Category: McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

ALL CLEAR Given At Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Due To Earlier Reported Active Shooter

October 26, 2023

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ — Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst has give the ALL CLEAR signal at the base and things are returning to normal operations.

JBMDL is no longer under lockdown condition. We received notification of an active shooter on the joint base. After investigating the incident, it was found that there was no active shooter. We appreciate the public’s concern and thank you for your continued support.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
ALL CLEAR
JBMDL IS NO LONGER UNDER A LOCKDOWN CONDITION, WE HAVE CONFIRMED ALL MEMBERS OF JBMDL ARE SAFE.
We appreciate the public’s continued support


JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ — A message was posted to the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Facebook page reporting active shooter on the base at Building 5321. No other information is available at this time. Check Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst for additional details.

MESSAGE POSTED TO FACEBOOK ACCOUNT:

LOCKDOWN LOCKDOWN LOCKDOWN

ACTIVE SHOOTER REPORTED ON JBMDL

BLDG 5231. ALL PERSONNEL ARE TO LOCKDOWN UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

ALL PERSONNEL OUTDOORS SHOULD TAKE COVER.


DIVIDS File photo by: (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Azaria E. Foster)

The 305th AMW Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for its Newly Commissioned ‘Dock 46 Two-Bay Hangar’

August 25, 2023

By Senior Airman Matt Porter 87th Air Base Wing

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J  –  The 305th Air Mobility Wing held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly commissioned ‘Dock 46 two-bay hangar’ at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., on August 24, 2023.

The event concludes four and a half years of planning and 240,650 accident-free man-hours after its initial groundbreaking on December 3, 2018. A military construction project valued at nearly $54 million, the hangar will serve as a mission-critical asset in the KC-46A Pegasus’ ability to provide Rapid Global Mobility for the Joint Force.

For the men and women of the 605th AMXS, it signifies a historic weapon system transfer and the beginning of a new era in global aerial refueling operations.

“This project is significant due to the tangible difference it makes in the ability to perform major maintenance on such a complex aircraft,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Aaron Vogeler, 605th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “It represents a commitment to the future of this installation and our mission, the defense of our nation, as well as the economic impact on the surrounding communities.”

The prime contractor, Walsh Federal, subcontracted approximately $31 million to 210 New Jersey contractors during the four years of construction.

Approximately 44,000 military and civilian employees work in support of the Joint Base, making it the second-largest employer in New Jersey and contributing nearly seven billion dollars to New Jersey’s annual economic output.

“After years of advocating in Congress we were able to realize this MILCON,” said Chris Smith, New Jersey 4th District congressman. “I wanted this facility at the Joint Base because of the immense strategic value it brings to the Northeast and our Allies abroad.”

The state-of-the-art facility measures over 90,000 square feet, representing a 50% increase in hangar space for the KC-46. Its fabric doors are designed to withstand winds up to 120 mph and is also equipped with a fire pump capable of pumping 2,500 gpm.

“The KC-46 affords unprecedented connectivity as a Joint Force-multiplier and this Hangar will be instrumental to the global employment of our Pegasus fleet,” said U.S. Air Force Col Elizabeth Hanson, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander. “We thank everyone who helped make this project not only a reality, but a foundation to launch our air refueling mission for tomorrow.”


Joint Base Leadership and personnel attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the 305th Air Mobility Wing’s Dock 46 Two-Bay Hangar at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. on 24 Aug. 2023. New Jersey 4th District Congressman Chris Smith addressed the audience on the strategic value the facility brings to the KC-46A Pegasus refueling mission. The event concludes four and a half years of planning and 240,650 accident-free man-hours after its initial groundbreaking on December 3, 2018. A military construction project valued at nearly $54 million, the hangar will serve as a mission-critical asset in the KC-46A Pegasus’ ability to provide Rapid Global Mobility for the Joint Force. Photos by: Senior Airman Matt Porter




Joint Base Leadership and personnel attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the 305th Air Mobility Wing’s Dock 46 Two-Bay Hangar at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. on 24 Aug. 2023. New Jersey 4th District Congressman Chris Smith addressed the audience on the strategic value the facility brings to the KC-46A Pegasus refueling mission. The event concludes four and a half years of planning and 240,650 accident-free man-hours after its initial groundbreaking on December 3, 2018. A military construction project valued at nearly $54 million, the hangar will serve as a mission-critical asset in the KC-46A Pegasus’ ability to provide Rapid Global Mobility for the Joint Force. Photos by: Senior Airman Matt Porter


U.S. Army Financial Counselor Charged With Defrauding Gold Star Families

July 7, 2023

A Monmouth County, New Jersey, financial counselor with the United States Army and major in the U.S. Army Reserves who allegedly defrauded two dozen Gold Star families has been indicted, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Caz Craffy, a/k/a “Carz Craffey,” 41, of Colts Neck, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with six counts of wire fraud and one count each of securities fraud, making false statements in a loan application, committing acts furthering a personal financial interest, and making false statements to a federal agency.

Craffy is expected to make his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni at the Trenton Federal Courthouse.

