Army Announces Courts-Martial for Eight Soldiers Accused in Pvt. Chen Hazing-Suicide Moved to NC Base

8 soldiers to be court-martialed at Fort Bragg in Afghanistan suicide case

by Drew Brooks
Fayetteville Observer, April 12, 2012

Soldiers accused of bullying an Army private who later committed suicide in Afghanistan will be court-martialed on Fort Bragg, officials announced Wednesday.

Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas is one of the most senior of the eight Fort Bragg soldiers accused in the Pvt. Chen hazing case.

Military authorities say 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 Outpost Palace near Kandahar.

The 19-year-old Chen, a Chinese-American, was deployed to southern Afghanistan as part of the 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which is based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. The eight soldiers charged in the death are members of C Company, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment.

But in Afghanistan, the soldiers fell under the command of the 82nd Airborne Division, which oversees Regional Command South.

Maj. Gen. James Huggins, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division and Regional Command South, requested the courts-martial be moved to Fort Bragg, officials said. The installation’s commander, Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, approved the request Tuesday. An official announcement is scheduled for today on post.

Dates for the courts-martial will be decided by a military judge overseeing the case.

The eight soldiers are suspected of subjecting Chen to slurs, physical abuse and humiliation because of his race. They were charged in December with offenses including negligent homicide, battery and reckless endangerment.

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