German authorities are investigating the death this week of an American civilian contractor who worked at Ramstein Air Base.

David Mear, 48, was found dead in Kindsbach at around 10:30 a.m. on Monday, according to an Air Force press release issued Wednesday.

Mear worked in the 435th Comptroller Squadron as the regional manager for the Computer Sciences Corp.

Fred Mentzel, director of technical operations for defense engineering services, said in a statement that Mear’s technical skills were “exemplary” and that “he was sincerely one of the kindest and gentlest people you could hope to meet.”

U.S. ships in multilateral exercise

Two U.S. Navy warships will be taking part in the multinational maritime exercise Trident d’Or 2005 in the Mediterranean Sea until April 15.

The destroyer USS O’Bannon and guided missile frigate USS Taylor are participating in the French- and Italian-run exercise, which includes about 8,000 military personnel from nine nations on 40 ships and nearly 50 aircraft.

In addition to French, Italian and U.S. forces, units from Canada, Germany, Greece, Britain, Spain and Turkey will take part.

According to a 6th Fleet press release, the forces will conduct exercises designed to improve both the combat capabilities of the units as well as their abilities to work together. Additionally, France will test its ability to command a maritime high-readiness force at sea.

The O’Bannon is homeported in Mayport, Fla., and carries a crew of 340.

The Taylor, also from Mayport, carries a crew of about 215 and is part of the U.S. contribution to the NATO Standing Naval Force Mediterranean.

Navy musician found dead at Naples

A Navy musician assigned to the NATO Allied Forces Band, Naples, Italy, was found dead in his home Monday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Sydney Frazer II, 43, of Kokomo, Ind., probably died of natural causes, according to initial reports by Italian authorities.

NATO spokesman Capt. Jeff Gradek said there will be an investigation to confirm the cause of death.

Frazer had been assigned to the band since summer 2004.

Gradek said that a memorial service is being scheduled for Tuesday, but final details are not available.

Wallace tapped to get fourth star

The man who led the ground invasion of Iraq has been tapped to pin on his fourth star.

Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, currently the commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., has been selected to take over his boss’s job as the chief of the Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., according to the Department of Defense.

As commander of the Germany-based V Corps, Wallace led the initial invasion of Iraq in March 2003. He was replaced three months later by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as top commander in Iraq.

The DOD also announced the following nominations:

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