“Stealing from Gold Star families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation is a shameful crime,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “As alleged in the indictment, the defendant in this case used his position as an Army financial counselor to defraud Gold Star families, steal their money, and enrich himself. Predatory conduct that targets the families of fallen American service members will be met with the full force of the Justice Department.”

“The families of our fallen service members have laid the dearest sacrifice on the altar of freedom,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “These Gold Star families deserve our utmost respect and compassion, as well as some small measure of financial security from a grateful nation. They must be off-limits for fraudsters. But, as the indictment alleges, this defendant took advantage of his role as an Army financial counselor to prey upon these families, using lies and deception to steer their investments in a way that would make him money. There is no room for those who seek to rip off families of fallen servicemembers to make a buck. We will use every means at our disposal to ensure that those who defraud military families are held accountable.”

“Those who prey on the family members of fallen soldiers, will be sought out and held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Joel Kirch, Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division, Northeast Field Office. “The hard work, long hours, and dedication of our partners within the Task Force, from the United States Attorney’s Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and our own investigative analyst, resulted in this investigation’s swift resolution.”

“The families of service members who lost their lives while serving their country deserve to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect by individuals entrusted to assist them in obtaining survivor benefits,” said James R. Ives, Principal Deputy Director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the law enforcement arm of the DoD Office of Inspector General. “Today’s announcement reflects DCIS and our law enforcement partners’ steadfast commitment to holding accountable those who use their official positions to take advantage of grieving military families.”

“Gold Star families are given a title no one would choose because it means they’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country,” said Special in Charge James E. Dennehy of the Newark FBI. The soldier, sailor, marine or airman they loved died during a time of conflict – defending this nation. They are given money and assistance to help ease the burden that comes with losing their loved one, however no amount of money can replace what they’ve lost. We allege Craffy took advantage of his position and defrauded families already going through a tremendous amount of suffering.”

“Craffy disgraced the position he was entrusted in to care for our nation’s military families when he allegedly took advantage of them during a vulnerable time of grief,” said Homeland Security Investigations Newark Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel. “No family, especially our Gold Star families, should have to face further heartache after a loved one’s death by having their financial security ripped out from under them by fraudsters.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court: When a member of the Armed Services dies during active duty, his or her surviving beneficiary, now a member of a Gold Star family, is entitled to a $100,000 death gratuity and the soldier’s life insurance of up to $400,000. These payments are disbursed to the beneficiary in a matter of weeks or months following the servicemember’s death. To assist the beneficiaries in this time of need, the military provides a number of services to the servicemember’s family, including the assistance of a financial counselor.

From November 2017 to January 2023, Craffy was a civilian employee of the U.S. Army, working as a financial counselor with the Casualty Assistance Office. He was also a major in the U.S. Army Reserves, where he has been enlisted since 2003.

Craffy was responsible for providing general financial education to the surviving beneficiaries. He was prohibited from offering any personal opinions regarding the surviving beneficiary’s benefits decisions. Craffy was not permitted to participate personally in any government matter in which he had an outside financial interest. However, without telling the Army, Craffy simultaneously maintained outside employment with two separate financial investment firms.

Craffy used his position as an Army financial counselor to identify and target Gold Star families and other military families. He encouraged the Gold Star families to invest their survivor benefits in investment accounts that he managed in his outside, private employment. Based upon Craffy’s false representations and omissions, the vast majority of the Gold Star families mistakenly believed that Craffy’s management of their money was done on behalf of and with the Army’s authorization.

From May 2018 to November 2022, Craffy obtained more than $9.9 million from Gold Star families to invest in accounts managed by Craffy in his private capacity. Once in control of this money, Craffy repeatedly executed trades, often without the family’s authorization. These unauthorized trades earned Craffy high commissions. During the timeframe of the alleged scheme, the Gold Star family accounts had lost more than $3.4 million, while Craffy personally earned more than $1.4 million in commissions, drawn from the family accounts.

The wire fraud and securities fraud charges are each punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. The charge of submitting a false statement on a loan application is punishable by a maximum of two years in prison. The charges of acts affecting a personal interest and false statements to a federal agent are each punishable by five years in prison. All counts but the securities fraud count are also punishable by a maximum fine of either $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest. The securities fraud count is punishable by a maximum fine of either $5 million or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also filed a civil complaint against Craffy today based on the same and additional conduct. Craffy has been permanently prohibited from association with any member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA).

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Kirch; special agents of DCIS, under the direction of Principal Deputy Director Ives; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Dennehy; and special agents of Homeland Security Investigations Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patel with the investigation leading to the indictment. He also expressed appreciation for the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the direction of Gurbir S. Grewal, Director, Division of Enforcement, and FINRA, under the direction of Acting Head of Enforcement Christopher J. Kelly.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martha K. Nye of the Criminal Division in Trenton, and Carolyn Silane of the Criminal Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.23-198 Defense counsel: Mark Berman Esq., Fair Lawn, New Jersey.



