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Sig Christenson
Worked at San Antonio Express-News
Attended University of Houston
Lives in San Antonio
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Sig Christenson

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First Sgt. William Phelps got all the dope on Patton, Churchill, Montgomery and Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's staff officers. It happened as they sat at a small table alone for lunch in '45. At 90, Phelps looks back on a war that included his role in liberating a Nazi death camp and making the cover of Yank magazine. Happy 71st V-E Day.
San Antonio veteran who helped liberate Nazi death camp heads to Israel William Phelps wore a first sergeant’s stripes as the unlikely age of 19 as a World War II tank gunner, heard Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s unvarnished opinions over lunch one day and made the cover of Yank magazine in 1945 in a memorable photo, patching his trousers with a sewing machine in front of a tank. The Americans saw German guards in the distance running for their li...
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Sig Christenson

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There were hints from the start that high-speed soldier Steve Bellino was dogged by demons. He was a Ranger and Green Beret who spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan, had made the grade as an FBI agent, and was still going strong at 40 as a new trainee in Lackland Air Force Base's elite pararescue program. But the thread that held him together unraveled after a disputed water-endurance test, leading to a shocking murder-suicide, grief, bewilderment and too many questions -- many of which are answered here.
The Air Force hasn’t said much about Technical Sgt. Steven D. Bellino, the Lackland gunman who killed his commander last month, but those who knew him say he was a cool-headed, intelligent and devoted military professional with a heroic service record as a Green Beret in Afghanistan. At 40, an age when many in the military are thinking of retirement, Bellino breezed through the initial physical training at the Air Force’s grueling pararescue pro...
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Facing a gunman in his first sergeant's office, Lt. Col. William 'Bill' Schroeder had a decision to make. 'He realized that he was caught in a near-ambush and guys, there’s two options in a near-ambush,' retired Air Force Col. Kurt Buller told a crowd of 1,800 people at a memorial ceremony at Lackland’s Gateway Chapel. There really was only once choice - the way of the warrior that Schroeder had always been in the Air Force's Special Operations Command. Thanks to Col. Sean McKenna, retired Chief Master Sgt. Bob Rubio, their commanders and Schroeder's wife, Abby, for supporting the San Antonio Express-News' request to cover his memorial service.
On Friday, the Air Force was there for his family a week after Schroeder, a special operations veteran, was killed in a murder-suicide at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. “He realized that he was caught in a near-ambush and guys, there’s two options in a near-ambush,” retired Air Force Col. Kurt Buller told a crowd of 1,800 people at a memorial ceremony at Lackland’s Gateway Chapel. [...] 1,200 people filtered in, as did another 600 who watched...
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We had another shooting on a military base Friday, and this time it wasn't on Fort Hood or a place even farther away like the Navy Yard. It happened on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and occurred while thousands attended a graduation parade. An elementary school across the street from the Medina Annex gate went into lockdown and parents, as you can imagine, were stunned and frightened. “It’s nerve-wracking,” said Gill Jaramillo, who has three children in the school, Jacob, 5, and Sofia, 7, and Gabriel, 11. “You never really know what’s going on. We didn’t know what the situation was, so it was just a waiting game.”
An Air Force technical sergeant armed with two handguns killed a squadron commander and himself Friday morning on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland’s Medina Annex, forcing a lockdown of the entire installation and nearby schools on a day when thousands had converged for a basic training graduation parade. Joint Base San Antonio wouldn’t identify the men and would not provide details about how the incident unfolded, but multiple sources said it occ...
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Labor Street Park has a lot of one-story, wood-frame homes and some apartments, a neighborhood with gobs of potential. Good things are happening there, thanks to the city of San Antonio, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas and KaBOOM!, a group that builds playgrounds in communities nationwide. What they did Saturday, build a new playground from scratch in seven hours or so, was amazing. It's fun to write about people doing something selfless for our children, but the lightest moment of the day came in a short interview with a two girls who will come to love this park and hold it close to their hearts long after they've grown up.
Manda Ramos was among the kids in her neighborhood who had always wanted a swing in their park, so she was delighted to see a group of volunteers installing some Saturday. After work finished early in the afternoon, a slide, rock wall, swings, climbing structures, soccer goals, benches and new picnic tables were in place. The playground is the first project of 2016 here for a coalition led by the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, the...
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Flying to Paris, he was on a mission. It appears to have been the start of Bowe Bergdahl's effort to make a place for himself in the world, and the search had only begin when the French Foreign Legion rejected him. He really got serious about it after the Coast Guard cut him loose in the third week of basic training. Here is Bowe's story, told in his own words.
Before Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl spent nearly five years as a Taliban prisoner of war and was thrown out of the Coast Guard during basic training, he flew all the way to Paris to join the French Foreign Legion. Bergdahl hoped to confront weaknesses that stemmed from a life of obscurity and social isolation, the documents reveal, but in seeking personal growth, he endured captivity under the Taliban, emerging as one of the best-known — and most vil...
