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Soldier faces JBER court-martial

Posted: April 30, 2013 - 12:01am

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON — A court-martial hearing has been scheduled for an Alaska-based soldier from South Carolina who is charged with killing another soldier on Christmas Day, the Army announced Monday.

The hearing will be conducted Wednesday for Spc. Marshall D. Drake, 23, of Mount Pleasant, S.C. He is accused of shooting Pfc. Grant W. Wise, of Fairport, N.Y., in Drake’s barracks room on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.

The Army charged Drake with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and failure to obey regulations.

Drake waived his right to an Article 32 hearing in February, and the case was referred to a general court-martial, Army officials said in a news release.

An Article 32 hearing is similar to a preliminary hearing in civilian court.

Drake has been with the Army since October 2009. He was assigned to the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson five months later. The Army said Drake served in Afghanistan from December 2011 to October 2012.

About a month after the shooting, the Army announced that alcohol would be banned from barracks rooms at its Alaska installations.

“Arctic Warriors, we have a problem with good order and discipline in our barracks, and it’s our responsibility to fix it,” Maj. Gen. Michael Garrett said in a letter published in late January in the official military newspaper. “I don’t believe alcohol is to blame for every case of indiscipline that occurs in the barracks, but alcohol is often a major contributing factor.”

Garrett indicated in his letter that the new policy was being adopted to reduce disciplinary problems, including Wise’s killing, which were associated with alcohol.

The new policy pertains to single-soldier housing and surrounding common areas at JBER in Anchorage and Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks. The policy does not extend to family housing at the Army bases.

Besides banning alcohol in barracks, Garrett introduced related policies, including increased enforcement on both Army posts and more “courtesy patrols” led by senior noncommissioned officers at problem areas off-base. The patrols are intended to keep other soldiers in line, he said.

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