Joint Base MDL, Brooklyn Army Recruiters, 174th Inf Bde Participate In 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade

May 30, 2023

Story by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf

JOINT BASE MDL, New Jersey – For 156 years, the borough of Brooklyn in New York City has remembered and honored those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to the nation with one of the oldest Memorial Day parades in the country.
Soldiers from the 174th Infantry Brigade were invited to participate in this year’s observance, May 29, 2023, at John Paul Jones Park, in partnership with the South Brooklyn Recruiting Company, New York City Recruitment Battalion.
“Whether that be working with our schools or veteran’s organizations, we see no better opportunity than Memorial Day to help memorialize the heroes of Brooklyn who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Locklin, a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native and executive officer for the recruitment company. “We are fortunate to have the 174th Infantry Brigade from Fort Dix, New Jersey, with us today.”
Locklin asked the First Army team to provide some vehicles and personnel to help his team represent the Army in the parade. After the parade, children and families could climb inside the military vehicles for photo opportunities.
“We set up in the way we did because we wanted to be as engaged with the community as much as possible and hear their stories and share the stories of some of our future Soldiers that will be shipping out to basic training,” he said.
The park was the gathering place for military services representatives, veteran organizations, and Brooklyn residents, creating a sense of unity and reflection. The atmosphere shifted within the city’s usual hustle and bustle as people paused to honor and remember the fallen on this solemn day.
Engagement in the community is a priority for Locklin’s recruiting station, outside of finding recruits. He and his team have been actively participating in events like this throughout the city for the past year, and he sees it as a mutually beneficial relationship with the community.
“Whether that be working with our schools or our veteran organizations, we see no better opportunity than Memorial Day to help memorialize the heroes of Brooklyn who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Locklin said. “Community events are very important for us because they illustrate that recruiting is not our only mission, but also serving our community.”
Locklin and his team had their tables filled with pamphlets, brochures, and trinkets they could pass out throughout the day. When the tactical vehicles from the 174th Infantry Brigade completed the parade’s route, they parked right behind their booth.
“It felt great seeing the community really showing their appreciation to service today,” said Sgt. 1st class Jamie Belk, a Rome, New York, native and observer, coach/trainer with the 174th Infantry Brigade. “It was definitely fulfilling seeing the level of appreciation shown by this community. My cheeks actually hurt from smiling so much and waving at all these kids and families from this supportive, local community.”
Belk served as a recruiter in Michigan for three years before coming to First Army, familiarizing him with the importance of community events and fostering strong relationships between the military and the communities.
The recruiting company also asked their future Soldiers, who have performed the oath of enlistment and are awaiting to ship out to basic training, to attend and interact with the community during the parade and observance.
“I decided to join the Army mainly because of the stability,” said Ingrain Phyu, a Brooklyn, New York, native, and future combat engineer. “I was raised in a not-so-stable household. I got myself comfortable with the changes, but I do like stability. I feel that the Army, with the resources I have researched, will provide that stability, and I crave that.”
Phyu said she initially struggled to begin a conversation with a recruiter and shared some advice for those who may be feeling the same way.
“I was very introverted,” she said. “So, for someone really interested in joining the Army, don’t be scared. Ask questions and take that first step. Don’t be scared.”
After 156 years, the borough has had plenty of time to make its Memorial Day parade and observance one of the best in the area.
“The Brooklyn community is absolutely amazing,” said Locklin. “The Brooklyn Memorial Day parade is easily hands down the best Memorial Day parade in all five boroughs. We are fortunate to honor the heroes of the community that we serve.”


Observer, coach/trainers with the 174th Infantry Brigade drive their Humvees in the 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. The brigade partnered with the Southern Brooklyn Recruiting Company, New York City Recruiting Battalion, to participate in the community’s observance to honor the fallen, strengthen the military’s relationship with Brooklyn, and foster a genuine interest in enlisting in the Army. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


Staff Sgt. Paul Hernandez, a San Antonio, Texas native, and, a recruiter with the Southern Brooklyn Recruiting Company, talks with members of the Brooklyn community during the 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. Hernandez spent the day interacting with families, Brooklyn residents, and military veterans while sharing the unique opportunities the U.S. Army offers to potential recruits. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Belk, an observer, coach/ trainer with the 174th Infantry Brigade, laughs while he talks with Brooklyn residents at the 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. Belk and a team of five Soldiers drove their Humvees from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, supporting the Southern Brooklyn Recruiting Company representing during the observance. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


A family in Brooklyn takes photos as they interact with a 174th Infantry Brigade’s static display that included two tactical Humvees during the 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade and Observance, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. Soldiers participating in the Memorial Day observance allowed residents to witness firsthand the commitment and sacrifices made by service members, fostering a deeper appreciation for Soldiers’ role in protecting and serving the country. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


Staff Sgt. Darlene Hernandez, operations noncommissioned officer with the 1st Battalion, 315th Brigade Support Battalion, 174th Infantry Brigade, shares a laugh with a Brooklyn resident during the 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. Hernandez and other Soldiers engaged in conversations, shared their experiences, and addressed any questions or concerns individuals may have had about military service. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


The Veteran Corps of Artillery execute a 21-gun salute during the ceremony portion of the 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. The official ceremony included singing the National Anthem, wreath laying, flag raising, and playing taps. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


