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2 sailors discharged from service after assault, tampering indictment


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POSTED: Sunday, December 13, 2009

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QUESTION: What happened to the two Pearl Harbor sailors assigned to the nuclear attack submarine USS Greeneville who were arrested for allegedly beating up civilians while the ship was being repaired on the East Coast.

ANSWER: Seamen Gerald Smith, 22, of Honolulu, and Sandy Portobanco, 23, of California, were discharged from the Navy in August after a fight that occurred May 22 in Portsmouth, Maine. The alleged beating victim is Stephen Huntress, 48, a former chairman of the Kittery Town Council.

Smith was indicted on single counts of first- and second-degree assault, as well as two counts of witness tampering. Portobanco was indicted on counts of first- and second-degree assault. They will face March trials.

The witness-tampering indictments allege Smith told Portobanco to lie to police with a cover story and that he told another sailor to repeat the story.

Attorneys for Portobanco and Smith say Huntress choked Portobanco, prompting the two sailors to act in self-defense. Huntress suffered serious brain injuries.

Portobanco and Smith were crew members of the USS Greeneville nuclear submarine. The Greeneville was in Portsmouth for retrofitting when the incident occurred and returned to Pearl Harbor in July.

A Navy spokesman said: “;It is Navy policy not to disclose the characterizations of discharges.”;