Maj. Matt Golsteyn was awarded the Silver Star for leading 80 Marines to take a heavily fortified Taliban position. During the battle he consistently put himself in the open to take fire in order to shout orders and direct air support.
Now, his award is being taken away. Why? Because he killed a notorious Taliban bomb-maker – a story that surfaced after the fact in a CIA polygraph interview.
When the story reached the Army, Army Secretary John McHugh concluded that Golsteyn had “assassinated an unarmed Afghan.”
This move by McHugh is now under major scrutiny. The man killed by Maj. Golsteyn was a notorious IED maker in the area. In the past Golsteyn’s men had been attacked 11 times by IEDs, the leading killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. An additional 40 bombs were discovered, some directly linked to this bomb maker.
At one point, this IED master was detained but since no bomb components were found on him, he was released. Later the Green Beret came across the man in a compound devoted to IED making and shot him dead. Golsteyn thought he obeyed the rules of engagement because the bomb components that surrounded the man should warrant him an armed combatant.
Golsteyn told the CIA interviewer:
“So I’ve got a guy in the battlefield that I know is already responsible for the deaths of two, the making of countless IEDs, and whatever he’s committed before, he’s an open threat to the tribal leader in a very fragile process for us of getting some kind of popular support that allows us to get done what we want to get done. And he is a demonstrated threat to my guys. He’s — is a combatant, was a combatant when we picked him up and was going to continue to be a combatant. We were fighting. We were under attack at that point in time for six to eight hours a day.”
While that story didn’t sit well with the Army, it is now at the center of Congressional hearings lead by Rep. Duncan Hunter, to rectify this situation and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Hunter also sent a note to Secretary McHugh stating:
“I ask that you personally review his case — specifically, the full-length transcript of his CIA polygraph test — and consider restoring his combat valor award,” Mr. Hunter said. “At the very least, the Army should look to restore Golsteyn’s Silver Star, which was awarded him for heroism during an incident that occurred separately from the allegations that prompted the Army’s prolonged investigation.”
From the Washington Times:
A Green Beret who was awarded the Silver Star, then saw it stripped away because he killed a Taliban bombmaker, is telling why he did it, as conveyed in a CIA job interview he conducted nearly four years ago.
Maj. Matt Golsteyn said the insurgent was a known maker of improvised explosive devices and was in the presence of such components. He considered him an armed combatant, so he shot him.
Army Secretary John McHugh, who revoked the award, told The Washington Times through a spokesman that Maj. Golsteyn “assassinated an unarmed Afghan.”
Should this Green Beret has his Silver Star reinstated? Let us know in the comments below!