Veteran groups, civic organizations, business leaders, educational institutions, youth groups, and Brooklyn residents gathered in the John Paul Jones Park for the ceremonial portion of the 156th Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. Brooklyn’s Memorial Day Parade is one of the nation’s oldest annual parades and has been carried on since President Lyndon Johnson named Waterloo the “birthplace” of Memorial Day in 1866. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 315th Brigade Support Battalion, 174th Infantry Brigade, drive a tactical vehicle in the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade, May 29, 2023, in New York City, New York. The brigade helped strengthen the relationship between the U.S. Army and the Brooklyn community by spending the holiday sharing stories with residents, families, and veterans while answering questions about their service. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf, 174th Infantry Brigade Public Affairs)


New Jersey National Guard and Airforce Soldiers Recent Training at Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst

February 10, 2022

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ –Today February 10, the New Jersey National Guard Soldiers from the 1st Battalion / 150th Aviation Regiment AHB (Assault Helicopter Battalion) are completing training for the “Combat Lifesaver Course” located at the Fort Dix MSTC. The Combat Lifesaver Course is an official medical training course conducted by the US Army. The course is intended to provide an intermediate step between the buddy aid-style basic life support taught to every soldier, and the advanced life support skills that are taught to US Army Combat Medics.

Yesterday, February 9, Air Force Soldiers from the 321st CRS (Contingency Response Team) are completing pre-mobilization training on Range 7 on the Fort Dix Range Complex. Training on the M240/M249 is part of an emphasis on preparing airmen for deployment into areas of potential combat.




Man Pleads Guilty to Assault on Two Military Police Officers at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

February 8, 2022

CAMDEN, N.J. – A Florida man today admitted assaulting two U.S. Air Force military police officers with his car, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Hal Wander, 25, of Port Charlotte, Florida, pleaded guilty by teleconference before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez to an information charging him with assault on two federal officers using a deadly and dangerous weapon, namely, a motor vehicle.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On Nov. 16, 2020, Wander drove his vehicle at a high rate of speed into Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, a U.S. military base located in Burlington County, New Jersey, without stopping at the designated check point. Two marked military police vehicles, driven by Victims 1 and 2, gave chase. Victim 1 positioned his car in front of Wander in an attempt to stop Wander, and Wander intentionally drove his car into Victim 1’s military police vehicle. Victim 2 positioned his military police vehicle behind Wander’s vehicle, and Wander intentionally drove his car backwards into Victim 2’s vehicle. While Wander’s car was stopped, Victim 1 reached into Wander’s vehicle and attempted to turn off the ignition. Wander then drove forward, dragging Victim 1 several feet before Victim 1 was able to disengage from Wander’s vehicle. Wander continued to drive his vehicle dangerously until he hit a utility pole, came to a stop, and was arrested.

The assault charge to which Wander pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for June 15, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 307, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Nicholas J. Kaplan, with the investigation that led to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the Criminal Division in Camden.

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Defense counsel: Benjamin J. West Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton


37-Year-Old from Joint Base MDL, Charged with Child Pornography

January 25, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, man was arrested today on charges that he distributed images and a video depicting child sexual abuse, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Brian J. Crann, 37, of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (Joint Base MDL), in Burlington, New Jersey, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of distribution of child pornography. He was arrested today, appeared this afternoon by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert, and was ordered detained.

According to documents filed in this case:

On Jan. 22, 2022, Crann transmitted a video and two images of child sexual abuse to another individual using an account on an instant messaging mobile application. Crann also transmitted a non-pornographic image of himself with a minor, who appeared to be the same minor victim depicted in the images and video of child sexual abuse.

The investigation revealed that the account was associated with an Android smartphone and that a short time before the user of the account sent the images and video, the account was accessed using a Wi-Fi Internet Protocol address assigned to an internet service account subscribed in Crann’s name at a residential address on Joint Base MDL. The contact number for the internet service account was a mobile telephone number subscribed in Crann’s name at the same residential address. On Jan. 25, 2022, law enforcement officials searched Crann and recovered an Android smartphone with the mobile telephone number subscribed in Crann’s name. A search of the smartphone revealed a copy of the non-pornographic image of Crann with the minor that had been sent from the account via the app on Jan. 22, 2022.

The distribution of child pornography charge is punishable by a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI Newark Field Office Crimes Against Children Squad, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and Fort Dix Army CID Resident Unit with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: Lisa J. Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton


Second Former Inmate Admits Role in Scheme to Use Drones to Smuggle Contraband into Fort Dix Federal Prison

January 10, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – A Union County, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in a scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband, including cell phones and tobacco, into the federal correctional facility at Fort Dix, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Johansel Moronta, 29, of Linden, New Jersey, a former inmate at Fort Dix, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an information charging him with one count of possessing and obtaining contraband while in prison. Moronta, who had been released from custody several months after the offense occurred and was on federal supervised release thereafter, also pleaded guilty to violating the terms of his supervised release.

