Sunday, December 7, 2008
Bureaucrats Out of Control? Decorated Veterans Indicted for Nisoor Square Incident
Decorated combat veterans - including an Eagle Scout - are among the five Blackwater security guards indicted for allegations against them for their actions while defending a US diplomat from an ambush at Nisoor Square in Baghdad.
The indicted men include three Marines, a former US Army soldier from the 82nd Airborne, and a former Army infantry soldier. During their military service, all had been decorated for good conduct and other achievements. They served in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Iraq before joining Blackwater.
They are, according to the Associated Press and Washington Post:
Donald Ball, 26, of Utah. Corporal, US Marines, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 2001-2005; a squad team leader with two tours in Iraq. Honor graduate, School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton, California. Among his honors: Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his leadership while coming under sniper fire; Certificate of Commendation for his combat service in Fallujah; Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and others. The US Embassy in Baghdad praised him for heroically sticking with his mission and not losing focus in the midst "numerous improvised explosive devices and small arm attacks." Ball was an Eagle Scout.
Dustin Heard, 27, of Tennessee. Corporal, US Marines, Security Force Battalion, First Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Team, 2000-2003. Secured oil platforms off Iraqi coast during invasion in 2003. Member, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2003-2004. Deployed to Afghanistan. Among his honors: Received three certificates of appreciation from the US Embassy in Baghdad for securing the Embassy and the "Ministry of Parliament," and for protecting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Evan Liberty, 26, of New Hampshire. Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2001-2002; Marine Security Detachment, US Embassy Cairo, 2002-2003; Marine Security Detachment, US Embassy Guatemala, 2003-2004. Among his honors: Meritorious Mast, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, White House Communications Agency Certificate.
Nick Slatten, 25, of Tennessee. Sergeant, US Army 82nd Airborne, 2002-2006, served in Iraq; graduate of Army Sniper School, with two combat tours in Iraq. Among his honors: Army Good Conduct Medal.
Paul Slough, 29, of Texas. US Army 3rd Infantry Division, 1999-2002, with tour in Bosnia; Texas National Guard, 2/142 Infantry, 2002-2006, with tour in Iraq. Among his honors: Army Commendation Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal.