This is the final installment of the untold story of the men from MARSOC Fox Company, and the leadership that failed them.
Major Scott Ukeiley (USMC), the MARSOC liaison officer, completed law school but was not able to serve in the Marine Corps as a staff judge advocate, so he chose the assignment as a Marine intelligence officer. Throughout the transformation of 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company into MARSOC’s 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion, Ukeiley served in the capacity as the executive officer, which by organizational order was an intelligence officer’s assignment.
As 1st Force Reconnaissance Company and 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company rotated to and from Iraq on six-month combat deployments since the start of the war in Iraq (From January 2003 until Jan 2006), many of the officers who served their time in tactical assignments as Force Reconnaissance platoon commanders became severely wounded, injured, or killed in action, or left the Marine Corps for civilian opportunities prior to their promotion to the rank of major. When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered the Marine Corps to create MARSOC in the fall of 2005, the resistant and reluctant Marine Corps ultimately complied with the defense chief’s mandate after they had delayed carrying the order out for years. The Marine Corps was not the only organization resistant to the idea of Marines joining the SOF community; many within SOCOM were very clearly against it as well, albeit for different reasons.
Donald Rumsfeld observed frequent complaints from SOCOM about not having enough resources in support of early stages of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), and he realized that Force Recon was SOF-like, but was not being employed as such. Rumsfeld was specifically tired of hearing the complaints about not having enough “SOF guys” to do special reconnaissance (SR), which Force Reconnaissance excels at. Rumsfeld also knew Force Recon could do SR and direct action (DA) for SOCOM, and he wanted to know why they weren’t being utilized.
In late January, 2002, a plan was presented to the Marine-SOCOM board. Against strong opposition, it was argued that the Marine Corps already had these capabilities (DA, SR, coalition support, and foreign internal defense), and that with the war being primarily SOF-focused, sooner or later, SOCOM was going to run out of manpower to cover all missions that came up. The Marine Corps’ contribution was offered as a complimentary force to keep things moving, fill in the holes, and take up the slack where the SEALs, Rangers, and SF got spread too thin.
In a half-hearted attempt to comply, on December 4, 2002, Marine Corps Bulletin 5400 formally announced the formation of the Marine Corps Special Operations Command Detachment as a two-year test program called MCSOCOM Det One.
SOFREP spoke with a Marine officer who wished to remain anonymous, but was assigned to SOCOM headquarters at the time MARSOC was ordered to be activated. He had this to say about the resistance MARSOC encountered within the SOF community:
The average age of a Force Recon Marine at the time was 27. The Special Forces guys, while very good at what they do, are generally much older and have many responsibilities outside of SR and Direct Action. Force Recon was capable of so much more than SOCOM, with ranks at the time mostly filled with Army personnel, wanted to give them credit for. The “experiment” of Det One was officially called a “study” to see if Marines were capable of integrating into SOF, which was a waste of time because of course they were capable. It was a delaying tactic, or “slow-rolling” on the part of the Marine Corps and SOCOM until Rumsfeld left office. The problem for them was that Rumsfeld ended up staying in office!
Rumsfeld had given an ultimatum, which was essentially ignored, and made the Secretary of Defense question why SOCOM was screwing around with Det One instead of starting MARSOC like he asked. It is not to say that the men of Det One were not high-quality, but the limited size and capacity of Det One was in conflict with the order that Rumsfeld had initially given. The fact that he asked for MARSOC and was presented with Det One is proof of “slow-rolling” on the part of SOCOM and the Marine Corps. MARSOC simply wasn’t welcome. I literally heard General Bryan D. Brown, the SOCOM commander in 2005, say “Marines are Johnny come lately for SOF”. It became pretty clear that MARSOC would have a tough time being successful with the lack of support that they would encounter. Ironically, when the Secretary of Defense says that women are to be allowed in SOF, SOCOM and the various military branches are all too eager to comply, but utilize Force recon? Well, they couldn’t do that without a fight.”
