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July 1, 2013

Local soldier awaiting trial

GREENVILLE — The area was a hotbed for Taliban insurgents.

On July 2, 2012, Lt. Clint Lorance, who lived in Celeste, was on a joint foot patrol with the Afghan Army in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan when two men on motorcycles were watching the platoon at a distance.

The area had been under fire the previous day from insurgents riding motorcycles. According to Clint’s mother, Anna, he did not want to take any chances, so he gave the order to open fire on the two men.

When Clint returned from the patrol, he was put on suspension and sat at the base in Kandahar until he returned to Fort Bragg the fall of 2012.

In January of 2013, Clint was told he was going to be court-martialed.

Anna said she doesn’t understand why the Army would charge her son, considering the situation he and his men were in.

“To take him over there, then second guess his actions; it isn’t right,” she said. “It’s crazy that they’re not standing by their soldier.”

Anna said her son, who enlisted in the Greenville Army recruiter’s office the day he turned 18, loves his country and walked in the Battalion Death March to honor the fallen soldiers when he returned from his first deployment to Iraq.

“He’s always been about defending people,” she said, adding that growing up he joined the Police Explorer Program because he wanted to help people. “My son is the type of person who gives 100 percent of what he does. He still works every day on the base.”

During his military career, Clint was recognized on multiple occasions for his service, including a platoon leadership award in 2009 for being the most outstanding cadet in his platoon.

Anna began a petition on the website www.change.org to help raise awareness of what happened. The title of the petition is “US Army charges one of its own soldiers with murder for protecting his men from Taliban.”

Anna said she has been getting positive responses from people locally and all over the world and hopes the support continues to grow.

After visiting with him recently, Anna said she could tell the situation has taken its toll on him.

“His spirit has been totally broken,” she said. “To look in his eyes and see the fear, the hurt and devastation, it just kills you.”

Clint is awaiting a court-martial hearing later this month.

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