PUBLISHED: 23:32 EST, 26 October 2013 | UPDATED: 23:34 EST, 26 October 2013
A well-intentioned honest mistake could cost Major Jason Brezler his position as a Marine reservist.
Maj Brezler found himself in hot water last summer when he responded to an email from troops in Helmand Province, Afghanistan who were inquiring about a local police chief named Sarwar Jan.
Jan was being given access to the base in Delhi as part of the U.S. military’s exit strategy from the country.
Maj Brezler had prior knowledge of Jan, and immediately replied to warn his fellow marines about the dangerous police chief with ties to the Taliban. He also reported that Jan was a noted child abuser and there were allegations he sexually abused minors on U.S. bases in the past.
Immediately after sending the email, Maj Brezler realized he had made a mistake and shouldn’t have sent the message from his personal Yahoo email account. He reported himself to the Marines and is now facing judgement. He could face a Board of Inquiry hearing as early as next month where he will need to argue his case for remaining a Marine.
But punishment for the email is causing an uproar among politicians and high-ranking military leaders since his email was a harbinger for a deadly attack carried out at the forward operating base in Delhi by one of Jan’s boy assistants.
The assistant, who is believed to be one of Jan’s sexual-abuse victims, opened fire in a base gym on August 10, 2012 and killed three American soldiers: Staff Sergeant Scott Dickinson, Corporal Richard Rivera and Lance Corporal George Buckley, Jr.
Warning: Shortly after sending a warning email to soldiers in Helmand Province about Sarwar Jar, one of Sanwar Jar’s assistants shot and killed three soldiers on the base. Above, the body of victim Staff Sgt Scott Dickinson is brought back to the U.S.
Maj Brezler lives in New York and in addition to being a Marine reservist, is a New York City fireman.
Kevin Carroll, Maj Brezler’s lawyer who is working pro bono, said it was ‘inconceivable that a combat Marine and New York City fireman, such as Jason Brezler, would have lied or stayed silent when marines in Afghanistan sought his advice on an emergency force protection issue.’
New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand and Representative Peter King have both written letters backing their fellow New Yorker. Rep King called it ‘unfair’ that Maj Brezler would be punished for his ‘good-faith effort to warn his fellow Marines.
‘The Marines and the (New York City) Fire Department need more good men such as Maj Brezler, not less,’ Rep King wrote.
Other military leaders have come to Maj Brezler’s defense, describing him as a model Marine.
Bing West, the former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs and who has written several non-fiction books about the military, said Major Brezler ‘has brass balls. We’d like to believe that’s the definition of a marine, but I’ve seen Brezler in action.’
He also described the time he saw Brezler ‘brace a punk police chief and drag away a young teen who was being used as a sex slave’. U.S. military in the area were able to convince the provincial governor to depose that police chief.
Doing the right thing: Several politicians and high-ranking military officials have written to defend Maj Brezler’s actions. Above, another picture of the casks of the three Marine victims from the shooting at FOB Delhi being brought back to the U.S.
Maj Gen Larry Nicholson, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Division and Brig Gen Richard Simcock have also spoke up for Maj Brezler.
‘Jason is a selfless, fearless and dedicated Marine officer. He accomplished much, for so many, with little regard for himself. I urge board members to take into consideration these aspects of his character and prior service in deliberations,’ Maj Gen Nicholson wrote.
Brig Gen Simcock called Maj Brezler a ‘principled man of integrity who is not swayed by peer pressure or personal gain’.
The Marine Corps Times also published an editorial in favor of leniency for Maj Brezler.
‘Brezler’s treatment sends the message that in the Marine Corps there’s no room for honest mistakes. That’s a dangerous precedent to set in any line of work, but most assuredly in the military where even four-star generals will acknowledged that an understanding commander showed them some leniency along the way.’
A spokesman for the Marine Corps Forces Reserve declined to comment on Maj Brezler’s impending hearing.
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Categories: Military Intelligence