Will Special Forces Soldiers Get Railroaded as Columbia Prostitution Probe Widens?

News accounts, including a recent article in the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, reveal that U.S. Southern Command is investigating the alleged roles of five soldiers from 7th Special Forces Group in the Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia.  Wanting to learn more, I contacted a friend, retired after serving his country as a Green Beret for more than 15 years, to see what he knows about the case.  My friend told me this:

“Those guys are all under investigation and SF will probably revoke their tabs, basically squashing their SF careers. That doesn’t mean they can’t go back to conventional forces and continue with their military careers, just not with their SF careers.”

While far from being the official word on this matter, my friend’s observations remind me of an aspect of the case against Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, the Green Beret whose life story and wrongful conviction are chronicled in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.  Whether or not these Green Berets are found guilty of any kind of misconduct, they — like Stewart — are likely to see their SF careers squashed.

Though I have no first-hand details of what transpired in Columbia earlier this month, I do know what happened to a highly-decorated Green Beret combat veteran.  The fact that he had charges brought against him resulted in his record being tarnished.  When a courts-martial panel found him guilty on several charges and sentenced him to prison, his life was turned upside down and his SF career was ruined.

Based on extensive interviews and never-before-published details taken from the actual Record of Trial, Three Days in August paints a portrait of military justice gone awry that’s certain to make your blood boil.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Green Beret’s Challenge Tougher Than ‘Two Weeks In Hell’

When Kelly A. Stewart looks in the rear-view mirror of his life, the Army Special Forces selection process highlighted in the Discovery Channel documentary, Two Weeks In Hell, must rank among the toughest challenges he’s ever faced.  But it’s not THE toughest challenge he’s ever faced.

As a Green Beret in 2008, Stewart found himself face to face with a challenge unlike anything he had ever faced.  His future — even his life — on the line.  A German woman had accused him of rape and kidnapping, and he had to face a court-martial panel during three days in August 2009.

Read The Basics, then read the complete story as spelled out in the book, Three Days in August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, by Bob McCarty.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Soldier Seeking Justice Followed Rich Tradition of Service

The video below is dedicated to members of the First Special Service Force (a.k.a., “The Black Devils of V-42″), predecessors to warriors like Kelly A. Stewart, the man whose life is chronicled in the just-released book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, by Bob McCarty.

The “Force” was a joint American-Canadian commando unit with separate combat and service echelons, according to this website dedicated to the group’s history.  It was activated July 20, 1942, under Lt. Colonel Robert T. Frederick, and was based at Fort Harrison, Mont.  The men selected for their rugged, outdoor backgrounds received the most rigorous training schedule — under live fire — ever undertaken by an American Army unit. They became an elite body of soldiers.

This all-volunteer “shock-troop” was to parachute into German-held Norway, knock out important hydroelectric plants, perform other acts of sabotage, and then fight their way to a neutral border.  They trained for nine months for the Norway Operation, taking extensive courses in raider and commando tactics and receiving intense training as paratroopers, ski troops, mountain fighters, demolition experts, amphibious forces and hand-to-hand combat experts.

Like those who served with The Black Devils, former Green Beret Stewart knows much about difficult training and combat.  None of his most-challenging wartime experiences compare, however, to his ongoing fight to clear his name.  Details of that fight can be found in Three Days In August.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Special Forces Soldier Measures Failure and Success

As an instructor at the International Special Training Center in Pfullendorf, Germany, Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart had no more life-and-death scenarios, so he had to find other ways to measure failure and success. He found that, in part, by looking at his students.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart

One of Stewart’s first ISTC course graduates—an E- 4 at the time—went on to earn a Bronze Star with “V” device (for valor) for his work as a sniper only one week after his arrival in Afghanistan.

“He’s an AFN commercial now,” Stewart said, referring to American Forces Network, the military’s broadcasting unit, which likes to share good news stories about soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

Finding satisfaction in the accomplishments of his students, however, only went so far.

