Having already survived several combat deployments in Iraq, Army Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart never expected to come face to face with death during a tour of “schoolhouse duty” at a NATO training center in Germany, but he did. Some of the details of the Green Beret’s brush with death appear in the excerpt below from my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August:
Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.
Panicking because they had eaten up some time, they began hooking up bottles and IVs and then another bad thing happened: Stewart had an allergic reaction to a drug the German doctors used and went into anaphylactic shock.
“(There’s) nothing like being double-handcuffed and (having) your feet shackled and strapped to a bed (while) going into anaphylaxis,” Stewart said. “I’ve seen a lot of people go through it, but being conscious and going through it is very difficult.
“It just started off as being real tight in the chest,” he continued. “The next thing you know, it felt like somebody put lighter fluid on me and caught me on fire.
“I couldn’t breathe at all, and everybody was kind of panicking around me, trying to give me medication to stop what was happening.”
Soon, the Germans said they didn’t have a doctor who could treat him, that he was probably having liver and kidney failure and was probably going to die. Their message to the American cops: “We need to get him out of here.”
“Of course, I’m understanding what the Germans are saying and what they’re telling the cops,” Stewart said. “They’re kind of underhanded, saying, ‘We can’t treat him here. We need to send him over to Landstuhl,’” the U.S. Army’s largest hospital in Europe.
“What they’re saying in German is, ‘We need to get him out of here, because he’s not going to survive,’ and they didn’t want that (outcome) in their hospital.”
On Day Two of the Army’s court-martial of one of it’s finest Green Berets, a prosecution attorney cited a suspect source as he questioned Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart about his training. See if you can spot the source in the excerpt from the Record of Trial that appears below:
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TC: At the SERE course you’re taught how to resist violent captors, is that correct? Stewart: Again, sir, unless I’m authorized by the SOCEUR Public Affairs Officer, I can’t discuss the training that I received at the SERE-level C School.
TC: You’re taught how to resist torture? Stewart: Again, sir–
TC: We’re going to go through this, so, that’s fine– Stewart: No, again, sir, I don’t know what I’m authorized to discuss with you because I’m not the releasing authority of my training.
TC: I got this off of Wikipedia.com.
[Legend:SERE = Survive, Evade, Resist and Escape; TC = Trial Counsel; SOCEUR = Special Operations Command Europe; CDC = Civilian Defense Counsel; and MJ = Military Judge.]
That’s right! He said, “I got this off of Wikipedia.” Unbelievable!
How would you feel if you were found guilty by a court-martial panel (i.e., the military equivalent of a jury) that sided with a prosecutor who cited Wikipedia.com as a source during your cross-examination?
FYI: I shared the piece above for the first time four years ago today. Since then, I’ve covered many other military justice cases. I hope you’ll read and share this story as well as the others I’ve written and published. Thanks in advance!
Four years ago today, the paperback version of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight for Military Justice, went on sale for the first time. Little has changed, however, when it comes to the Pentagon’s relentless campaign of political correctness (a.k.a., “witch hunt”) to convict any and all men accused of sexual assault, regardless of whether such crimes actually occurred.
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In Three Days In August, I not only chronicled the life story of former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart, but I dissected the events leading to the false sexual assault allegations made against him by a German woman, the military trial that followed and his conviction in what can only be described as a “kangaroo court-martial.”
Still on sale at Amazon.com, Three Days In August is, in my biased opinion, a must-read book for active-duty, retired and former members of the U.S. military. Likewise, I believe it should be read by anyone who knows someone in the military or who cares about those who serve.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The article below first appeared on this site Aug. 24, 2012. Almost two years later, it vanished — along with nearly 5,000 others written and published since October 2006 — as detailed in a post eight months ago. Today, I rescued it from where it appears on an alternate site in order to share it below with only minor modifications. Please read and share.
No Easy Day is the title of a book by Matt Bissonnette (alias “Mark Owen”), a former Navy SEAL-turned author of an unauthorized account of the 2011 Navy SEALs raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The three-word title could also describe the time former Army Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart spent testifying during his court-martial in August 2009.