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Some people would argue the Pentagon has just moved the goal posts to reduce the number of sexual assault and harassment victims who say they faced retaliation for reporting their abuse. Whether or not the new approach is legitimate, it isn't clear if anyone has truly addressed the underlying problem -- the risks MST victims face in trying to get justice.
The Pentagon on Thursday revealed it had altered the way it interpreted retaliation complaints from victims of sexual assault — a decision that dramatically lowered the number of complaints, prompting criticism from victim advocates. The military, utilizing a voluntary, anonymous survey it called the first to assess sexual assault survivors’ experiences with the legal process, said it discovered victims may misinterpret acts of assistance as rev...
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If you lived it, Vietnam was a war unlike any others. We grew up watching it on TV, reading about it in the papers and listening to the latest news bulletins on transistor radios. It split the nation apart after President Lyndon Baines Johnson escalated the war following a White House conference in late 1965. Those of you unfamiliar with that meeting or the memo Defense Secretary Robert McNamara wrote to LBJ will be stunned at what the president knew before ordering 200,000 more troops into Vietnam. The videos I shot of war correspondent Joseph Galloway and Country Joe McDonald will make you want to say, 'Give me an F!'
AUSTIN — Until the first soldiers jumped off their helicopters at Landing Zone Albany in the winter of 1965, the Vietnam War had been confined to American advisers who had suffered relatively light casualties. The civil rights movement and President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society were making the headlines and dominating the evening news. Ia Drang changed that, recalled speakers Tuesday at the LBJ Presidential Library’s Vietnam War Summit. The ...
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Technical Sgt. Steven D. Bellino, an Army and Ohio Army National Guard veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, was a high-speed soldier, but something went wrong after he entered the Air Force's elite PJ program at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. His lawyer outlined some of the issues in an interview this evening with the San Antonio-Express-News.
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“Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hills, from the sky; all is well, safely rest, God is nigh,” the retired Army chaplain sang at the close of Sgt. Santiago Erevia's burial. “Fading light, dims the sight, and a star gems the sky, gleaming bright. From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.” So long after Vietnam, Jesse is at peace, resting with 12 other Medal of Honor recipients.
Santiago Jesus Erevia, called a “silent hero” of the Vietnam War who was awarded the Medal of Honor long after coming home, was saluted Friday with a solemn burial marked by military pomp but in keeping with his low-key personality. At Fort Sam, a 323rd Army Band drummer beat a slow march to start a ceremony that would place Erevia with 12 other Medal of Honor recipients buried there. A Corpus Christi native who grew up on a farm near Nordheim,...
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Richard Cavazos isn't just the only Hispanic four-star general in the Army's history. Those who knew him say he embodied the core values and cared about the grunt in the mud. 'In the high-tech light division we were always experimenting with some magical bullshit - electronics, ray guns and on and on - and he’d get up there,' says Gen. Barry McCaffrey. 'He was a very intellectually aware guy, forward thinking. He knew about technology, but every time we’d get all wound up on some of this stuff we were doing - the division commander was Maj. Gen. Bob Elton, and he said, ‘Bob, Bob, wait a minute.’ I’ve heard him say this a dozen times over the years, ‘Every war boils down to it’s 2 o’clock in the morning, there’s sleet going sideways over the road, there’s 10 scared, tired, soldiers on a road junction and a column of armor comes down the road, and Bob, I want you to tell me who’s pulling the trigger.
Beloved Hispanic general, afflicted by dementia, remembered as role model, fearless fighter Gen. Colin L. Powell’s military career toward a dead end when two higher-ranking commanders learned of it. In Powell’s autobiography, the man who became the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, later, U.S. secretary of state, called Cavazos an Army legend who saved his career. The other commander at the dinner table that nig...
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Those who survived '5-11,' as the Nov. 5, 2009 Fort Hood shooting is called, are in different places mentally and physically. I wish the families of the dead and the survivors could get past the evil of that day, but it may not happen. I think what Joleen Murphy Cahill said is spot on: 'You know a lot of bad things happen, a lot of things aren’t fair. There’s always something good out there. One of the survivors who was not wounded put it on Facebook and he said, 'I learned though my journey…to appreciate the sights, the sounds and the smells. You learn to do good when nobody is looking.' Yesterday was good, as the story and videos show.
KILLEEN — Surrounded by a sea of American flags, more than 750 well-wishers Friday marked the unveiling of a memorial to victims of the worst mass shooting ever on a military installation. People in Killeen, a city whose fortunes have long been tied to the U.S. Army, saw the commemoration of the Nov. 5, 2009, ordeal as a symbol of their determination to overcome tragedy — and possible closure for the families of the 13 people killed that day. [...
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