The military blackballed these Marines. Four congressmen are fighting to restore their honor
" It's been a decade since Fred Galvin and his Marines were in a battle for their lives following a coordinated attack not far from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. That every man on the patrol survived remains a testament to good training and, above all, good fortune. Yet the hell they've endured since stands among the war's tragedies, and now there's an effort in Congress to help them find peace.
On Thursday, Galvin, 47, represented his old unit at the U.S. Capitol, hopeful that proposed legislation eventually will compel the Marines' top general, Commandant Robert Neller, to make a public overture declaring that Galvin and his elite commando team, Marine Special Operations Company Foxtrot, did nothing wrong when defending themselves during that attack. Many of the Marines involved say they still suffer psychologically from the backlash they incurred when the military sought to imprison them over bogus claims they killed more than two dozen innocent bystanders.
The effort is led by Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina, who came to the Marines' defense 10 years ago and has continued to advocate on their behalf. He has introduced a resolution, H.Res.21, that would require Neller to "issue a public document certifying that members of Fox Company ... were not at fault in the firefight ... [and] deserve to have their names cleared."
Jones, a Republican whose congressional district includes Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, has bipartisan backing. Among his supporters are Congressman Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat, Congressman Duncan Hunter, a California Republican, and Congressman Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat. All three are recent combat veterans who served in the Marines.
“These Marines will be old one day, as I am,” said Jones, 74. During a 90-minute press conference to announce the resolution, now pending with the House Armed Services Committee, he connected Fox Company's plight to that of two Marine Corps pilots blamed unfairly for the fatal crash in April 2000 of what was then the service's experimental MV-22 Osprey. It took Jones 14 years to convince the Pentagon to clear their names. "