Since reporting Monday on Rep. Judy Chu’s revelation that her nephew, Lance Corporal Harry Lew, killed himself after being hazed by fellow Marines in Afghanistan, we’ve spoken to several people about the tragic case. It turns out it wasn’t so much tragedy as torment; some might even call it torture. “LCPL Lew was identified by…means of personal association and ID tags,” said one Marine message shortly after he died. “LCPL Lew was wearing the new Kevlar helmet, scalable plate carrier with front and rear ESAPI [Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert] plates, two side ESAPI plates, ballistic goggles and Nomex gloves.” But all the armor in the world couldn’t protect him from the slings and abuse of his comrades, 7,700 miles from home in the middle of a hot war zone in the middle of the night.
Rep. Chu’s stunning announcement Friday before a congressional panel only scraped the surface of what happened to the 21-year old rifleman in April. Even the Marines – in the 58-page investigation into his death – said comrades knew Lew “as a quiet and well mannered Marine with a good sense of humor.” His father’s final words to his son as they bid farewell following Harry’s last home leave last October: “Don’t get yourself killed.”
So what happened in the early morning hours of April 3 in Helmand province? It’s not a pretty story. The names of those involved have been redacted from the copy of the investigation obtained by Battleland. All except Harry Lew’s.
What follows are excerpts from it:
The date that Lew deployed to Afghanistan, according to this official Marine investigation — “November 2011” — hasn’t happened yet. Makes one wonder about the level of work that went into the entire investigation. The Marines should be more than ashamed — they should be furious. Semper furious. (The Los Angeles Times, in an article shortly after Lew’s death, said he “arrived in Afghanistan in November 2010.”)