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Last of accused in soldier's suicide faces dismissal; family decries 'wrist slaps'

Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans, speaks earlier this year at a New York press conference while flanked by the father of Pvt. Danny Chen, Yan Tao Chen, left, and his mother Su Zhen Chen.
BEBETO MATTHEWS

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The last of eight soldiers accused in the case of an Army private who apparently was driven to suicide after being hazed is facing dismissal from the service, military officials said Monday.

A statement from Fort Bragg said 18th Airborne Corps commander Lt. Gen, Dan Allyn initiated an Article 15 against 1st Lt. Daniel L. Schwartz. Allyn's move calls for Schwartz to be dismissed from the Army.

Allyn's request goes to the Army Human Resources Command for final action.

Schwartz faced charges related to the death of 19-year-old Pvt. Danny Chen, who military officials said killed himself last year in Afghanistan after being harassed by other soldiers.

The statement said Army representatives spoke with the Chen family before the government accepted the defense request for the Article 15.

Tuesday morning, the family and friends of Chen said the punishment the soldiers got was only "a slap on the wrist." That's what attorney Elizabeth OuYang told a news conference in Chinatown.

OuYang heads the nonprofit Organization of Chinese Americans that is pushing for the dismissal from the Army of all eight of the soldiers in the case.

She was joined by Chen's parents. His father, Yan Dao Chen, wore his dead son's camouflage military cap.

"Now that these court martials have concluded, Congress needs to pass pending legislation to ensure American soldiers will be protected from hazing in the military," said OuYang.

Last July, a 10-member jury at Fort Bragg found Sgt. Adam Holcomb guilty on maltreatment of a subordinate and assault. Holcomb, from Youngstown, Ohio, was found not guilty of negligent homicide in Chen's death. Holcomb was sentenced to 30 days in prison, demoted to specialist and forced to forfeit one month's pay.

Holcomb issued a statement from the stand apologizing for his actions.

A second soldier pleaded guilty to one count of hazing and two specifications of maltreatment and was sentenced to six months in prison. Three other soldiers received prison sentences as well. Two received demotions.

Chen, 19, shot himself to death in a guardhouse Oct. 3, 2011. He was called names while in training, then was subjected to hazing after he was deployed to Afghanistan, according to his family. On the day of Chen's death, he was forced to crawl about 100 yards across gravel carrying his equipment while his fellow soldiers threw rocks at him, the family said.

 

 

 



Associated Press