In Harm’s Way

Non-Combat Deaths of Ohio Soldiers Raise Questions About U.S. Military’s Treatment of Female Members

Illustration: Julie Hill


John Lasker
Cincinnati CityBeat
March 27, 2012


“Is this how we treat our female soldiers?” Painfully, this is a question Dayton-area resident Mary Lauterbach has been asking since her daughter, U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach, was brutally murdered in December 2007 by a fellow Marine she had accused of raping her.

Maria’s story became well known in the Southwestern Ohio area after the Inspector General, in a report released last October, blasted the military for mishandling Maria’s rape case. Besides the Lauterbachs, however, there are several other Ohio families whose military daughters died from “non-combat” circumstances and, like what happened to Maria, their tragedy was amplified when the military tried to tarnish the victim’s reputation and even blame the victim for her own death.

“It’s like a broken record, the same thing keeps happening over and over again,” says Mary Lauterbach about the growing number of female soldiers who suffer what the military calls a “non-combat” related death, which is usually followed by a “completely mishandled investigation,” she adds.

Lauterbach remembers how she told her daughter, “You owe it to your sister Marines to report what happened [the rape].” Now she is dedicated to keeping Maria’s legacy alive, and also the legacies of other female soldiers from Ohio, such as U.S. Marine Stacy Dryden of Canton and U.S. Marine Carrie Leigh Goodwin of Alliance.

To read the full story on the CityBeat site, click here.