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  1. #16
    03-18-2005

    For the Record: H.R. 167 Supports Pantano



    Compiled by DefenseWatch Staff



    A powerful North Carolina congressman has publicly announced his support for Marine 2nd Lt. Iliario Pantano, who faced multiple criminal charges including two counts of premeditated murder following an incident last year in which the lieutenant shot and killed two Iraqis during the cordon operation to secure a house that was found to contain weapons and evidence of Iraqi insurgents.



    Rep. Walter B. Jones , an 11-year member of the House of Representatives who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced House Resolution 167 that expresses “the sense of the House of Representatives” that Pantano “was defending the cause of freedom, democracy and liberty in his actions of April 15, 2004, that resulted in the deaths of two suspected Iraqi insurgents …. ”



    Jones’ congressional district includes Camp Lejeune, N.C., where Pantano is currently awaiting results of an Article 32 investigation that could lead to a general court-martial.



    The Washington Times reported today that Jones hopes to persuade the House Armed Services Committee to approve his resolution in time for a full vote on the House floor within the next month or two. The newspaper also reported Jones has written a personal letter to President Bush seeking his personal intervention in the case.



    “The ongoing war in Iraq has taken a toll on this nation,” the Times quoted Mr. Jones’ letter to the president. “Families have been torn apart by the loss of a loved one who has paid the ultimate price in service to our country. Charging Lt. Pantano with murder is not only wrong, but is also detrimental to morale in America. This sends a potentially flawed message to those considering enlisting in our military. Furthermore, we need to consider what this does to embolden the enemy who can now better rely on an overly cautious soldier or Marine second-guessing his actions.”



    “This nation needs good Marines like Ilario Pantano,” Jones continued in his letter. “Charging him with murder creates an unnecessary risk of losing other future leaders like Lt. Pantano. I would greatly appreciate your personal investigation into this very serious matter.”



    The full text of Jones’ resolution is available online at the congressman’s website.

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  2. #17
    03-18-2005

    Pantano: Why the Charges Don’t Stand Up



    By Raymond Perry



    The Marine Corps has now made available the formal charge sheet prepared for the case of 2nd Lt. Iliaro Pantano, who is facing a possible general court-martial for the shooting deaths of two Iraqi men his platoon captured near Mahmudiah, Iraq, on Apr. 15, 2004.



    In a recent analysis of this case (“Lt Pantano: the Charges are Baseless,” DefenseWatch, March 11, 2005), I reviewed the known information about the incident and concluded that the charges were baseless. This article reviews the charges themselves in the context of how court-martial members might dispose of them.



    Here are the charges against the lieutenant under the Uniform Code of Military Justice:



    Charge I: Article 92, two specifications, Dereliction of Duty by failing to properly safeguard two prisoners.



    Charge II: Article 109, one specification, Damaging private property.



    Charge III: Article 118, two specifications, Premeditated Murder.



    Charge IV: Article 133 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer), two specifications: Dishonorably failing to safeguard the prisoners and desecrating their bodies by placing a sign above their corpses.



    What are the differences in the known “facts” of the case that these charges seem to indicate by their wording? Do Marine Corps officials know key information that has not yet come to light, and if so is it damning enough to go forward with these charges?



    Charge I: The associated actions listed under the specifications state that Pantano relieved the two members of his platoon from duties guarding these men, directed them to remove restraints and to station themselves so as to be unable to view the lieutenant’s actions. The charge is that his subsequent actions were derelict.



    These seem to be directly contradicted by the voluntary sworn statement of Hospital Corpsman George A. Gobles, who was assigned to Pantano’s platoon and was operating as one of the lieutenant’s personal security elements on the day in question. In his published statement to investigators given on June 10, 2004, eight weeks after the incident, Gobles described Pantano’s orders as conforming to established procedures in the search of a suspected insurgent vehicle that may contain arms or explosives. Gobles added that at the moment of the shooting he was stationed as a security element at or less than 50 meters away from the lieutenant.



