Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More (unbelievable) War Shit, part III

Of all the 3,161 brave souls to lose their life in Iraq, Airman Carl Ware Jr. is the one that stands out for me. I guess seeing a neighbor lying in a casket and hearing the sobs of his family mourning will do that.

His tragic death last summer made him the 44th casualty from New Jersey and to make matters worse, Carl's family didn't even have a chance to grieve before the questions surrounding his death began to swirl around the community. In relatively short order it bacame clear that this was an avoidable tragedy. And now after eight long months of wondering, the answers are finally beginning to emerge.

Air Force Times:
Airman 1st Class Carl J. Ware Jr. was to return from his six-month deployment to Iraq in time — if barely — for the birth of their second daughter in January. Instead, Carl Ware came home months early in a flag-draped casket, the victim of an alleged fratricide July 1 at the hands of his roommate, friend and squadron-mate at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq.
Of couse the story took a gut-wrenching turn. And just when you think this tale couldn't get any more twisted, this little nugget emerged from the military grand jury hearing to determine whether to charge fellow Airman Kyle Dalton with murder:
What is clear from documents released by the Air Force is that there were at least two, and possibly three, separate incidents during a one-month period in which Dalton allegedly brandished a firearm toward Ware. The first and second, for which Dalton has been charged with assault, occurred around June 1 and June 30, according to Air Force documents. Christine Ware, who said she just recently learned of those incidents, told Air Force Times that Dalton allegedly pointed a loaded firearm at the feet of (her husband) and another airman. Christine Ware, who said she just recently learned of those incidents, told Air Force Times.
Sounds like some red flag should have been raised to avoid the inevitable. “I have, like, 18 different stories on how it happened,” Christine Ware said, “but not so much why it happened.”

Carl Ware's sister alleged that Airman Dalton was only allowed into the military after the standards were lowered to maintain war-time recruiting goals. I'll take her at her word that she believes that wholeheartedly, but of couse I have no way to substantiate such an assertion at this point. But these are the types of details that will surely reveal themselves at the Dalton's trial next month. In conviceted, Dalton "will face life in prison, a dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances."

All in all a heartbreating tragedy that has turned two families -- and communities -- upside down.

And all the while, the war in Iraq rages on.

(Pic: One of South Jersey's bravest, Carl Ware Jr. with his eldest daughter in happier times -- just look at that proud grin on his face -- courtest of the Ware family.)

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