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Army investigator who led Green Beret murder case pleads guilty to stolen valor charges
The Army's lead investigator in the Maj. Matthew Golsteyn murder case has pleaded guilty to charges related to wearing medals that he had not been awarded, said Fort Bragg spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Burns.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark Delacruz was reduced in rank to specialist after pleading guilty at a special court-martial on Monday to making false official statements and wearing unauthorized insignia, decorations, badges, and ribbons, Burns told Task & Purpose.
Delacruz had been charged for falsely submitting a Purple Heart to his official military file and wearing the decoration along with the Pathfinder Badge and Air Assault Badge, none of which he had been officially awarded, Burns said. The former sergeant first class also certified his official military board file for promotion.
Burns declined to say whether Delacruz will be discharged or how his sentence could affect the prosecution's case against Golsteyn, who is charged with murder after repeatedly admitting that he killed an unarmed suspected Taliban bomb-maker.
Delacruz was suspended from all investigative duties when the allegations against him first emerged late last year, said Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman Christopher Grey.
"He is now in the final stages of being eliminated from the CID program," said Grey, who also declined to comment on how Delacruz's conviction could affect the government's case against Golsteyn.
Task & Purpose was unable to reach Delacruz's attorney on Tuesday.
Golsteyn's civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse has vowed to argue that Delacruz improperly "planted the seed" of incriminating information in the minds of prosecution witnesses if the case goes to trial.
"Why would that shock anyone that I would want to get out that he's a dirty agent and he had already tainted these witnesses that are being called?" Stackhouse told Task & Purpose on Tuesday.
No trial date has been set.
The Golsteyn case has been rife with twists since February 2010, when Golsteyn allegedly killed an unarmed man in Afghanistan whom a tribal elder had identified as a Taliban bomb-maker who had killed two Marines. He first buried the man's body, but then later he and two other soldiers dug up the corpse and burned it, according to the Washington Post.
Golsteyn first acknowledged while taking a polygraph for a CIA job that he had killed the man, but Army investigators initially did not find enough evidence to charge him. That changed after Golsteyn admitted during an October 2016 interview with Fox News' Bret Baier that he had killed the suspected bomb-maker.
The Army charged Golsteyn with murder in December. Three days later, President Donald Trump tweeted that he would personally review the case, calling Golsteyn a "U.S. military hero."
For his part, Golsteyn maintains he was acting within the rules of engagement when he killed the suspected bomb-maker. In February, he told Washington Post reporter Dan Lamothe that he had legally ambushed the Afghan man, who was walking toward Taliban positions.
"He had a long walk," Golsteyn said. "He had a long time to figure out where he was going in life."
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Spencer is expected to temporarily lead the Pentagon while the Senate considers Army Secretary Mark Esper's nomination to succeed James Mattis as defense secretary. The Senate officially received Esper's nomination on Monday.
U.S. Special Operations Command may be on the verge of making the dream of flying infantry soldiers a reality, but the French may very well beat them to it.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron shared an unusual video showing a man on a flying platform — widely characterized as a "hoverboard" — maneuvering through the skies above the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris armed with what appears to be a dummy firearm.
The video was accompanied with a simple message of "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante," which translates to "proud of our army, modern and innovative," suggesting that the French Armed Forces may be eyeing the unusual vehicle for potential military applications.
A lawmaker wants to know if the Pentagon ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with bioweapons
If you've ever wondered if the Pentagon has ever exposed the American public to ticks infected with biological weapons, you're not alone.
Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) authored an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Defense Department Inspector General's Office to find out if the U.S. military experimented with using ticks and other insects as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.
If such experiments took place, the amendment would require the inspector general's office to tell lawmakers if any of the ticks or other bugs "were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design."
The Taliban drove his family out of Afghanistan when he was a child. Now he wants to go back as a Marine
There's no one path to military service. For some, it's a lifelong goal, for others, it's a choice made in an instant.
For 27-year-old Marine Pvt. Atiqullah Assadi, who graduated from Marine Corps bootcamp on July 12, the decision to enlist was the culmination of a journey that began when he and his family were forced to flee their home in Afghanistan.
The Air Force has administratively separated the Nellis Air Force Base sergeant who was investigated for making racist comments about her subordinates in a video that went viral last year, Task & Purpose has learned.