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First female Green Beret facing charge for accidentally firing gun in apartment

Green Berets enter and clear a room during a Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat (SFAUC) training. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Stevenson)
January 05, 2021

The first female U.S. Army Green Beret is facing a misdemeanor charge after she was alleged to have accidentally fired a pistol inside a Colorado apartment last month.

Connecting Vets first reported on the incident, which occured on Dec. 12. Maj. Dan Lessard, spokesperson for 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne), told Connecting Vets, “Our command is engaged with local authorities regarding an incident involving one of our soldiers and an apparent accidental discharge of a firearm at an off-post residence in Colorado Springs.”

Connecting Vets said sources within the Special Forces community had identified the soldier in question as the first female Green Beret. In a separate comment to Military.com, Lessard said Connecting Vets’ reporting of the incident “is factual.”

“While the handgun was discharged inside an apartment, no injuries occurred. Because the incident occurred off-post, local authorities have jurisdiction,” Lessard said of the incident. “We will continue to coordinate with local authorities and closely monitor the civilian case as it moves towards resolution in municipal court.”

Lt. James Sokolik of the Colorado Springs Police Department told Military.com the Green Beret faces a “minor misdemeanor charge” and is likely to appear in court in January or February. Because no one was injured in the alleged incident, Sokolik again said this is an “extremely minor charge.”

The incident comes just over five months after the female Green Beret, whose identity has remained secret, received her Special Forces tab and the iconic green beret that represents the elite Army unit. The Green Beret is a member of the Army National Guard, but her full identity has remained concealed per U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) policy to withhold the names of its members in training or assigned to USASOC units, due to the secretive and unique nature of their missions.

Sources told Connecting Vets that the female Green Beret is of Eastern European heritage and has unique language capabilities. While she entered the Green Berets as a member of the National Guard, sources said she planned to transfer to an active duty unit. The 10th Special Forces Group is one such active duty unit that is stationed in nearby Fort Carson, Colo. and whose area of responsibility includes Europe.

Military.com reported weapon safety is constantly stressed by all branches of the U.S. military, but that accidental and negligent discharges aren’t uncommon. In April of 2019, Marine Cpl. Spencer Daily fatally shot fellow Marine Cpl. Tyler Wallingford, after they had been heavily drinking. Daily pointed a handgun at Wallingford in a “teasing way” and accidentally fired the weapon, killing Wallingford. Daily was dishonorably discharged and is currently serving a 69-month prison sentence at Naval Consolidated Brig in Hanahan, South Carolina.

This latest accidental discharge incident came just two weeks before another Green Beret, Sgt. 1st Class Duke Webb, was arrested and charged with fatally shooting three and wounding three more at an Illinois bowling alley on Dec. 26.