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Army Charges Eight in Death of Fellow Soldier

Regional Command South Public Affairs

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Dec. 21, 2011 – Eight U.S. soldiers deployed to southern Afghanistan were charged today in connection with the death of a fellow soldier, military officials reported.

Army Pvt. Danny Chen, an infantryman assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, died Oct. 3, officials said. His body was found in a guard tower with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Army has charged eight of Chen’s fellow soldiers in connection with his death:

-- 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz

-- Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas

-- Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel

-- Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb

-- Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst

-- Spc. Thomas P. Curtis

-- Spc. Ryan J. Offutt, and

-- Sgt. Travis F. Carden

All of the accused are assigned to Company C, and posted to Combat Outpost Palace in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

Schwartz is charged with eight counts of dereliction of duty.

Dugas is charged with one count in violation of a lawful general regulation, four counts of dereliction of duty, and one count of making a false official statement.

Van Bockel is charged with two counts in violation of a lawful general regulation, three counts of dereliction of duty, four counts of maltreatment, one count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of assault consummated by battery, one count of negligent homicide, and one count of reckless endangerment.

Holcomb is charged with four counts of violation of a lawful general regulation, two counts of dereliction of duty, two counts of maltreatment, one count of destruction of military property, one count of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of assault consummated by battery, one count of negligent homicide, one count of reckless endangerment, and one count of communicating a threat.

Hurst is charged with two counts of violation of a lawful general regulation, two counts of dereliction of duty, two counts of maltreatment, one count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of assault consummated by battery, one count of negligent homicide, and one count of reckless endangerment.

Curtis is charged with two counts of violation of a lawful general regulation, one count of dereliction of duty, six counts of maltreatment, one count of involuntary manslaughter, four counts of assault consummated by battery, one count of negligent homicide, and one count of reckless endangerment.

Offutt is charged with two counts of violation of a lawful general regulation, one count of dereliction of duty, four counts of maltreatment, one count of involuntary manslaughter, three counts of assault consummated by battery, one count of negligent homicide, and one count of reckless endangerment.

Carden is charged with two counts of violation of a lawful general regulation, two counts of maltreatment, and one count of assault.

As the legal process continues, further information will be published as it becomes available, officials said.

 

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The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

12/22/2011 1:55:55 PM
I cannot cannot cannot emphasize enough the importance of soldiers returning home and immediately participating in veterans organizations!!!! They need to be able to decompress with other soldiers who know the score! Mom and Dad, sis and brother love you but no one NO ONE will understand what you went through better than another servicemember/veteran!!!! We are there to HELP you get through it. Think of it like a buddy from Alcoholics Anonymous who listens and picks you up when you're down. The DOD needs to allow veterans groups onto the base as part of TAP seminars and let us tell vets what we do where we meet and that they need to report for duty asap! We can't help the vets if they don't understand us or know where we are. As a returning female vet, I didn't see combat but it was still very hard. It was only the words of a Vietnam Vet that got me through and I will treasure his friendship forever! KLB
- Kathy Baumgarten, Plattsburgh NY

12/22/2011 1:31:11 PM
Hopefully the Court Martial would mete out the severest possible sentences to these subhuman individuals, thus reassuring the native or immigrant parents that their children would not suffer this humiliating death as this unfortunate soldier did. Rest In Peace young man. A.
- Aristides Chadjideris, Thessaloniki,Greece

12/22/2011 12:56:25 PM
I think in Russia it's problem more global. You must glad that to live in USA. But I like to live in Russia and I want that all people to respect each other.
- Alexei B, Russia Tambov

12/22/2011 12:55:05 PM
The charges against the above soldiers make me both sad and angry. Danny joined the military to serve his country and yet his fellow comrades and superiors mistreated and abused him. This situation is like bullying situations in school and fraternities yet totally different in that his assaulters were his superiors, he was abused in a very controlled military environment, and he was mistreated in an environment in which weapons were at the tips of the fingers of his abusers. The behavior of these soldiers is incredibly repulsive, disappointing, and contrary to the ideals of our country. I hope the U.S. military will take steps to prevent this from happening again and punish the culpable parties to the fullest extent of the law.
- Caroline, Washington DC

12/21/2011 4:44:15 PM
In a country panicked by the economy, our soldiers bravely went to accept the task of protecting and defending our freedom. I have a brother who served in the army and was deployed and stationed in Al Taqqadum. He safely came home, but a completely different person. I still miss that sweet boy who lovingly wrote the most beautiful sentiments in his holiday cards. He came back a man full of hostility, aggressive behavior and dependent on alcohol. He was as young as Danny Chen. How tragic that this young man wanted to serve his country to protect its future only to have his future cut short, by the same people who were suppose to be by his side. It's simply repulsive that bullies did these things to him. They are not entitled to be addressed as soldiers. Shameful.
- Ana Sta. Ines, Washington

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