military

Monday, March 2, 2015

Video: Panhandle Push for a New Idaho Veterans Home

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 10:01 AM

11691754-usa-idaho-state-lewiston---idaho-states-veterans-home-i-am-american-and.jpg
The effort to build a new Idaho State Veterans Home in the Panhandle region is gaining some steam.

The Idaho Division of Veterans Services operates three veterans homes in Boise, Lewiston and Pocatello. The largest, in Boise, offers 36 beds in its residential unit, 131 beds in its nursing care unit and 17 beds in its Alzheimer's unit. The Lewiston and Pocatello homes each offer 66 beds.

The 2013 Idaho Legislature funded a $250,000 feasibility study to see if there is  a need for a new veterans home in northern Idaho. It's estimated that there are nearly 19,000 veterans in Idaho's Panhandle, but the closest veterans home is in Lewiston.

"The problem with Lewiston is that's two-and-a-half hours away," Kootenai County Veterans Council Secretary Sandy Doutre told KREM-TV. "So that means that if my veteran ends up going to Lewiston, I either have to pick up and move, or I have to drive two-and-a-half hours to see him."

Doutre is the wife of a Navy veteran who suffers from traumatic brain injury and diabetes.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Idaho Legislature is considering a measure from Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini that would earmark nearly $11 million for a new northern Idaho veterans home. If approved, the state would provide matching funds to build the home. The U.S. Veterans Administration would cover 65 percent of the overall construction cost.  The owners of a Post Falls commerce park have already agreed to donate six-and-a-half acres for the home.


  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Friday, October 17, 2014

At Last: Madelynn Taylor Secures Same-Sex Burial Rights at Idaho Veterans Cemetery

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Madelynn Taylor - LAURIE PEARMAN
  • Laurie Pearman
  • Madelynn Taylor

In the wake of the historic events that saw Idaho's same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional, veteran Madelynn Taylor has begun the process of securing a spot at the Idaho Veterans Cemetery for the ashes of her and her spouse, Jean Mixner.

Boise Weekly readers first met Taylor in April. Our story caught regional, national and even international attention—telling the story of how Taylor's request to be interred at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery had been rejected.

After being turned down verbally and in writing, the 74-year-old Taylor, whose wife Jean died two years ago (the two were legally married in California in 2008), decided in July to take her fight to court, filing a lawsuit against the the state of Idaho, arguing that her Constitutional rights had been violated.

But Kevin Wallior of the Idaho Veterans Affairs Commission confirmed to Boise Weekly Friday that Taylor was finally filling out the requisite paperwork to have Mixner's ashes interred with her own at the time of Taylor's passing.

Taylor called Boise Weekly Friday. She was elated: "Guess what? We won," she said. 

And indeed Wallior confirmed the historic news.

"She's in process," he told BW.

Previous attempts to apply had been rejected because Idaho did not, until Oct. 14, recognize Taylor and Mixner's same-sex union. 

"Now, since the court system struck down that provision as being unconstitutional, the state now recognizes same-sex marriage, [whether a couple is same- or different-sex] becomes a moot point. We're obligated by law to provide the same services that we would any other veteran," Wallior said.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

Sunday, November 17, 2013

CDA Press: Army Vet Profiled in Feature Article May Have Fabricated War Stories

Posted By on Sun, Nov 17, 2013 at 10:55 AM

A North Idaho woman's tales of battlefield heroics in Iraq may be too heroic to be true.

According to this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press, Christina Axtman was profiled in a front-page Veteran's Day feature in which, among other things, she told the reporter that she shot a woman armed with a bomb and a baby strapped to her chest, and was seriously injured when a Humvee she was driving struck an improvised explosive device.

Following publication of the story, the Shoshone News-Press—which also ran the story as part of the newspaper chain that owns the Press—started receiving tips from readers in the area of Axtman's hometown of Mullan that the 31-year-old wasn't all she was claiming to be. After checking with military officials, the News-Press found that Axtman served in the Idaho Army National Guard from April 2003-September 2003, and was discharged after suffering broken ribs in a training accident. She was never deployed, and the closest she ever got to Iraq was Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

National Guard officials told the paper that if Axtman "subsequently enlisted in the active-duty U.S. Army, we have no record of it."

According to the Press, Axtman is sticking to her story.

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

Saturday, November 16, 2013

AP: Parents of Kelsey Anderson, Idaho Airman Who Died of Apparent Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound on Guam Air Base, Settle Lawsuit with Air Force

Posted By on Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 10:46 AM

The parents of Kelsey Anderson, a 19-year-old Orofino girl who died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound while stationed in Guam, settled a lawsuit this week against the service in U.S. District Court. - U.S. AIR FORCE
  • U.S. Air Force
  • The parents of Kelsey Anderson, a 19-year-old Orofino girl who died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound while stationed in Guam, settled a lawsuit this week against the service in U.S. District Court.


