A Marine veteran who fought the Pentagon for 12 years over a war-crimes case brought against him and six others will have his permanent record wiped clean, an extraordinary affirmation of his claim that their reputations were destroyed by the military’s effort to imprison the men.
The Marines were members of an elite commando force expelled from Afghanistan in 2007 amid unproven allegations that they massacred innocent bystanders in the frantic minutes following an ambush. They were cleared of wrongdoing more than a year later, after the case was heard by a military court, but have maintained that senior leaders did little to set the record straight and, consequently, fostered the stigma that has dogged them ever since.
A report approved in January by the Navy Department is a major victory for retired Maj. Fred Galvin, the Marines’ commanding officer. Its conclusions, he says, are a rebuke of those who condemned his men before the facts were clear, the investigator whose work was shown in court to be sloppy and the generals who refused Galvin’s pleas for public absolution.