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U.S. Army soldier dismissed for threats, rap protest

BAGHDAD — The U.S. Army has dismissed a soldier who threatened fellow troops and sent the Pentagon a violent rap song he wrote to protest his Iraq redeployment orders, officials said Saturday.

The dismissal for misconduct means Spc. Marc A. Hall will avoid criminal charges but lose all military benefits earned over at least four years of service, including an earlier tour in Iraq.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Bloom said Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff signed off Friday on a plea deal to discharge Hall instead of taking him to trial in part because he admitted his guilt.

"He understood the threats he made to his fellow soldiers," Bloom said. "With the loss of his benefits, the time he's already done in jail and his reduction in rank, that's justice served."

Hall has been jailed since Dec. 11, two days before his brigade with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga., was scheduled to leave for Iraq. He was charged with communicating a threat after telling his battalion commander that he might shoot or otherwise attack a fellow U.S. soldier, according to Army lawyers. He served in Iraq in 2007-08.

In a July 2009 CD recording sent to the Army's personnel office, Hall rapped about opening fire with his military-issue M-4 rifle: "I grab my M-4, spray and watch all the bodies hit the floor. … I bet you never stop-loss nobody no more, in your next lifetime of course. No remorse."

Hall's civilian attorney, David Gespass, said soldiers appearing as witnesses at Hall's Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury, testified "they thought he was a joker and they didn't take him seriously."

Deaths

As of Saturday, 4,390 U.S. troops have died in the Iraq war. Identifications reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:

Army Pfc. William A. Blount, 21, Petal, Miss.; explosion April 7; Mosul.

Army 1st Lt. Robert W. Collins, 24, Tyrone, Ga.; explosion April 7; Mosul.

Army Sgt. Kurt E. Kruize, 35, Hancock, Minn.; noncombat incident April 4; Baghdad.

U.S. Army soldier dismissed for threats, rap protest 04/17/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 17, 2010 10:46pm]

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