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Soldier guilty of falling in love

Pensacola (Florida), Dec. 2 (AP): An American soldier has been reprimanded and will be discharged for taking a break from a foot patrol in Baghdad to marry an Iraqi woman, his lawyer has said.

Serjeant Sean Blackwell, 27, is being punished for divulging the time and location of the patrol to his bride and the Iraqi judge who married them, his attorney said yesterday. The Florida National Guardsman avoided a possible court-martial for dereliction of duty and disobeying orders.

Blackwell received a written reprimand in advance of the discharge, attorney Richard Alvoid said. “The more they punish him, the more negative publicity the military will receive,” he said. “He is guilty of falling in love.”

Florida guard spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ron Tittle said he had no word on disciplinary action against Blackwell or a second Florida Guardsman, Corporal Brett Dagen, 37, who married another Iraqi woman in a double ceremony during a break on the same patrol on August 17. Both women are physicians. The soldiers, attached to the 1st Armored Division, have been in Iraq since April. Both were Christians who converted to Islam before they married.

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