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3 Hawaii Marines charged in Afghanistan hazing case

By William Cole

LAST UPDATED: 09:27 a.m. HST, Aug 25, 2011


Three Hawaii Marines have been charged with multiple offenses ranging from assault and maltreatment to violation of orders and dereliction of duty for alleged hazing leading up to the April 3 death of fellow Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Lew in Afghanistan, officials said today.

Lew, 21, committed suicide April 3 after being hazed by two other Marine lance corporals, the Marine Corps Times said, citing an investigation into the death.

The  Marines are assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay.

The Marine Corps Times said the alleged hazing happened after Lew had fallen asleep several times while manning a guard post in southern Afghanistan.

NBC News reported that according to the investigation, Lew, of Santa Clara, Calif., put the muzzle of his M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Lew had written on his arm, "may hate me now, but in the long run this was the right choice I'm sorry my mom deserves the truth," NBC said.

Lt. Col. Curtis L. Hill, director of public affairs at Marine Forces Pacific at Camp Smith, said in an email to the Star-Advertiser Wednesday that “the Marine Corps does not tolerate hazing of any kind.”

Hill said today those charged July 11 and the accusations are:

Lance Cpl. Carlos Orozco III, 22, violation of a lawful order for wrongfully humiliating and demeaning Lew; dereliction for willfully failing to supervise and ensure the welfare of the Marines under his care; cruelty and maltreatment for ordering Lew to do push-ups, side planks, leg lifts with a sandbag, while wearing full personal protective equipment and pouring sand onto his face.

Orozco also is charged with assault for unlawfully striking Lew by stomping on his back with his foot and kicking Lew’s head while Lew was wearing a Kevlar helmet.

Sgt. Benjamin E. Johns, 26, violation of a lawful order for wrongfully humiliating and demeaning Lew, and dereliction for willfully failing to supervise and ensure the welfare of the Marines under his care.

Lance Cpl. Jacob D. Jacoby, 21, violation of a lawful order for wrongfully abusing, humiliating and demeaning Lew; assault for unlawfully striking Lew in the back with his foot; assault for unlawfully kicking Lew in the head while Lew was wearing a Kevlar helmet; assault for striking Lew in the head with a closed fist while Lew wore a helmet.

Jacoby also is charged with communicating a threat to Lew that he was going to receive a beating, which “was to the prejudice of good order and discipline or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”


An Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian preliminary hearing, tentatively is scheduled for Sept. 8 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Hill said.

Recommendations will be made by a hearing officer as to what charges, if any, the three Marines should face at a court-martial trial.

