General says Marine killed by IED in Afghanistan could have lived if he wore his seat belt

news

The commanding general of 2nd Marine Division said in an interview last week that a Marine under his command could have lived through a roadside bombing in Afghanistan if he were wearing his seat belt.


The claim by Maj. Gen. David Furness was regarded by a number of Marines reached by Task & Purpose as insensitive, since it suggested that a Marine killed by enemy action could somehow be to blame for their own death. The general made the remark while connecting things Marines do in combat with things they do in garrison as a way of explaining his decision to release a letter outlining steps to correct disciplinary and leadership problems in his unit.

But it didn't seem to come out very well.

"In Iraq and Afghanistan, I was presented right up front with the fact that the more disciplined a unit is going into a fight, the less it bleeds, period," Furness said on All Marine Radio, which is hosted by a Marine he previously served with. "I've seen it played out time and time and time again."

"The last one in Afghanistan, 19 of the 31 casualties we had, those 19 were the fault of the Marine, either doing something he was told not to do and he was trained not to do, or not doing something that he was trained to do. Like wear a seatbelt. Like do not mess with an IED once it's been identified."

Furness served as the commander of Regimental Combat Team-1 in Afghanistan during a year long deployment beginning in Sep. 2010. There were 21 Marines assigned to RCT-1 that were killed in action during his time there, according to the Defense Casualty Analysis System.

"These basic breaches of attention to detail are a direct result of not habituating yourself to the small details that you learn how to do in garrison activity," Furness said. "It's not chickenshit. This is all about combat performance."

"It's everybody's responsibility," Furness added, before mentioning a specific incident from the deployment in gruesome detail: "Like I said the whole thing about not wearing a seatbelt and the driver killing himself because he hit an IED and he went 200 G's into the steering wheel and separated his aorta from his heart, and he bled to death. Well, why didn't his [assistant driver] tell him to put his seat belt on?"

"That kid could be alive today if that one act was done. Why wasn't it done?"

Task & Purpose reached out to 2nd Marine Division to ask for more specifics or other information that may have helped to put the quote in context.

Furness sent the following statement:

"As a commander, I have always regarded the responsibility of training my Marines with the utmost gravity, because that's what they are owed in preparation for combat — our best efforts to prepare for the most challenging environment known man. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Marines that have served under my command, and even more so for those young men who gave their lives in the service of our country."

U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. David J. Furness, commanding general of 2nd Marine Division, gives his remarks during the 8th Marine Regiment (8th Mar Reg) change of command ceremony on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 24, 2019. (Photo: Lance Cpl. Ursula Smith)
US Marine Corps

Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."

"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Associated Materials. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Associated Materials Incorporated is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.

Associated Materials, a residential and commercial siding and window manufacturer based in Ohio, employs people from a variety of backgrounds. The company gives them an opportunity to work hard and grow within the organization. For Tim Betsinger, Elizabeth Dennis, and Tanika Carroll, all military veterans with wide-ranging experience, Associated Materials has provided a work environment similar to the military and a company culture that feels more like family than work.

Read More Show Less

President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.

"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"

Read More Show Less

The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.

"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."

Read More Show Less
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Handout via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.

"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."

Read More Show Less