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National Guard Among the Looters after Katrina

Twenty-one soldiers in the Louisiana Army National Guard have been court martialed for looting some of the very stores they were assigned to protect during the aftermath of the hurricane Katrina. Brigadier General John Basilica states, "We are very disappointed in these few because they breached a sacred trust, as we're there to help and support the citizens and they should not have taken advantage of their position, and they did." Over half of the guardsmen charged belonged to the 527th Engineer battalion of Ruston, Louisiana.

All twenty-one, including eleven officers were court martialed, and received separate sentences. Twelve received bad conduct discharges. Fifteen, including some who were given BCDs received a reduction in rank, while fourteen were given jail time.

One Guardsman, former Private Trey Battaglia, who was not charged with wrongdoing, recalled being on foot patrol in Chalmette, Louisiana. Outside Chalmette Shooting Specialties L.L.C. he heard a disturbance and found three soldiers looting the gun store. States Battaglia, "You know, we're lookin' for looters--that's what we're out doing, so I went to go scope it out, and when I arrived, I saw my platoon sergeant and a couple of my squad leaders rummaging through the weapons, the guns." Battaglia stated he saw Sergeants Patrick Platt, Christopher Barlett, and Matthew Maggio each take firearms from the empty gun store. All three sergeants were punished for misconduct. Others court martialed were Jeremy Foster, Chad Evans, James E. Holmes, Prater White, Ron Ellison, Christopher Figaro, Jeff Holloway, Theodore Chapman, Joseph Dunn, Michael Wohlfarth, Leopold LeBlanc, Jerrod Cooper, Johnny Boyette, Corby Moore, Ernest Miles, George Babers, and Glen Wallace.

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