FORT BRAGG, N.C. (April 30, 2012) -- Charges have been referred to courts-martial against one officer and seven Soldiers relating to the alleged hazing and death of Pvt. Danny Chen, an infantryman who died in Afghanistan, Oct. 3.
The Soldiers involved in the case remain assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Chen's unit of assignment at the time of his death. The unit deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.
Chen's alleged hazing and death took place at Combat Outpost Palace.
All Soldiers charged will be arraigned by a military judge in the coming weeks and the individual cases will be scheduled for trial, officials said. The charges were referred by Lt. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
In mid-April, the eight Soldiers were attached for Uniform Code of Military Justice purposes to XVIII Airborne Corps. The Soldiers will remain assigned to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, for the duration of the proceedings. The proceedings, however, will occur at Fort Bragg.
The transfer of jurisdiction to Fort Bragg was requested by Maj. Gen. James Huggins, 82nd Airborne Division commander, who currently commands Regional Command-South in Afghanistan. The request was based on operational reasons in Afghanistan and the fact that Fort Bragg has the capacity to accommodate these trials
All Soldiers are presumed innocent until proven guilty, officials reminded.
The charges referred are:
First Lt. Daniel Schwartz -- six specifications of dereliction of duty
Staff Sgt. Blaine Dugas -- violating a lawful general regulation, three specifications of dereliction of duty, and making a false official statement
Staff Sgt. Andrew Van Bockel -- negligent homicide, reckless endangerment, assault, two specifications of maltreatment of a subordinate, three specifications of dereliction of duty, and two specifications of violating a lawful general regulation