What a tragedy-UPDATED

I have updated the post below after reading some of the comments, giving it some more thought and doing some research. I think I had some facts wrong and I think I threw in some emotion of my own that did not need to be in the posting as it added nothing to it. The updates I typed in are in pink, the items I retracted are struck out. The bottom line of the posting is this. Two men were murdered, one man got away with it (in my opinion) and another man will never be able to demonstrate his leadership abilities to this entire country. I am not convinced it is as a result of the murder, but someone seems to think so. That is her opinion and freedom to believe that. Let me again express my condolences to all who were personally affected by these tragedies.

In 2005 a 1LT Louis Allen (HHC, 42nd Division Executive Officer) and CPT Phillip Esposito (HHC, 42nd Division Company Commander) were murdered (fragged) while in Iraq with the New York National Guard’s 42nd Division. It was a very sad and tragic thing indeed. What was also tragic was that the prime suspect in the case, a SSG Alberto Martinez who was the Supply Sergeant for that company was tried and either because he was not guilty or because the prosecution did not do its job properly, was found not-guilty.

I don’t know SSG Martinez personally, nor did I know Esposito or Allen personally, but I know enough people that do and were very close to this case who are adamant that Martinez was guilty and had performed this act.

Someone I do know personally is The Adjutant General of New York, Major General Joe Taluto. MG Taluto was the Commander of the 42nd Division when it went to Iraq and when this tragedy happened. Before Martinez’s trial was over MG Taluto was selected as the next Director of the National Guard. This was a 3-star position, which is very hard for a National Guard officer to achieve as there are now only 3 total 3-star positions ( I believe) that National Guard Generals can be in.

Right after the verdict was passed down on Martinez, the widow of CPT Esposito lashed out in anger and demanded an investigation into MG Taluto saying he was at fault and that because of his leadership at the Division level, her husband was killed by one of his own soldiers. Now anyone that knows military ranks and levels of leadership know that blaming the Division Commander is like blaming the President for something that a TSA agent does at an airport. Those two positions (Division Commander and Company Commander) are so far apart and disconnected, it isn’t even funny. It is asinine, idiotic and downright stupid to hold a CG accountable for something like a fragging within a company.

However Mrs. Esposito, out of an act of desperation and anger to hold someone accountable went after MG Taluto. Because of her failure to understand misunderstanding of the Army rank systems, her frustration with the Army not doing its job on the prosecution, and her unfortunate position as the poor widow she got and maintained attention on the matter. long enough to stall the confirmation of MG Taluto for the NG Director position and his 3rd star. After the process dragged on for 9 months, last Thursday MG Taluto announced his retirement and his request to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to remove him from the confirmation process.

Many in the New York National Guard were shocked and saddened by MG Taluto’s announcement. He has proved himself a great and inspirational leader among the men and women of the National Guard of New York and he would have carried on those traits to all the men and women of he our entire National Guard across all states and territories. It was the latest tragedy in this chain of events. This country is being robbed of a great leader and who knows how many good things would have happened with him at the helm. Now we will never know, because of the desperate actions of one widow who was going to hold someone accountable for her husband’s murder, regardless of who it was.

To make matters worse, Siobnan Esposito released a Press Release last Friday herself to announce how “happy” she was that MG Taluto is retiring and that it was a result of her complaint and investigation that she pushed for.

Initially this blog posting gave credit to Mrs. Esposito and her investigation as to why MG Taluto’s confirmation was delayed. However after some more research and probing, I am not sure that is the case. I think a large part of the delay was based on the Congress being saturated with Town Hall hearings, and a lot of time spent on Health Care and the Financial Crisis. Yes I am sure the approving authority could have knocked out the approval really quick, but I am not too sure now that her inquiry was that instrumental in the whole delay. I could be wrong there also, but I am not sure we will ever know. Had her inquiry been taken more seriously I am sure we would have seen several hearings on the hill into the fragging incident and the bungled case against Martinez. So I struck out in this blog the references to Mrs. Esposito being the sole cause of the delay.

Well no thanks to you Ms. Esposito, our country as a whole will never be able to enjoy the leadership of MG Taluto. I am not sure what that will do to bring your husband back or punish those who blew the claymore mine that killed him, but I guess in some sick, twisted way it makes sense to you.

Press Release is located at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/01/prweb3538464.htm

10 thoughts on “What a tragedy-UPDATED”

  1. The country was robbed of two great potential leaders when the threats Martinez made were not taken seriously. Sometimes, shit has to flow uphill and responsibility needs to be taken for the death of Phil and my brother.