According to The Daily Beast, Admiral William McRaven used a letter to members of his U.S. Special Operations Command to issue a veiled warning to Bissonnette. Then USSOC commander, he wrote the following:
“Every member of the special-operations community with a security clearance signed a non-disclosure agreement that was binding during and after service in the military. If the U.S. Special Operations Command finds that an active-duty, retired or former service member violated that agreement and that exposure of information was detrimental to the safety of U.S. forces, then we will pursue every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution where appropriate.”
While Bissonnette became the subject of an NCIS investigation, he has not, to my knowledge, faced any formal charges. Instead, he was ordered to pay $4.5 million to the government for publishing the book without first obtaining clearance.
Conversely, Stewart was sentenced to eight years in prison following a kangaroo-court military trial that followed false allegations he had raped and kidnapped a then-28-year-old German woman. During that trial, he refused to violate the terms of his nondisclosure agreement — even while facing a possible life sentence in a military courtroom in Germany.
The government’s cross-examination of Stewart on Day Two of his court-martial began with the trial counsel asking him questions about friendships he had established in Germany since his August 2008 arrival in the Stuttgart area. Before long, however, it turned into a somewhat-heated exchange—something Stewart later described as being similar to a courtroom scene from the movie, A Few Good Men.
In that scene, a Marine colonel (Jack Nicholson) on the witness stand was accused by a young Navy defense attorney (Tom Cruise) of ordering a “Code Red”—an illegal beating of a Marine by members of his platoon that resulted in his death and a subsequent cover-up. Several minutes of heated exchange between the officers resulted in the colonel finally losing his cool and admitting he ordered the attack.
“Every schooling and every assessment that the military has done on me to assess that I’m stable,” Stewart said, “and that I’m trusted with national security issues and that I can be trusted to make the right, conscious decisions, now is being turned around (so that) every one of those (are) predatory skills that I used to go after Miss Heinrich.”
Still, the trial counsel tried to paint Stewart, a man who had risen into the top one percent of the Army, as a master manipulator whose SF training helped him know how to control a person like his accuser, Greta J. Heinrich*.
After seeing his sentence reduced from eight to three years, Stewart was released from prison March 31, 2011. Four years later — after he had spent his life savings on legal fees and lost all pay and allowances as a result of the trial outcome — he received a letter from the Department of the Treasury and was told he owes the Department of Defense more than $35,000 as repayment for, among other things, a reenlistment bonus he received prior to being court-martialed. See details here.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Exactly six years have passed since Army Sgt. 1st Class Kelly A. Stewart’s military trial ended with him being stripped of his rank and Special Forces tab and sentenced to eight years in prison. Coincidentally, I received an email message this morning from Nicholas McLaughlin, a man who served with Stewart before Stewart advanced to join the ranks of the Green Berets. McLaughlin told me he had read this excerpt from Three Days In August, the book in which I chronicle Stewart’s life and wrongful prosecution. With permission, I share the crux of McLaughlin’s email message below:
Kelly Stewart returns from a mission in Iraq.
I had the pleasure of serving with Kelly Stewart (a.k.a., “Doc Stewart”) in 1999-2001. He was our company medic (in) Alpha Company, 40th ENG. The man described in the excerpt was the same man.
He was an E-4, and I was an E-1 when we deployed to Albania. I was lucky enough to be in his class for Combat Lifesaver. His technical proficiency and professionalism were top notch. Even then, he always volunteered to go on missions with us. Sitting in the back of a 5-ton rolling through the small agricultural city surrounding the airport we had secured.
He took the chance to learn everything when other medics would reply, “I don’t need that, I’m a medic.” He would run drills with us every step of the way. String razor wire to working with explosives. He taught us as much as we taught him.
Most importantly though, he always had our backs, but he was always a humanitarian as well. Some things in this world can make you hard, but Doc Stewart always reminded us through his actions when to be caring as well.
He was the same way in his off time. Whether we were at a Fest in Germany or chilling at Bosen Lake. If your back was against the wall, he was there and, if you were out of line, he was (there) too.
We had a saying when we were in Germany: it doesn’t matter what happens, the American is always wrong.
More than anyone, Stewart knows all too well how much truth lies in that saying.
To learn more about Stewart’s story, read the other articles I’ve written and read some of the endorsements of the book. To fully understand why I remain so passionate about wanting to see justice for this TOP ONE PERCENT SOLDIER, you’ll have to read the entire book.