Frank Wuterich agreed this morning to accept a prosecution offer of pleading guilty to one count of dereliction of duty, with relatively minor penalty. “Dereliction of duty” is such a broad count that it can cover most anything, and in possible multiple counts possible in the court martial, could have resulted in Wuterich facing much heavier penalties.
This ends his 7-year ordeal at the hand of zealot prosecutors and rush to judgment media. The prosecution in this case, as in all its others, saw its own witnesses either basically testify for the defense or be demonstrated as liars or otherwise unreliable.
Comments on another blog are concerned with SSgt Frank Wuterich not receiving a Full Honorable Discharge. I would think that could not be done to him now. He plead guilty to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 90 days, if that was so then every soldier that got drunk on leave would get a DD.
Doug, any input?
Camp Pendleton, Calif. – The long, lonely journey of Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich ended today when military judge LtCol David Jones sentenced the father of three to 90 days confinement and reduction in grade to Private (E-1), the lowest rank in the Marine Corps.
However, the convening authority Lieutenant General Thomas D. Waldhauser had stipulated that Wuterich will not be confined so the incarceration order was immediately vacated. Wuterich will be reduced in rank in 14 days unless Waldhauser – the convening authority – overrules the judge’s sentence and restores Wuterich to his current rank or some other lower rank of his choosing. Waldhauser is the Commanding General,1st Marine Expeditionary Force ; and Commander, U. S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command. At the time of this writing, the type of discharge Wuterich will receive is still undecided.
So, after seven years of being pilloried by the Media, the Left, and sadly, by some members of Congress, this Marine Non-Commissioned Officer will soon lose his rank and I assume shortly thereafter will leave the Marine Corp.
“Staff Sergeant (SSgt) is E-6 rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, just above Sergeant and below Gunnery Sergeant. A Marine staff sergeant is a staff non-commissioned officer rank. This grade is normally achieved after 10 to 13 years in service” Wikipedia.
SSgt. Wuterich enlisted in the Marines in 1998 right out of High School. The Web hasn’t provided me with the date he made Staff Sergeant but obviously it was less than the ten years described as normal. Equally obvious, but for the incident at Haditha seven years ago this dedicated Marine would have progressed further in his career and be within six years of his twenty years of service.
In the end, all charges related to murder, manslaughter, or perjury were dismissed. As all charges were dismissed or proved false for the other seven defendants. His only offense was telling the three Marines following him to “Shoot first and ask questions later”. This (the government alleged) was telling his men to kill anyone they found. Interesting, I swear I’ve heard that exact line in dialog in more than one Hollywood movie. Why no one seems to recall that SSgt. Wuterich had spent many years as a instructor and at advanced training bases and might expect his Marines to perform as trained. Not to throw away many months of training and lectures that were specifically concerned with the special ROE for Iraq, just because five seconds before they go their Sergeant tries to say something to counteract the sight of one of their friends getting blown to pieces. (That is my interpretation of course, but I’m more confident of that then of a career soldier of seven years service intending to incite his troops to murder) In his career this was his first deployment in Iraq and I would expect it to be a shock, but all testimony indicates he performed well.
So for the misjudgement of perhaps choosing the wrong inspirational phrase at the wrong time, in War, SSgt. Wuterich has spend the last seven years waiting to see his career destroyed. He has been savagely maligned by the media and that goes on and will continue to go on until the day he dies. SSgt. Wuterich, who was exonerated of killing any of the civilians or insurgents, has already been grievously and excessively punished.
And it goes on.
Do a web search today, keyword; Haditha, Wuterich. This is what you will find.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich accepts plea deal in 2005 killing of Iraqi civilians.
ABC News headlines, …accepts plea deal in 2005 killing of Iraqi civilians. Not, “Accepts a plea on one count of Dereliction of Duty.
CNN… A plea deal for a U.S. Marine squad leader charged in connection with the deaths of 24 people, in which he avoided jail time, triggered outrage …
20 hours ago – Sgt. Frank Wuterich denied shooting at Iraqi women and kids in Haditha; Prosecutors say he killed 19. No, all those charges were dismissed a long time ago, again, 1 count DOD. And can we pick a number? 19 or 24.
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The lone Marine convicted in his squad’s killing of two dozen unarmed civilians in one of the Iraq War’s defining … Need I repeat myself?
Sorry, but I can’t bring myself to repeat the Associated Press story. Just reading it makes me want to hurt somebody.
I was going to suggest that those who have read this and think SSgt. Wuterich deserves your support write the Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, to ask him to mitigate the sentence, but I can’t find his address or email and on reflection I doubt it would influence his decision. Which I’m sure will be in what he decides is the best for the Marine Corp and in accordance with its traditions. So instead, if you can help to spread the word, forward links to posts or articles you judge to be true. Jump into the comments page of some of the media websites and challenge the lies and distortions.
Remember, too many people only read the headlines and too many people will believe the garbage I’ve listed.