    1. Laurene,

      This country was robbed of two fine men I am sure when your brother and Phil were murdered. I totally agree with you. I also agree that someone needs to take responsibility. The person that is responsible has either not been found (and I am not sure what is being done to find them) or got off because of a bad prosecution (personally I think Martinez did it). If anyone was made aware of the murderers actions and they did nothing about it, then they too should be held responsible. However, without determining the actual murderer, I am not sure how they can hold anyone accountable for knowing but not saying anything.

      I am truly sorry for your family’s loss as I am Mrs. Esposito’s. But unless MG Taluto fostered en environment to encourage fragging, or he was ahead of time and did nothing about it, then he is simply too removed from the be considered to blame. Like I said in my analogy, it would be like blaming the President for the TSA agent in NJ walking away from his post.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your opinion

  2. Bouhammer:

    Your rant has to rank as one of the most contemptible pieces of trash that I have ever read from the pen of someone who ostensibly supports our military. Your alleged “insight” into the mind of Mrs. Esposito (despite freely admitting that you have never even met her) is so disrespectful and out of line, you deserve to be bitch-slapped by every widow who ever lost her husband due to another solder’s failure to do his duty.

    The reality that you ignore is that Phillip Esposito had been threatened behind his back by Alberto Martinez *hundreds* of times and these threats were observed up and down the chain of command. The failure of this chain to act in the face of these flagrant breaches of military discipline is the very definition of negligence and General Taluto’s failure to demand accountability from his leaders and himself–both before *and* after the murders–is nothing less than the abdication of his responsibility as division commander. Damn right Taluto deserves to be blamed for his role in this tragedy. But for the lack of discipline throughout his division, two of his soldiers would be alive today.

    You owe Mrs. Esposito a public apology for your despicable outburst. No family member seeking justice for their solider should ever have their motives attacked as you just did in your little blog.

    1. Nicholas,

      You attack at me is one of the great things of this country, free-speach. I don’t feel I was dis-respectful at all. I ask you, would she have filed that complaint had Martinez been found guilty? I don’t know, but I don’t think she would have. I think she may have felt justice was done and moved on with her life. If the threats you claim are true and no soldier and especially no leader ever stepped forward to investigate then it is a complete failure on all soldiers that knew and they should be held accountable. If the soldiers did know about a plot to frag their command and none of them spoke up, it speaks to the command. That is a failure on the part of that unit in particular. What you are making accusations about is a conspiracy. That life was so bad in that company that all who knew about the threats ignored them, assuming they would happen and they were fine with that. I know people that were in that company and I can tell you they are professional soldiers and would have never let that happen. You sir, completely disrespect all the fine men and women of that company and their professionalism as soldiers.

      Regardless how good the Company Command and Executive Officer were or weren’t is irrelevant as they could have done nothing in this world to warrant their murder. Regardless of how good or bad the supply sergeant was is irrelevant as he could not have been such a great and outstanding guy that people were willing to turn the other way and allow him to kill someone.

      I went back and looked at the posting and will be updating it. I took some of your words into consideration and agree that I probably mis-spoke in a few areas. Thanks for encouraging me to do that and thanks for your reading and comment.


      BTW, this blog isn’t so little. It is actually a pretty big and popular one. But I always welcome more readers like yourself.

  3. Bouhammer:

    >I ask you, would she have filed that complaint had Martinez been found guilty? I don’t know, but I don’t think she would have.

    Since you have asked me (and I am in a position to speak here with full knowledge of the situation), the answer is yes. Mrs. Esposito rightfully seeks a full, just and impartial accounting for her late husband’s murder, to include accountability for the larger failures that extend beyond the actions of the killer himself.

    > If the threats you claim are true and no soldier and especially no leader ever stepped forward to investigate then it is a complete failure on all soldiers that knew and they should be held accountable.

    That is exactly what has *not* happened here. Absent that accountability, those with broad powers and responsibility deserve to be judged negatively for their failure to act.

    >What you are making accusations about is a conspiracy.

    No. What I am alleging is that were it not for the failure of 42nd Infantry Division’s leaders to enforce well-established principles of military discipline (need I remind you, principles that are enshrined in the UCMJ), a recalcitrant allowed into the service on a mental waiver and who displayed open hostility toward the only commander to hold him accountable for his actions would have been checked long before his actions rose to the level of premeditated double homicide.

    > I know people that were in that company and I can tell you they are professional soldiers and would have never let that happen.

    The facts speak differently. Two soldiers suffered a needless and preventable death. If this crime had taken place on the property of an American corporation and its management was aware of the killer’s open contempt and threats to the degree that the leadership of the 42nd ID was aware of Alberto Martinez’s open contempt and threats against Phillip Esposito before he was murdered, that corporation’s leaders would be on their knees. I say it is unforgivable that there is less accountability among leaders entrusted with the lives of our nation’s fighting men and women than the management of people who make French fries for a living.

