Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Marine That Murtha Slandered Recommended for Decoration

Sergeant Frank Wuterich, one of the Marines that US Representative John Murtha judged and convicted of killing civilians " cold blood..." was recommended for a decoration based on what Lt. William T. Kallop, the only officer present during the battle in Haditha, described as his heroism in leading the counterattack.

From the Washington Post:
Lt. William T. Kallop wrote in a praise-filled memo that the incident on Nov. 19, 2005, was part of a complex insurgent ambush that included a powerful roadside bomb followed by a high volume of automatic-weapons fire from several houses in the neighborhood. He lauded Sgt. Frank Wuterich for his leadership in the "counterattack" on three houses while the unit received sporadic enemy fire.

The proposed citation indicates that Kallop -- the only Marine officer at the scene as the incident unfolded -- believed the unit was under a coordinated insurgent attack when Marines stormed civilian homes and opened fire, killing women and children. Whether Marines felt threatened and believed the homes to be hostile is a central element of their defense against potential criminal charges.
Kallop's memo would seem to be an odd way of trying to sweep the incident under the rug.