Once Det One had folded and MARSOC was ordered to be stood up (again), Marine Corps leadership decided that they would provide deployable units similar to the Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) structure that had been organized and successfully deployed with the Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) since 1987. This construct consisted of a Force Reconnaissance platoon serving as a reconnaissance and assault element, an infantry platoon serving as a security element, and an all-source intelligence element—all to be organized into a Marine special operations company (MSOC) commanded by a Marine infantry officer of the rank of major. This unit would initially deploy aboard amphibious ships and be tactically controlled by the MEU, and be operationally controlled by the theater special operations commands or a joint special operations task force. This working for two separate masters in both the conventional and special operations communities created infighting and control problems from the start.
After three years of ongoing and intense combat operations in Iraq, attrition had impacted the ranks of qualified infantry officers with Force Reconnaissance experience who were the rank of major. As MARSOC was created, 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company was deployed to Iraq with one of its two majors, the remain-behind major was Major Ukeiley, who as an intelligence officer was assigned as the remain-behind element (RBE) officer in charge (OIC). He had remained behind from combat operations in Iraq for two consecutive deployments and additionally had not deployed overseas for nearly a decade, which was unheard of in 2006, since the War on Terror’s start in 2001 and the overseas manpower requirements had taxed most officers with numerous deployments at that time.
The leaders who had formed the initial MARSOC leadership team met to design the generic organization of the first MSOC as well as the specific names of each individual who would be selected within the organization. The lack of available infantry officers with Force Recon experience in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina led the MARSOC G-3 and chief of staff to search for global sourcing for the assignment of the first MSOC commander. This search was narrowed down to a small list that eventually led to the selection of Major Galvin, who served as a platoon commander at 1st Force Reconnaissance Company in Camp Pendleton, California until being transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina to serve as the commanding officer of the first MSOC.
The following sworn testimony at the January 2008 COI is from Colonel Petronzio, who was simultaneously serving as the initial MARSOC chief of staff and MARSOC assistant chief of staff for operations G-3.
The following email is from Major General-select (then Lt. Col.) George Smith on his recommendation of Major Galvin to serve in the initial formation of MARSOC.
Maj. Gen. Smith provided the following sworn statement as a witness during the January 2008 testimony.
Petronzio’s and Smith’s selection of Galvin as the first MSOC CO was not at all appreciated by Colonel Montanus (then a Lt. Col.), who was at the time deployed on his first and only combat deployment in the War on Terror. Petronzio, who had previously recommended Montanus to remain back from the deployment to Iraq in order to shape the formation of MARSOC, was forced to make decisions on the manpower of the new special operations company’s leadership.
The following sworn statement of Master Sergeant Jim Elder (USMC), who served as MSOC Fox’s senior enlisted advisor and had retired just prior to the January 2008 COI, describes how well Major Galvin led and trained MSOC Fox. His assessment was in stark contrast to the numerous anonymous statements from Col Haas’s staff officers to the press that MARSOC was comprised of a “bunch of cowboys.” LTG Kearney, who, having never laid eyes on Fox Company, said as recently as this past year that the men of Fox Company “weren’t ready for prime time.”
Master Sergeant Elder also provided the following sworn testimony at the January 2008 COI in regards to Lt. Col. Montanus’ initial and prejudicial comments to Major Galvin.
Major Ukeiley, like then-Colonel Nicholson, was a distinguished and avid strategic writer who, while the Global War on Terror was at its height in 2006, had nearly a dozen articles accepted in the Marine Corps Gazette and other publications. Additionally, Ukeiley, while serving in such a demanding capacity such as the executive officer of 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, which was not only deployed to combat in Iraq but also simultaneously transforming into a new special operations command, discovered time to become a private pilot and a fervent mixed-martial artist, along with enjoying his fondness as an editorial writer instead of a warfighter. The prioritization of these hobbies over professional duties was ultimately noticed by the Marine Corps’ promotion board, which decided in 2005 not to select Ukeiley for promotion to lieutenant colonel. This type of self-centered military officer seemed to plague the lead-up to the inquiry, as well as during. As retired Lt. Col. and panel member for the COI, Steve Morgan, put it:
Kearney, Nicholson, Pihana and Ukeiley – Satan’s own fire team. Montanus was almost a footnote in this remarkable display of narcissism. The Montanus testimony didn’t add a whole lot to the COI. What was clear though was his animus toward Fred Galvin. In addition to that, Montanus was clearly full of himself and displayed what I could only call a superior attitude toward everyone in the room. When the COI took Montanus’ testimony we had not come to any conclusions about the outcome of the case. So the impression Montanus left was pretty self damning. At the time of the COI I was just five months from retirement and, truth be told, as a Marine brat I have been around the Marine Corps and Marines all my life. Over 60 years. I am not exaggerating when I say that Montanus is the most arrogant Marine I have ever encountered.