    > Initially this blog posting gave credit to Mrs. Esposito and her investigation as to why MG Taluto’s confirmation was delayed. However after some more research and probing, I am not sure that is the case.

    It is precisely the case. Mrs. Esposito brought her criticism of Major General Taluto’s failed leadership surrounding the death of her late husband to the attention of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Given the seriousness of her allegations, the Committee in turn asked for the Department of Defense to conduct an appropriate investigation. Major General Taluto’s nomination was thus put on hold pending the outcome of this investigation.

    I find it telling that Major General Taluto held fast to his nomination—I even heard reports of outright bravado coming out from his supporters—until the DoD released the findings of the Independent Review Related to Fort Hood. While speculation on my part, I nevertheless have to wonder if that report’s call for strict accountability for those leaders who failed to take reasonable steps that would have helped to prevent that massacre didn’t lead Taluto to recognize that a similar call would be issued in the findings of his investigation.

    You really owe Mrs. Esposito a public apology—an apology you have yet to issue. She has proved herself to be a moral defender of the lives of our servicemen and women and your continued smear of her is absolutely disrespectful and undeserved.

  4. If I could have just a second here I’d like to say …ahem…

    F%&K dat b!tch!

    Regardless of accuracy, the end results of this woman’s actions did absolutely NOTHING but make her feel better (for aboute 5 seconds). Nothing good was accomplished, resources were wasted, no wrong was righted … nothing. What a wonderful use of the court system.

  5. Bouhammer, I think it would be in your best interest to stop talking about this particular subject as it does not pertain to you. I really doubt MG Taluto would approve of your weak ass endorsement. I would believe that he would be inclined to ask, “What are you thinking?” Just shut the computer off and slowly back away. After all, a 1SG and a Division Commander are so far apart it’s asinine. A 1SG should know their place and you don’t seem to know yours. Thanks for drawing fire on the 42nd but we don’t need your help. Pop smoke on this subject as your uninformed opinions and lack of professionalism are shining through. Leave the Ladies alone.

    1. So before I start my reply to your comment, am I to understand by your name that you did at least 20 years in the military and retired as an E5 SGT? Is that a correct assumption? If so, boy what a stellar career you must have had there SGT Brown.

      Why would it be in my best interest? What interest would I have not to say anything? I am no longer in the National Guard (I retired as a 1SG) and therefor as a citizen and the owner of this blog, free to write what I want. Now as to what MG Taluto would or would not approve of is irrelevant. He knows of my blog and has read it many times before. He also has my number and email and can call me if he feels I did something wrong. I have not heard from him, but that does not mean he likes or dislikes what I said. My relationship and interactions with the MG have mostly been off-duty and even though he was my TAG, I never really “reported” to him as a TAG. I was in a separate unit when he was the CG of the 42nd, so I was not in his food chain at that time. As for my place, let me reiterate again, I am a RETIRED 1SG and as a retiree and a US citizen can say what I want, when I want, where I want. My place has been earned.

      I have said all I am planning to say on the subject, what is done is done. I don’t plan to write anything else about it based on the information to date. If you don’t like what I have said then don’t be like the tens of thousands of other people that read this blog….just don’t read it. Go climb back into whatever you were doing in your retirement years and have a happy life.

  6. I agree. Thanks Top. It is a good blog site and maybe we’ll talk again soon about something different. You enjoy retirement also. Take care.

  7. The most important update is SSG Martinez is dead, whether suicide or murder I can not say he died in January of last year, I believe. I hope that gives some people closure which is what the families of the deceased need. I knew these people, there is a lot of back story there were a lot of reasons to believe that Al was a murderer and lived under a cloud because they never found a murderer or as far as I know charged anyone else although the investigation looked at several people of interest. 20 20 hindsight and recrimination is part of the ugly an unsolved murder creates.
    I do not know what expectations people had of MG Taluto. Several persons heard Martinez threaten to kill Captain Esposito and the fact nothing was done is as much a fault at the company level, at least one officer was demoted. An officer who as far as I know may, I don’t assert this as fact, defended and protected Al from the consequences of words uttered in a rage.
    You can turn yourself inside out over whether Al was guilty, personally I believe he was and unless they arrest someone else ad convict them of this heinous crimes I always will. I hope you may possibly find some closure in Al’s untimely death, I think Wiki described the circumstances as “mysterious”
    But most of all I hope the family’s might find some genuine peace, they remain in my prayers may God bless them.

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