CAMP CASEY, South Korea — A sergeant who took 15 months of unauthorized leave will spend six months in jail, according to a pretrial agreement at a court-martial in Camp Casey’s courtroom Wednesday.

Sgt. Daniel B. Neikirk, most recently of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery, also received a rank reduction to E-1 and a bad-conduct discharge.

Neikirk was supposed to show up at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 20, 2005. He instead lived at multiple addresses in South Korea with his wife, prosecutors said.

The Yongsan South Korean police detained Neikirk on Feb. 15 and turned him over to military police.

Neikirk blamed his absence on family problems that had spiraled out of control, prosecutors said.

Small protest closes Osan Air Base gateOSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Air Force security police closed the base main gate to traffic for about a half-hour Wednesday afternoon after about 10 South Koreans staged a peaceful labor protest outside the gate.

The incident stemmed from a dispute the protesters have with a South Korean company, base spokesman Lt. Col. Michael E. Shavers said.

Shavers did not know whether the company is one that does business on the base, but he said the firm was “not connected to Osan Air Base or the U.S Air Force.”

South Korean police dispersed the protesters, Shavers said.

The base’s other gates remained open during the demonstration, Shavers said.

Landing gear collapses; no one on jet is injuredKADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Air Force officials are investigating the cause of a nose wheel collapse on an F-15C jet fighter here Tuesday.

An 18th Wing spokesman said the incident occurred about 10 a.m. when the nose wheel landing gear of a fighter assigned to the 67th Fighter Squadron collapsed while taxiing. The pilot was not injured and no other planes were affected.

“The Kadena runway was not closed at any time due to the incident because the collapse occurred on a taxiway,” Scott Hallford of 18th Wing Public Affairs said. “Maintenance personnel determined it was a single incident and not a concern for other F-15s.”

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