Sergeant in Danny Chen case will face court-martial

BY ALINE REYNOLDS  | The first of eight soldiers implicated in the apparent suicide of 19-year-old Army Private Danny Chen will be tried in military court beginning in early April.

Sergeant Travis Carden, 25, from Fowler, Indiana, will appear before a general court-martial, the highest level of military court. The trial will be held at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, close to where Chen was deployed at the time of his death.

Carden’s trial is set to begin April 4, following his arraignment in the coming days.

If convicted, the sergeant could face maximum punishments ranging from demotion to expulsion from the Army to six-and-a-half years of jail time. He has been charged with two counts of violation of military regulations, two counts of maltreatment, one count of reckless endangerment and one count of assault on Chen.

The forwarding of Carden’s charges to court “shows a good faith effort by the Army to move these cases forward,” said Elizabeth OuYang, president of the New York chapter of Organization of Chinese Americans.

OCA-NY continues to petition the Army to hold the remaining trials, if trials are authorized, on U.S. soil, or to at least televise them for the Chen family’s viewing — neither of which the Army has arranged to do thus far. The advocacy group has posted videos on YouTube and solicited approximately 2,000 signatures on the organization’s website to bolster the effort.

“Given the suspicious nature of the way Danny died and the Army’s past history,” OuYang said, “it’s really important for there to be transparency for the family and the community by having access to these proceedings.”

Chen’s parents weren’t immediately available for comment on the news about Carden’s case.