Battleland

Airport Terror: A Strange Way to Die

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German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, right, awards U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Trevor Brewer the German Federal Cross of Merit in Berlin on Monday

Two things have happened since Monday worth noting. Both involve the deaths of Air Force personnel at the hands of radical Muslims. In one case – in which nine Americans died – the killer used a handgun apparently paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

These deaths didn’t occur on the battlefield, but in airports. The bottom line in each case is the same: thank whatever God, if any, you worship that they didn’t have more deadly weapons.

On Monday, the German government awarded a U.S. Air Force airman, and an American civilian, its highest civilian award – the Federal Cross of Merit – for capturing Arid Uka, after the jihadist Kosovar Albanian shot and killed two U.S. airmen on a bus in Frankfurt last March 2. Staff Sergeant Trevor Brewer, who received the honor along with Lamar Conner, accepted it in the name of his two fatally-wounded Air Force comrades, Senior Airman Nicholas Alden and Airman 1st Class Zachary Cuddeback. Uka faces life imprisonment.

The Air Force also has concluded that an Afghan military officer who killed nine Americans – including eight Air Force personnel — at the Kabul airport last April 27 made his dream to “kill Americans” come true:

SUBJECT shot each of the Americans in the room multiple times, including one shot to each of the DECEASEDs’ heads, except DECEASED McLAUGHLIN

Jim McLaughlin was the lone civilian among the nine.

Also killed were Maj. Philip D. Ambard, Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn, Maj. David L. Brodeur, Master Sgt. Tara R. Brown, Lt. Col. Frank D. Bryant Jr., Maj. Raymond G. Estelle II, Capt. Nathan J. Nylander, and Capt. Charles A. Ransom.

The Office of Special Investigations’ probe found that Ahmed Gul, a 46-year old Afghan chopper pilot, had become increasingly radical in recent years, according to members of the Afghan military.

After the slaiughter, in which Gul was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with Capt. Nylander and a second, unnamed individual:

SUBJECT then wrote in blood on opposite walls of the hallway, “God is one” and “God in your name” in Dari…

He then killed himself with two shots from his “issued” – which suggests the murder weapon was paid for by U.S. taxpayers – 9-mm Smith & Wesson handgun.

According to the redacted OSI report:

In 1995, SUBJECT started to follow the teachings of the Taliban, becoming a very strict Muslim. He attended Mosque for each prayer time, grew a beard…and practiced an authoritarian approach when seeing other individuals who did not practice Islam to his liking….SUBJECT stated that he moved to Pakistan [for 18 months spanning 2006 to 2008] because he was upset that foreigners had invaded his country…When…members asked SUBJECT why he wanted to return to Afghanistan to work for the Afghan government, SUBJECT responded he “wanted to kill Americans.” The [Afghans] did not take any action on this statement as they did not believe it.

Apparently, the U.S. military has taught its Afghan counterparts to ignore professed radicals, just as the U.S. Army dismissed such concerns over Major Nidal Hasan before he killed 13 at Fort Hood in 2009.

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