Green Beret Maj Matthew Golsteyn: Prosecuting a Hero

 In Military

On Thursday morning, Major Matthew Golsteyn learned that he is being charged with premeditated murder for killing a Taliban bomb maker in Afghanistan during a 2010 deployment. The charge carries the death penalty. But is it warranted?

The Army Times reported,

Golsteyn, a captain at the time, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 with 3rd Special Forces Group. During the intense Battle of Marja, explosives planted on a booby-trapped door killed two Marines and wounded three others who were working with the major’s unit.

During those heated days, Golsteyn earned a Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award for valor, when he helped track down a sniper targeting his troops, assisted a wounded Afghan soldier and helped coordinate multiple airstrikes.

He would be awarded that medal at a 2011 ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The award was later approved for an upgrade to the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award for valor.

But both the medal and his coveted Special Forces tab would be stripped from him due to an investigation that eventually closed in 2014 without any charges.

An Army board of inquiry recommended a general discharge for Golsteyn and found no clear evidence the soldier violated the rules of engagement while deployed in 2010. This would have allowed Golsteyn to retain most of his retirement benefits under a recommended general discharge under honorable conditions.

He’s been under investigation now for nearly 8 years.

Malicious Prosecution?

As with  numerous other cases prosecuting service members for killing in the midst of war, this one didn’t end with the case being closed. In 2015, “army documents” surfaced  that revealed the allegation the Golsteyn “conspired” to hide the body of a Taliban bomb-maker that was brought back to the unit. The man was identified by a local tribal leader as a bomb-maker whose device killed two Marines, and wounded three others.

The local tribal leader was then fearful that the Taliban bomb-maker would retaliate and kill himself and his family. The bomb-maker was then killed.

Was it a “conspiracy to hide” the body? Or was that done because of security concerns over the man who told Golsteyn it was a Taliban bomb-maker? Is it better for an enemy combatant to suddenly “disappear” or openly tell them he’s dead and risk major retaliation?

Is a bomb-maker “unarmed?” How many US service members are coming back from Afghanistan or anywhere else on the war front maimed for life- no legs or arms, faces scarred, traumatic brain injuries from IED explosions? What about those who are killed by those very same IEDs? Grieving Gold Star Families who mourn the deaths of their loved ones because of the bomb-makers of Afghanistan.

They are not “unarmed.” And they need to be taken out in order to save the lives of other service members and other Afghanis.


We have trained our warriors to be wolves. WE trained them to kill. When they are in combat, they have one goal in mind, seek out and kill the enemy, as well as save their brothers in arms. We cannot expect them to think like we do, because we can’t comprehend them. Yet these prosecutors expect men like Major Golsteyn to be the same as they are… but that will never be the case. When they are in combat, they must make decisions to save others. And that involves having to kill.

Major Golsteyn saved many lives by taking out the Taliban bomb-maker. If he had let him go, there would have been many more IED casualties, and countless deaths of other Afghanis who cooperated with the US military. He is a hero, not a person who should be tried for murder.

The Commander has 120 days to review the warrant that may end in an Article 32 hearing that could lead to a court martial. He is not in custody, but is on “voluntary excess leave.”

President Trump will review Golsteyn’s case:




Featured photo: screenshot of Matthew Golsteyn and an unnamed Afghani.

Showing 2 comments
  • Rooster Bagwell

    This is what happens when politicians and snowflakes (oxymoronic?) wage war fueled by the blood of soldiers, airmen, and sailors.

  • Jeff

    The military sent this man to war. He performed his duties. He should not be persecuted or prosecuted. I’m a veteran of Vietnam.

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