How did the Cosmos align itself to bring so many dirty officers together? It’s like some sort of cancer is afflicting the officer corps of the United States Armed Forces. General Amos disgraced himself. General Allen disgraced himself. General Petraeus disgraced himself. The COI clearly implicated Kearney, Nicholson and Pihana as being at best incompetent and at worst culpable of criminality. Yet, no action was taken against any of these three. Incompetence was rewarded instead of punished. In fact, Nicholson, in one of his first visible actions in Afghanistan, went on an apology tour for the attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital last year. And he took his new wife, Norine MacDonald, with him. What a stroke of leadership genius! The “high general” in Afghanistan has his young bride in country with him. Imagine the Pashtun men laughing at him. The new American general had to bring along a woman. Imagine what the married servicemen and women, deployed to Afghanistan, who can’t be with their spouse think about that. And an “inter-cultural relations” bit of brilliance as well.
I’d also point out that Norine MacDonald is an internationally recognized lawyer and is a Queen’s Counsel. She is the founder and president of her own “international security and development” think tank. Which leads me to wonder if she is involved in the continued interest in the MARSOC case by international legal groups. My guess is that we can expect this accepted incompetence to continue to be business as usual.”
Major Ukeiley provided the following sworn testimony during the 2008 COI, which was only recently declassified. The following statement from Ukeiley explains that the facilities that MSOC Fox was assigned to not only required a lot of repair work but that other coalition forces, as well as Nicholson’s brigade from the CJTF, were all trying to fight for the space that Fox Company was assigned.
Master Sergeant Elder’s testimony provides further details on the compound that Fox Company utilized.
Ukeiley provided the following testimony regarding what he did in Afghanistan for the month prior to Fox Company’s arrival.
Ukeiley provided the following testimony that he heard Fox Company respond directly to the CJSOTF-A Operations Center on the tactical radio on the morning of the 4th of March, 2007, that they were involved in a “troops in contact.”
Ukeiley describes how, upon hearing that a unit was involved in a “troops in contact” situation, he didn’t check with Fox Company but instead went to the CJSOTF-A Operations Center’s “break room,” where he was contacted by Fox Company, who called Ukeiley through his personal cell phone, violating the operational security policy of the CJSOTF by using an unsecure cell phone in the operations center.
Major Ukeiley, who made a habit of not being in the Joint Operations Center while MARSOC Marines were on combat missions, admits to carrying an unauthorized cell phone in the Joint Operations Center. This not only compromised the security of all Special Forces missions, but Ukeiley, who was a trained intelligence officer and the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion’s security manager, fully knew that a violation such as this risked the lives of special operators and generally results in severe punishment. Ukeiley made a habit of violating this regulation at the expense of special operators and for his own personal convenience.
Ukeiley and several of Colonel Haas’ operations staff created an MSOC failures brief stating that MSOC Fox did not report information on the proper networks and in a sufficient amount of time. Ukeiley’s testimony above stated that the CJSOTF-A watch officer reported an alert of a “troops in contact,” after which Ukeiley heard the call and did not check with Fox Company on their status, but instead went into the break room, where he was reached by an unclassified cell phone call, notifying him of the attack. This delayed notification to Col. Haas about the attack was listed as an MSOC failure by Col. Haas’ staff, who had the information, yet his staff did not properly relay the events of what happened to Col. Haas.
Ukeiley described how rapidly the information went up to the commandant of the Marine Corps, General Conway, as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Ukeiley testified regarding his lack of any pre-deployment training to support his assignment in Afghanistan, and that the support requirements Fox Company submitted for aviation assets to conduct deep reconnaissance into the snow-covered Tora Bora Mountains, which Col. Haas had assigned them to do, were not met. This went completely unsupported by Col. Haas’ staff throughout Fox Company’s deployment.
