Felicia Arculeo, Cpl. Hendriks’s mother, and Erik Hendriks’s former wife, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Mr. Hendriks described her as “living a nightmare.” She told CNBC on Monday “that the parties who are responsible should be held accountable, if that’s even possible.”
The developments underscore the violent reality that remains for the dwindling number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, even as the nation’s attention has turned away from conflicts that have stretched nearly two decades. Less than 1 percent of Americans now serve in the military, and their encounters in perilous terrain go largely unnoticed except after major missions and brief moments after tragedy.
“The reality is it doesn’t matter if your child is killed in combat or anywhere else, you are devastated,” said Freeman Robbins, whose son, Elliott J. Robbins, an Army sergeant first class, died in Afghanistan a year ago. “The only difference between us and others is that we are in the spotlight. Sometimes you want to grieve alone.”
Sergeant Robbins was a medic for the 10th Special Forces Group based at Fort Carson, Colo. His father said the unit suffered significant casualties. Sergeant Robbins’s death — one year ago Tuesday — was not combat-related, and his father says it remains under investigation.
“The facts that I see do not prove 100 percent one way or another,” he said of reports on bounties. “We don’t know that this happened. I don’t put it past the intelligence agencies of other countries