Skip to comments.Marine general: Special Forces unit should have stayed in Afghanistan after shooting
Posted on 11/30/2007 8:15:25 PM PST by RedRover
WASHINGTON -- A Marine company involved in the shooting of civilians in Afghanistan last March responded appropriately to an ambush against them, and should not have been pulled out of the country, the commander of Marine Corps special forces said Thursday.
Marine Maj. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, head of Marine Corps Special Operations Command, also told reporters that a legal tribunal investigating the incident has been postponed until mid-January at the request of one of the officers involved.
"Obviously it was not my decision to bring the company out of theater," Hejlik said. "It was the theater commander's decision. I will never second guess the commander on the ground. I will say, I did not agree with it. To this day, I do not agree with it."
Eight members of the Marine Corps company involved in the March 4 shooting -- which left as many as 19 civilians dead and 50 injured -- were ordered back to Camp Lejune after the incident, and the rest of the company was told to leave Afghanistan and return to ships in the Persian Gulf.
Hejlik, however, stopped short of clearing the Marines of any blame in the incident, saying he could not speak to what may have happened after the initial ambush, when the unit was returning to their base.
A preliminary military investigation found that the Marines used excessive force and referred it for possible criminal inquiry. And Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission said in a report that the troops fired indiscriminately at pedestrians and people in cars, buses and taxis in six different locations along a 10-mile stretch of road in Nangahar province after an explosives-rigged minivan crashed into their convoy.
In other comments, Hejlik said the creation of the new Marine Special Operations Command is moving along well. So far, he said, there are about 1,700 Marines in the special forces command, and he will reach the goal of 2,600 by late 2008.
The Marines formally entered the world of military special operations in February 2006, under the direction of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Hejlik said he expects the units to continue to work in Afghanistan, and also to concentrate their efforts in the Pentagon's new Africa Command that is being set up now. A key priority, he said, is to work with military from other nations, providing training and additional expertise.
Rumsfeld added Marines to the Pentagon's Special Operations Command because he said the military needed to continue to adapt to the tactics of terror networks such as al-Qaida, who use unconventional warfare to counter American firepower.
I notice Marine Maj. Gen. Hejlik didn’t name then Army Maj. Gen. Kearney who was since promoted as the one who ordered them out. I hope this screwup by him along with unwarranted charges brought against others gets him drummed out of the Army.
You and me both, jaz! The Green Beret case was a disgrace.
MARINES ARE NOT SPECIAL FORCES!!!!
Marines take hills and kill people. Let it be at that...even if that means alot of money is left on the table
Kudos to Major General Hejlik !! It's always nice to see a stand-up commander in a sea of political cowards. There ARE some good guys out there in command positions. Hopefully that assclown Secretary of the Navy Winter doesn't give Hejlik a finger wagging.
Have Recon and Force Recon been disbanded?
They would be considered special forces.
No. Special Forces are trained for fighting behind enemy lines in unconventional warfare.
Notice the subtle brown discoloration of the nose and the well pursed lips from years of practicing doing push ups with them in order to apply the correct pressure on the rear end up the line from him.
I'm just happy that this fine warrior decided to prosecute Marine Special Forces, which are in competition with Army operators in FAO for funding and equipment.
funny how all the Marines are just killing the cr@p out of innocents all of a sudden.
If you want to know who the enemy is afraid of, look at who the lawyers are prosecuting. Blackwater, Special Operations, Marines, ...... anybody that is in the mix and killing the bad guys is just one AP photographer, one NY Times reporter, one eager JAG off, or one field commander with his eye on the next rung of the ladder away from going to Leavenworth or getting your life destroyed by having to live a legal nightmare.
Oh and for those apologizing for the Gen's decision, don't care what the assh@t did in the past, he's screwing our Marines now.
So they’re the same as all other Marines???????
Yeah - but now they get some of the SOCOM budget!
Well said, DV and I was in the Army.
That’s not what Recon Marines told me. they went on special missions behind lines in Indian country in small groups. Not exactly storming hills and taking objectives.
I know someone who trains Force Recon teams with Seal teams and that is not what they say.
Are they wrong?
Yes. The Marines long ago deliberately rejected any kind of "special" designations because ALL Marines are "special forces".
Because of NATO feel good policy, half of Afghanistan is supposedly back in taliban hands.
time for MORE excessive force.
Again, why marines are great at taking hills and killing people and why Special Forces are great at unconventional warfare...
I think you misunderstood. Different Marine units have different missions. You may have talked with Marines who had missions similar to those the Army and Navy would normally assign to their "special forces", but there are no Marines who have that kind of designation. There are only Marines who have trained for those kinds of missions.