The case of U.S. Air Force Airman Kelsey Anderson has come to a close.

The Associated Press reported Friday that parents of the 19-year-old Orofino girl, who military officials say killed herself on an Air Force base in Guam in 2011, have settled in a lawsuit demanding information related to her death, receiving $6,500 to cover attorney fees.

Parents Chris and Sue Anderson filed the suit this summer, claiming the Air Force failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act statutes related to disclosure of an investigation into the apparent June 9, 2011, suicide of their daughter, who was stationed at Andersen Air Force Base. Anderson, who joined the service as a security officer shortly after graduation from Orofino High School, was found dead of a gunshot wound in a bathroom stall on the base.

According to the AP, the Air Force settled with the Andersons in U.S. District Court on Nov. 13, admitting no liability or fault in the death. The case was officially dismissed by Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Nov. 14.

Boise Weekly traveled to Orofino in July to visit with the Andersons, who felt the Air Force had been less than forthcoming about events leading up to their daughter's death. According to official records released to them following reporting by BW and the Associated Press, Kelsey Anderson had been deeply unhappy following deployment to Guam—to the degree that her weapons privileges had been suspended on concerns over her mental state.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Navy Yard Shooter Kills at Least 12

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Aaron Alexis, 34, the man officials say killed at least 13 people at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.
  • Kristi Kinard Suthamtewakul via Associated Press
  • Aaron Alexis, 34, the man officials say killed at least 13 people at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

A man has been named the shooter in a spree shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., that left at least 13 dead and several others wounded Sept. 16.

Aaron Alexis, 34, the presumed shooter, was killed in a gun battle, reports the Washington Post.

Alexis was a four-year Navy reservist, though his career with the Navy was checkered by disorderly conduct charges, unauthorized absences and administrative punishments and sanctions. He received an honorable discharge Jan. 31, 2011, though upon his discharge he was granted a military contractor card, which may have granted him access to the Navy Yard at the time of the shootings.

The Post also reports that the names of the dead have been released.

  • Pin It

Tags: , ,

Friday, September 13, 2013

AP: Documents Shed New Light on Suicide of Idaho Airman

Posted By on Fri, Sep 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Chris and Sue Anderson, parents of Kelsey Anderson, sat with Boise Weekly this summer, sifting through legal documents as they prepared to sue the federal government for answers about the death of their daughter, who--Air Force officials say--died of a self-inflicted gunshot while on duty at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam in 2011. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • Chris and Sue Anderson, parents of Kelsey Anderson, sat with Boise Weekly this summer, sifting through legal documents as they prepared to sue the federal government for answers about the death of their daughter, who--Air Force officials say--died of a self-inflicted gunshot while on duty at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam in 2011.



The death of Kelsey Anderson defied reason. The 19-year-old Orofino High School graduate was well loved by her family and close-knit community; known for her ambition, hard work and competitive spirit. That's why her death—apparently from suicide at Andersen Air Force Base, where she was stationed as an airman in 2011—came as such a shock.

Her mother and father, Chris and Sue Anderson, with whom Boise Weekly spent time at their Orofino home this summer, were shattered as well as mystified, then increasingly angry as the U.S. Air Force dodged questions about the events leading up to their daughter's death. Two years after her death and countless failed attempts to get answers from officials about why their daughter might have taken her own life, the Andersons took the matter to court—suing the Air Force in U.S. District Court to release files related to the investigation of Kelsey's death.

Apparently, the Andersons finally got a response.

According to the Associated Press, the couple received documents in July—around the time they were contacted by Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh—including hundreds of pages from military investigators. AP received the same files after a records request and released a report of the findings Sept. 13.

From the AP report, Kelsey Anderson was very unhappy with her assignment to Andersen Air Force Base and made repeated attempts and requests for reassignment—even to be discharged. 

Newly released military records paint a picture of Kelsey Anderson, 19, as desperately unhappy with her posting at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam--so much so that she lied to officials to effect a reassignment and was placed on a "do not arm" list over concerns about her mental health. - U.S. AIR FORCE
  • U.S. Air Force
  • Newly released military records paint a picture of Kelsey Anderson, 19, as desperately unhappy with her posting at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam--so much so that she lied to officials to effect a reassignment and was placed on a "do not arm" list over concerns about her mental health.

Records go on to state that in May 2011—about a month before Anderson was found dead of a gunshot wound from her service pistol on June 9—she was referred to counseling and had her weapons privileges suspended on concerns over her mental health, AP reported.

