General Discharge for Ex-Green Beret Hero Accused of Killing Afghan Bomber

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An Army officer and ex-Green Beret accused of tracking down and killing an unarmed bomb-making suspect in Afghanistan, who was a suspect in an explosion which killed two Marines and injured three others, is being recommended for an honorable discharge. Army officer Maj. Matthew Golsteyn was facing a more serious accusation of violating the law of armed conflict which could have led to an other-than-honorable discharge. The Army had already revoked his Special Forces tab and a Silver Star while his supporters say Golsteyn is a hero who always put the safety of other soldiers ahead of his own.

The Army officer’s lawyer, who obviously was not happy with the findings of the military panel at Fort Bragg, said he will appeal the findings to a Board of Review, which is appointed by the Secretary of the Army or a designee. Golsteyn’s lawyer said, “I think it’s absolutely impossible for them to find (law of armed conflict) unsubstantiated, and then find (conduct unbecoming) substantiated. It’s the exact same conduct.”

Army Special Forces Command spokeswoman Maj. Allison Aguilar said Monday if the decision is upheld by a review board Golsteyn would be discharged under honorable conditions allowing him to keep nearly all veteran’s benefits.

Story Behind Accusations Against Army Officer Maj. Matthew Golsteyn

For those of you just catching up on this story, we’ve provided a brief summary below which comes from the Fayetteville Observer.

Golsteyn was accused of shooting an unarmed Afghan man identified by a source as a bomb maker in Marjah, according to testimony. He buried the body in a shallow grave and returned the following morning to burn it.

Golsteyn has never been charged with a crime.

The Afghan man had been detained by U.S. forces but did not have bomb-making materials on him. He did not pose a threat and was released, according to testimony.

The man was shot while walking on a path; some have speculated he was en route to a location where others had bomb-making materials. The previous day, an explosion in an Afghan bazaar killed two Marines and injured three others.

Officials have not directly tied the bazaar explosion to the Afghan man.

In September 2011, Golsteyn took a polygraph exam as part of a job interview with the CIA. It was during that exam that Golsteyn revealed his actions.

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