Ukeiley testified on his knowledge of Fox Company’s shortfalls regarding the logistical personnel that they required while conducting combat operations.
Ukeiley stated that, after he arrived in Afghanistan three weeks prior to Fox Company’s arrival, he made no effort to prepare any information for Fox Company.
Ukeiley testified about his lack of performance as the liaison officer and how the prosecuting attorneys completely violated the privacy act ordered by the legal advisor to the court of inquiry so that witnesses would not be guided in their responses due to the information of other witnesses.
While attached to the 26th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) in 2006, Fox Company Marines were able to perform extensive training with a Marine ACE (aviation combat element) under the command of Colonel Mike McCoy. This predeployment training lasted over a year, seven months of which involved the ACE, and led up to when Fox Company finally received orders to go to Afghanistan—while they were on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. Their training consisted of everything from basic MSPF (Marine Special Purpose Force) training, such as fast-roping and rappelling, to VBSS (visit, board, search, and seizure).
Colonel McCoy and his aircrew became very familiar with the men of Fox Company, and saw firsthand the high caliber of Marines that comprised that unit. Colonel McCoy had this to say:
There was never an indication that they were “cowboys,” and there was never any sort of issue with their capability to train effectively. They carried themselves very well and were senior guys with plenty of prior combat experience – not a bunch of junior Marines.”
One complex training scenario at an old cement factory in Wilmington, North Carolina involved a direct-raid mission that included coordinating simulated fires with an AC-130 gunship that was overhead, and a top-down (by air) insertion followed by a ground-maneuver force. Even in that type of complex situation, the Marines of Fox Company “were professionals all the way,” according to McCoy.
While out at sea with the MEU, it was clear from Fox Company’s packing list that they were in the middle of a logistical nightmare by having to pack for multiple theaters of operation without knowing where they would actually end up. They simply had to train and prepare for everything.
During the COI, Ukeiley continued to testify in regards to how he made no effort to coordinate the required logistical support for Fox Company.
Here, Ukeiley testifies that he was unaware of the seriousness of his responsibilities in supporting MARSOC Marines while conducting combat operations.
Ukeiley testifies that he wrote his own positive fitness report while he was supporting Fox Company in Afghanistan, but argues about how he feels that he deserves the positive fitness report he wrote for himself, which allowed him to become selected for promotion on the second attempt.
Ukeiley again testifies that he wrote his own fitness report that later led to his selection for promotion. He was submitted for several awards during his 60 days in Afghanistan.
Ukeiley testifies that he voluntarily, along with other officers from the CJSOTF-A, created a malicious MSOC failures brief that prompted the removal of MSOC Fox from Afghanistan, as described in Ukeiley’s email that was sent to Col. Haas. Haas then forwarded the email to Major General Kearney. This rush to judgment by Ukeiley was accepted by both Haas and Kearney, and ultimately led to the removal of Fox Company.
Retired Lt. Col. Steve Morgan had this to say about Major Ukeiley’s incompetence and self-centeredness on the COI stand:
When Ukeiley testified, I couldn’t figure out if I was going to have an aneurysm before we finished questioning him, or if I was going to have to pick up a smoking habit after. At some point during Ukeiley’s testimony I questioned him about his GCT (basically his IQ) score. He thought I was questioning his intelligence and I guess I was. I believe the phrase “too clever by half” applies in this case. There was a rogues’ gallery of officer narcissism and incompetence on the witness stand during the COI. Ukeiley was a special case though because he was a Marine. Being an officer compounded his crime as a Marine. Although I believe every question he answered “directly” was the truth, I just had the sense that he didn’t care about anything except himself. In my view, Ukeiley, as a Marine Officer serving in a combat environment, abandoned his post. The development of the ‘Ukeiley email’ only exacerbated the issue. It is, in fact, true that I was pushing for a recommendation in the report of the COI that Ukeiley be formally shunned. I continue to stand by that recommendation.
