Navy Lt Who Apologized To Iran After 2016 Capture Gets To Keep His Job


The Navy officer who apologized to Iran after the crew of the riverine boats he was in command of were captured in January 2016, will be allowed to remain in the service after a separation board in Imperial Beach, California, ruled in his favor on April 18, according to Navy Times.

“What [the Navy] tried to do is use a teeny window of this regulation and drive a truck through it,” Phillip Lowry, Nartker’s Utah-based lawyer, told the newspaper. “And the board saw through it.”

The Navy was looking to give Lt. David Nartker the boot for two reasons. First, the service alleged that he disobeyed a general order — specifically, the standing order that boat crews were to go from Weapons Condition 4 to Weapons Condition 3 (weapons loaded, with an empty chamber) once they left their home base on a patrol:

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It’s right in the Navy’s manual on “Naval Coastal Warfare Operations.”

Nartker was found guilty of that charge during an admiral’s mast last August, notes the Navy Times.

The second reason — well, it was more about appearances. Bad ones.

The Navy attempted to hit Nartker with a charge for “substandard performance based on his physical appearance and deportment,” a separation-level offense usually doled out to physically unsatisfactory sailors and those who have consistent trouble meeting grooming standards. Nartker wasn’t out of shape or unkempt, but his appearance in an Iranian propaganda video was a national embarrassment.

“The basis for the case was that he had been in the Iranian propaganda video and it made the Navy look bad — and because it made the Navy look bad, [Nartker] looked bad and therefore he should be fired," Lowry said.

Natker was among the 10 sailors who surrendered to the Iranian military after one of the two boats broke down in Iran’s territorial waters near Farsi Island. They had strayed into Iran’s territory accidentally, which Natker admitted to and apologized for in a filmed propaganda video. The crew was held for 16 hours and then released unharmed, but the footage of the apology and images of the sailors kneeling in surrender became a high-profile scandal for the Navy and fueled an international crisis.

The statement made by Nartker was a condition for the boat crew’s release, but it violated the code of conduct all service members must adhere to when in enemy hands, according to a military investigation.

For now, Nartker’s still in the Navy, but it’s unclear what his future will hold. Following his admiral’s mast last year, the 28-year-old surface warfare officer was stripped of his surface warfare officer qualifications and SWO insignia.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Torrey W. Lee
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."

"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.

"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."

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(Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse)

Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.

Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.

No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

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Taran Tactical Innovations

John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.

With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.

Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.

And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.

But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.

As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.

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The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.

That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.

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(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.

Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.

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