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residenttaxpayer wrote:
The Marines are looking for a few good men....obviously these three arent it. Hope they get the full punishment for not only mistreating a another Marine..but for dishonoring the Corp and all others who have served.
on August 25,2011 | 09:40AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
He's lucky that's all he got. Falling asleep on duty is a very serious offense. Hazing, or whatever you want to call it, is as old as the hills. Do you really think his fellow Marines would just tolerate his behavior with no consequences? In a war zone, this could most certainly end up costing the lives of those he was charged with protecting. It appears to me that Lance Corporal Hew was just thin-skinned and couldn't take the repercussions of his serious lapse of attention. I was in the military. I know how bad it can get, but in the business that the U.S. Marines are in, that's just the way it is. And for the brass to come out after these guys, they're just spouting the same poltically correct-speak in order to cover their own hides. It's a FACT. What an injustice to these 3 Marines. They are the expendables in this whole mess. I just wonder how LCpl. Hew ever made it through basic training. What a disgrace to the Globe and Anchor.
on August 25,2011 | 10:08AM
silvangold wrote:
so. answer this: NO MATTER the situation: you have a son in the military. he becomes a Marine. he seems thicked skin to you. life at war must be tough - I don't pretend to know the real things that go on over there. 2 Lance Corporals and a Seargent inflict what you call old-as-the-hills hazing upon the SON YOU LOVE. you want to bull**** me and all the other guys out there? and all the Moms? YOU or anybody else is NOT GOD. NO ONE deserves what he got - the explicit description as listed in the above article. falling asleep very serious, yes, but how would you like to be kicked in the back and the head if you fell asleep on the job? it was shame that drove him to suicide..... you are not a good person. AND I believe the other Mairnes should be handed down at the very least a dishonorable discharge. they will also have to live with the knowledge that they CAUSED a man to take his own life BECAUSE OF each of their actionsl obviously you are a unhappy person who believes this was right. you will one day stand before Him. hope he goes a little easier on you.
on August 25,2011 | 12:23PM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Gee, I apologize for having an opinion and trying to be GOD. That's quite a stretch. Ever see the movie "Stripes"? There's a scene in there where the Drill Sergeant, played by Warren Oates, tells an obviously anti-social trainee to "Lighten up, Francis." If you haven't seen it, I suggest you rent it to see where your sniveling hiney rates with me. By the way, thanks for the good laugh. You really made my day, (Francis) !
on August 25,2011 | 03:28PM
Eradication wrote:
Put your "gameboy" away. Just because you aced the Black Ops video game does not make you a military veteran. Real Marines do not humiliate Marines who fall short of their oath to the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. They train them again and again until they get it right. Some Marines get it right away others need training more than others. Humiliation is not anywhere in the Code of Conduct. You watch too many freakin' movies, dude.
on August 25,2011 | 10:05PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Your comment is so absurd and shows very poor decision making. If you were actually, in reality, in the marines, that kind of behavior would have landed you in the barracks. Just because Lew committed an infraction he did not deserve to be abused by these thugs. With military powers comes responsibility for those who are under your charge or withing your unit. Your decision to commit physical and/or psychological abuse is tantamount to throwing the baby with the bath water. You just simply do not, I repeat, do not, physically abuse a fellow soldier or anyone for that matter. It is scary to think that you may have been in the military. I would assume that you are just here to incite anger in the readers. This is the United States. This is not the old Russia. There are many other ways to deal with infractions besides brutality. My condolences go to the family of Lew. For these thugs, I hope that they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
on August 25,2011 | 07:36PM
HD36 wrote:
When the economy collapses and we can no longer support military bases in 170 countries, young men with no skills other than killing will come back to nothing. They will either be bodygaurds or thugs.
on August 25,2011 | 09:08PM
peaceonearth wrote:
Take a look in the mirror man. Are you proud of yourself? You make the Marines look bad if what you say is true and your values and thinking is what the Marines are actually teaching our young men and women. Sad, sad day...
on August 25,2011 | 10:18PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Sleeping on guard duty or on a listening post, and four times, requires being relieved of duty. And sleeping on duty in a combat zone, is a courts martial offense. Leaders of the unit should have just let the Military law take its course.
on August 25,2011 | 11:59AM
soshaljustic wrote:
What a disgrace to the Military at a time when medical services are lax and veterans cannot get their disability benefits. Oh yeah he could get in and make it through basic without anyone catching the fact he may have had a sleep disorder or a medical situation. Typical of a bunch of ignorant people that do not think but have to be told what to do! Easier to bully and harass someone that takes his oath seriously enough that he then thinks he has disgraced his uniform, Country, and Mother. Better shoot myself, as the answer? No! Not an answer if you have a medical condition that precludes the sleep issue and has never been diagnosed properly because it is easier to hassle someone til they kill themselves, after they take an oath to die for their countrymen! Yeah he did!!
on August 25,2011 | 12:51PM
FreshFish wrote:
"Code Red" Lew knew he made a mistake and lost "Face". He dishonored himself, Unit and Corp. Death by Seppuku. A reason he also appologized. That those who believe in God will not commit suicide.
on August 25,2011 | 12:51PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
You are a disgrace to the human race. Lew did not dishonor himself. He was physically and psychologically abused. In such a state of mind, humans can be driven to commit suicide. Shame on you to use religion to justify hatred. If your god hates his children for committing suicide, then your god is actually the devil himself. To think that the military protects people like you makes me sick to the stomach. Yes, you have a right to your opinion but I have a right to mine also and I speak up for those who have faced the loss of a loved one due to suicide. There are many of us who believe that God does not send those who commit suicide to hell. Why would a loving God create us only to throw us into hell? It just does not make any sense. It is people like you who spew out hatred towards others that creates all the grief in this world. You are a perfect example why religion causes so much destruction through divisiveness and judgement. Would Jesus have struck Lew for falling asleep on the job? Ask yourself that before you judge others.
on August 25,2011 | 07:46PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Shows the criminal element can surface anywhere, even in the few and the proud.
on August 25,2011 | 01:25PM
bboops wrote:
sad he committed suicide, but if it's true he fell asleep while on guard duty, especially in the ghan, then you have to expect punishment. on my second tour in iraq, there were a few soldiers who fell asleep while on guard duty, outside the wire, at an iraqi police station. lots of counseling statements lots of good that did. but as we werent there we really don't know what happened.
on August 25,2011 | 01:40PM
sloturle wrote:
on August 25,2011 | 05:52PM
Bothrops wrote:
"after Lew had fallen asleep several times while manning a guard post in southern Afghanistan" Why wasn't he court martialed? It might have saved his life. Many Marines could have died because of his misconduct. Did fellow soldiers intervene because of a failure of leadership to take decisive action concerning someone who was placing everyone in danger?
on August 25,2011 | 11:18PM
squidman22 wrote:
Not every soldier or marine is cut out to be on the front line. That is a fact. For every soldier and marine in a foxhole, there are a slew of others in the rear pushing papers and forms and performing other non-combat related jobs. Instead of trying their hardest to force a square peg into a round hole, they should have reprimanded this marine and relegated him to some desk duty elsewhere. It wouldn't be the end of the world. We need to stop pigeonholing people both in the military and in the civilian world. Emphasize people's strengths and not their weaknesses.
on August 26,2011 | 12:19AM
localguy wrote:
Anyone who watched the movie "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise, knows Marines do not do anything unless their is approval up the chain of command. So where were the officers and senior NCOs in charge of these three loser Marines? Why are they not being charged for dereliction of duty? Sounds like "Code Reds" are still alive and well in the USMC despite what the higher brass is trying to say. Sounds like another military cover-up to protect higher level officers. Just like the Army covered up the officers responsible for the death of LT Brostrom. Sad to see some officers just don't get it. Time to fire these baboozes so the good ones may take over. RIP Lance Corporal Harry Lew, you did everything right. Others did not.
on August 26,2011 | 01:21PM
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