Officer sentenced, dismissed from Army for wounding self to get out of Iraq
WüRZBURG, Germany — A Schweinfurt Army officer was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days of confinement after shooting himself in the chest in order to be sent home from Iraq.
Second Lt. Adam Christie, 29, from 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, pleaded guilty to the charge of malingering.
The military judge, Col. Stephanie Browne, sentenced Christie to 12 months of confinement, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and dismissal from the Army. Because of a plea agreement, Christie’s confinement was reduced to one month, but he still will forfeit pay and be dismissed from the Army.
The incident occurred April 10 at Forward Operating Base Omaha, Iraq. Christie admitted to shooting himself to get out of Iraq and out of the platoon leader position he had held for a few weeks.
Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Chalupa, who was Christie’s platoon sergeant for two weeks, said in testimony during sentencing that Christie was initially excited about the position, but his motivation soon waned. Chalupa testified that Christie grew more and more depressed after daily meetings with the company commander.
Christie testified that the commander overly criticized Christie’s handling of daily convoys as the convoy commander. Christie also said that he had no transition time with the outgoing platoon leader to properly learn how to handle the position.
Christie said he was concerned about his ability as commander of the convoys’ lead vehicle to spot roadside bombs that could injure his soldiers in trailing vehicles.
When Chalupa was removed from his position as platoon sergeant, another noncommissioned officer took his place who had had no experience with the convoys. Two days later, Christie testified, he propped his M16A4 rifle on his bed, leaned against the muzzle and fired a round into the right side of his chest.
In closing remarks, prosecutor Capt. Treb Courie said that Christie had let down not only his soldiers, but his whole battalion and the Army.
“[Christie] said that he let his soldiers down, and that he would have to live with that,” Courie said.
“The soldiers he let down are the ones who are going to have to live with it. Think of the soldiers in his platoon rushing to his aid after he shot himself. They had been out on missions that day, and now their platoon leader was lying on the ground shouting: ‘I shot myself; I don’t want to be here.’ He didn’t act selflessly, he acted selfishly.”
Christie’s civilian defense attorney, David Court, said Christie didn’t let the Army down.
“He did his best for the Army; the Army didn’t do its best for him,” Court said. “His leadership failed him. [The company commander’s] leadership style with this brand-new lieutenant was tearing him down.”