November 27, 2015

Remains of Wisconsin airman return from Afghanistan

Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris (Photo: Facebook)

Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris (Photo: Facebook)

The body of a Wisconsin Air Force airman killed in a military plane crash earlier this month in Afghanistan is coming home.

The remains of 21-year-old Quinn Johnson-Harris were due to arrive at Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport on Thursday. He died on October 2, when the C-130 plane he was on board crashed shortly after take-off in Afghanistan. He was among 11 people killed in the crash.

Johnson-Harris was a 2012 graduate of Homestead High School in Mequon.

From the airport, his body will be taken to a funeral home, with a military procession and funeral set for Saturday in Milwaukee. He will be buried in November at Arlington National Cemetery.

Efforts continue to identify remains of Wisconsin airmen and others

The wreckage site of the C-124 Globemaster is only accessible by helicopter for about two weeks a year, in June. (Photo: U.S. Air Force photos/Tech. Sgt. John S. Gordinier John S. Gordinier)

The wreckage site of the C-124 Globemaster is only accessible by helicopter for about two weeks a year, in June. (Photo: U.S. Air Force photos/Tech. Sgt. John S. Gordinier John S. Gordinier)

Efforts continue to identify the remains of dozens of airmen who died more than 60 years ago when their plane crashed in Alaska. Believed to be among the dead are three men with ties to Wisconsin, whose remains have yet to be identified.

More than 50 people were on board the C-124 Globemaster when it crashed into Mount Gannett in Alaska on November 22, 1952. The wreckage of the Korean War-era military plane and the remains of its passengers were lost until they were spotted in 2012, some 16 kilometers from the crash site. They had been carried their by the Colony Glacier. The site of the wreckage is only accessible two weeks out of the year in June.

Officials have been working on identifying the remains since then, recently confirming those belonging to aptain Walter Perrin Tribble of Champaign, Illinois, and Airman 2nd Class Bernis F. White of Fordyce, Arkansas. Their families will be offered burial will full military honors.

The three Wisconsin men on that plane were Airman 2nd Class Thomas Condon was from Waukesha, Airman 2nd Class Dan McMann was from Marinette, and Airman 2nd Class Edward Miller was from Evansville. Remains from 17 other men were identified and returned to families last year, making 19 in all that have been afforded a chance at a proper burial. Tribble’s and White’s remains were among those recovered in June, 2014.

Efforts continue to identify other remains found at the same time, but Armed Forces Medical Examiner Colonel Ladd Tremaine said it could be several more weeks before additional identifications are released. “There are some other cases that are extremely complex that deal with multiple fragments, and those are the ones that we’re really having trouble with – linking samples back to specimens,” said Tremaine.

Tremaine’s agency received the remains in August after a jurisdictional change caused them to be handed over from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency. “We’ve actively been working these since getting them in August and it’s going to take probably a few more weeks to get a couple of them out,” said Tremaine.

Remains recovered in June of this year are also undergoing an identification process.

Contributed by Mike Lear, Missourinet

Sen. Johnson open to US military involvement in Syria

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) argues that dealing with the Syrian refugee crisis will require addressing the root causes of the problem. To do that, the Wisconsin Republican says it may require putting American troops on the ground.

Johnson believes President Obama needs to commit to stabilizing the situation in Syria and he thinks the strategy used in the first Gulf War will be key to making that happen. “We need a coalition of the willing – Western Europe, Gulf states – to go in and start providing safe zones within Syria, so we don’t have the refugee flow,” Johnson argued during a stop last week in Madison.

The Wisconsin Republican said the U.S. can’t be the world’s policeman, but it should act when doing so is in the nation’s best interest and it has the ability to do so.

As for the refugee crisis that’s currently forced three million people to flee from Syria, Johnson urged caution on opening U.S. borders. He worries ISIS may be taking advantage of the situation to infiltrate other countries. “We need to be on guard,” Johnson said. “The threat of Islamic terror is not receding. We don’t have them on the run. These are serious threats.”

If the U.S. does agree to allow more refugees enter the country, Johnson thinks the first priority should be on reunification. “If we have Syrian-American citizens, if they have family members in Syria, that ought to be the first group of people that we let in,” he said.

Wisconsin airman killed in Afghanistan plane crash

Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris (Photo: Facebook)

Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris (Photo: Facebook)

The Department of Defense has confirmed that a Milwaukee man was among the six airmen and five civilian contractors killed Friday when their plane crashed in Afghanistan.

Senior Airman Quinn L. Johnson-Harris of Milwaukee died when the C-130 transport plane crashed shortly after taking off from Jalalabad Airfield. The 21-year-old was assigned to the 39th Airlift Squadron, based out of Dyess Air Force Base in Texas.

Officials said they are still working to determine the cause of the crash, which also killed an unknown number of Afghan civilians on the ground.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said “this is a reminder of the risks that our men and women face serving their country in remote places all over the world.  Let us not forget the importance of their service, and the critical mission they died supporting.”

Oshkosh Defense tapped to build new military vehicle

PHOTO: Oshkosh Defense

PHOTO: Oshkosh Defense

A major military contract could help create new jobs in northeastern Wisconsin.

Oshkosh Defense was awarded a $6.7 billion US Military contract on Tuesday to build the next generation of armored vehicle to replace the Humvee. The deal calls for the company to produce 17,000 vehicles by 2018, although the order could grow to $30 billion and 55,000 vehicles over the next eight years.

Jerry Murphy is the executive director of New North, an economic development organization focused on the northeastern region of Wisconsin. He says the deal is great news for Oshkosh and surrounding areas, with the added business likely helping to secure jobs at the defense contractor and its suppliers for several years.

Oshkosh had previously cut nearly 2,000 jobs because of dwindling military orders. Murphy says this new contract should give them stability for several years. In addition to building the trucks, he notes the company will also bring in revenue through servicing the vehicles.