Staff Sgt. Charged With Cowardice

An Army Special Forces (search) interrogator has been charged with cowardice for allegedly refusing to do his work in Iraq.

If convicted at a court-martial, Staff Sgt. Georg-Andreas Pogany (search), 32, could go to prison and receive a dishonorable discharge.

A cowardice charge is extremely rare. Army officials could not say when it was last used, and refused to discuss Pogany's case. It was not clear how much prison time he could face.

The Oct. 14 charge sheet accuses him of "cowardly conduct as a result of fear, in that he refused to perform his duties."

Pogany, who is based at Fort Carson (search), said he has been wrongly charged.

In Thursday's Gazette of Colorado Springs, he said he had flown to Iraq on Sept. 26 and was with a team of Green Berets (search) three days later near Samarra, north of Baghdad, when he saw the mangled body of an Iraqi. He said he began shaking and vomiting and was terrified he would be killed.

Pogany said he told his team sergeant he was headed for a "nervous breakdown" and needed help. After that, Pogany said, he did not request to go on missions and was not asked to go.

"I don't know how asking for help qualifies as misbehavior," Pogany said. "Something happens, you ask for help and they throw the book at you."

Pogany faces a court appearance Nov. 7 at Fort Carson.