Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two More Female Service Members Murdered

This raises the question....what is going on at these military bases? I think this will also be ammunition for those who say that women should not serve with men.

From the Stars and Stripes

MANAMA, Bahrain — Two female sailors who were fatally shot by a colleague in their barracks in Bahrain were identified Tuesday by the Pentagon.

Seaman Anamarie Sannicolas Camacho, 20, of Panama City, Fla., and Seaman Genesia Mattril Gresham, 19, of Lithonia, Ga., had just joined the military last year. Camacho enlisted in June; Gresham in November.

The military has not released the name of the third sailor, who allegedly shot both women early Monday morning before turning the gun on himself. He remains in critical condition at a local hospital, the Navy said Tuesday.

Lt. John Gay, a spokesman for the 5th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain, said the incident remains under investigation and he was not aware of any charges being filed.

The three served as master-at-arms sailors assigned to the Naval Support Activity Bahrain security forces department. A memorial has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday.

Sources who would only speak on the condition of anonymity have said the male shooter shot his former girlfriend around 5 a.m. and her roommate before shooting himself. It is not yet known which of the two women was the shooter’s girlfriend.

He had threatened her in the past and was ordered to stay away from her, they said. What exactly led him to go to the barracks is not known.

The Navy has released few details about what happened but acknowledged the three “were acquainted.”

As investigators tried to learn what happened, a team of chaplains, crisis counselors and mental health specialists cared for those affected by the tragedy.

Anger and grief has rippled across the heavily protected installation, affecting those who were first on the scene, who knew the sailors involved or who lived just down the hall from the crime scene.

“Some are still in disbelief,” said Lt. Rean Enriquez, a Catholic priest on base. “Some are still in shock, and they’re trying to handle it the best they can.”

Not surprisingly, the shootings have hit members of the base’s security forces department, where the three worked, the hardest. As masters-at-arms, the three served as military police.

Counselors have taken considerable care in monitoring how they and those first on the scene are handling their range of emotions. Many are finding it difficult to cope with what happened.

One sailor was so traumatized by what he saw in the barracks that counselors recommended that he not go back there.

Dorothy Benford, director of the Fleet and Family Support Center, said her staff members have met with members of the security unit and the small medical command on base. She said counselors are trying to do anything they can to help, including counseling those who are infuriated by the loss of their friends.

“We’ve been told there have been incidents like arguments and fights, and so I said to the leadership, ‘Please let us deal with these angry issues,’” Benford said.

“And they have a right to be angry because suppose you are a friend of the shooter and someone else is a friend of the victim. They may say things and that’s going to spark things.”

Cmdr. Aaron Jefferson, also a chaplain, rushed to the command center to help soon after he heard that something had happened.

He said some people have expressed guilt over what happened and wonder whether they could have done anything to have prevented the shootings.

The pain of guilt has also touched Jefferson. He went home Monday around 8 p.m., but didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 a.m.

“I’m thinking, you know, what could I have done?” said Jefferson, a Baptist minister. “Could I have prevented this? Could I have ministered to the troops? What could I have done better? How could I help?



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Anonymous said...

Serves NSA Bahrain right! They had it coming to them too. I was stationed there a couple of months after 9/11 and boy was there (and still is) a blatant disregard for the enlisted personnel especially the junior personnel. I expressed my concerns about 6 mos before transferring stateside but my concerns were left unheaded. I kept seeing an overflow of junior sailors...inexperienced MAs and nothing was being done to prepare these young men and women. To them all Bahrain was, was a sandbox of money, booze and fun. What would you expect would happen to the personnel there when you allow underage sailors the access...to many things they should yet to be experiencing. And the chaplains are just barely servicing the personnel. There should always be a chaplain assigned to a unit, especially on a god forsaken island such as Bahrain. I'm glad people are feeling guilty, there is always something to be done. If you can review and re-review SOPs about suicide awareness, anger management, etc etc.... yes, it might get old but when the time comes and the signs arise you can snap to it and notify someone or at least attempt to help. The "guy" as he will probably be known as is a A-hole who doesn't deserve to have his identity unidentified. I have had my share of this type of person, male and female of whom I've advised to shape up and get help or if not and *&%# hit the fan, I'd be the first to fix things. It's tragic that those women died the way they did, my prayers go to their families. It doesn't surprise me that something like this has happened. The only time chaplains and counselors are made available is if 1)a peron seeks them out, 2)a Red Cross message is issued or 3)a person is in trouble. It's a sad tale to hear is still continuing it's pathetic course. From PO1s up to the Admiral, there will always be F#^$%d up environment like NSA Bahrain. It seems terrifying to hear that one of our own shot and killed two of our own. If memory serves me right this is the first incident involving murder on the base, but what about the burglaries, assaults, cons, drug usage and rapes, what about those crimes?? Makes you think about the other crimes that have been committed. I remember the last time a murder was talked about was a couple of years ago when a marine of sufficient rank was brouht in from Japan for murdering his wife. The entire platoon watched him until he was sent to Germany. Makes you wonder, huh? Serves all them batards right now that they're scrambling to service the sailors with the services they should have been actively provided. May the A-holes on Bahrain learn their lesson and may these young women be promptly reunited with their families.

Brian said...

Master at Arms...

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this.

I always appreciate military or ex-military posting their thoughts here.