Another former federal inmate, Jason Arteaga-Loayza, previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the scheme as well as to distributing narcotics and was sentenced in September 2021 to 43 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton. Two other men, Adrian Goolcharran, aka “Adrian Ahoda,” aka “Adrian Ajoda,” aka “Adrian Ajodha,” and Nicolo Denichilo, also have been charged with participating in the scheme to use drones to smuggle contraband into Fort Dix prison.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Moronta, an inmate at Fort Dix from April 2018 to March 2019, participated in multiple drone deliveries of contraband into Fort Dix while incarcerated. Between October 2018 and June 2019, Arteaga-Loayza arranged for Goolcharran, with Denichilo’s assistance, to fly drones over Fort Dix and drop packages of contraband into the prison, where Moronta took possession of the contraband and helped sell it to inmates for a profit. The packages that Moronta helped to smuggle in to FCI Fort Dix included cell phones, cell phone accessories, tobacco, weight loss supplements, eyeglasses, and various other items. Moronta, from inside the prison, helped coordinate inmate requests for specific items of contraband and assisted in the collection of payments.

Moronta’s conspirators took various steps to prevent BOP officials from detecting and intercepting the contraband. They planned drone drops during the late evening hours or overnight when it was dark and the drones were less likely to be seen. Goolcharran, the drone pilot, with Denichilo’s assistance, flew the drones from concealed positions in the woods surrounding the prison. The lights on the drones were covered with tape to make it more difficult for prison officials to spot the drones against the dark evening sky.

Moronta and his conspirators used cell phones, including contraband phones concealed within the prison, to coordinate the drone drops. A contraband cell phone used by Moronta while an inmate at Fort Dix contained text messages with Arteaga-Loayza about the collection of profits from the sale of the contraband inside of the prison. In one exchange, for instance, Moronta messaged Arteaga-Loayza about an inmate, “Ok so I am tell him 10 phones and 100 baco [i.e. tobacco] he has to pay 10 bands and 500 on each phone?” Arteaga-Loayza responded, “And well (sic) even give him an ounce of weed tell him.”

Moronta admitted in court that, on Oct. 30, 2018, he received a bag dropped by a drone onto the roof of a housing unit at FCI Fort Dix which contained contraband tobacco, cellphone chargers and charging cables. Prison officials recovered that bag which contained 127 bags of Bugler tobacco, 10 cell phone chargers and 10 USB charging cables. Moronta also admitted to possessing a contraband cell phone on that date, which he had used to coordinate the drone drop.

During a search of Arteaga-Loayza’s residence on June 27, 2019, agents found a kitchen closet containing packages of empty cell phone boxes, including a package with empty cell phone boxes that had been shipped to Arteaga-Loayza the day before the drone drop of Oct. 30, 2018, cell phone chargers, empty boxes of SIM cards, and several cell phones.

Moronta also admitted to physically assaulting his girlfriend in June of 2021 while at a gas station in Fort Lee, after his release from federal prison.

Moronta faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and maximum fine of $100,000 for the plea to possession of contraband while being a federal inmate. Moronta also agreed to a term of imprisonment of 14 months for violating the terms of his supervised release by assaulting his girlfriend, a term which will be served consecutively to whatever term of imprisonment he receives for the contraband charge. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 10, 2022.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited agents of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Cyber Investigations Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Keith A. Bonanno; the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Detachment 307, under the direction of Superintendent Nicholas Kaplan; and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Joseph Harris, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

He also thanked Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel at Fort Dix; special agents of the FBI; special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office; and officers with the Pemberton Borough Police Department; the Pemberton Township Police Department; and Chesterfield Township Police Department, for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the criminal complaints issued against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: Kristen Santillo Esq., New York


USMC AH-1 Helicopter Makes Hard Landing in Wrightstown; Two Marines in Stable Condition

January 6, 2022

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – A Marine Corps AH-1 incident occurred approximately at 3:30 p.m. today in Wrightstown, N.J. according to the Joint Base MDL Public Affairs Office.

Local fire departments as well as Airport Rescue Firefighters from the US Air Force responded to the area of 500 Block of East Main Street in Wrightstown for what appeared to be a hard landing. East Main was closed from Fort Dix Street-Sykesville Road to McGuire Boulevard.

Joint Base Officials stated two personnel were on board and were transferred to nearby medical facilities. Their condition is stable.

The incident is currently under investigation.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available.




Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron Trains at Joint Base

December 8, 2021

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ –Over the weekend the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing, Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 trained on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

In photos below Marine Soldiers prepare for a Dive Fire Aerial Gunnery exercise on Range 85 on Fort Dix, NJ Ranges. The Aerial Gunner is to make sure all weapons systems are functioning properly and are properly secured for safety and usage reasons. The Special Duty Assignment position is responsible for operating the airborne weapon systems and equipment.

Airman Forward Deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Perform Maintenance at Al Dhafra Air Base

December 4, 2021

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, AL DHAFRA AIR BASE–Airman forward deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst were seen performing maintenance on a KC-10 and other equipment with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates yesterday and today.




Former McGuire Wing Commander, U.S. Air Force retired Brig. Gen. Larry Wright Inducted Into Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame


Putting the maintenance Airmen’s safety first, Wright escorted congressional delegates, business owners and CEOs of various companies onto McGuire to show how the base’s small hangars were not sufficient in sustaining the base’s robust mission set.