    The second eyewitness to these actions appears to be the disgruntled sergeant bringing the charges. This individual was stationed at about twice the distance away from the suspect vehicles as Gobles.



    Charge II: Gobles’ statement indicates that the Iraqi vehicle was disabled only after the other events of the incident. Gobles’ matter of fact description of the lieutenant using his K-bar knife to puncture the tires leads me to infer that this also may be a routine practice in such circumstances. If so, this charge has no place on the charge sheet.



    Charge III: The key issue of whether or not Pantano’s fatal shooting of the two suspected insurgents was murder or an act of self-defense in combat will turn on whether these men did in fact ignore his order to cease certain actions and move suddenly toward him, causing Pantano’s concern for the safety of his men and himself. Again Gobles’ statement seems to substantially corroborate the lieutenant’s description of his actions.



    Charge IV: There are two specifications covering different aspects of this incident but I infer that the lawyers framing them thought to themselves, “If we can’t get him on any of the other charges, maybe we can get him on this one.”



    Specification 1 really just restates Charge I framing it as dishonorable performance by an officer. Specification 2 attempts to bring an issue to the table of how corpses are treated under Islamic religious tradition. The known facts seem to indicate that a sign was placed on the damaged car. The wording of this specification was framed broadly enough to encompass placing this sign on the bodies or the car.



    Gobles’ statement is silent regarding these two accusations. However, I infer from the manner in which the hospital corpsman ended his statement – by saying that he returned to his unit and they continued their assigned mission – that Pantano had done little else after the shooting. Pantano’s report of the incident and his commander’s subsequent actions, including a glowing fitness report recommending the lieutenant for promotion and “challenging assignments” to further his career, tell this part of the story far better.



    Based on the apparent record, I believe court-martial members may well approach the issues this way:



    First: Did Pantano shoot these men lawfully? As I discussed in my previous article above, the issue is, did the lieutenant have a reasonable belief that these men were about to take a warlike action as they finished their disassembly of the car? If so, he is innocent of the two specifications of premeditated murder in Charge III.



    Second: If court-martial members conclude that he was acting lawfully, then Charges I and IV (Specification 1) will be viewed as “piling on” and they will also quickly toss aside those two.



    Third: Was the act of disabling the vehicle following the shooting legitimate or at least a routine practice? If so, this will likely also be viewed as “piling on,” and the court will also toss aside this charge.



    Fourth: Given the apparent placement of the sign on the car, I believe the court will also view Charge IV (Specification 2) as a sweep-up charge, tacked on to the others as an “If we can’t get him on anything else, maybe this one will stick” measure.



    In my observation throughout more than 20 years of military service, military court members are very capable of seeing through multiple charges that are really the same accusation repeated in different ways (as distinct from “lesser included offenses”). In such instances, court members frequently throw down the penalty flag with little discussion beyond, “How gullible do these JAGs (lawyers) think we are?”



    What facts are not generally known that point toward Pantano’s guilt? Why did Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Huck go forward with these charges? It is legitimate for the Trial Counsel (military equivalent of a prosecutor) not to tip his hand regarding how he will present his case. But under established military law and rules he is required to reveal all evidence to the defense that he plans to present at trial.



    Only if there is some evidence a classified nature is there a basis for withholding such material. At this juncture and with the growing publicity in this case it is does not appear that there is any classified evidence reasonably associated with the case against Lt. Pantano.



    The Marine Corps can solve its steadily-worsening public relations nightmare without violating court procedures by revealing all unclassified facts in evidence now.



    In an interview last month, 2nd Marine Division spokesman Maj. Matt Morgan he enjoined the public to trust the legal process to protect the lieutenant from invalid charges (see the bottom of that article). But without some indication of facts that point to guilt, his words – designed to deflect reporters’ questions – actually spoke to a senior Marine Corps leadership that appears to have already failed the lieutenant.



