Former Green Beret Maj. Matt Golsteyn intends to fight to get back his military awards and decorations that were stripped from him in 2015, his attorney said, days after he was granted clemency by President Trump along with another Army officer convicted of a war crime and a Navy SEAL who was reduced in rank and docked pay.
Golsteyn’s attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, told the Army Times his client will ask the Army to reinstate his Special Forces tab and Silver Star.
“We are asking for reinstatement of everything that was taken from him because that was the president’s intent: to put him back in the position he was prior to the allegations,” Stackhouse said.
Golsteyn was pardoned before he could stand trial next month for the alleged 2010 killing of a suspected Taliban bomb maker in the Helmand province. The pardon does not wipe his military record clean.
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The process to revoke Golsteyn’s awards were administrative, a separate proceeding from the judicial process he faced.
“The Army is conducting a review to determine the administrative actions required to fully implement the presidential orders,” said Lt. Col. Emanuel L. Ortiz, an Army spokesman, to the Times.
The Army investigated the alleged killing a second time after the first probe didn’t find sufficient evidence to bring charges against Golsteyn.
In 2015, documents surfaced that show Golsteyn told CIA interviewers during a polygraph test that he killed an Afghan bomb-maker who allegedly constructed a device that killed two Marines.
Charges were brought against him and he was stripped of his Special Forces tab and Silver Star award for valor. Trump took a personal interest in the case, tweeting last month that the White House was reviewing the matter.
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Mike Nelson, an Army Special Forces lieutenant colonel, tweeted that Trump “can make the choice he made, but the SF Regiment decided long ago Golsteyn wasn’t one of us and stripped his tab.”
“A tab or a trident is not a lifetime guarantee of being in good standing if you fail to maintain the expectations of the force,” Nelson told the Times.
Clay Martin, a retired Army Special Forces sergeant first class, told the paper that the Army should have waited to see if Golsteyn was convicted before taking his awards.
“I honestly think he would have won at court martial as well,” Martin said. “I think it just shows SF command’s willingness to jump up and do anything to avoid a potential political nightmare — just cast a guy out.”
Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance was released from a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., prison following his pardon. He served six years of a 19-year sentenced for ordering soldiers to open fire on three Afghan men who were killed.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher was restored to Special Warfare Operator First Class after he was found guilty of posing for a photo with a dead Islamic State fighter. He was acquitted of the more serious charges of killing an ISIS captive in Iraq in 2017.