Army Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson

September 19, 2008 by Philip Barron  Email This Post Print This Post

Another troubling story of a “non-hostile” military death in Iraq, another military family desperate for answers from an uncommunicative Army. CNN reports on the death of Army Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson:

Darryl Mathis waits in his Pensacola, Florida, home for the body of his 24-year-old son to return home from Iraq. Mathis, a military veteran himself, was seething with anger Thursday as he spoke about the death of Army Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson.

Dawson, and Sgt. Wesley Durbin, 26, are said to have been shot and killed by another U.S. soldier on Sunday at a base south of Baghdad.

Darryl and his wife, Maxine (Dawson’s stepmother), say the military has told them nothing about the incident: no details on his death, no information at all.

His voice shakes as he says he believes that the military has let him down.

“I’m very disappointed — very,” he said. “If I would get a straight answer, if they would actually tell me what’s going on, I would have something to work on; but right now, I have nothing to work on. Everything I’m getting, I’m getting from the media.”

As with the case of PFC LaVena Johnson, the initial military response has been grudging, fragmented, and contradictory:

CNN phoned an Army base in Fort Stewart, Georgia, to ask for more details on the incident. CNN was then e-mailed another press release — this one written by Gen. Tony Cucolo, the commanding general of the Third Infantry Division — that a press officer said had been drafted on Wednesday.

That release also had not been e-mailed to reporters, as is customary.

“We do know one soldier, a fellow noncommissioned officer, allegedly opened fire and mortally wounded his squad leader and fellow team leader,” reads the statement.

A spokesman at Fort Stewart said, “A soldier has been taken into custody. The incident is under investigation, and that is all I can say.”

The spokesman would not even confirm information in his commanding general’s press statement.

It remains to be seen whether the front-page media attention given to Sgt. Dawson’s death by CNN will result in a more forthcoming response from Army investigators. We hope that CNN will broaden the scope of its attention to include LaVena Johnson, and other soldiers whose deaths in service remain shadowed.

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3 Responses to “Army Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson”

  1. Calabashe on September 19th, 2008 9:59 pm

    You’d think after nearly 4 years of Mary Tillman, DoD would have learned something.

  2. Tina Shipsides on October 29th, 2008 8:35 am

    I read , the Lavina Johnson story, I am british andlive in dubai, I was actually in a nail salon reading the marie clare magazine Marie clare and i came across the Lavena Johnson story. My fiannce is from florida and was in the the marine corps, served in iraq,he survived it . ! Served his country like Lavena and thousands of loyal young soldiers. Iam Appauled . shocked and saddend by the many deaths that occur and how its handled by the military. i can only say keep fighting for answeres, someone must have the answeres, dont stop! The military have to do something they have to give you anweres, Its touched my heart. from some one on the other side of the wolrd , i will be praying for Lavenas family and all the other unfourtunate familys. justice prevails! Never stop finding the answeres.
    May god bless you all.

  3. steve on March 22nd, 2009 4:51 pm

    There has to be alot more to this than the army just saying that they have a suspect. Come on now………….lets get real. Someone is not telling everything. CID and the MPs and even the FBI would be all over this if it were a murder. This kind of stuff does not get swept under the carpet anymore like in VN. This is the age of squealers and whistle blowers. A call to a senator or congressman/woman would get the ball going here. In every death there is a myriad of paperwork and investigations and nobody can compare this to the Tillman case. That case could have went either way and it wasn’t until later that they thought……thought Tillman was killed by friendly fire. This is a murder case and unless heavy drugs were present and sold, then there will be a closure to this. Get the Washington reps on this but stay clear from Obama as he loathes the military and could care less about the welfare of any G.I.
    Find a pro veteran rep and get it rolling. Obama nor anyone else can stop this investigation once it gets going.