    The first few steps of the process of bringing charges tasks the general court-martial Convening Authority, Gen. Huck, with the responsibility to critically evaluate the credibility of the charges. Having done so, he is responsible for dismissing charges that lack credibility on their face. The general’s experience and judgment are where “the rubber meets the road” in the U.S. military justice system.



    The UCMJ contemplates that combat is cruel and inhuman, requiring life-and-death decisions in a split-second. It further contemplates the situation where a person may act in a manner where dispassionate consideration of all facts might indicate criminality, but understanding that soldiers frequently are called on to make exactly these decisions reactively rather than dispassionately. As such, if his combat actions were lawful then there is no criminality involved in this case.



    That is why Gen. Huck has the responsibility to give due weight to the investigation already conducted in the field and to refuse action if preliminary findings warrant that step. He must use his experience, particularly with regard to combat, to justly act on the accusations.



    Based on the public record and the absence of and no indication that undisclosed classified information exists to change the case, the charges against Lt. Pantano are without merit. The spokesman’s assertion that we should “trust the system” is to accept that a system that may have already failed will still produce a just result.



    No soldier should face unjust, or even questionable, charges as a result of combat. The American people, and more particularly military veterans, should not accept a broad statement of “trust the system.”



    Lt. Raymond Perry USN (Ret.) is a DefenseWatch Contributing Editor. He can be reached at cos1stlt@yahoo.com. Please send Feedback responses to dwfeedback@yahoo.com.

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  3. #18
    Lets do this the easy way,post charges against every pilot that dropped a bomb and killed (realy) innocent Iraqes we all know that the kids that were killed in their sleep were,nt carring weapons or IUD,s so lets charge everyone involved.
    And then get the fuxk out of town.


  4. #19
    Ed,

    Amen on your statement - if you are going to charge one, charge them all!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEN get the fuxk out of town, or the desert or whatever.

    SEMPER FI,
    OLE SARG


  5. #20
    Under Fire Combat Marine Tells His Story

    Dave Eberhart, NewsMax.com
    Monday, March 21, 2005

    For the first time since giving a statement to the Naval Investigative Service, Marine 2nd Lt. Ilario Pantano is talking to someone other than his attorneys about that fateful day in Iraq in 2004 when he shot dead two suspected Iraqi insurgents – a wartime deed that has led to him being charged with their premeditated murders.

    In an interview by Stone Phillips on NBC's "Dateline" program, the embattled Marine, who is facing an Article 32 pre-trial hearing near the end of April at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene, N.C., immediately took the offensive – just like the man one superior characterized as having "more integrity, dedication and drive" than any Marine he has ever known:

    "The job description of an infantry platoon commander is to close with and destroy the enemy. Kill is part of our vernacular. That's part of our job. So to speak to murder with premeditation in the context of defending my life is outrageous."


    Pantano, who served as an enlisted Marine in the Gulf War, came back into the Corps after the 9/11 attacks – this time as an officer. By April 2004, the newly commissioned 2nd lieutenant was on patrol with his platoon in Iraq, just in time for the deadliest month of the war for American forces.


    As a warm-up to his own day of infamy, he and his Marines engaged in a six-hour gun battle that began with an ambush. "This was the wake-up call to all of us that we were - that things had really transitioned from the peacekeeping mode to full combat mode," Pantano revealed.


    Earlier, Pantano had pledged to bring all of his young charges home – a vow he was to keep even through all those bloody and dangerous months in-country.


    On April 15th, his unit got a tip from some Iraqis in a town south of Baghdad, but the vigilant, wily Pantano says he smelled a set-up to an ambush. There were too many details in the tip – and even a map – all too good to be true.


    "And the most critical clue was that the people who gave us this information drew a map," the officer told Phillips. "We had never had that kind of a windfall of information. So this thing smelled like an ambush immediately."


    Trusting his instinct of pending danger, Pantano related how he reacted. "We went in heavy. We had machine guns with us because we fully expected we would be ambushed by some larger force as we had seen just days prior.


