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US Embassy Greece: What Happened to Sgt Laloup’s Heart? Parents Seeking Answers File Suit

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— Domani Spero

According to a lawsuit filed by his parents, U.S. Marine Sgt. Brian LaLoup, 21, died after he attended an off-duty embassy party, on August 12, 2012. Sgt. LaLoup served as part of the Marine Corps Security Group assigned to the American Embassy in Athens, Greece. During the party, Sgt. LaLoup reportedly told a fellow service member that he was thinking about suicide and was reported to the Detachment Commander.  The lawsuit alleged that the Detachment Commander “failed to follow appropriate protocols and procedures, which required him to obtain supervision and medical treatment for Sgt. LaLoup, and instead decided to take him out for more drinking. Prior to leaving and despite being visibly intoxicated and distraught, Sgt. LaLoup was allowed to pass the guard at the entry to the chancery and enter the response room. The chancery, which had been left unsecured, is where weapons were stored. Thereafter, according to military reports, Sgt. LaLoup shot himself in the head with an embassy service weapon.”

Sergeant LaLoup enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on May 8, 2008 and was on continuous active duty from February 9, 2009 until the date of his death.  Prior to his assignment in Greece, Sgt. Laloup was posted at the US Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.  Sgt. LaLoup reported for embassy security duty at Embassy Athens on May 20, 2012, On August 12, 2012, the United States Marne Corps informed Beverly and Craig LaLoup that their son had passed away.

The lawsuit alleged that at the time his body was returned to the United States, Plaintiffs, Sgt. LaLoup’s parents, Craig and Beverly LaLoup, were given knowingly false information about Sgt. LaLoup’s remains and as a result, “the LaLoups unwittingly buried their son without his heart.” According to Mrs. LaLoup:

1St SGT Dixon was at our home at 106 Lloyd Avenue, Downingtown, PA to have us sign more papers. During this visit, I asked him what would happen if more of Brian’s scalp was recovered. Would it be returned to us? He looked at me funny as he started to go thru his folder and said “Ma’am, what are you talking about?” I replied, the missing scalp parts. What would be done if more was recovered. He replied to me, as he was still searching for something in his folder, that the scalp is not what was missing. He even stated that he had just gone thru the folder before he came to make sure he was familiar with everything and did not recall seeing anything about missing scalp parts. We all sat there for a few moments as he continued to go thru his folder. Finally, he found what he was looking for and said, “Ma’am, that is not what was missing.” “I stated, what do you mean?” He extended to me a piece of paper as he stated it was his heart that was missing asked him why were we told it was parts of his scalp. His reply was, “that they were not going to tell us because that is not something you tell a grieving mother.” I read the document he had handed me and sure enough, it was a letter from the Dover Mortuary to Marines Casualty Office informing them “remains of the above individual are incomplete. Please obtain subsequent recovery instructions from the next of kin. Remains Summary: Non-intact body. Embalmed and autopsied in Greece. Missing heart”. It was validated by Jairo E. Fortalatin, Investigator and Authorized by AbuBakr Marzouuk, Col USAF, MC, FS.

The complaint further alleges that “in an attempt to pacify” the Laloups, the defendants and the Greek government “had a heart shipped to Dover claiming that it was Sgt. LaLoup’s missing heart” but that DNA testing revealed that the heart was not Sgt. LaLoup’s heart.

Philadelphia’s Metro reports that a letter shared through U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey’s office quotes the then U.S. Ambassador to Greece Daniel Smith about the efforts made to prevent an autopsy.

Smith told the hospital not to autopsy LaLoup’s body, and also notified the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the letter. When Smith’s staff requested the hospital release LaLoup’s body on Aug. 16, they declined and said they would autopsy the body. Smith says he called the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chief of Staff of the Foreign Minister insisting there be no autopsy, and on Aug. 17 called again to say that an autopsy would violate the Vienna Convention.

The autopsy took place on Aug. 18. After the LaLoups told Smith on Sept. 18 that Sgt. LaLoup’s body was missing its heart, his staff interviewed the physician who performed the autopsy.

