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Jill Burke

A former Republican legislator who received complaints about the Alaska National Guard as an aide to Gov. Sean Parnell said the governor's chief of staff ordered her to pass the concerns she heard to the head of the guard -- even when the complaints were about the guard’s top leaders.

“I thought, ‘If there is something here, the problem is only going to be made worse by including the commissioner of Military and Veterans Affairs,’” Nancy Dahlstrom, a former representative from Eagle River, said in an interview this week...

Jill Burke,Richard Mauer

Nearly three weeks after media reports began to chronicle what appeared to be a pattern of predatory debauchery within the Alaska Army National Guard’s recruiting and retention battalion, the recruiters named in the stories are suing in federal court in an effort to reveal how the story got out.

On Tuesday, Lt. Col. Joseph Lawendowski, Sgt. Shannon Tallant, Master Sgt. John Nieves and Master Sgt. Jarrett Carson filed suit in Washington, D.C. against the U.S. Department of the Army and the Secretary of the Army over violations of the Privacy Act...

Jill Burke

Master Sgt. Jarrett Carson, a large, bald man described by his own attorney as a loud, brash, direct, in-your-face senior noncommissioned officer, is fighting to save his military career.

Carson, a 19-year guardsman, is the latest recruiter from the Alaska Army National Guard to undergo a trial-like administrative hearing to determine whether he should be kicked out of the military...

Jill Burke

The day Alaska Dispatch News published excerpts from a secret recording of Gov. Sean Parnell’s “town hall” with National Guard troops from which the public and media were barred, an official sent an email to Army Guard members that “new guidance” from the Army bars soldiers from taking their smartphones and tablets to their military workplace.

The problem was, the “guidance” from the Army wasn’t new, and it didn’t prohibit soldiers from taking their personal devices to work.

Most smartphones have software that makes it easy to record a conversation or speech, even when the device is in a pocket...

Richard Mauer,Jill Burke

Armed with new information provided by the Alaska National Guard, the Anchorage Police Department is considering opening new cases.

“There is potential that new sexual assault investigations could be opened as a result. We are evaluating the new information now,” Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said in an email to Alaska Dispatch News.

The new investigations would be in addition to approximately 20 previous sexual assault cases involving guard members that police have checked into since 2009, Mew said. The connection of a guard member or members to each case was either as a victim or as the accused.

Of the 20 cases, three have been referred to state prosecutors, Mew said...

Jill Burke

Two weeks after they were fired and almost immediately unfired, the Alaska National Guard announced that two officers have been fired again, along with a third.

In a statement sent to reporters at 6:30 p.m. Monday, the guard said that Brig. Gen. Catherine Jorgensen was removed from her post as Army Guard chief of staff and that Col. Edith Grunwald lost her job as director of human resources for the Alaska National Guard, the second time their departures were announced this month.

An Air Guard general, Brig. Gen. Donald Wenke, lost his job as commander of the 176th Wing, the guard said...

Richard Mauer,Jill Burke

The Alaska Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion, a unit with access to high school students around the state and a budget to attend or sponsor popular outdoor events, has been, for years, a center of repeated sexual misconduct among its officers, according to investigative files...

Richard Mauer,Jill Burke

One of the Alaska Senate’s leaders, Anchorage Republican Lesil McGuire, says the Legislature has a role to play in repairing the Alaska National Guard.

“You can expect to hear more from the Senate,” McGuire said in a phone interview this week. “I am ultimately going to hold hearings and I am going to call for a special investigator.”...

Jill Burke

At least one allegation lodged against former Alaska National Guardsman Col. Timothy DeHaas appears to have been unfounded.

In 2009, Alaska State Troopers investigated a complaint about DeHaas, who served as chief of staff for the Alaska Army National Guard, and another individual using a guard helicopter to go hunting. Troopers closed the case after finding no proof DeHaas had broken the law, according to Megan Peters, a public information officer with the Alaska Department of Public Safety...

Jill Burke

Alaska Dispatch News sued Gov. Sean Parnell on Wednesday, asking a judge to force the governor’s office to release public records related to the ongoing scandal within the Alaska National Guard.

The news organization, along with its co-plaintiff Alaska Public Media, claims the governor’s office has been wrongly denying public records requests that could help voters verify whether Parnell acted swiftly in dealing with numerous allegations about mishandled sexual assaults, harassment, fraud, favoritism and other misconduct, including abuse of power, within the guard over the past several years...

Jill Burke