A North Carolina lawmaker is praising the US Marine Corps for reviewing an infamous 2007 incident -in which members of a US Marine Special Operations Command company were accused of war crimes in Afghanistan- and giving a public statement regarding the unit’s full exoneration.
Republican Congressman and House Armed Services Committee member Walter Jones praised the Marines on Wednesday after receiving a public affirmation of exoneration by the USMC in regards to MARSOC’s F Company, who was at the time attached to an element known as Task Force Violent.
The letter -issued by the Corps following a probe by the Congressman, also included a promise to follow up with troops of the service’s Wounded Warrior Regiment, which oversees wounded and transitioning service members.
In 2007, thirty-man element of F Company were ambushed while on a patrol in the Nangarhar province. Initial reports claimed that 19 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded.
At the time, company commander Major Fred Galvin was relieved and the unit was prematurely pulled out of Afghanistan.
While a 2008 inquiry would clear the Marines of any wrongdoing, the stigma surrounding the incident (and subsequent investigation) would remain. For over a decade, Galvin and other Marines would continue to try and clear their names.
In 2017, Jones held a press conference in DC, urging the Corps to release a memo publicly clearing the names of the Marines closest to the event, known as the MARSOC 7.
“When you hear this story and this truth, you see our Marines were never given the benefit of the doubt,” Jones said at the event. “Our brave Marines put their lives on the line, just to have their names dragged through the mud. It is time these men be vindicated fully.”
Responding in late January of this year, the USMC reiterated that the MARSOC 7 did nothing wrong and that “there is nothing to be gained by revisiting the events of March 4, 2007.”
The reply -penned by USMC Staff Director Maj. Gen. Frederick Padilla- also expressed empathy for the Marines involved and promised to follow up with them.
“We are concerned to hear of the challenges many members of Fox Company are facing- which are, unfortunately, far too common among our combat veterans,” Padilla wrote. “I have asked the commanding officer of our Wounded Warrior Regiment to follow up with these Marines to ensure they are receiving appropriate and all necessary care and support.”
While Jones appeared more than satisfied by the response, Galvin told Military.com that his Marines have yet to be contacted by the Wounded Warrior Regiment in terms of their promised follow-up.
“For 11 years, our Marines in the MARSOC 7 suffered massive financial costs from the trial,” Galvin said in an email to Military.com. “One of the 7 suffered cancer, another diabetes, 3/4 divorce, several faced depression and suicidal ideations … when the commandant’s office directs, action happens and it doesn’t take weeks.”
Galvin has also called upon Commandant Robert Neller to publicly award the MARSOC 7 with the new Marine Raider insignia, which was adopted in 2015.
“This sign from the commandant will clear up any issues internal to the Marine Corps which still exist and have slowed and ended promotions for many of the Marines in our first MARSOC unit,” he said.
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