Ambassador Daniel Smith was appointed chief of mission to the U.S. Embassy in Athens in 2010.  In October last year, President Obama nominated him to be the next Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (State/INR). He is currently awaiting Senate confirmation.

Last month, the Laloups reportedly added the Greek government and the Athens hospital that conducted the autopsy to the list of defendants to their lawsuit. Philly.com’s report here includes a quote from the spokesman of the  Armed Forces Medical Examiner System:

“Remains of most U.S. service members who die overseas are sent to the United States for autopsy, said Paul Stone, a spokesman for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System. However, some countries – including Greece – maintain the right in formal agreements with the U.S. military to investigate such deaths using their own medical staff.”

The complaint is  LALOUP et al v. UNITED STATES DEPT. OF DEFENSE et al, Pennsylvania Eastern District Court, 2:2013cv07124.

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30 Years Ago Today: 1983 U.S. Marine Corps Barracks Bombing – Beirut, Lebanon

— By Domani Spero

On 23 October 1983, at around 6:22 a.m., a truck laden with the equivalent of over 12,000 pounds of TNT crashed through the perimeter of the compound of the U.S. contingent of the Multinational Force at Beirut International Airport, Beirut, Lebanon, penetrated the Battalion Landing Team Headquarters building and detonated. The force of the explosion destroyed the building resulting in the deaths of 241 U.S. military personnel: 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima.

BEFORE

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Photo via Beirut Memorial

AFTER

Beirut_after

Photo via Beirut Memorial

The Report of the DoD Commission on Beirut International Airport Terrorist Act, October 23, 1983 also known as the Long Commission after Admiral Robert L. J. Long who chaired the committee, is available here via fas.org. The following are the names of the people we lost in that attack. (via US Embassy Beirut).

