hagel’s old Senate seat, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Rand Paul of Kentucky – joined the Democrats and independents in support of Hagel’s nomination.
After the hard-fought victory, the Democratic president said he was pleased there had been bipartisan support for Hagel, a decorated veteran who served during the Vietnam War as an enlisted man before becoming a Republican U.S. senator.
“I am grateful to Chuck for reminding us that when it comes to our national defense, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans, and our greatest responsibility is the security of the American people,” Obama said.
The bruising battle over Hagel was one of many bitter partisan struggles between Democrats and Republicans at a time when Congress is widely criticized for its inability to agree on even the most basic measures to run the country.
The Senate had voted earlier on Tuesday to end debate on Hagel and move forward, almost two weeks after Republicans launched a filibuster to block the nomination. It was the first ever used to delay consideration of a defense nominee, prompting Democrats to accuse Republicans of jeopardizing national security. …
Although the Senate rejected John Tower as President George Bush’s Pentagon pick in 1989 by a 53-47 vote, defense nominees are typically confirmed by large margins. Leon Panetta, whom Hagel replaces as defense secretary, was approved by a unanimous vote of 100 to nothing in June 2011. …
Hagel said he was honored to return to public service. “I will work closely with Congress to ensure that we maintain the strongest military in the world and continue to protect this great nation,” he said in a statement.
Hagel will be sworn in on Wednesday morning [Feb. 27, 2013]. …
Hagel stresses ‘we’re still at war in Afghanistan’ (NBC News, March 8, 2013) – Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan for his first trip abroad as U.S. defense secretary. On the flight over he told the press that he was traveling there to better understand “where we are in Afghanistan.” (01:21)
By Lolita C. Baldor
March 9, 2013
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials say there was an explosion outside the Afghan defense ministry causing multiple casualties, as U.S. defense secretary Chuck Hagel visits the country.
Afghan police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai says an apparent suicide attacker on a bicycle hit the main entrance to the defense ministry around 9 a.m. Saturday local time. At least eight Afghan civilians are reported dead.Hagel was in a meeting at a coalition facility in Kabul and defense officials say he is in a safe location and unharmed. Reporters traveling with Hagel were in a briefing when they heard the explosion, and were moved to a lower floor of the same building. …
Hagel arrived in Afghanistan Friday for his first visit as Pentagon chief, saying that there are plenty of challenges ahead as NATO hands over the country’s security to the Afghans.
“We are still at war,” Hagel said, warning the U.S. and its allies to remain focused on the mission while noting that the U.S. never intended to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely.
“That transition has to be done right, it has to be done in partnership with the Afghans, with our allies,” said Hagel, who took over the Pentagon job a little more than a week ago. …
He said it was vital to remember why the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in the days after the 9/11 attacks, including the need to rid the country of terrorists and a hostile government.
On the day of Hagel’s arrival, there was a fresh reminder of the conflict. Defense officials said three men wearing Afghan army uniforms and driving an Afghan army vehicle forced their way onto a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan at midday and opened fire, killing one civilian contractor and wounding U.S. troops.
Hagel told reporters traveling with him that he plans to talk to Afghan President Hamid Karzai about the recent order expelling U.S. commandos from Wardak Province. He would not say what his message to Karzai might be.
Karzai ordered that U.S. special operations forces leave within two weeks because of allegations that Afghans working with the commandos were involved in abusive behavior and torture.
The order comes despite worries that it could leave the region more vulnerable to al-Qaida and other insurgents. U.S. officials have said they have seen no evidence that American forces were involved in the abuse of Afghan civilians. Hagel is slated to meet with U.S. commanders and Afghan leaders and plans to make his first detailed assessment of the increasingly unpopular war. …
Hagel traveled to Afghanistan four times during his two terms as senator for Nebraska, including once in 2002 shortly after the war began, in 2006 and twice in 2008. His final two visits were in 2008, once in February with then Sens. Joe Biden and John Kerry — now the vice president and secretary of state, and in July with then-Sen. Barack Obama.
While Hagel initially supported the Afghanistan war when he was senator, his enthusiasm diminished as the conflict dragged on for more than 10 years. He pointedly observed that militaries are “built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations.” And in a radio interview this year, he acknowledged the nation’s growing weariness with the war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,000 U.S. troops and wounded another 18,000, saying that “the American people want out” of Afghanistan.
His review of the war will likely be colored in part by his own military service. Hagel is the first Vietnam veteran to lead the Pentagon, and the first man to become defense secretary after serving only in the enlisted ranks. All the other secretaries with military service eventually served as officers. Hagel served in Vietnam alongside his brother, was wounded twice and was awarded two Purple Hearts. …
Related reports on this site
Endorsed for Defense Secretary: Sen. Chuck Hagel (Dec. 21, 2012)
The Washington Post editorial board
has it wrong.
Chuck Hagel is the right choice
for Secretary of Defense.
President Obama: Please nominate Sen. Hagel now.
U.S. Senate: Please confirm Sen. Hagel without delay.
Chuck Hagel McCarthy Lecture (Sept. 24, 2009)
Chuck Hagel Speaks in Minnesota (Sept. 23, 2009)
Sen. Chuck Hagel on National Defense (Sept. 3, 2009)
Chuck Hagel to Deliver Eugene McCarthy Lecture (July 29, 2009)
Hagel Lambasts Limbaugh (Nov. 19, 2008)
As of Thursday, January 31, 2013, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan as a result of the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to iCasualties.org.
Army Sgt. Aaron X. Wittman, 28, Chester, Va., died Jan. 10, 2013 in Khogyani District, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when his unit was attacked by small-arms fire while on mounted patrol. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga.
Army Sgt. David J. Chambers, 25, Hampton, Va., died Jan. 16, 2013 in Panjwai District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device while on dismounted patrol. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, under control of the 7th Infantry Division, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
Army Sgt. Mark H. Schoonhoven, 38, Plainwell, Mich., died Jan. 20, 2013 at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas from wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device on Dec. 15, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was assigned as a motor transport operator to the 32nd Transportation Company, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.
Faces of the Dead
An interactive look at each U.S. service member who died in Afghanistan or Iraq