As a side note: years after the COI I became privy to “selfies” of Ukeiley posing semi-nude (he was wearing what looked like silkies) on his rack in Bagram. He actually sent these pictures out over the net! It’s the sort of picture(s) that you have to ask, WTF? To me, it confirms his narcissism. In the 1950’s, a photo like this would have been considered homo-erotic and would have been criminal in some states. But the world has changed. Thankfully, for Ukeiley, the person with these photos is too much of a gentleman to share them with SOFREP. It’s only a small justice that, as a result of the COI, the Marine Corps chose to remove Ukeiley from the LtCol promotion list.
In the Marine Corps, many commanders choose to have an enlisted Marine—unrelated to the case—attend an NJP or hearing for professional military education (PME) purposes, both to ensure that the defendant was receiving a fair legal process, and so the Marine could inform others of the punishment or potential for punishment. The senior court reporter for the MARSOC court of inquiry (COI) was a Marine named Sgt. Leslie Johnson. She provided SOFREP with some very valuable insight on Col. Pihana, who was the preliminary investigator; Colonel (now General) Nicholson; and the MARSOC LNO to the CJSOTF, the internal assassin, Major Ukeiley.
Of all the cases Sgt. Johnson was a part of, this is the case that has stuck with her the most—specifically the court of inquiry. She stated:
The way the MARSOC guys were sent to Afghan and dumped is a shame. Ukeiley was supposed to be an advocate and he failed the Fox Company guys at every turn. It was clear from the minute Ukeiley walked into the courtroom that he was in it for himself with no regard for the well-being of others. The other Fox Company guys struggled to get food, mechanics, and other logistical items. For instance, after requesting food at one point, they were sent trailers full of flour and cooking oil – not useful food items when you’re at a FOB in Afghanistan. You would think that for the first MARSOC combat deployment they would have had more support to ensure they were set up for success, but the opposite happened.”
In regards to the command climate that Fox Company had to deal with, Johnson said, “It was apparent to me that the 10th Mountain Division clearly wanted them to fail—evidenced by the lack of support given. Colonel Nicholson basically made it impossible for Fox Company to operate. For example, Fox Company had to cross through 10th Mountain Division’s AO in order to get where they were supposed to be going, and were repeatedly denied permission to go through that area.”
Speaking about the actual COI process, Sgt. Johnson stated:
War happens and there are sometimes civilian casualties. We don’t like it but it happens. In this case, it became known that there were absolutely no civilian casualties. The focus of the prosecution wasn’t on the service member’s safety in lieu of the VBIED, but rather on the false claims of civilian casualties. Fox Company was sent in with their hands tied behind their backs and then accused of murder.
Col Pihana during the COI, it was like someone told him exactly what to say – almost like someone was holding something over his head. It wasn’t a forced testimony but it was like he had been prepped for the narrative.
One of the two counsels (Maj Sanchez) brought in to help the MARSOC Marines would make snide remarks toward some of the witnesses, with many of them directed toward Fred Galvin. Despite counsels like Maj Sanchez being involved, no MARSOC officer above the rank of LtCol concerned themselves with the welfare of the defendants throughout the 3.5-week inquiry by even stepping foot in the courtroom. The courtrooms were only 1.5 miles from the MARSOC HQ, and you had to drive right by the courtrooms as the Marines from HQ went to and from work. Their command abandoned them. The closest they got was Col Petronzio, who was actually with the 24th MEU at the time, not MARSOC. These operators had dedicated their lives to fighting for the Corps and America and then were completely disowned.”
To back up Sgt. Johnson’s view of how poor the logistical support Fox Company received from the CJSOTF-A staff and the LNO was, during the COI, Master Sergeant Elder provided the statement shown below.
Major Ericksson, an Army logistics officer with 25 years of service who was assigned to support Fox Company in Jalalabad, gave the following testimony in regards to the level of support for Fox Company from the CJSOTF staff and from Ukeiley.
Col. Petronzio testified during the COI that he would have picked the same team for Fox Company’s deployment if he had the opportunity to do it 10 times again. All except for one: Major Ukeiley.
