Hill AFB airman accused of building, setting off explosives at US base in Syria

Aug 23, 2022, 6:03 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — An airman from Hill Air Force Base is accused of making and detonating bombs at a U.S. military base in Syria.

Tech Sgt. David Dezwaan was in court Tuesday for a hearing that could lead to a court martial.

Dezwaan is accused of dereliction of duty, destroying military property, and aggravated assault, among other charges.

He was deployed to Syria as a member of the 75th Air Base Wing, specializing in explosive ordnance disposal.

Prosecutors say Dezwaan set off two bombs in April at a base near the Iraq border.

Dezwaan was one of four service members injured in the blasts.

It’s unusual to have an inside attack within the U.S. military, so these charges are being taken very seriously.

He was supposed to be in Syria to help protect airmen and soldiers from explosives, but prosecutors said Tuesday that he assembled two bombs late one night near some showers and an area where C-4, grenades, and other munitions were stored.

Investigators said they found pictures of highly-restricted classified documents on his phone and instructions on how to make the bombs in his internet search history.

While surveillance cameras could not clearly identify Dezwaan, prosecutors say he was the only person unaccounted for during the explosions and one of the few people who knew the combinations for locks where one of the explosions took place.

His defense attorneys said prosecutors lacked evidence that showed he was the one who set off the explosives.

“Also as you’ve heard today, the government has no information on why Tech Sgt. Dezwaan would blow himself up,” military defense attorney Phil Cave said.

Attorney Phil Cave (KSL TV)

Cave added that there is a lack of motive.

His family set up a Go Fund Me page for defense costs.

“This is not a man who would ever harm another American soldier or himself,” his family said on the Go Fund Me account. “He has proudly served our country for nearly a decade and a half. And now, he is being driven into debt to protect himself from false accusations from his own government.”

Dezwaan earned the Air Force Combat Action Medal in 2010

“We anticipate that if it goes to trial, this will be a contested trial where we will seek to show that he is, in fact, not guilty of the charges,” Cave said.

Prosecutors believe Dezwaan caused more than $40,000 in damage and medical exams will show that his injuries were not consistent with shrapnel and may have been self-inflicted.

An air force colonel is reviewing the evidence. He said he will take his time in deciding whether to recommend a court-martial, but we could have news within the next week.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

FILE: Brothers Cody Dunham, left, and William Dunham load a television into their car after Best Bu...
Tamara Vaifanua

February deals ahead of Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day

From Valentine's Day to Presidents Day and the Super Bowl, February is shaping up as a month packed with sales and deals.
10 hours ago
(FILE) Inside the new Utah State Prison located in Salt Lake City. (KSL-TV)...
Lauren Steinbrecher

Utah state prisons on lockdown after three assaults against officers

Two Utah state prison facilities were placed on lockdown Sunday evening after three corrections officers were injured in the last two weeks. 
1 day ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

7 arrested in drug trafficking investigation in Utah and Salt Lake counties

Utah County law enforcers served search warrants on four homes simultaneously last week, resulting in the arrests of seven people and the seizure of multiple pounds of meth and heroin.
1 day ago
First responders on the scene of the motorcyclist who fell about 50 feet. (Washington County Sherif...
Michael Houck

Rescue crews save woman stuck in remote area and motorcyclist who fell 50 feet

Washington County officials responded to two different search & rescue operations on Sunday.
1 day ago
Michael Houck

Backcountry skier dies after slipping, falling near Lisa Falls

A man is dead after tumbling a "significant distance" while backcountry skiing in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Saturday.
1 day ago
USU student Max Shulga during Saturday night's game....
Shelby Lofton

Utah State community responds to ‘Russia’ chants directed at Ukrainian player

Some USU students say that the Colorado State University students crossed a line that goes beyond simple trash talk during a game.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Hill AFB airman accused of building, setting off explosives at US base in Syria