Widow renews fight for Purple Heart


Almost eight years ago, Capt. Phillip Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen, from the New York National Guard’s 42nd Infantry Division, were killed when an anti-personnel mine detonated in a window of their room at their headquarters in Tikrit, Iraq.

One of their soldiers, Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez, was charged and tried on murder charges. He was acquitted in December 2008 in the two officers’ June 7, 2005, deaths.

Since then, Barbara Allen, Louis Allen’s wife, has fought, unsuccessfully, for her husband’s death certificate to be changed to reflect a hostile death, which would qualify him for a Purple Heart.

This summer, Barbara Allen, who wrote a deeply personal memoir titled “Front Toward Enemy,”  is renewing her efforts with the help from some high-profile veterans.

“It has been almost eight years since Lou was killed, and people keep telling me to let it go,” Barbara Allen wrote in an e-mail to Army Times. “I can not let it go, and will not let it go, until Lou’s sacrifice is recognized and steps are taken to prevent other families from experiencing this same loss.”

In May she will launch a petition on the White House website, proposing the creation of an “unconventional enemy” category for soldiers who kill or conspire to kill other soldiers. In addition, Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam veteran John Baca and several other Vietnam vets will kick off the cross-country “Run for the Wall” ride in a van decked out with pictures of the Allen family and encourage people to go online to sign the White House petition.

For more information, visit Barbara’s website or the site for “Front Toward Enemy.”


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