It is clear to see how Lt. Col. Montanus opposed Galvin’s appointment from the start and manipulated Ukeiley through controlling who he was reporting his information to back at MARSOC. Montanus was an officer known by his men as being more concerned with spending endless hours working out in his black silky PT shorts (aka “Ranger panties”) during the middle of a workday instead of participating in the field training his troops were constantly undergoing. The only training Montanus ever seemed concerned with was his infamous “Rhino PT” sessions that were forced upon his men at scheduled intervals so he could show what a great runner he was.
Montanus’ contemptuous, carefully crafted and asinine “written” statement to the Military Times in the spring of 2015 demonstrated his ignorance to the facts plainly before his eyes. “I can state this categorically,” Montanus’ statement reads, “everyone in MARSOC and the Marine Corps wanted, and did everything they could, for Fox Company to be completely and utterly successful. It was an incredible disappointment to everyone in MARSOC to have Fox’s deployment end the way it did. I sincerely believe that any other representation is a disservice to the great men and women of MARSOC (including the Marines and sailors of Fox Company) who worked tirelessly to see Fox succeed, and who supported them upon their return to Camp Lejeune.”
Meanwhile, Ukeiley, who had no combat experience and needed a combat deployment for promotion, took the unethical steps of sabotaging Fox Company and painting their actions in the worst possible light. Multiple senior officers testified to the superior performance and maturity of Fox Company during their 11-month workup and one-month deployment with the 26th MEU, and about Ukeiley’s advanced arrival in Afghanistan. Ukeiley’s lack of preparation for Fox Company and his intentionally deceitful presentations and emails to Montanus—and also those to Haas, which ultimately influenced Generals Kearney and Brown to remove Fox Company—have led to ruined lives for many of the loyal men of Fox Company.
Haas was not without his own errors in assigning Fox Company their “mission impossible” in the middle of the winter on the top of the Tora Bora Mountains and providing the guidance to Galvin of “not allowing another Operation Red Wings to occur” (the tragic operation that is the basis of “Lone Survivor”). Haas’ intentional disapproval of all aviation assets for Fox Company shut any hope of operating in AO Bulldog down until after he transferred out of Afghanistan in late March. Haas’ staff additionally shut the logistics almost completely off to further hamstring Fox Company, making them a thorn in the side of multiple units in Afghanistan who failed to listen to their request for required logistical support.
Ultimately, the decision was made to remove Fox Company from Afghanistan. And although senior Marine Corps leaders quietly claimed late on a Friday night of Memorial Day weekend eight years ago that the Marines “acted appropriately,” the lives of seven Marines still remain shattered. Even in this past year, Kearney still earns income by slandering Fox Company with false tales of their command not being “ready for prime time.” The International Bar Association, Amnesty International, and the Washington Post have all made recent claims during 2014-2015 that Fox Company killed innocent Afghan civilians.
All the while, Marine Corps senior leadership ignores the request to completely and finally clear Fox Company’s reputation with an “innocent” verdict as has been done through the culmination of similar Article 32 preliminary hearings by Lt. Gen. Mattis for Captain Stone and Lance Corporal Sharratt. This shameful decision by the military establishment to remain indifferent and passive to the requests for exoneration have led to the men from MARSOC 7 experiencing debilitating illnesses, divorce, financial ruin, PTSD, and unemployment, all for faithfully answering our nation’s call and faithfully volunteering to serve during a time of war.
It is important to note that after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Marines were fighting in the Pacific for less than four years, and now we have been fighting almost four times as long against an enemy armed primarily with homemade bombs and machine guns. We are losing for two reasons. Just like Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler stated in his book, “War is a Racket,” there are many people who profit from going to war. Just like the big businesses that became rich in WWI, after Butler wrote his book, we now have not only Dick Cheney’s former company, KBR, which was awarded over $40 billion in contracts during the Iraq War, but we also have more military officers who seek to gain from the long wars through self-promotion.
The flip-side of the coin of why we cannot win with the current strategy is that during WWII, “the people” had more skin in the game (e.g. draftees and those volunteering to answer their country’s call were a higher percentage of the population, there were painful war rations, those who didn’t provide military service were often working in factories to support the war). Now, we have many flags waved and clichés said about “supporting the troops” on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, but when actual crimes and injustices occur against our troops who are doing everything possible to fight the enemy on the front lines, “the people” in our current generation largely remain indifferent.
