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Sniper Suspect's Military Service Details Released

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24, 2002 – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke briefly today at a DoD press conference about two suspects arrested in connection with sniper shootings that have plagued the Washington metro region for three weeks.

Civilian law enforcement authorities believe the two men are behind the attack that have killed 10 people and critically wounded three others. The shootings started Oct. 2.

"Needless to say, we all share the hope that the ordeal will soon be over," Rumsfeld said. He declined to speak to news reports that one suspect is a former soldier.

Defense officials later in the day released details about John Allen Muhammad, aka John Allen Williams, one of the men arrested Oct. 24 near Frederick, Md., in connection with the sniper case. The man was known as Williams during his military service, the officials said. He served in the Louisiana Army National Guard from 1978 to 1985, when he went on active duty. He first served with the 15th Engineer Battalion at Fort Lewis, Wash., and later with the 84th Engineer Company in Germany in 1990; the 13th Engineer Battalion at Fort Ord, Calif., in 1992; and the 14th Engineer Battalion at Fort Lewis in 1993. Leaving active duty in 1994, he served in the Oregon Army National Guard until 1995.

The Persian Gulf War veteran held three military job specialties: metalworker, combat engineer and water transport specialist. His highest rank was sergeant. His awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Ribbon and the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal. He qualified as expert with both the M-16 rifle and hand grenades.

Officials said they couldn't characterize Williams' service or discharge because of privacy restrictions.

(This is a composite report by American Forces Press Service reporters Jim Garamone and Kathleen T. Rhem.)

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