Wright brought all of the visitors on a bus, took them out to the McGuire flight line on a cold Jan. day.

“I wanted to show them the hangars we had,” he said. “They were built for smaller aircraft and how a C-118 Liftmaster and C-141 were only able to fit up to the wing and was too dangerous to do maintenance on.”

The general had it in his mind to keep his Airmen on McGuire safe, so that’s what he did. Shortly after Wright’s departure, the base built hangars large enough for the bigger mobility machines. He’s also proud that three of his squadron commanders from McGuire were promoted to General as well.

Wright also started an aviation museum while there, collecting seven aircraft – the first of which was one of his favorites, the P-38 Lightning.

While at McGuire, he earned a Bronze Oak leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments there.


November 11, 2021

By: Nicholas Pilch, 60th Air Mobily Wing Public Affairs

Travis Air Force Base, Calif. – U.S. Air Force retired Brig. Gen. Larry Wright was inducted into the Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame, Nov. 6, 2021.

Gen. Wright commissioned into the Air Force in 1960 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Maryland. Some of his highest decorations include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The general was a command pilot with 7,400 flying hours, including 1,874 combat flying hours and 533 maintenance test flight hours.

Though heavily decorated, he is a family man at heart. His wife, Gretchen, and he recently celebrated 55 years of marriage. They have four successful children, Teresa Marie, Pamela, Heather and John – and to this day, he continues his passion of aviation.

“The best things about the Air Force are the airplanes,” said Wright. “They are the mortar that holds all of the Airmen together.”

Wright began his career as a young lieutenant at Travis Air Force Base, California, after he finished flying training at Craig AFB, Alabama. His first assignment at Travis AFB was as a C-133 Cargomaster pilot, as well as an instructor and maintenance test pilot.

Then in 1965, his life changed forever that December when he met his wife at Travis AFB, he recalls in his memoir:

“It was the 19th of Dec. 1965, the time was 5:15 p.m. I remember it exactly.
She was in my apartment and I walked into my living room. I saw her. She was standing on a chair, decorating a Christmas tree that wasn’t there (before). As a matter of fact, she hadn’t been there either.
She had short, neat auburn-colored hair. Her eyes were large and dark.
She saw me and turned. She had a tree decoration in one hand and a bottle of Chivas Regal in the other. She (had) a brilliant smile that caused the whole room to light up. ‘Hi, I’m Gretchen. Merry Christmas.’”

After Gretchen and him were married and they started a family and moved on base, Gretchen started a tradition.

“One of the neatest things Gretchen would do at each assignment was plant a tree when we moved in,” he said.

At Travis, he completed combat flight school, where he received honor graduate – which isn’t a first for his educational journey. Throughout his journey into education, whether if it was for higher education or military training, he always graduated with honors, the top of his class or cum laude.

An educated officer in the Air Force, his command started putting him on combat missions into Vietnam with the C-133 from Travis AFB from 1965 to 1968 until he was deployed there in 1969.

In 1969, he earned his Silver Star, but it wasn’t a single thing that happened that got him to the mission in which he earned it. Wright said that being an honor graduate from combat flight school was the ripple effect that brought everything into place. He received honor graduate, then he was named chief of aircrew standardization in Vietnam, then he was sent on one mission that he completed, under heavy fire, when he was awarded the Silver Star.

The mission wasn’t simple.

Fly a C-7A Caribou into a heavily fortified enemy territory, no landing lights, very little cover – and during a heavy rain storm. He and his copilot flew the C-7 above the landing area, waited for the ground grew to ignite a few small lights for landing, quickly landed under fire, unloaded the equipment and resupply for the ground troops then took off under heavy fire.

“The C-7 was the only military aircraft that was never rated for commercial flight,” he said. “This is still one of the only aircraft you rip into reverse to sit it down, or land.”

This cold and rainy Oct. 30 mission was also the inspiration for why Mrs. Wright felt compelled to nominate Gen. Wright for the Georgia Hall of Fame.

“His mission that he got the Silver Star for made a difference in a lot lives,” she said. “If he didn’t land with the ammunition and things the army needed there, a lot of those men wouldn’t have made it out.”

The citation describes the thunderstorms and darkness, which caused two other aircraft with supplies to turn around, but Wright went forward.

He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for another mission while in Vietnam where he had to avoid friendly and hostile fire to deliver essential supplies.

After arriving home in 1970, Wright was then stationed at the Air Force Academy where he served at the 4th Squadron commander. While in Colorado, he completed his first Master of Arts degree and, along with his wife, adopted their son.

His Next assignment was to Charleston AFB, South Carolina the quality control officer and the Avionics Maintenance Squadron commander and eventually assistant chief of maintenance. He flew C-141 Starlifter at Charleston.

On flying the C-141, Wright recalls in his memoir:

“Off to fly C-141’s at Charleston AFB. The C-141 is a big, powerful, four-engine jet. It’s a tough, reliable aircraft that got the job done. It had a decent performance cruising at .74 mach. When the Air Force first got the C-141 in 1965 they had the original aluminum finish with the tops painted white. Now, eight years later, we were in the process of painting them all the NATO olive drab, camouflage colors. It was a good move. Charleston kept two aircraft with the aluminum and white paint for sensitive missions, where we didn’t want to look ‘warlike.’”

