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March 2005

Mercy Killing?

Possibly one of the worst scenes I've seen in a documentary about OIF is when a car did not heed warning shots and was fired on by a convoy.  The civilians were hit.  One dead and one dying.  The camera focused on the man dying.  The Soldiers called for help but it was obvious that it was too late - the man was passing away and they were helpless.  Probably the worst thing to see.

I've gotten a few questions about this story about Captain Maynulet's conviction.  One of my good Army friends, Captain Durkins, went to high school with Captain Maynulet and thinks the world of him.

U.S. soldier found guilty in shooting of wounded Iraqi urges jury to consider his ''love for the Army''

By Melissa Eddy, Associated Press, 3/31/2005 15:28

WIESBADEN, Germany (AP) A U.S. Army captain, convicted Thursday in the shooting of a wounded Iraqi, asked for leniency in sentencing from the military jury and said he would continue serving if given the chance.

Capt. Rogelio ''Roger'' Maynulet, a Chicago native and the son of Cuban immigrants, stood at attention as the head of the jury, Lt. Col. Laurence Mixon, read the verdict of guilty of assault with the intent to commit voluntary manslaughter in the man's death.

Fighting to maintain his composure as he took the stand in the sentencing hearing after the verdict, Maynulet thanked the six-member jury, which could sentence him to up to 10 years in prison and kick him out of the Army.


The decorated former tank company commander's voice remained strong as he recounted his thoughts before he aimed his gun at a wounded, unarmed Iraqi and shot him in the head on May 21, 2004.

''We're trained, conditioned, to keep a distance,'' said Maynulet, 30, looking down. ''Maybe my mistake was that I projected myself into that Iraqi. I didn't want to be in his state if I were, I would hope that someone would put me out of my misery.''

Maynulet was leading his 1st Armored Division company on a mission near Kufa, south of Baghdad, when it was alerted that a car thought to be carrying what the Army called a ''high-level target'' was headed toward them.

No details of the mission have been released, but it has been widely reported the company was told radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who led uprisings against U.S.-led forces in Iraq last year, was believed to be in the car with a driver.

The company chased the vehicle and fired at it. A passenger who was slightly wounded fled and was later apprehended. The driver was dragged from the car with serious head injuries and pronounced untreatable by Maynulet's medic.

Maynulet, who has been lauded by his peers as a promising officer, outstanding leader and dedicated soldier, then shot the driver. The killing was filmed by a U.S. drone surveillance aircraft.


In closing arguments Thursday, prosecutor Maj. John Rothwell said Maynulet ''played God'' when he shot the driver, whom the U.S. military has referred to only as an ''unidentified paramilitary member.'' But relatives named him as Karim Hassan, 36, and said he worked for al-Sadr.

Rothwell argued that Maynulet, who was trained in first aid, should not have relied solely on the judgment of a medic who told Maynulet, ''there's nothing I can do.''

''Those five words were enough to make a life and death decision, and (Maynulet) chose to end a life,'' Rothwell said. ''This combat-trained lifesaver prescribed two bullets.''...

What do you think?

Personally, I don't understand the combat lifesaver line of argument.  If Maynulet had chosen to evaluate the Iraqi, would it then be more okay to kill him?  I don't think the prosecution intended that...maybe that last quoted line was just for dramatic effect.

Clarification:  The above question about lifesaver skills is about the prosecution's argument.  I don't get it and don't understand how it would have any bearing on a conviction (the Captain admitted shooting the Iraqi so perhaps that's why it's included - to reduce his qualification to do so).  It's not a reflection of what I think about the charge or conviction.

Update 04-01-05:  Captain Maynulet's sentence is that he is to be discharged from the Army (don't know which discharge at this point).

Behind the Beard

SF Alpha Geek of Nothing to See Here, Move Along has a great post about Special Forces and Special Operations Soldiers wearing beards...my only comment is that when I was doing something that I wasn't supposed on post (like barricading my commander's office with coke machines), I wore a Marine cover...

Either the beard goes, or I do . . .