    "In the process of starting [my] squads moving forward [toward the house identified by the tipsters], we saw a white sedan start pulling away from the house. And I - I ordered the vehicle to stop.


    "We fired a couple of shots into the ground, and they knew to stop the car. I had to grab my radio operator and my corpsman and go after the car because it was now away from the target house down the road.


    "I order my corpsman to do a - a search of the car. He looks, finds nothing.


    "When I heard [over the radio] that there was this arms cache [found] at the house, I thought these guys are bad guys and that they know they've been caught.


    "I wanted the car looked at more thoroughly, and I wanted them to do it. I wanted them to take the car to the bones, and I didn't want to risk one of my Marines, or my sailor, my corpsman, in this - what could be a dangerous procedure."


    Armed with an M-16 semi-automatic rifle, Pantano watched the Iraqis as they began to search the car, one the front seat, the other the back. He says they began speaking to each other in muffled tones in Arabic:


    "I give them a command in Arabic to stop. They continue, then there was this moment of quiet. I felt - I could feel like the oxygen getting sucked out of my lungs. I could feel this thing was happening. There was this beat, and they both pivoted to me at the same time, moving towards me at the same time. And in that moment of them, you know, of them disobeying my command to stop and pivoting to me at the same time, I shot them.



    'I didn't Wait to See If There Was a Grenade'



    "I didn't wait to see if there was a grenade. I didn't wait to see if there was a knife. And unfortunately, there are a lot of dead soldiers and Marines who have waited too long. And my men weren't going to be those dead soldiers and Marines and neither was I.


    "There wasn't time for a warning shot. There was time for action, and I had to act. It becomes - it becomes very personal. It stops being about war and moving blue arrows and little pieces and big pieces and we'll hold this bridge and take this ground. These guys tried to kill me. That's what I'm feeling. And the language that's - that's going through my head at that point was ‘no better friend, and no worse enemy.'


    That phrase comprised the unofficial motto of Pantano's division in Iraq. Invented and promoted by the division commander, General James Mattis, the lead officer wanted his Marines to bring help to friendly Iraqis - and a world of hurt to anyone who stood in their way.


    According to witness accounts and Pantano's own voluntary statement, Pantano wrote the motto on the piece of cardboard, then placed it on the car above the bullet-ridden bodies.


    "Those words, ‘no better friend, no worse enemy,' were repeatedly drilled into us. It was our - the mantra of our mission," Pantano told Phillips.


    That night he returned to base and was debriefed – with no great hue-and-cry being raised about what he had done:


    "The mood was congratulatory. It was, you know, these guys made a mistake. It was ‘they picked wrong Marine,'" Pantano related.


    However, Pantano's radio operator raised questions about the shooting to a fellow Marine, and that Marine, in turn, reported it to his chain of command. According to a statement from the radio operator, Pantano, after learning about the cache of weapons at the house, bashed the Iraqis' car with his rifle butt and seemed "like he wanted to teach them a lesson."


    But Pantano explained it this way to Phillips: "I wouldn't say that I was angry. I would say that I was feeling like we had had a successful mission."


    Eventually, Pantano was pulled from the field and lost command of his platoon. Then, after returning to the U.S., he got word that the Marines were charging him with murder:


    "I put the sign on - on the car, nowhere on the bodies, to show my Marines this could have been them that would be dead. And I took the sign down two minutes later."


    Documents indicate that there was some evidence that the suspects were shot in the back, a claim reportedly based on no firm forensic evidence. (The bodies were turned over to the Iraqis and buried, according to the Pantano defense team.)


    "I shot them in the sides, I shot them in the chest, I shot them as they were turning towards me," explained Pantano.


    But documents associated with the charges allege that Pantano emptied a magazine and then emptied a second magazine.


    "The speed it took me to wipe the sweat off my brow is how quickly you fire and reload a magazine. I shot them until they stopped moving … [C]ombat is a pretty ugly business. What's the right number of rounds to save your life? I would say it's enough until there is no more threat … I kept firing until they stop moving. It doesn't take a lot of energy to pull a grenade pin. To protect the lives of my men, I would do it again in a moment," he said.