CPL Terry W. Abbott, USMC
LCPL Clemon S. Alexander, USMC
PFC John R. Allman, USMC
CPL Moses J. Arnold JR., USMC
PFC Charles K. Bailey, USMC
LCPL Nicholas Baker, USMC
LCPL Johnsen Banks, USMC
LCPL Richard E. Barrett, USMC
HM1 Ronny K. Bates, USN
1STSGT David L. Battle, USMC
LCPL James R. Baynard, USMC
HN Jesse W. Beamon, USN
GYSGT Alvin Belmer, USMC
PFC Stephen Bland, USMC
SGT Richard L. Blankenship, USMC
LCPL John W. Blocker, USMC
CAPT Joseph J. Boccia JR., USMC
CPL Leon Bohannon JR., USMC
SSGT John R. Bohnet JR., USMC
CPL John J. Bonk JR., USMC
LCPL Jeffrey L. Boulos, USMC
CPL David R. Bousum, USMC
1STLT John N. Boyett, USMC
CPL Anthony Brown, USMC
LCPL David W. Brown, USMC
LCPL Bobby S. Buchanan JR., USMC
CPL John B. Buckmaster, USMC
PFC William F. Burley, USMC
HN Jimmy R. Cain, USN
CPL Paul L. Callahan, USMC
SGT Mecot E. Camara, USMC
PFC Bradly J. Campus, USMC
LCPL Johnnie D. Ceasar, USMC
PFC Marc L. Cole, USMC
SP4 Marcus A. Coleman, USA
PFC Juan M. Comas, USMC
SGT Robert A. Conley, USMC
CPL Charles D. Cook, USMC
LCPL Curtis J. Cooper, USMC
LCPL Johnny L. Copeland, USMC
CPL Bert D. Corcoran, USMC
LCPL David L. Cosner, USMC
SGT Kevin P. Coulman, USMC
LCPL Brett A. Croft, USMC
LCPL Rick R. Crudale, USMC
LCPL Kevin P. Custard, USMC
LCPL Russell E. Cyzick, USMC
MAJ Andrew L. Davis, USMC
PFC Sidney S. Decker, USMC
PFC Michael J. Devlin, USMC
LCPL Thomas A. Dibenedetto, USMC
PVT Nathaniel G. Dorsey, USMC
SGTMAJ Frederick B. Douglass, USMC
CPL Timothy J. Dunnigan, USMC
HN Bryan L. Earle, USN
MSGT Roy L. Edwards, USMC
HM3 William D. Elliot JR., USN
LCPL Jesse Ellison, USMC
PFC Danny R. Estes, USMC
PFC Sean F. Estler, USMC
HM3 James E. Faulk, USN
PFC Richard A. Fluegel, USMC
CPL Steven M. Forrester, USMC
HM3 William B. Foster JR., USN
CPL Michael D. Fulcher, USMC
LCPL Benjamin E. Fuller, USMC
LCPL Michael S. Fulton, USMC
CPL William Gaines JR., USMC
LCPL Sean R. Gallagher, USMC
LCPL David B. Gander, USMC
LCPL George M. Gangur, USMC
SSGT Leland E. Gann, USMC
LCPL Randall J. Garcia, USMC
SSGT Ronald J. Garcia, USMC
LCPL David D. Gay, USMC
SSGT Harold D. Ghumm, USMC
LCPL Warner Gibbs JR., USMC
CPL Timothy R. Giblin, USMC
ETC Michael W. Gorchinski, USN
LCPL Richard J. Gordon, USMC
LCPL Harold F. Gratton, USMC
SGT Robert B. Greaser, USMC
LCPL Davin M. Green, USMC
LCPL Thomas A. Hairston, USMC
SGT Freddie Haltiwanger JR., USMC
LCPL Virgil D. Hamilton, USMC
SGT Gilbert Hanton, USMC
LCPL William Hart, USMC
CAPT Michael S. Haskell, USMC
PFC Michael A. Hastings, USMC
CAPT Paul A. Hein, USMC
LCPL Douglas E. held, USMC
PFC Mark A. Helms, USMC
LCPL Ferrandy D. Henderson, USMC
SSGT John Hendrickson, USMC
MSGT Matilde Hernandez JR., USMC
CPL Stanley G. Hester, USMC
GYSGT Donald W. Hildreth, USMC
SSGT Richard H. Holberton, USMC
HM3 Robert S. Holland, USN
LCPL Bruce A. Hollingshead, USMC
PFC Melvin D. Holmes, USMC
CPL Bruce L. Howard, USMC
LT John R. Hudson, USN
CPL Terry L. Hudson, USMC
LCPL Lyndon J. Hue, USMC
2NDLT Maurice E. Hukill, USMC
LCPL Edward F. Iacovino JR., USMC
PFC John J. Ingalls, USMC
WO1 Paul G. Innocenzi III, USMC
LCPL James J. Jackowski, USMC
LCPL Jeffrey W. James, USMC
LCPL Nathaniel W. Jenkins, USMC
HM2 Michael H. Johnson, USN
CPL Edward A. Johnston, USMC
LCPL Steven Jones, USMC
PFC Thomas A. Julian, USMC
HM2 Marion E. Kees, USN
SGT Thomas C. Keown, USMC
GYSGT Edward E. Kimm, USMC
LCPL Walter V. Kingsley, USMC
SGT Daniel S. Kluck, USA
