First Fort Wainwright Soldier Faces Court-Martial in Afghanistan Death
FAIRBANKS — The court-martial of the first of eight Fort Wainwright soldiers charged in the death of a fellow soldier in Afghanistan is scheduled to begin Tuesday at an Army post in North Carolina.
Sergeant Adam Holcomb, 29, of Youngstown, Ohio, is charged with negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, communicating a threat, assault, two specifications of maltreatment of a subordinate, dereliction of duty and four specifications of violating a lawful general regulation in the death of Private Danny Chen in October.
The court-martial is scheduled for four days, according to a notice issued Wednesday by the public affairs office at Fort Bragg, N.C. The notice said the seven other soldiers will be tried at courts-martial “in the coming months.”
Holcomb and the other soldiers are assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, which was about halfway through its year-long deployment in Afghanistan at the time Chen died Oct. 3. Chen also was a member of the brigade.
Chen, 19 at the time of his death, reportedly killed himself after suffering repeated physical abuse and ethnic slurs by superiors. He was the son of Chinese immigrants who live in New York. His body was found in a guard tower on an American military base in southern Afghanistan, where the Stryker brigade was stationed.
The other soldiers who will face court-martial are Staff Sergeant Andrew Van Bockel, 26, of Aberdeen, S.D.; Sergeant Jeffrey Hurst, 26, of Brooklyn, Iowa; Specialist Thomas Curtis, 25, of Hendersonville, Tenn.; Sergeant Travis Carden, 24, of Fowler, Ind.; Specialist Ryan Offutt, 32, of Greenville, Pa.; 1st Lieutenant Daniel Schwartz, 25, of Maryland; and Staff Sergeant Blaine Dugas, 35, of Port Arthur, Texas.
The soldiers face an array of charges, including negligent homicide, assault, maltreatment, reckless endangerment and other violations of military code. Not all of the soldiers face the same set of charges.
Holcomb faces a maximum sentence of 17 years, nine months in prison if convicted. He also would lose all pay and allowances, be reduced in rank and given a dishonorable discharge.
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