    The radio operator who complained had been relieved as a squad leader by Pantano, who describes him as being disgruntled."My second most senior person in my platoon was relegated to one of the most junior positions that you can have in a platoon. A sergeant of 10 years was carrying the radio for me… I don't think he ever thought it would take the direction that it's taken."


    The Navy corpsman present at the scene told investigators that he heard Pantano yell ‘Stop!' before the shooting began. And when he turned to look, he thought the Iraqis were trying to flee.


    It is conceded – thus far – that neither the corpsman nor the Marine sergeant saw what happened in the critical seconds before Pantano opened fire.


    Pantano summarized: "I was told to go do a job. My job is to locate the enemy. In this case, the enemy threatened me and I killed the enemy… The saddest day of my life is – is - is this day, is this moment where I have to use my - my passions to defend myself against my Corps instead of defending my country against our enemies. That is what breaks my heart."

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  6. #21
    03-22-2005

    Missing the Point: NBC Botched Pantano Report



    By Raymond Perry



    On Sunday, March 20, NBC reporter Stone Phillips presented a “Dateline NBC” report interviewing Marine 2nd Lt. Iliario Pantano, who faces premeditated murder charges nearly a year after a deadly shooting incident in Iraq on April 15, 2004. Phillips covered several key elements of the charges against the Lieutenant.



    But Phillips did not get it right. Either the journalist and his staff just do not understand war or his report was a deliberate example of the kind of yellow journalism where U.S. soldiers and Marines are always the guilty ones. Phillips’ staff prepared him as if the deadly encounter between Pantano’s unit and the Iraqis was a traffic stop on an interstate instead of another deadly day fighting insurgents.



    The key issues that Phillips covered were the number of rounds the lieutenant fired from his M-16, whether Pantano’s actions were defensive, and the lieutenant’s responsibility for handling prisoners under the laws of war.



    In each case, it is clear that the preparatory work done by Phillips’ staff was lacking. The show had its dramatic moments but they did not do their homework.



    Phillips first questioned the number of rounds that Pantano fired in the shooting that killed the two Iraqis, why it took so many rounds to stop the two men. Pantano responded with his concerns that they were about to attack him and his men.



    News reports to date indicate that the number of rounds Pantano discharged from his M-16 at the two Iraqis was about 30. Navy Hospital Corpsman George A. Gobles, assigned to the lieutenant’s platoon as a personal security element for Pantano and an eyewitness to the shooting, stated during a June 2004 investigation that Pantano discharged only one magazine. He described his memory as clear. Pantano himself recalls discharging nearly two magazines from his rifle, leading to speculation that he ran out of ammunition very quickly upon opening fire and reloaded.



    The American people should look back on our last major combat arena, Vietnam, for perspective in judging the lieutenant’s actions. The experience of our soldiers in combat in Vietnam is relevant to understanding what happened last April 15 in Iraq.



    Following the publication of an earlier article on this incident (“Lt. Pantano: The Charges Are Baseless,” DefenseWatch, March 11, 2005), I received an email from Lt. Col. Sam Asbury, an infantry officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. He spoke of his grim experience in the Vietnam War, describing two relevant and personal examples of combat where the shooting was brutal and involved many rounds fired in full automatic.



    In one case, Asbury witnessed fellow soldiers kill an injured but armed man who had been left to cover the retreat of his Viet Cong compatriots. The Americans fired until the enemy stopped moving.



    Asbury also described a second case where a Viet Cong sapper with satchel charges was about to enter an ammunition bunker. Again, a soldier armed with an M-60 machine gun fired a string of at least 20 rounds into the man. The sapper collapsed and stopped moving. He did not make it into the bunker and failed to detonate the satchel charges.



    The officer’s closing observation was clear: Killing “always looks brutal because it is brutal.”



