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Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

31 July 2005

War Story

I have been told I need to tell more “War Stories”. I have several of course and am planning on sharing most of them eventually but today I have decided to tell a war story that is not mine. It is the story of an acquaintance named John Horne. I won’t say friend because I really don’t know him that well. But more one that at the end, here is his tale, and I warn you, it is graphic and unpleasant.

NOTE: This story is slightly edited from when Horne wrote it. He wrote this as a response to something from another blog (sfalphageek post dated Thursday May 05) discussing the Capt. Maynulet court-martial. I have taken out the parts of Horne’s document that directly address the posts on the other blog.

“…My platoon engaged a large dump truck full of Iraqis that were seen dropping explosives on the side of the road. One box exploded as one of our Bradleys was approaching it. Another exploded after it was shot with coax machinegun fire. The truck was fired upon with 25mm HE rounds from the Bradley and small arms fire from another squad on the ground. My squad was in the back of the Bradleys. I was put on the ground to investigate the scene. As I approached, stepping over chunks of human flesh and sloshing in blood standing in the street, I noticed several injured and dead Iraqis lying beside the truck. The truck itself was suspected of being full of explosives. I saw some movement in the rear of the truck, through the flames that were rolling out of the back of the vehicle. I gave my weapon to my platoon leader who had followed me to the truck and climbed into the back of the burning truck to pull a young man to safety. The young man survived because of my actions. I was an American soldier and as a member of one of the more compassionate armies in the world, once an enemy is subdued or badly wounded he is no longer an enemy, but a human being. I tried to save another young man that was lying in the flames, but as I pulled him close to me, his stomach and intestines spilled out into my lap. There was nothing more I could do for him. (No medics were on the scene so morphine was not an option) {Editor’s note: this is in reference to a comment on sfalphageek to drugging severely wounded and dying men so they went without pain} I got down from the truck and assisted my soldiers in treating the other wounded. Moments later the badly wounded Iraqi rolled from the top of the truck onto the street and cracked his skull upon impact, but somehow still appeared to be breathing. My platoon leader informed me that a medevac had been called but responded that due to the heavy contact we had been under medevac would not come out unless the wounded were Americans. And even then not to expect them for another 45 minutes to an hour. My platoon leader urged me to hurry and finish up in the area so we could move out. The wounded Iraqi would have been left to die from the large hole in his abdomen and possible eaten alive by wild dogs. I made the decision to shoot the young man to put him out of his misery...
…You may say that since I am not a doctor I couldn’t have known for sure the Iraqi would not survive. I fought the war in the initial invasion in 2003 and again less than a year later, all with an infantry unit, 1st Battalion 41st Infantry. I’ve seen death up close and personal. I recognize it when it is near….

Johnny Horne was a Staff Sergeant at the time this occurred. He is currently serving a three year sentence in the Army prison system for the killing of this Iraqi.

Now, I have looked on the Web and found press accounts of this incident and they differ extensively from Horne’s version. LINK will leave it to you to decide which version is true, if either of them is. All I can say with certainty is a Soldier’s career ended with that shot. He was on his second tour in Iraq and he went back because the Army said it needed him instead of getting out. He has a young daughter who won’t see her Dad for 2.5 more years, and he will carry the federal felony conviction around with him for the rest of his life. Right or wrong? I wasn’t there. I don’t know. What do you think?

As a further bit of info, Horne's Platoon leader was also charged in the incident but the charges were dropped shortly after Horne's conviction. Horne pled guilty on the advice of his military attorny, something he now strongly regrets. For further information on Horne email susanajjames@yahoo.com (address provided by Horne)


Blogger Adrian said...

GREAT blog.

Youre always welcome back at mine.


I linked you just in case. : )

7:54 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Regarding the post,I think its regrettable what happened, but I am afraid I support the troops.

These types of incidents always need to be analysed very closely, as I suppose BOTH sides are guilty to a certain extent. I am not an expert in military procedure, but I would assume that the troops would not open fire without giving some sort of warning first? If they didnt Im sure there was a valid reason for it. Especially given the sensitivity of the media lately. But we'll never know, unless we were there and were fully aware of all the circumstances.

Again, Im afraid I give the benefit of the doubt to the troops. I feel that they were in the best position to judge.

8:37 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I'm not sure I'm reading this correctly because it seems to me an open and shut case. This guy, Horne, was putting a poor guy with his guts spilling out, out of his misery, right? So, what's the problem? Why did he get court marshalled? This is unreal.

10:35 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

He was basicly charged with murder. Officially "mercy killing" doesn't exist in the army.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally know Johnny and i support the decision that Johnny made.Any compassionate person would have done the same thing that Johnny did.Johnny's Captain and LT col. had it in for him and this i know,so that is why Johnny is in prison today.If he wanted to kill someone then he wouldnt have choosen someone who was already near death.Come on think about it.Johnny is a wonderful and caring person and doesnt deserve to be in prison.If you would like to help this soldier then go to www.freessgjohnny.com and sign the petition and pass it on to everyone that you know.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Blue Girl, Red State said...

I am a trauma nurse. It is my job to save lives and patch people back together. If I found myself in that situation, unable to render aid OR alleviate suffering, I hope against hope that I would have the honor and the courage to take the action that John Horne took. When death is inevitable, there should be no punishmnet for mercy.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Blue Girl, Red State said...

I linked this on my site. One brief paragraph, stating that you said it quite elloquently. Keep up the good work.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous DebMcKay said...

It appears that Johnny Horne was ambushed by our own government. Doesn't the government realize that the Geneva Convention does not apply in Iraq? Just as it didn't apply in Vietnam. We're not fighting other soldiers, we're fighting terrorists, and those very few are causing so much havoc that it's no wonder that our guys are coming back from over there with PTSD!! I'm a Vietnam Era Veteran, and the daughter of a 3 war veteran, who I'm very proud of. What Johnny Horne did was from his heart, and what the government did was use him as a "point to get across" and to keep their asses out of a sling. He failed to mention in his letter that while he was imprisoned in Iraq, awaiting his court martial, that they put him in an 8 foot by 8 foot wooden crate type thing, stuck him out in the middle of the desert, and for 42 days, he was checked every once in a while. How different is that than how the Viet Cong treated our POW's? This outraged the American public whenever they saw the treatment of our men, what's the difference here?

2:42 PM  

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