I had mentioned in a previous piece that I thought I knew MSG Troy Anderson who along with CPT Dave Staffel, now awaits an answer as to whether he will face a Court Martial for the shooting of a known terrorist in Afghanistan. It turns out I do know him and I spoke with him on the phone today. Thanks to his attorney MAJ Lance Daniels and the folks at Ft. Bragg Trial Defense Services for their help in arranging this. In my previous piece I noted that even though two investigations commissioned by then MG Kearney cleared them, he had murder charges preferred anyhow.
I believe that the charges will be not simply dropped, but dropped like poison. It is awful that two professionals scrupulously following the rules would be subject to this kind of selective, command-influenced, hindsight. It is worse when you think about the chilling effect this will have on anyone out in the field wondering whether to pull the trigger or not. That is the true poison now in play. Can any SOCOM operator believe that when he makes a call based on the training and information given by his command he will be covered? MSG Anderson and CPT Staffel believed and they found out the truth is a flexible thing.
This issue is of vital importance to anyone whose mission involves pointing a weapon at our enemies. I am going to do my level best to force SOCOM and DOD as well to deal with this issue of basic trust. It is beyond unfair to ask someone to risk all based on a set of rules and then judge them later on another standard. So here we go, the horn is sounded and I want all y'all to help if you can. If you know anyone who served in Afghanistan in the last couple of years ask them what they think. If you know any of those involved let me know what you think. I can do any level and type of confidentiality necessary so approach as obliquely as is wise. I'm angry about this, but it's too important to treat that way. This requires solid professionalism to ensure that no others are treated this way.
All right deep breath, here is the tale of how I met Troy. I was in Korea with my partner in crime Sam Thistle doing coordinations for some training we were going to do there. We were at Camp Casey and out on the town in Tong du Chon where we were partying like, well you know. But all good things must end and as we meandered back toward Casey eating the occasional dog-on-a-stick fresh off a hibachi, I kept noticing dumbass Thistle had his ID half out of his pocket. I told him twice and then snatched it from him before he lost it. The MPs there were much less than friendly and no ID, sleep in street, so I was helping him out. Well somewhere along the way he disappeared, I assumed a siren song, but regardless he was missing. Now the gate was gonna close soon for the night and while he was my brother, I carried him as well as I could. So I went in and gave the MPs my name and where I was staying and said if numbnutz shows up come get me.
I caught my few hours of rack time and headed to the chow hall the next morning and as I walked in I heard a bellow:
"Jimmy, you are never gonna f***ing believe this. This is Troy Anderson my Ranger buddy from Ranger School. Seriously man, I haven't seen him since then and he found me last night man. Yeah he found me curled up under a bush on base totally passed out, and then he took me back to his barracks man."
So the maroon had somehow gotten back on base without his ID. He climbed a fence somewhere as his clothes were razor wire shredded, but he had no earthly clue how he got to his resting spot. Now the odds of his being discovered by perhaps the one person on that base who knew him are astronomical, but it happened.
I added the personal note because it is a hilarious and representative story of a lot of the fun I remember. But also because from Sammy before and quite a few others recently I have heard a simple and unmistakable thing, Troy Anderson is good MF. That means we all should have his back. Much more to come.