    Phillips then questioned the issue of self-defense in the incident. Pantano described his actions, asserting them to be both defensive and protective of his men. Phillips then asked several questions with dramatic emphasis, including: “You emptied a magazine. And emptied a second magazine … (pause) … 50 rounds, 60 rounds to stop them …. (Pause) When did it go from firing in self-defense to sending a message? At what point? How many rounds in?”



    In asking that question, and more importantly by the dramatic manner in which he phrased it, Phillips demonstrated his own lack of understanding of combat and the laws of war as they apply to the lieutenant’s case. Only a person who has never seen combat and is feeling safe and secure, and distant from the battlefield, could use those words to shape his question.



    This leads to a wider point: An entire generation of Americans has matured without knowing the horrors of war. Have we forgotten how truly awful combat can be and how truly creative and sly our enemies can be?



    In Lt. Col. Asbury’s words: “Nearly every everyone I know who has personally participated in close combat would probably state, in those circumstances overkill is always better than underkill.”



    Phillips next briefly explored the issue of treatment and protection of prisoners. He coupled these with an allusion to the lieutenant’s responsibilities under the law of war. Once again, his staff did not prepare him adequately.



    The laws of war provide that captives must be protected. That our soldiers and Marines are responsible to ensure the safety of captive insurgents or civilians suspected of being insurgents, is quite clear. This is true, but irrelevant to the microseconds during which the lieutenant chose to pull the trigger of his M-16.



    The laws of war also provide that all captives must cease all warlike acts and comply with all orders from our soldiers or Marines. Until they do this, clearly and completely, any act that may be interpreted as threatening justifies a defensive and deadly response.



    The key point is not what the captives really intended to do, nor what was or was not later found on their person or in their car – these are not relevant to those microseconds of decision. The first responsibility lies with the captives. If their actions could be reasonably interpreted as threatening, then Pantano’s reaction – shooting them dead – was legal.



    To Pantano and his Marines at that moment, it was entirely possible that the two men were attempting to detonate a car bomb. We know this to be untrue now, but that belief is directly relevant to the lieutenant’s acts at that moment.



    The indisputable facts are that the captives were suspected insurgents, that they had previously ignored orders and they then moved quickly and contrary to Pantano’s direction.



    The MSNBC staff had a unique opportunity to raise the real issues at stake for Pantano and his men, but failed to do so. They did not properly cast the issues for Stone Phillips to explore, and as a result he came off as another journalist totally ignorant of the realities of combat.



    We are at war. One only has to read the lessons learned from Fallujah last November published by the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines to understand what our troops are facing. The lessons learned report speaks eloquently to the American people as well as teaching other Marines how to survive and prevail on Iraq’s mean streets. The vivid lesson-by-lesson description of combat, the inventiveness and tenacity of the insurgents, and the day-by-day grind of combat appears in gritty detail in that report.



    At the same time, the American people ought to demand that commentators such as Stone Phillips be knowledgeable of the background issues and to convey this in their reporting.



    There may be real offenses buried in Lieutenant Pantano’s actions. The Marine Corps has not yet revealed this information, if it does exist.



    But Stone Phillips presented us with scant facts and little more than drama. He did a disservice both to Lt. Pantano and to his viewers.



    Lt. Raymond Perry USN (Ret.) is a DefenseWatch Contributing Editor. He can be reached at cos1stlt@yahoo.com. Please send Feedback responses to dwfeedback@yahoo.com.


    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  7. #22
    WTH 2 magazines to kill 2 guys what is wrong with this picture? ohh maybe he was a bad shot at boot camp??


  8. #23
    Sent to me by Mark (Fontman)

    Legion sees duty in helping Marine
    By John DeSantis
    Staff Writer
    john.desantis@starnewsonline.com

    The guilt or innocence of a Wilmington-area Marine accused of murdering two alleged Iraqi insurgents is not an issue for members of a local American Legion post raising money for his defense. They cite their mission of aiding all veterans as the primary motivation for a fund-raising fish fry scheduled for Friday afternoon.

