Babara Allen is the widow of 1LT Louis Allen, who was murderd in Iraq by a claymore mine attack in 2005.  In a capital court-martial tried in 2008, Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez was acquitted of the murders of 1st Lt Allen and  Captain Phillip Esposito.  Ms. Allen has written a book about the case — “Front Toward Enemy,” the iconic phrase embossed on claymore mine casings.

According to, the book won’t be released until 28 February 2011.  But copies are available now through the author’s website here. I just orderd a copy and hope to post a review.

Here’s the book description from

June 7, 2005, a sandstorm obscured what light lingered in Iraq’s nighttime sky as Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez tied a claymore mine to a window grate. On the other side of the window Lt Louis Allen, a husband and father of four young boys, and his good friend and Commanding Officer Captain Phillip Esposito, a West Point graduate and father of a baby girl. The men were engaged in a board game, unwinding after a hard day, when without warning the window exploded; 700 steel ball bearings erupted from the mine and hurtled inward with lethal force, obliterating everything in their kill zone.

Martinez was arrested and tried for the murders. But the military judicial system failed, and the killer was set free.

How can American soldiers be at risk on their own base, among their fellow soldiers? Could these murders have been prevented? Will it happen again? How can the military’s judicial system have failed so drastically, and what was the government hiding from the slain soldiers’ families?  

Front Toward Enemy is a personal and factual account behind the scenes of a case that is to the military judicial system what the O.J. Simpson case is to the civilian judicial system.

Here’s a link to an article in the Chronicle (a Chester/Goshen, New York area newspaper) about an upcoming book signing.  And here’s a link to a post about the book on Phil Cave’s Court-Martial Trial Practice blog.

Comments are closed.