ONTD Political

Charges referred to courts-martial at Fort Bragg for 8 soldiers in Afghanistan bullying case

10:20 pm - 04/30/2012

An Army officer and seven other soldiers accused of bullying a private who later killed himself in Afghanistan have been officially charged, Fort Bragg officials said Monday.

Military authorities say 19-year-old Pvt. Danny Chen of New York suffered racial taunts and physical abuse at the hands of soldiers in his company and eventually shot himself last October in a guard tower at Combat Out post Palace near Kandahar.

The eight soldiers will be court-martialed at Fort Bragg. They are part of the 25th Infantry Division, which is based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, but were under the command of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan.

The 82nd's commander, Maj. Gen. James Huggins, requested that the courts-martial be held at Fort Bragg. Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, commander of Fort Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps, approved the move and referred the charges to courts-martial April 23.

The soldiers will be arraigned by a military judge in the next few weeks. Individual cases will be scheduled for trial.

The soldiers and charges are:

First Lt. Daniel Schwartz: six specifications of dereliction of duty.

Staff Sgt. Blaine Dugas: violating a lawful general regulation, three charges of dereliction of duty, and making a false official statement

Staff Sgt. Andrew Van Bockel: negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault, two counts of maltreatment of a subordinate, three charges of dereliction of duty, and two counts of violating a lawful general regulation.

Sgt. Jeffrey Hurst: negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, maltreatment of a subordinate, two counts of dereliction of duty, and two counts of violating a lawful general regulation.

Sgt. Adam Holcomb: negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat, assault, two counts of maltreatment of a subordinate, dereliction of duty, and four counts of violating a lawful general regulation.

Sgt. Travis Carden: reckless endangerment, assault, two counts of maltreatment of a subordinate, and two counts of violating a lawful general regulation.

Spc. Thomas Curtis: negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, four counts of assault, six counts of maltreatment of a subordinate, and two counts of violation of a lawful general regulation.

Spc. Ryan Offutt: negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, three counts of assault, four counts of maltreatment of a subordinate, and two counts of violation of a lawful general regulation.

erunamiryene 1st-May-2012 01:42 pm (UTC)
I don't like that it only goes up to the first lieutenant. I GUARANTEE that people ALL THE WAY UP THE GODDAMN CHAIN OF COMMAND knew about it, but it sounds like it's just his platoon OIC that's gonna catch it.

... Well, if he gets punished. They don't punish officers NEARLY as much as they make examples of the lower ranks. The lower you can pin it, the "better" it is for the command.

d00ditsemily 1st-May-2012 03:42 pm (UTC)
tbh, higher up than that LT probably didn't know anything was going on especially if they were deployed. That LT probably worked closely with the platoon since he was probably the platoon leader. Most people higher than that don't know even 50% of who their soldiers actually are or what they are actually doing.
erunamiryene 1st-May-2012 06:01 pm (UTC)
That's ... really unfortunate. :/
d00ditsemily 1st-May-2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
I mean if you think about it, it makes sense. In a unit alone there is probably 200+ service members in it, plus at Fort Bragg we have A LOT of soldiers here so probably even more in the units.
erunamiryene 1st-May-2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
IDK, maybe my husband and I just got really good battalion/squadron commanders in the Marines, because they always knew what was going on, and took the time to get to know their Marines (and that's at the 900-1200+ Marines level). With something like this, the XO (major) and CO (lt col) would have known.

Not to mention, the company commanders (captain or major, usually) would have known (that's more the 200-ish Marines level), and it would have been everywhere on the enlisted side whether the abusers wanted it to be or not (the Lance Corporal Underground is an amazing thing). There's no way it would have just stayed at the platoon level. And the fact that it happened on deployment? Heads would have rolled pretty high up for an intense failure of leadership.

/shrug I guess it's just another way the Army's run differently, or approaches leadership differently.
d00ditsemily 1st-May-2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
I think the Army is run a lot differently, especially when there are so many more people in it. Plus, Ft. Bragg is so crowded and have been squeezed into accommodating so many people since other bases are shut down. I know most people don't know who anyone is unless they work with them directly. When my husband's unit was deployed, no one even knew where my husband was when he was separated and out sourced out to another camp. Then when he was medivacced back to the states for an injury no one even knew what flight he was on or any information about him arriving. Ft. Bragg isn't really known for having the best of units though.
soultoast 2nd-May-2012 06:11 am (UTC)
Not necessarily.
I don't know about their unit in particular but many Army units are split up into different locations during deployments. You get a Lt or Cpt who's a CO, who's only at that location once every month or so for a few days, combined with officers or NCOs stationed there who are trying to keep it covered up- easy for the COC to not know about it, especially if they've got soldiers at a few combat outposts.
lee_rowan 1st-May-2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
Maybe I read too many mysteries, but I have to wonder if this was really a suicide.
averigua 1st-May-2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
I was wondering about this, case seems to get little attention. :( Such a terrible shame what became of him. Glad something is being done on his behalf.
her_historia 2nd-May-2012 05:27 am (UTC)
I read about this case not too long ago :/ Hope justice is served.
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