View Full Version : EXCLUSIVE: Navy Secretary Boots 4 Pendleton Troops Involved in Iraqi Killing

12-01-2009, 10:02 PM
Marine Corps also directed to show why officer tied to case should be allowed to stay

Four members of a Camp Pendleton squad convicted of taking part in the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi civilian in 2006 have been ordered by the Secretary of the Navy to be removed from the military.

Secretary Ray Mabus also directed the Marine Corps to demonstrate why a lieutenant who oversaw the unit and acknowledged abusing detainees should be allowed to stay in the service.

The sweeping order requires the administrative separation within 10 days of "Pendleton 8" defendants Marine Corps Lance Cpls. Tyler Jackson, Jerry Shumate and John Jodka III.

Mabus, who has the authority to remove enlisted men without a hearing, also ordered the squad's medical Corpsman Melson Bacos dismissed from the Navy.

Each had pleaded guilty to a lesser offense than murder and was allowed to stay on active duty after serving short jail terms. It was not immediately clear whether their discharges will be classified as honorable or under a lesser classification.

Mabus also said he will not grant clemency to Pvt. Larry Hutchins, who was the squad's sergeant at the time of the killing and is serving an 11-year prison term.

Hutchins' boss in Iraq, 1st Lt. Nathan Phan, wasn't charged in the killing but was accused of assaulting detainees in the village of Hamdania where the murder occurred.

Navy officials have determined Phan's actions created a climate where abusing detainees was acceptable, and Mabus wants the Marine Corps to prove why he should be allowed to remain. Because Phan is an officer, Mabus cannot order his immediate removal.

Phan, who is now a reservist, contended he used force in order to extract information to help save troop lives.

"None of their actions lived up to the core values of the Marine Corps and the Navy," Mabus said during a telephone interview Tuesday. "This was not a 'fog of war' case occurring in the heat of battle. This was carefully planned and executed, as was the cover-up. The plan was carried out exactly as it had been conceived.".