“Every team guy will tell you this: Once they become a FAG, or a Former Action Guy, meaning they have to go be an instructor somewhere, not actually on a team, 99 percent of the team guys hate that,” he said, “because what they came to Special Forces for was to be on a team and do team stuff. When they have to do admin stuff or be on the schoolhouse team, it’s difficult.

“For me, I didn’t realize how difficult that was gonna be,” Stewart said, “because I was use to being on the team and the camaraderie and everything, and now I’m having to be an instructor.”

In November 2008, members of Stewart’s team stopped off in Germany en route to the Republic of Georgia where a conflict with Russia had surfaced. He wished he could go with them.

“Now, I’m seeing my team. They’re getting ready to go into the fight and going to do really cool stuff behind enemy lines, and I don’t get to be there,” he said, “and I’ve been there with this group of guys for five, six years, and now I’m not. I’m a FAG—a Former Action Guy. I don’t get to be part of it.”

The stress of war, Stewart said, was “not a tangible thing that you can just put your hand on, like a gas pedal—stop and go, stop and go. It’s a lot of sitting and waiting at the mercy of other people.”

Stewart’s difficulty with being out of the fight would pale in comparison to the difficulties he would soon experience.  Read about the difficulties he faced after leaving the battlefield in the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, by Bob McCarty.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Special Forces Soldier Talks About Stresses of War

During one of several deployments to Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart’s Special Forces team conducted an all-intelligence-based mission set. That meant maintaining low-visibility and, basically, riding around dressed up like Iraqis and gathering intelligence during the day about the target sites that we were going to hit at some future moment in time.

Kelly A. Stewart

At one point, he said, his team generated 75 percent of national intelligence in Iraq proper. Not surprisingly, he was very compartmentalized about what he could talk about with anyone—including his wife and family—during that time.

“It’s very stressful, because you’re basically gathering intelligence on known insurgents and, sometimes, that intelligence doesn’t make it to where it needs to be in a timely manner and people die,” Stewart explained.

“If I found out that there was an IED laying in this road over here, I had to send this report up and try to convince a regular Army unit that I knew what I was talking about—that there’s this IED in the road,” Stewart said, noting the fact that, if leaders of that unit decided to ignore the intel he provided, “then they have a patrol that goes out there and a person dies.”

Another example Stewart pointed to involved having a source who couldn’t share information over the phone and would only share it in person.

“By the time he makes it through all the checkpoints and I make it,” Stewart said, “that intelligence is already old, because the action has already happened. It’s very stressful.”

Learn more about Stewart and the stresses he faced after leaving Iraq for the last time in the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, by Bob McCarty.

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

‘Not Everybody Can Be Saved’

In Iraq on his first U.S. Army Special Forces deployment, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart got what he called his “baptism of fire” in war and became the senior medic on his team within a week of his arrival in country.

Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.

“I went there thinking that every life could be saved and every life should be saved,” said Stewart, a medic who also served as a sniper and an intelligence specialist.  “You go there thinking that you’re the most-trained person in the world and you’re so confident… and find that not everybody can be saved.”

Learn more about the life of an American Green Beret and a fight he never expected to have to wage in the book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice.

Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Special Forces Training Makes People Better (UPDATE)

“Special Forces just really takes what’s great in a person and makes it better,” said former Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, talking about what sets an SF soldier apart.

Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart

Stewart used shooters as an example.

“Anybody can shoot, but true shooters have a natural ability that’s already instinctively in there, and then they’re trained to become better shooters,” he said, adding, “Some people you can train to become good shooters, but they’re just not going to be phenomenal shooters because they just don’t have that in ‘em.”

Learn more about Stewart and his life in Special Forces in my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice.  It’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.

Soldier Shaped by SF Creed

The book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice by Bob McCarty, tells the story of Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart’s fight to clear his name.  To obtain justice.  And he’s up to the challenge.

Stewart’s father, John, served more than 30 years in the Air Force — most of it in Special Operations — and retired as a chief master sergeant; therefore, it surprised no one when he joined the Army and, later, passed the rigorous qualifications and training to become a member of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces and a Green Beret.

As a member of that special fraternity of warriors, Stewart lived by the Special Forces Creed below:

Three Days In August is available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com.