At Charleston, too, Wright exceeded, graduating top of his class in the pilot course that would qualify him to fly his new office there: the C-141.

Wright has story after story he remembers from each base because each assignment was special to him.

“Charleston was good to us. The wing there does well – they always have because of the people,” he said. “I was promoted to lieutenant colonel while there and received my appointment to the National War College in Washington, D.C.”

The general is always quick to give credit to the men and women that worked for him, but a follow-on assignment to the National War College was another educational opportunity he was both excited and nervous for because only 160 people, including civilians, received such a prestigious appointment. The school is focused on government education and broader priorities with military planning and logistics from a federal and nation-wide perspective.

Directly following his appointment, Wright moved over to the Pentagon to work directly for the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an action officer in the Logistics, Planning and Review Branch for Strategic Mobility.

Andrews AFB, Maryland, was next for him and his family. He took command of the 89th Military Airlift Wing in June of 1979, where he flew Vice President Walter Mondale and the First Lady, Rosalynn Carter.

He said this assignment was memorable because of the presidential flights, but the particular elation for the assignment was because of the election year he was there and being able to fly President Ronald Reagan for his first inauguration.

He received the Legion of Merit for his successful missions supporting the President, Vice President, members of Congress and other prominent national and international leaders.

After Andrews, the general went further northeast to McGuire AFB, New Jersey, where he feels he did a lot as a wing commander.

“Gen. Wright was the kind of leader who knew how to lead and change the scenery,” said retired Col. Harvey Haas, an officer that worked for Wright during his time at McGuire and is a friend to him to this day. “It takes a fearless warrior with courage and the ability to make the correct choices under stress.

“He was a person that looked after his people,” Haas said, laughing. “He set up a volleyball game for the colonels to play against the junior officers – where the junior officers just crawled all over each other, trying to be the superstar, but under Wright’s leadership, us older guys tore up the young ones because we came together as a team.”

Haas was quick to credit Wright for his leadership and attitude about his people.

Putting the maintenance Airmen’s safety first, Wright escorted congressional delegates, business owners and CEOs of various companies onto McGuire to show how the base’s small hangars were not sufficient in sustaining the base’s robust mission set.

Wright brought all of the visitors on a bus, took them out to the McGuire flight line on a cold Jan. day.

“I wanted to show them the hangars we had,” he said. “They were built for smaller aircraft and how a C-118 Liftmaster and C-141 were only able to fit up to the wing and was too dangerous to do maintenance on.”

The general had it in his mind to keep his Airmen on McGuire safe, so that’s what he did. Shortly after Wright’s departure, the base built hangars large enough for the bigger mobility machines. He’s also proud that three of his squadron commanders from McGuire were promoted to General as well.

Wright also started an aviation museum while there, collecting seven aircraft – the first of which was one of his favorites, the P-38 Lightning.

While at McGuire, he earned a Bronze Oak leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit for his accomplishments there.

In 1983, General Wright went on to Scott AFB, Illinois, where he became the deputy chief of staff for logistics at Military Airlift Command headquarters, but was there for a short amount of time because he was promoted to Brigadier General, which out-ranked him for the position he was in. He promoted June 1, 1984, with date of rank Oct. 1, 1983.

He and his family headed back to Travis AFB, but this time, he would be the vice commander of the 22nd Air Force, Military Airlift Command. It was one of three combat-ready strategic and tactical airlift arms of the Military Airlift Command.

“Returning to Travis was nostalgic for my family and I,” he said.

Their first time at Travis, Mrs. Wright planted a small palm tree in their front yard. When they returned, the family went to their old address to find it tall and growing healthy.

First arriving to Travis as a lieutenant and then coming back as a general humbled him and reminded him how small one’s career can be, or how much of an impact one can make in their career.

His assignment at Travis earned him the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal. In the absence of the commander, Gen. Wright directed strategic and tactical airlift capabilities for half the globe, said the award citation. His leadership was essential for readiness exercises in 1985 and 1986 which meant a stronger United States strategic military partnership in the Korean theater.

Wright capped off his career with a year-long assignment to U.S. Forces Portugal and returned to Charleston afterwards.

His retirement wasn’t in the slightest a forgettable one – in Charleston, South Carolina. While there, him and his family evacuated for Hurricane Hugo that hurricane made the Isle of Palms almost disappear.

Afterwards, in 1989 he went on to complete his second Master’s degree in history at The Citadel in Charleston and went on to teach U.S. history and national security policy at The University of North Florida and Jacksonville University until 1999.

Wright’s journey, 22 years later, brought him to the Saint Luke Ministry Center in Columbus, Georgia for his induction to the Georgia Veterans Hall of Fame, Nov. 6.

“What strikes me from the ceremony was the dinner,” he said. “Sitting there, listening to stories from other inductees – there were men there with the Medal of Honor, four Silver Stars – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

“To sit with those heroes – to be there with them – that was the real honor.”