Among other details, it was revealed that Anderson went so far as to lie to Air Force officials to effect a transfer, claiming her mother had cancer when in fact she did not.

AP reports the Andersons have since dropped their lawsuit against the Air Force.


  • Pin It

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fallen Soldier Memorial Service Recognizes Seven Idahoans

Posted By on Sat, Sep 8, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Seven Idaho soldiers have fallen in the last year, and in the third-annual memorial service at the Idaho Fallen Soldier Memorial on Tuesday, Sept. 11, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and First Lady Lori Otter will recite the names of all 62 fallen Idaho soliders.

The seven Idaho soliders who gave their lives in service this year are:

• Robert Dyas Jr., 21, of Nampa was killed by small-arms fire in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Sept. 21, 2011.

• Ryan Sharp, 28, died Dec. 3, 2011, in a German hospital from injuries caused by an IED blast in Afghanistan.

• Kenneth Cochran, 20, of Wilder, died on Jan. 15, during combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

• Daniel Brown, 27, of Jerome, was killed March 24, when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.

• Chris Workman, a 33-year-old native of Rupert and recent resident of Boise, was killed April 19. Boise Weekly reported that Workman was killed "with three other soldiers when their Black Hawk helicopter, responding to a call to evacuate Afghan police officers, went down in the Gamsir District of Helmand Province. The New York Times reports that four Afghan police officers were killed and seven others wounded in a suicide attack at a police checkpoint, and that the American helicopter was flying to the scene to take the wounded to a nearby hospital."

• Cody Moosman, 24, of Preston, was killed in Afghanistan July 3, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small-arms fire.

• Ethan J. Martin, 22, of Lewsiton, died Aug. 7 in Koragay, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when his combat team encountered enemy fire.

Tuesday's service at the Idaho Fallen Soldier Memorial (at the Idaho Law Center) will include a special ceremony for the seven soliders.

  • Pin It

Tags: ,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Idaho World War II Veterans Take Part in Honor Flight

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2012 at 9:27 AM

A group of 24 veterans of World War II took flight this morning at the Boise Airport, headed to Washington, D.C.

This time, the aircraft was a Southwest Airlines passenger jet instead of a troop carrier. The men on board Idaho's World War II Veterans' Honor Flight were greeted by Maj. Gen. Gary Saylor of the Idaho Air National Guard, members of the Boise Police Department and Military Honor Guard to escort the veterans onto the plane.

The Honor Flight Program began in 2005, when six chartered planes from Springfield, Ohio, carried 12 World War II vets to national memorials in the nation's capital. According to the Honor Flight Network, the United States loses approximately 900 World War II veterans per day.

To honor their service, the inaugural flight of the Honor Flight of Idaho chapter takes those vets on a free ride to D.C., where they will tour the national WWII Memorial. According to Honor Flight of Idaho, many of Idaho's veterans have not had a chance to see the memorial.

In 2011, the Honor Flight Network transported more than 18,200 WWII veterans to D.C.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Business Review: Army Reserve Colonel Claims She Was Bullied Out of Job

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM

A colonel in the Army Reserve has filed suit against the Idaho Board of Medicine, alleging she was bullied out her position as executive director of the state agency.

The Idaho Business Review reports that Imelda Weddington, who reached the rank of colonel in the Army Reserve Nurse Corps in 2005, claims her career was threatened by two Idaho physicians, Leo Harf and David McCluskey.

"[McClusky] told her that as 'vice-chair,' Dr. Harf would 'control the vote' of the board if [Weddington] took her concerns to the board, that the only way to protect her professional reputation was for her to resign quietly and without complaining," said Weddington's complaint.

IBR's Sean Olson reports that Weddington said she was told that Harf had concerns "about her time off" after performing her duties as Army Reserve emergency preparedness liaison officer for the state.

Weddington's monetary recovery request is not specified in her suit.

Weddington has since found other employment.

In 2005, Weddington was selected as Military Alumni of the Year by the Jacksonville (Ala.) State University ROTC.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Arizona Base Beats Out Boise For F-35s

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Air Force officials announced late Wednesday what most had suspected for some time, that Boise wouldn't be the new pilot training center for F-35 fighter jets. Instead, the Department of Defense chose Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Ariz., for the operation.

Boise's Gowen Field was competing with bases in Arizona (Glendale and Tucson) and New Mexico for the F-35 mission.

Air Force officials said that Luke AFB was chosen because of the facility's ramp capacity, range access, weather and potential for growth.

Pentagon officials tout the F-35, made by Lockheed Martin, as "the most advanced aircraft being added to the military arsenal." The F-35s could land at Luke as early as fall 2013.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

© 2016 Boise Weekly

Website powered by Foundation