Friday, June 17, 2005

'Fragging' Soldier Deployed Since May '04

(TimesUnion) - The Army has filed murder charges against a Rensselaer County soldier, saying he blew up two of his commanders near Tikrit and tried to make it look like a mortar attack by insurgents.

Martinez, 37, is a New York National Guard soldier, and while the main body of 42nd Infantry troops have been in Iraq since early this year, Martinez has been there since May 2004, according to the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs in Latham. Kent Kisselbrack, a spokesman for the Division of Military and Naval Affairs, said National Guard soldiers normally spend only a year in Iraq and could not say why Martinez was still there.

The Martinez case is the first so-called "fragging" incident. The term came into use during the Vietnam War and means a soldier intentionally killed a commanding officer, often through use of a fragmentation grenade.

Between 1969 and 1971, the Army reported 600 fragging incidents in which 82 Americans were killed and another 651 were injured.


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