Air Force Top Brass Contacts Idaho Family Regarding Mystery Over Daughter's Death

"Guess who I just got off the line with? General Mark Welsh, the chief of staff of the Air Force."


Chris Anderson said he and his wife, Sue, haven't gotten the answers they deserve, but their plight has received attention from the United States Air Force top brass.

"Guess who I just got off the line with? Gen. Mark Welsh, the chief of staff of the Air Force," said Anderson, adding that inquiries from Boise Weekly and the Associated Press are "definitely ruffling some feathers."

It was the first sliver of hope that the Andersons have had since the death of their 19-year-old daughter, USAF Airman First Class Kelsey Anderson. She was found shot with her own service weapon while on duty as a security officer in the early morning hours of June 9, 2011, at Guam's Andersen Air Force Base. A BW investigation (BW, Feature, "The Long Goodbye," July 17, 2013) revealed how the trail of witnesses had gone cold, with numerous parties being reassigned from the Guam base since Kelsey Anderson's death. And more than two years following the incident, the Andersons have yet to receive any communication from the USAF regarding the circumstances of the shooting.

The Orofino couple has since filed suit against the U.S. government, listing the USAF as a defendant, with summonses appearing on the doorsteps of the U.S. attorney general and the U.S. attorney for the District of Idaho.

"[Welsh] told me he wasn't in a position just now to tell me anything, and that he just recently found out about Kelsey's case," Anderson told BW.

Welsh, a four-star general, is the most senior uniformed officer in the Air Force and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I asked [Welsh] if he had a daughter, and he told me he did," said Anderson. "He said, 'I don't know what I would do if I were you.'"

Anderson said Welsh gave him "a long line of excuses" but ultimately shared his personal cellphone number, telling Anderson that he should expect answers regarding his daughter's death "sooner than later."

Meanwhile, the Andersons' Spokane, Wash.-based attorney, Matt Crotty, told BW that he expected the summonses would be getting "some attention" once they showed up in the inbox of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

"Yes, we're still waiting, but my sense is that there's some movement," said Crotty.