- The Washington Times
Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Army revealed it will not be returning a Silver Star awarded to a former Green Beret officer who was pardoned by President Trump while facing murder charges in the 2010 death of an alleged Afghan bombmaker.

Retired Maj. Matthew Golsteyn‘s appeal to have his Special Forces tab — a uniform insignia indicating he was a member of the elite organization — also was rejected.

Maj. Golsteyn‘s case was one of a number of high-profile clashes between Mr. Trump and senior Pentagon officials over military justice.

“The Army’s Board for Correction of Military Records, the service’s highest level of administrative review for personnel actions, has considered and denied Matthew Golsteyn‘s application,” said Lt. Col. Gabriel J. Ramirez, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon.

Citing privacy laws, Lt. Col. Ramirez said the Army would not release specific information regarding the board’s decision.

In a job interview with the CIA, Maj. Golsteyn reportedly admitted killing the man he believed was a Taliban munitions expert during a 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. The information was relayed to Army investigators who later charged him with murder.

According to USA Today, the decision to deny Maj. Golsteyn the Silver Star — which had been recommended for an upgrade to the Distinguished Service Cross — and Special Forces tab was made last June but wasn’t announced during the final months of the Trump presidency. 

In a statement provided by his attorney, Maj. Golsteyn said he remains in “utter disbelief” that the Army seems to have gone against the desire of Mr. Trump, who told him in person that anything negative on his record would be expunged following his pardon.

“We have seen military departments obey the direction of the commander-in-chief in other cases and, inexplicably, the Army defied the president,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a surprise the findings of the Army Board were released in November 2020 and not mailed to me for two months, after President Trump left office, so my case could languish in the quagmire of presidential transition.”

Phillip Stackhouse, Maj. Golsteyn‘s California-based lawyer, said it was “repugnant” that the Army continues to denigrate his client’s battlefield record.

“The Army should be ashamed to keep the false narrative alive at this point. It’s an embarrassment and disloyal,” Mr. Stackhouse said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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