LCPL James C. Knipple, USMC
LCPL Freas H. Kreischer III, USMC
LCPL Keith J. Laise, USMC
LCPL Thomas G. Lamb, USMC
LCPL James J. Langon IV, USMC
SGT Michael S. Lariviere, USMC
CPL Steven B. Lariviere, USMC
MSGT Richard L. Lemnah, USMC
CPL David A. Lewis, USMC
SGT Val S. Lewis, USMC
CPL Joseph R. Livingston, USMC
LCPL Paul D. Lyon JR., USMC
MAJ John W. Macroglou, USMC
CPL Samuel Maitland, USMC
SSGT Charlie R. Martin, USMC
PFC Jack L. Martin, USMC
CPL David S. Massa, USMC
SGT Michael R. Massman, USMC
PVT Joseph J. Mattacchione, USMC
LCPL John McCall, USMC
SGT James E. McDonough, USMC
LCPL Timothy R. McMahon, USMC
LCPL Timothy D. McNeely, USMC
HM2 George N. McVicker II, USN
PFC Louis Melendez, USMC
SGT Richard H. Menkins II, USMC
CPL Michael D. Mercer, USMC
LCPL Ronald W. Meurer, USMC
HM3 Joseph P. Milano, USN
CPL Joseph P. Moore, USMC
LCPL Richard A. Morrow, USMC
LCPL John F. Muffler, USMC
CPL Alex Munoz, USMC
CPL Harry D. Myers, USMC
1STLT David J. Nairn, USMC
LCPL Luis A. Nava, USMC
CPL John A. Olson, USMC
PFC Robert P. Olson, USMC
CWO3 Richard C. Ortiz, USMC
PFC Jeffrey B. Owen, USMC
CPL Joseph A. Owens, USMC
CPL Connie Ray Page, USMC
LCPL Ulysses Parker, USMC
LCPL Mark W. Payne, USMC
GYSGT John L. Pearson, USMC
PFC Thomas S. Perron, USMC
SGT John A. Phillips JR., USMC
HMC George W. Piercy, USN
1STLT Clyde W. Plymel, USMC
SGT William H. Pollard, USMC
SGT Rafael I. Pomalestorres, USMC
CPL Victor M. Prevatt, USMC
PFC James C. Price, USMC
SSGT Patrick K. Prindeville, USMC
PFC Eric A. Pulliam, USMC
HM3 Diomedes J. Quirante, USN
LCPL David M. Randolph, USMC
GYSGT Charles R. Ray, USMC
PFC Rui A. Relvas, USMC
PFC Terrance L. Rich, USMC
LCPL Warren Richardson, USMC
SGT Juan C. Rodriguez, USMC
LCPL Louis J. Rotondo, USMC
LCPL Guillermo Sanpedro JR., USMC
LCPL Michael C. Sauls, USMC
1STLT Charles J. Schnorf, USMC
PFC Scott L. Schultz, USMC
CAPT Peter J. Scialabba, USMC
CPL Gary R. Scott, USMC
CPL Ronald L. Shallo, USMC
CPL Thomas A. Shipp, USMC
LCPL Jerryl D. Shropshire, USMC
LCPL James F. Silvia, USMC
LCPL Larry H. Simpson JR., USMC
LCPL Stanley J. Sliwinski, USMC
LCPL Kirk H. Smith, USMC
SSGT Thomas G. Smith, USMC
CAPT Vincent L. Smith, USMC
LCPL Edward Soares, USMC
1STLT William S. Sommerhof, USMC
LCPL Michael C. Spaulding, USMC
LCPL John W. Spearing, USMC
LCPL Stephen E. Spencer, USMC
LCPL Bill J. Stelpflug, USMC
LCPL Horace R. Stephens, USMC
PFC Craig S. Stockton, USMC
LCPL Jeffrey G. Stokes, USMC
LCPL Thomas D. Stowe, USMC
LCPL Eric D. Sturghill, USMC
LCPL Devon L. Sundar, USMC
LT James F. Surch JR., USN
CPL Dennis A. Thompson, USMC
SSGT Thomas P. Thorstad, USMC
PFC Stephen D. Tingley, USMC
LCPL John J. Tishmack, USMC PFC
Donald H. Vallone JR., USMC
CPL Eric R. Walker, USMC
CPL Leonard W. Walker, USMC
CPL Eric G. Washington, USMC
CPL Obrian Weekes, USMC
1STSGT Tandy W. Wells, USMC
LCPL Steven B. Wentworth, USMC
SGT Allen D. Wesley, USMC
GYSGT Lloyd D. West, USMC
SSGT John R. Weyl, USMC
CPL Burton D. Wherland JR., USMC
LCPL Dwayne W. Wigglesworth, USMC
LCPL Rodney J. Williams, USMC
GYSGT Scipio Williams JR., USMC
LCPL Johnny A. Williamson, USMC
CAPT Walter E. Wint JR., USMC
CAPT William E. Winter, USMC
CPL John E. Wolfe, USMC
1STLT Donald E. Woollett, USMC
HM3 David E. Worley, USN
PFC Craig L. Wyche, USMC
SFC James G. Yarber, USA
SGT Jeffrey D. Young, USMC
1STLT William A. Zimmerman

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