The General has over 22 decorations which include: the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 11 service stars, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Editor’s note: Portions of this article have been researched and gathered from various websites, awards citations, other online articles, yearbooks and revised sections of Brig. Gen. Wright’s memoir. Information has been presented to Brig. Gen. Wright and credited to him to be factual.


KC-46A Pegasus Arrives On Joint Base MDL

November 10, 2021

By Airman 1st Class Joseph Morales Joint Base MDL Public Affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.  –  The Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst community celebrated a monumental milestone for the installation as it welcomed its first KC-46A Pegasus to its new home in an arrival ceremony Nov. 9, 2021. The event marked the beginning of new total force aerial refueling operations at the joint base, making it the first and only joint base with KC-46 lead operations.

The aircraft, delivered by U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Camerer, U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center commander, and Brig. Gen. Neil Richardson, Air Mobility Command’s Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Operations deputy director, will be operated and maintained by the 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings, and will receive installation support from the 87th Air Base Wing.

“The arrival of the KC-46 at JB MDL signifies the continuation of a great tradition of air refueling in the 305th and 514th Air Mobility Wings,” said Col. Scott Wiederholt, 305th AMW commander. “A tradition underscored by a strategically located installation that is postured to provide increased and enduring capabilities to execute our nation’s most important missions. The KC-46 is now part of an impressive lineage of aircraft and great aviators.”

Joint Base MDL was selected to receive the KC-46 in 2017 by meeting all operational mission requirements within the U.S. Air Force’s tanker recapitalization strategy. The installation, with co-located operations between active and reserve components, expects to receive 15 additional aircraft during Fiscal Year 2022, with nine more planned for Fiscal Year 2023.

”The Reserve Citizen Airmen of the Freedom Wing are honored to be a part of the historical arrival of the KC-46,” said Col. William Gutermuth, 514th AMW commander. “We look forward to the next generation joint partnership we have formed with our mission partners across the installation and will continue to provide mission ready Airmen ready at a moment’s notice to augment our active duty counterparts.”

The KC-46 maintains air refueling edge through the use of both the refueling boom and drogue systems, allowing for simultaneous air refueling of multiple aircraft with wing pods. The KC-46 is designed to refuel allied and coalition aircraft and provide multifunctional support, like passenger and cargo transport along with medical and humanitarian relief. 

It was most recently approved to refuel all variants of F-15s and F-16s, extending its range of support to 62% of all receiver aircraft that request air refueling support.

On top of its air refueling, cargo, and passenger capabilities, the KC-46 will amplify next-generation capabilities such as the Advanced Battle Management System, which demonstrates the ability to collect, process, and share data from air, land, sea and space domains at exponential rates.

 “Today, we send KC-135 Stratotankers and KC-10 Extenders around the world to enable Global Reach…providing capabilities only this country can provide [and] options to our senior leaders no other nation can offer,” Wiederholt said. “From this day forward, the aircrew, maintainers, Port Dawgs and support personnel will place their indelible mark upon our nation’s tanker legacy in the KC-46.”

The arrival of the KC-46 on Joint Base MDL reinforces the role of the installation in enabling global reach.

“Today highlights the important role our installation has in delivering warfighting capabilities for combatant commanders anywhere in the world,” said Col. Wes Adams, Joint Base MDL commander. “The arrival of our first KC-46 is the result of close coordination with our community and mission partners who worked hard over the years to bring this mission to JB MDL. Today we celebrate this incredible milestone in our joint base’s history.”


Mission of Honor holds 36th Ceremony at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery

September 11, 2021

WRIGHTSTOWN, NJ (BURLINGTON)– The 36th New Jersey Mission of Honor ceremony was held at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Wrightstown, N.J., on Sept. 9, 2021. The cremains of World War II U.S. Army veteran Edward T. Hopkins, World War II U.S. Army veteran Steven L. Horvath and his Margaret, World War II U.S. Army veteran Henry J. Korzeniewski, World War II U.S. Army veteran Philip W. Lehn, Korean War U.S. Air Force veteran Frederick Sawade Jr., Cold War era U.S. Army veteran William Stern, and Korean War U.S. Air Force veteran Paul G. Strongin, were honored during the ceremony.

Some of these cremains had gone unclaimed for as long as 45 years. NJMOH’s mission is to identify, retrieve, and intern the cremated remains of veterans forgotten in New Jersey funeral homes. 


Operation Allies Welcome and Task Force Liberty Update

September 5, 2021

WRIGHTSTOWN, NJ – JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST –Operation Allies Refuge has turned into Operation Allies Welcome. As part of Task Force Liberty Joint Base McGuire-DIX-Lakehurst is taking a part supporting the Department of State and Homeland Security in hosting Afghan guests that have been evacuated from Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghans at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan.



Afghans play a game of cornhole in Liberty Village on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Sept. 5, 2021. The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghans at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. This initiative provides Afghan personnel essential support at secure locations outside Afghanistan. –Construction workers continue to build Liberty Village 3 on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, Sept. 5, 2021. Video by Master Sgt. Joseph Vigil


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