I recently visited Camp Geiger (where I graduated infantry training school a few decades ago!) and there is a sign over the entry to a walkway among the old white buildings which has the following quote:
"Only in the Marine Corps can you take an artillery man, or tanker, or a cook and tell him that he is an infantryman and he'll know what to do." - General CE Mundy
I took a picture of that sign. Again, the point is that ALL Marines are "special forces".
Maj. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, Commander, MARSOC
Just noticed something: The Army Major Gen wears the C.I.B., Combat Infantryman’s Badge...The Marines don’t have that , yet it is one of the most honored badges amomg Army personnel..Maybe time Congress recognized the high honor it conveys and allow the Marines to design and have their own C.I.B. ...
sorry to digress a bit
won’t you tell us how you really feel ?
Remember when your soda came in glass bottles? How cool would it be to return to those days, but use glass imported from the middle east, and we wouldn’t have to worry about all those yammering rag-heads.
I guess I’m just a simple fool, cause a few (hundred thousand) dead ragheads (by any method) doesn’t stir the calm of my pond.
I think I liked these most of all.
Cause with these I could find my way around to earning the other ones...hahahahahaha
The eyes tell all. Don’t ask..don’t tell.
SOF includes Air Force CCT and Para Rescue, various AF wings and squadrons, Navy SEALs, the Marines in MARSOC and the Army’s Rangers, Special Forces (SF), some helicopter assets, PyOps and Civil Affairs.
They all have specific jobs although some of the ground pounders overlap in some areas.
All SOF are not SF - but all SF are SOF.
Just a minor point the press mixes up a lot.
Special Operations forces are far more that behind the lines commandos in this new technological era. Having watched them, I’d say that they have tactics and techniques that would be useful for any military force, but would be beyond the financial and training capacity of a regular unit.
I understand why the Marines would go the route of Special Ops, and I consider it wise.
The Marines have their own version of the CIB it’s called the EGA and it too is one of the most honored badges in the military, only Marines can wear it.
“The Marines long ago deliberately rejected any kind of “special” designations because ALL Marines are “special forces”.
Yes. The Marine “special forces” called “Marine Raiders” were used in the Makin and Guadalcanal campaigns, and then disbanded about 1943 for the exact reason you stated. Ditto for the “Paramarines.”
Just imagine what’s being said about Kearney behind the scenes. Hopefully, he’ll be retired very soon.
Sure looks that way doesn't it? :-) Even though he didn't name him.
Technically, it looks like he followed the rules. Practically, he stuck it in his rear. lol
God bless our military!
Cool. thanks Jaz!
Man, that’s incredible! The discipline that requires is unfathomable to me.
OUTSTANDING! You sure know how to get a girl going! ;*)
What a great pic! Thanks for sharing.
Marines & Navy have the C.A.R. ( Combat Action Ribbon )
They are too gorgeous to keep all to myself, don’t ya know ; )
jaz, love the drill team video!
Hate to throw a wet towel on y’all, but I believe this is the incident where the Marine unit returned to Jalalabad thru what they described as a 7 mile long ambush...along the biggest road in Afghanistan, immediately next to a large FOB with helicopter gunships waiting.
Didn’t happen. An ambush 7 miles long?
I’ve been on that road. The bad guys in the area don’t have the resources to put together an ambush like that.
Sorry, but these guys panicked and shot the place up without any justification by the ROE. They deserve punishment.
I would also note the local Army CC has a reputation for outstanding integrity. I’ve worked briefly with him, and talked to a number of his soldiers - they admire him to an extent I haven’t seen elsewhere in 24 years in the military.
There is no way investigating this incident was going to help his career, unless he swept it under the carpet. He wouldn’t do so. He made General based on an outstanding record, NOT being a suck up.
Every Marine would get one; maybe you missed this up-thread:
All of the Marines I served alongside in the Navy were infantry trained first, any specialization they did was in addition to those basics. You'd be hard-pressed to take a Snipe out of the Engineering Gang and throw him into a Deck or Gun Division and get him competent in a fire-fight situation. Marines do. They have to.
Could save electricity too -- glow-in-the-dark bottles!
I'll drink to that. ;^)
If he’s not a suck-up, care to explain Kearney’s actions in the Green Beret case?
As far as your observations go, I have no respect for anyone who says servicemen are guilty based on his recollections of Associated Press accounts.
You didn’t throw a wet towel. Just irresponsible hot air.
The local Army CC I’m talking about isn’t Kearney...Col Nicholson was the local Army CC, and he’s been promoted to BG.
Nor are my comments based on AP accounts - I was at Jalalabad when this happened. I’ve talked with people who were part of the original investigation, and I’ve been on the road in question.
Not hot air.
I would also point out Col Nicholson took a fair bit of heat for apologizing for this incident...but it was the right thing to do, both as SOP & as a specific action in this instance.