Generals have urged for over a dozen years that we must “win the hearts and minds” of those sworn to sharia law, and with their failure, the generals are all rewarded with promotions, higher positions, greater pensions, and worst of all, assignments to command more Americans with this failed strategy of hearts and minds. The American people can change the war by constant engagement of their elected officials and making our national security a top priority. Until issues of general officer incompetence and rampant unethical conduct—such as described in this case and in the recent SFC Martland case, which Major General Haas convened—are taken seriously by every member of Congress and the president, we will continue to lose wars that punish the front-line leaders and reward the inept senior military officers whose sole focus is their self-promotion.
MARCENT took years dragging their feet before releasing Ukeiley’s testimony, as well as the testimonies of Nicholson, Pihana, and several of the Marines who exposed the fact that prosecuting attorneys unlawfully interrogated the Marines on repeated occasions and have all been rewarded for their immoral actions to destroy the reputations, careers, and marriages of Marines who served honorably.
The current administration goes to great lengths negotiating trades with Taliban senior leadership for a traitor like Bergdahl, and has the national security advisor making public comments that Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction,” while the Marine Raiders in Fox Company, who were clearly proven in the courtroom to be innocent, are told through Joshua Earnest last year that the president will not make any comment on the case of Fox Company. It is an absolute shame.
Fred Galvin stands by the actions of his men in response to the attack on 4 March, 2007, by adding, “I am proud of the courage that our Marines displayed that day, and [wish to remind everyone] how important it is to correct the record and restore the honor that these Marine Raiders fully deserve.” Galvin urges each viewer to contact their elected officials with the information in these five articles and request that the seven Marine Raiders who were falsely accused of capital offenses be completely exonerated.
Galvin also stated:
The men of Fox Company served our Nation faithfully and professionally in a volatile area at the Afghan-Pakistan border. America was attacked by insurgents who planned their initial phase of this war against the west at this location. The Special Operations Commander, Col Haas, assigned a mission for Fox Company to hunt down terrorists in the snow covered mountains and dismally failed to provide any required helicopter support that he stated was needed for a quick reaction force. America has special operations forces and tasks them for these missions but cannot tolerate leaders who are as risk adverse as General McClelland was in his refusal of President Lincoln’s orders to engage the south at critical stages.
Fox Company was trained and deployed to do what our nation expected, and the SOF leadership set up every roadblock to prevent them doing the mission that they were assigned to do. When a gun battle occurred on 4 March 2007, Fox Company did exactly what they were trained and expected to do, kill the enemy. The enemy said that the Marines were drunk, killed women, children and elderly and threatened the media during a cleanup. The preliminary investigator, Col Pihana, omitted evidence, grossly distorted the truth and opined that the Marines actually shot at each other to create the damage to our vehicles. Pihana, Haas, Nicholson and Kearney – all who knew each other – went on to assume command, receive high awards for this period of time and two continue to serve as general officers in charge of service members deployed in combat. Meanwhile, Fox Company had a Marine who was physically wounded, along with a Company of Marines who are tormented by having to face military and civilian career-ending false accusations of being “outlaws” as a result of these officers’ poor judgments and actions.”
As President Teddy Roosevelt said on July 4th, 1903, “A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a fair deal afterwards.” Every reader is urged to have their entire extended family and friends actively engage their elected officials to demand that the secretary of defense immediately end this case by publicly and officially announcing that the Marine Raiders in the MARSOC 7 are innocent of any false allegations so that their reputations will be fully restored.
Congressional switchboard: 202-224-3121
For more information on this case, you can read the full series here:
- The untold story of the leadership that failed MARSOC Fox Company (Part 1)
- The untold story of the leadership that failed MARSOC Fox Company (Part 2)
- Covert corruption in ‘MARSOC 7’ command investigation (Part 3)
- Extreme Prejudice: Unethical conduct by NCIS and prosecutors to convict innocent Marines (Part 4)
- The internal assassin of MARSOC Fox Company (Part 5)
- SOFREP radio Episode 198: featuring Maj Fred Galvin
- SOFREP radio Episode 206: featuring Maj Fred Galvin & LtCol Steve Morgan
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