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Marines face punishment for hazing that preceded guard's suicide

August 23, 2011 |  9:18 pm

Lance Cpl. Harry Lew Two enlisted Marines face potential punishment for allegedly hazing a fellow Marine from California while their battalion was in Afghanistan, according to a report in the Marine Corps Times.

Lance Cpl. Harry Lew, 21, of Santa Clara committed suicide within hours of the rough treatment, the newspaper said.

Before putting a machine gun to his head, Lew left a note on his arm: "May hate me now, but in the long run this was the right choice. I'm sorry. My mom deserves the truth."

The two other Marine lance corporals allegedly became angry when they found Lew asleep while assigned to stand guard on the night of April 2.

A sergeant told the lance corporals that "peers should correct peers," according to an investigative report obtained by the newspaper.

The two lance corporals then ordered Lew to do pushups, crunches and other exercises, according to the report. One of the Marines stomped on Lew's leg and another kicked dirt on him. Both allegedly berated him for sloppy performance.

The three were part of the Hawaii-based 2nd battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, assigned at the time to the Nawa district of Helmand province, long a Taliban stronghold.

One of the lance corporals faces an Article 32 -- akin to a civilian preliminary hearing -- on charges of cruelty and maltreatment. The other, the Marine Corps Times said, will face non-judicial punishment meted out by a superior officer.

In both cases, the process will take place at the Marine base in Hawaii.

Born and raised in Santa Clara, Lew graduated from Santa Clara High and attended Mission College for a year before enlisting. His parents, both immigrants, were shocked but proud of his decision to enlist. His aunt is Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte).

"When I dropped him off at the airport (before he deployed to Afghanistan), I remember telling him: 'You take care. Don't get yourself killed,' " his father, Allen Lew, told The Times in April. "He just said: 'OK,' got his luggage and left."

Lew was buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo:  Lance Cpl. Harry Lew.  Credit: Marine Corps