    Evidence against Lt. Ilario Pantano will be presented at an April 25 hearing at Camp Lejeune, at which prosecutors are expected to paint the April 15, 2004, shooting of the two men as an “execution.”

    Lt. Pantano maintains the shootings were done in self defense, and that he feared for his life when the two men – under his custody and control while searching their own car at his order for explosives or other weapons – moved toward each other simultaneously after ignoring his repeated demands that they stop talking to each other.
    If the proposed charge of premeditated murder sticks, Lt. Pantano could face the death penalty.

    Free pending further developments in the case, Lt. Pantano is expected to attend American Legion Post 10’s fish fry Friday, where money will be raised to aid his defense and the defense of other military personnel who might find themselves in similar circumstances.

    Post Commander Michael Gregorio said his group is aiding Lt. Pantano because “the American Legion is all about veterans helping veterans.”

    “His innocence or guilt is not on our shoulders,” Mr. Gregorio said. “His right to the best representation and support is on all veterans’ shoulders. This is not just about Lt. Pantano; it’s about all military personnel serving in harm’s way who in the future may have to second-guess their actions in combat or may feel, why serve if your country will not stand behind you.”

    The group traditionally holds a fish fry and barbecue on the first Friday of every month. The one scheduled for this week, from 1 to 3 p.m., will result in $1 from every $6 plate of food being donated to the organization Lt. Pantano’s mother formed to help him, Defend the Defenders.

    The group’s Web site, www.defend thedefenders.org, contains detailed information on the case.

    The menu includes deviled crab cakes and whiting along with coleslaw, hush puppies and traditional North Carolina barbecue.

    Rep. Walter Jones R-N.C., who has introduced a House of Representatives resolution supporting Lt. Pantano, will also attend and will address attendees.

    U.S. Marine Corps officials have refused to comment officially on the case, stating that to do so would jeopardize Lt. Pantano’s right to a fair trial.

    The lieutenant’s case has garnered nationwide attention since the Star-News broke the story in February. Several network news programs have included features on issues arising from it.

    Ellie

    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  9. #24

    Smile

    hrscowboy,

    "WHEN IN DOUBT, EMPTY THE MAGAZINE, OR IN THIS CASE MAGAZINES".

    ALL OF US KANSAS CITY, AND SURROUNDING AREA, MEMBERS STILL NEED TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS TO GET TOGETHER FOR A BEER OR SOME COFFEE.

    SEMPER FI,
    OLE SARG


  10. #25
    Registered User Free Member R.Linde's Avatar
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    This Marine should of had medals pinned on him, not charges!
    as far the "disgruntled NCO" is concerned he should have been drop kicked out of the Corps a long tome ago.


  11. #26
    Marine Free Member vfm's Avatar
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    The media is once again making combat troops pay the price when called to duty. War is not pretty. The media started with VietNam where they felt sympathy toward the enemy. Now Iraq!!!
    They forget that when those terrorists boarded the planes on 9/11/01
    they fit the description of "innocent civillians" by their defenition.
    But 3,000 plus civilian deaths later they were terrorists.

    The next thing you know the press will be calling for the heads of any surviving crew members of the Enola Gay for bombing the Japanese civilians to end WWII.
    No wonder enlistment is down. You are asked to put your life on the line and then put under a microscope after the fact.
    SEMPER FI!!!
    vfm


  12. #27
    hey I have no problem with using 2 magazines to whip out 2 dudes i just wondered why he wasnt a better shot?? and heck yes brother we need to all get together for a small reunion here in Kansas City for a day and drink some coffee or eat dinner and swap some stories...


  13. #28
    Originally posted by hrscowboy
    hey I have no problem with using 2 magazines to whip out 2 dudes i just wondered why he wasnt a better shot?? and heck yes brother we need to all get together for a small reunion here in Kansas City for a day and drink some coffee or eat dinner and swap some stories...

    Agree hrscowboy and OLE SARG, let's get it done with the small reunion and then head down to Branson, MO in June for the big one.


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