Bad News Comes in for Two Marine Corps

Nov. 10th is traditionally a time for celebration by Marines past and present, but cheering was a bit more difficult this year. Two troubling court rulings, both issued less than 24 hours before the annual Birthday Balls were set to get underway, have left a bit of tarnish on the EGA.

On Thursday, Nov. 9th to different Military Courts found Marines guilty of behavior that flies in the face of the honor and tradition the Corps is built upon- respect for other Marines. This is especially troubling as the Marine Corps Birthday is a celebration of not only the Corps’ history but also the men and women who carry on those proud traditions. Just consider the cake cutting ceremony which includes both the youngest and oldest member in attendance. How many of you have had the honor of witnessing a long overdue award or recognition being corrected at the Ball?

The first case involved former scout sniper SSgt. Joseph W. Chamblin. As you may recall SSgt. Chamblin was one of a group of Marines disciplined after a video surfaced depicting a squad urinating on the bodies of enemy combatants. But the SSgt.’s actions are not the cause of the latest disgrace, which was a matter for a different time and a different military court. No, the reason for the latest scandal was the latest court’s finding that he was deprived of a fair trial due to Unlawful Command Influence.

SSgt. Chamblin’s defense team had long held that then Commandant General James Amos had made statements which made it impossible to seat an impartial panel. What was not known at the time, and what the current military judge determined was inappropriate, was that he had also replaced the original convening authority because he did not share the Commandant’s view that a harsh punishment was necessary to send a message to others.

The second case involved GySgt. Joseph Felix, Iraq veteran and former Drill Instructor. GySgt. Felix was sentenced to 10 years confinement, forfeiture of all pay, demotion to Private and a Dishonorable Discharge. This was because of hours earlier a military panel found him guilty of having abused dozens of recruits, often singling out those who were Muslim. Testimony included statements describing how Felix would physically assault recruits and even place them in industrial dryers until they denounced their faith.

These two cases demonstrate a break down from top to bottom, beginning to end in the Marine experience. The Commandant, the father figure to every Marine, conspiring to ruin another Marine regardless of what his own investigators may uncover and a Drill Instructor, the first authority figure a Marine ever sees, abusing new recruits far beyond what is necessary to build them or weed out the weak.

Regardless of whether SSgt. Chamblin was guilty or the recruits under GySgt. Felix’s supervision was truly Marine material their actions deprived each of the chance to have that determined fairly. Both actions have brought discredit to the Corps and all Marines past and present.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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