Army agrees to fly widows to Kuwait for hearing of alleged killer

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:57

    NEW YORK - The U.S. Army has agreed to fly the widows of two New York National Guard officers to Kuwait for a military hearing for an American soldier accused of killing their husbands in a “fragging” incident in Iraq. The women waged an intense campaign to be allowed to attend the proceeding after military officials rejected their request last month to provide a video link between Iraq and New York so they could watch the hearing. The case was later moved from Iraq to Kuwait. Over the weekend, the pair said they were told that Lt. Gen. John Vines, commander of the Multinational Corps-Iraq, had agreed to underwrite their travel expenses to attend the hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury, where witnesses will be interviewed. Col. William J. Buckner, spokesman for Multinational Corps-Iraq, said the Army was “working with the families to arrange for them to travel to Kuwait.” The hearing, scheduled to open Oct. 31 and last three days, will be open to the public. “I am grateful and relieved,” Siobhan Esposito of Suffern said in a telephone interview. “I felt from the very beginning that we had a right to be there. Everyone came through for us.” Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, a West Point graduate and an information specialist with an investment firm, was killed along with 1st Lt. Louis Allen, 34, a high school science teacher at Tuxedo’s George F. Baker High School, last June 7 in an explosion at their base in Tikrit. Both were officers of the 42nd Infantry Division, New York National Guard in Troy.