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