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The one constant story on Okinawa during 2007 was the busy comings and goings of U.S. military units and hundreds of individual servicemembers to and from Iraq and Afghanistan.

However, six Okinawa-based Marines did not return.

Sgt. Michael Kashkoush, 24, from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, of the 3rd Intelligence Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, was killed by sniper fire Jan. 23 in Taqaddum, Iraq.

On the same day, Sgt. Gary S. Johnston, 21, from Windthorst, Texas, with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, was killed during combat in Fallujah, Iraq.

Cpl. Thomas Saba, 30, from Toms River, N.J., assigned to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 262, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, was killed Feb. 7 in a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crash near Fallujah that also killed six other servicemembers.

Cpl. Jennifer M. Parcell, 20, from Bel Air, Md., assigned to the 3rd Marine Logistics Group, was killed Feb. 7 in Anbar province, Iraq, when a woman she was searching blew herself up with a suicide vest.

And Lance Cpl. Robert A. Lynch, 20, from Louisville, Ky., of 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, and Cpl. James H. McRae, 22, of Springtown, Texas, assigned to the 3rd Marine Logistics Group, died July 24 during combat against a Sunni stronghold in Rushidiyah, Iraq.

JANUARYJan. 10 Okinawa officials protest the U.S. Air Force’s decision to send a squadron of its most advanced fighter — the F-22 Raptor — to the island for several months of training in February. Twelve of the new stealth fighters trained with other Air Force and Navy planes, as well as the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.Jan. 29 Department of Defense Education Activity officials announce that government funding for a home-schooling program for about 400 students — most of them in the Pacific region overseas — will end due to budget constraints.

FEBRUARYFeb. 1 Okinawa police report the number of serious crimes caused by Americans on the island continued a slight downward trend. In August, police release a report that shows fewer arrests during the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2006. But the number of felony charges rose by 64 percent, from 28 during the first half of 2006 to 46 for the period in 2007.Feb. 22 Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James T. Conway visits Okinawa.

MARCHMarch 13 An Inspector General’s report concludes the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are not prepared for increased annual costs resulting from changes to the force structure in the Pacific. The report states the cost of the Marine Corps’ move of some 8,000 Marines and their families to Guam from Okinawa by 2014 will cost the Corps an extra $465 million annually. “The quality of life for servicemembers and their dependents and the readiness of U.S. forces in USPACOM may be adversely affected,” the report states.March 22 The U.S. State Department announces that consulates once again will accept visa petitions for relatives of American citizens living overseas, the beginning of the end to a bottleneck of immigration paperwork that had threatened to split military families. Problems started in late January after a new law caused confusion about which federal department should handle the documents.

APRILApril 11 Eligibility rates for free and reduced-price lunches at most overseas military schools increase by nearly 9 percent. School officials say a family of four earning $32,500 or less can qualify for free lunches, up from $29,900. A family of four earning $46,250 or less may qualify for reduced-price lunches, up from $42,550.

MAYMay 1 The trial of a Marine sergeant and a Navy spouse charged with slitting a friend’s throat during a botched robbery in October 2006 gets under way. Bryant White, 23, survived the attack. Marine Sgt. Michael Avinger, 30, admits he cut White’s throat. Co-defendant Darian Preston Daniels, 29, testifies he had no inkling Avinger was going to cut White, stating he thought the incident was a dope deal gone bad. Avinger and Daniels are later convicted and sentenced to eight years hard labor in a Japanese prison.May 16 Okinawa police arrest Roberto Deleon, 25, spouse of an Air Force staff sergeant, on suspicion of causing injuries that led to the April 11 death of his 8-year-old stepson, Jordan Peterson. In June, a Japanese prosecutor closes the homicide investigation with no indictment. Deleon returns to the States, but Air Force officials refer the case to the U.S. Justice Department for possible charges in a federal court. photo from june 10 of house, but not a great shotMay 23 Tokyo passes a law to fund the reorganization of U.S. forces in Japan and move some 8,000 Marines and their families to Guam by 2014. Japan agrees to pay $6 billion of the estimated $10 billion cost.May 25 Japan’s Defense Facilities Administration Agency and Okinawa City negotiate closing and compacting a trash mountain near Kadena Air Base that U.S. Air Force officials say is too high and attracts crows that pose a danger to jets.

JUNEJune 13: Marine commands on Okinawa undergo several changes in leadership. Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Weber turns over command of III Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Bases Japan and Marine Forces Japan to Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer. Weber went on to lead Marine Forces Command, based at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.Brig. Gen. Joseph V. Medina turns command of the 3rd Marine Division over to Maj. Gen. Robert B. Neller. Medina remains on Okinawa as deputy commanding general of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and commanding general of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. Maj. Gen. George J. Trautman III hands command of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing to Brig. Gen. Robert E. Schmidle Jr. Trautman became deputy commandant for aviation at Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington.

JULYJuly 9 A Kubasaki High School science teacher, Jack Russell Hubbard, 60, is arrested in Pennsylvania on decades-old charges of sodomy and rape involving students he taught in Kentucky in the late 1970s.July 13 Typhoon Man-yi wallops Okinawa with 105 mph gusts, knocking out water service on camps Foster and Lester and causing scattered electric outages throughout the island. The storm dumps 10 inches of rain on Okinawa, washing out roads and causing mudslides.

AUGUSTAug. 12 More than 900 Marines and sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 4 deploy to Anbar province, Iraq, for a six- to seven-month deployment. It is the largest deployment of Okinawa-based Marines to Iraq in 2007.Aug. 27 Kubasaki High School social studies teacher David Jones, 47, is sentenced to 10 months in a Japanese prison — suspended for three years — for growing a marijuana plant in the backyard of his off-base home in Chatan. He also was banned from all Marine bases in Japan for 20 years.

SEPTEMBERSept. 24 Navy Lt. Christian Hescock, 34, is killed when an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter crashes into Fena Reservoir on Guam during a training mission. Three other crewmen are injured.Sept. 25 More details of the military’s buildup plans in Guam become clear, including news that nearly 40,000 additional people will likely move to the island when counting the Marines from Okinawa, their families, and added Army and Navy units. The expansion also will include infrastructure for thrice-yearly visits from aircraft carriers and an Army missile defense unit.

OCTOBEROct. 22 Marine Sgt. Bassa Cisse, 33, of the 1st Marine Air Wing, is taken into custody by military police on suspicion of the beating death of his 6-year-old daughter in their Camp Foster apartment. During a preliminary hearing Dec. 13 the prosecution argues for charging him with murder.

DECEMBERDec. 4 Marine Capt. Samar Khalil Nabbou Spinelli, 39, assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing, pleads guilty in U.S. District Court to faking her first marriage to gain U.S. citizenship. She faces 12 months in prison, separation from the Marine Corps and possible deportation to Lebanon. mug of spinelli

Stars and Stripes reporters David Allen, Cindy Fisher, Chiyomi Sumida and Teri Weaver contributed to this report.

More year in reviewStability in the Pentagon and progress around Iraq

Mideast: Progress in Iraq, but toll for U.S. is still high

Europe: Deployments, weak dollar make ’07 tough

Japan: A year on the move

South Korea: USKF Growing and expanding bases


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