Tag Archives: Special Forces

CODE RED: No Easy Day for Green Beret on Witness Stand

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article below first appeared on this site Aug. 24, 2012. Almost two years later, it vanished — along with nearly 5,000 others written and published since October 2006 — as detailed in a post eight months ago. Today, I rescued it from where it appears on an alternate site in order to share it below with only minor modifications. Please read and share.

Two Good Books

No Easy Day is the title of a book by Matt Bissonnette (alias “Mark Owen”), a former Navy SEAL-turned author of an unauthorized account of the 2011 Navy SEALs raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The three-word title could also describe the time former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart spent testifying during his court-martial in August 2009.

According to The Daily Beast, Admiral William McRaven used a letter to members of his U.S. Special Operations Command to issue a veiled warning to Bissonnette. Then USSOC commander, he wrote the following:

“Every member of the special-operations community with a security clearance signed a non-disclosure agreement that was binding during and after service in the military. If the U.S. Special Operations Command finds that an active-duty, retired or former service member violated that agreement and that exposure of information was detrimental to the safety of U.S. forces, then we will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate.”

While Bissonnette became the subject of an NCIS investigation, he has not, to my knowledge, faced any formal charges. Instead, he was ordered to pay $4.5 million to the government for publishing the book without first obtaining clearance.

Conversely, Stewart was sentenced to eight years in prison following a kangaroo-court military trial that followed false allegations he had raped and kidnapped a then-28-year-old German woman. During that trial, he refused to violate the terms of his nondisclosure agreement — even while facing a possible life sentence in a military courtroom in Germany.

The government’s cross-examination of Stewart on Day Two of his court-martial began with the trial counsel asking him questions about friendships he had established in Germany since his August 2008 arrival in the Stuttgart area. Before long, however, it turned into a somewhat-heated exchange—something Stewart later described as being similar to a courtroom scene from the movie, A Few Good Men.

In that scene, a Marine colonel (Jack Nicholson) on the witness stand was accused by a young Navy defense attorney (Tom Cruise) of ordering a “Code Red”—an illegal beating of a Marine by members of his platoon that resulted in his death and a subsequent cover-up. Several minutes of heated exchange between the officers resulted in the colonel finally losing his cool and admitting he ordered the attack.

“Every schooling and every assessment that the military has done on me to assess that I’m stable,” Stewart said, “and that I’m trusted with national security issues and that I can be trusted to make the right, conscious decisions, now is being turned around (so that) every one of those (are) predatory skills that I used to go after Miss Heinrich.”

Still, the trial counsel tried to paint Stewart, a man who had risen into the top one percent of the Army, as a master manipulator whose SF training helped him know how to control a person like his accuser, Greta J. Heinrich*.

After seeing his sentence reduced from eight to three years, Stewart was released from prison March 31, 2011. Four years later — after he had spent his life savings on legal fees and lost all pay and allowances as a result of the trial outcome — he received a letter from the Department of the Treasury and was told he owes the Department of Defense more than $35,000 as repayment for, among other things, a reenlistment bonus he received prior to being court-martialed. See details here.

You can learn more about Stewart’s case here, then read all of the blow-by-blow details on the pages of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice. It’s available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com.

*This is not the real name of the accuser, and it does not appear in the book.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Former Army Colleague Says Stewart ‘Always Had Our Backs’

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Exactly six years have passed since Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart’s military trial ended with him being stripped of his rank and Special Forces tab and sentenced to eight years in prison. Coincidentally, I received an email message this morning from Nicholas McLaughlin, a man who served with Stewart before Stewart advanced to join the ranks of the Green Berets. McLaughlin told me he had read this excerpt from Three Days In August, the book in which I chronicle Stewart’s life and wrongful prosecution. With permission, I share the crux of McLaughlin’s email message below:

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

Dear Bob,

I had the pleasure of serving with Kelly Stewart (a.k.a., “Doc Stewart”) in 1999-2001. He was our company medic (in) Alpha Company, 40th ENG. The man described in the excerpt was the same man.

He was an E-4, and I was an E-1 when we deployed to Albania. I was lucky enough to be in his class for Combat Lifesaver. His technical proficiency and professionalism were top notch. Even then, he always volunteered to go on missions with us. Sitting in the back of a 5-ton rolling through the small agricultural city surrounding the airport we had secured.

He took the chance to learn everything when other medics would reply, “I don’t need that, I’m a medic.” He would run drills with us every step of the way. String razor wire to working with explosives. He taught us as much as we taught him.

Most importantly though, he always had our backs, but he was always a humanitarian as well. Some things in this world can make you hard, but Doc Stewart always reminded us through his actions when to be caring as well.

He was the same way in his off time. Whether we were at a Fest in Germany or chilling at Bosen Lake. If your back was against the wall, he was there and, if you were out of line, he was (there) too.

We had a saying when we were in Germany: it doesn’t matter what happens, the American is always wrong.

More than anyone, Stewart knows all too well how much truth lies in that saying.

* * *

Since releasing Three Days In August in October 2011, I’ve encountered numerous Soldiers who vouched for Stewart’s honor and integrity in much the same way as McLaughlin (See Fellow Soldiers Support Wrongly-Convicted Green Beret), and I expect to hear from others in years to come.

To learn more about Stewart’s story, read the other articles I’ve written and read some of the endorsements of the book. To fully understand why I remain so passionate about wanting to see justice for this TOP ONE PERCENT SOLDIER, you’ll have to read the entire book.

Three Days In August​ is available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com. Signed copies are available as well.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.