...All US soldiers are expected to be clean-shaven, according to AR 670-1, the army regulation covering uniforms and appearance. That created a bit of a problem, since working with the Pashtuns while clean-shaven was a lot like being an undercover cop trying to infiltrate a biker gang while wearing a pink tutu and a lacy top. The powers that be had therefore, reluctantly, grudgingly, and sorrowfully, authorized SF teams working with the Afghans to grow beards. Of course, it being the Army and all, no way was there going to be a clean implementation of a policy that radical...

And the situation becomes interesting...

Guarding More Than The FOB

This must read post by Michael from A Day In Iraq was sent by John G.


...What did they want? One of them waived a piece of paper in his hand as if he was a messenger, anxious to deliver his message. “I’ll go see what they want,” Thomas said. “Hopefully they won’t blow me up.” As I held up my hand to signal for them to wait there, I realized that his comment didn’t hold the sarcasm that it might have a couple of weeks ago before a boy their age blew himself up outside our FOB, killing four Iraqi soldiers in the process...

Be sure to read the whole post.  You'll be glad you did.

Got A Helluva Lot of Catching Up To Do

Smash and Greyhawk have it all covered though...more to follow.

Received this story from some of you about the high school refusing to put up a picture of one of it's graduates because he's a Marine with a weapon.  However, I'm pretty sure that this Marine was holding his gun at some point early this week.

Smash has the details on the first award of the Medal of Honor (post-humously) for SFC Smith.

Follow Up On Specialist Martinez

Losing A Friend by Gina Cavallaro

This is a column I hoped I would never have to write...

Gina Cavallaro - an Army Times writer just returned from Iraq - writes about what happened that horrible day. I don't know Gina. I haven't read much of her articles before. But I am damn glad that she was with Frank when he was shot.

Someone You Should Know Follow Up - SFC McNaughton

Remember this photo?  Sergeant First Class Michael McNaughton was featured here last April.


Every once in awhile, I get an email from Sergeant First Class McNaughton updating a few folks on what he's been doing.  He helped one of this site's visitors - a sixteen year old boy who lost his leg to cancer emailed me about McNaughton.  So I asked the Sergeant if he would contact the boy.  Of course he would and did.  That's just one example of the caliber of McNaughton.

Here's the latest update on Sergeant First Class McNaughton:

3,500 honor Bataan veterans with annual 26-mile trek

The US Army Buffalo - IED Hunter


The 23-ton Buffalo is the most recent piece of equipment Operation Iraqi Freedom solders have to defeat improvised explosive devices. It is a heavily-armored vehicle designed for route clearance, giving patrols a closer look at suspected improvised explosive devices. U.S. Army photo (click on the thumbnail for large version)

From Defend America:  The Buffalo seats six, with the driver and operator at the front and the four remaining soldiers behind them designated for “eyes.” The crew is seated about 10 to 12 feet off of the ground and will also have access to an extra set of searchlights that are maneuvered from inside the vehicle. With the lights, the camera, and the 30- foot “arm,” they will be able to search anywhere they feel there is a threat.

Someone You Should Know Follow Up - Captain Gade Walks!

Thanks to Rosemay of My Newz 'n Ideas, we have an update on Captain Daniel Gade who was featured here back in January and February.

It's a good one.

Friday, March 25, 2005 7:11 PM CST


Today I traveled, I'm in DC as well. Daniel had a significant new thing today. He actual walked "laps" between the parallel bars. Several times back and forth. He had only been standing before this. The PT asked if he wanted to try a walker. He decided not today. It was great to see the first steps again after many years. Other parts of his workout actually brought sweat to his brow (many reps on a weight machine). He is gaining strength daily. He also helped his mother celebrate her birthday with a great Italian dinner (he had a steak). After these long days he does have some pain. Today there was little or no nausea.

Praises -
First steps
Little nausea and pain
Gaining strength
Jesus Christ was crucified for you and me

Prayers -
Continued reduction of nausea and pain
Continued healing of his abdomen
Continued normal white count
Continued gains of strength
More new "steps" with the nerve recovery in his left hand
Continued positive spirit and attitude
His troops in Iraq. Things are still tough in and around Ramadi

And yesterday, he was visited by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  While Captain Gade's progress is simply amazing, thoughts and prayers for him, his family and his troops are still needed.