As an active Navy SEAL with two tours of duty in Iraq, Carl Higbie wrote and published a book: Battle on the Home Front: A Navy SEAL’s Mission to Save the American Dream.” For 18 months he tried to get the book reviewed by the Chain of Command – which never happened. He published anyway. According to Higbie, he revealed no classified information, and no charges that he did release classified information have been leveled against him. The Navy frowned on his Freedom of Speech and life wasn’t pleasant for him after the book came out. Higbie resigned the Navy and the service to his country early with an Honorable Discharge in his hand – nothing less than you would expect for the man who was among those on SEAL Team 10 who captured the the Iraqi terrorist behind the killing of American contractors, who dragged their bodies through the streets of the hell-hole we know as Fallujah, Iraq, mutilated and burned their bodies and hung them from a Fallujah bridge. Could anything but an Honorable Discharge be in order for Carl Higbie, a true American hero? (Readers and bloggers, I’m asking that you help get the following story out. I’m not asking for attribution. )
The answer is ‘yes,’ under this administration there can be discharge deception, under Military leadership willingly accepting of Obama’s sensitivity to offending Muslims and his own brand of Military leadership – completely alien to what this country has known in the past.
UPDATE 11-9-12 7:25 pm CST: I have made a few changes which are self-explanatory, but if you read this article earlier, Carl has explained to me that he left the Navy early with his Honorable Discharge in his hand. Three months later he received notice of an update and his Honorable Discharge had been changed to a General Discharge. I added this as an update to make the point clear. Please read on.
Fallujah didn’t end there. The captured al-Qaeda terrorist, Ahmed Hashim Abed, was apprehended in a nighttime raid. He accused some of the SEALs of abuse. The pig claimed he was punched and had a bloody lip. Carl and others were charged, but charges against him were eventually dropped. Three SEALs went to trial. Carl testified for them. All were acquitted and left with $100,000 in combined legal costs.
Truly despicable that they were charged to begin with. It gets more difficult every day to believe in our Military leadership and now to remember back to the heinous days of Fallujah, it becomes clearer that our Military brass at the highest levels, is corrupted and out-of-control, but those are my words and NOT Carl Higbie’s.
Higbie was brutal in his criticism of the war under Obama and the problems with attempting to train those we once fought. Every time I write in defense of our Military who are actually in the field and in harm’s way, who are under the gun, so to speak, for speaking out, I am reminded by some of my stellar former Military readers, whom I adore, that speaking against the Commander-in-Chief just cannot be done without consequences, no matter what.
But in Carl’s case, it seems Naval rules were swept under the rug, or maybe it’s more correct to say that ignoring the Navy’s Rule of Law has been flaunted, just as our current Department of Justice ignores U.S Rule of Law with such relish.
Higbie returned to private life with plans to use his Honorable Discharge to help him get on with his education after giving up a partial wrestling college scholarship to join the Navy after September 11, 2001. The 9/11 G.I. Bill provides four years of college, and some small help with textbooks and living expenses.
Three months later, an envelope from the Navy arrived with an update, changing his Honorable Discharge to a General Discharge. I am told by a spokesman for Higbie, that as far as they know, this has never before happened in Naval history.
A General Discharge provides none of the benefits of an Honorable Discharge and requires a specific hearing, giving him the opportunity to defend his right to an Honorable Discharge. That never happened, and indeed, Higbie didn’t know he would need such a hearing.
CORRECTION UPDATE 11-09-12 7:50 pm: According to my contact, the Navy is blaming the mailing of an incorrect discharge on a “scriveners error,” but as far as I know, have not offered to correct the error. How difficult would it be to void the General, and overnight the proper Honorable Discharge? The Navy claims in a letter dated September 13, 2012 that the Honorable Discharge was a “scrivener’s error,” in other words, someone typed the word “Honorable” which was incorrect, rather than “General”which they claim is correct. I’m viewing the documents this minute, and I point you to Carl’s own words above which explain the “black and white” guidelines needed for a General Discharge as well as the needed poor performance evaluations. Carl’s evaluations far exceeded that necessary for an Honorable Discharge. Correspondence from Carl’s attorney lays out the same details. A General Discharge is inappropriate in Higbie’s case.
So I asked some questions and here are the answers I received from my contact who quotes Carl:
Maggie: What does Carl plan to do now to get his Honorable Discharge restored?
Carl: I have a lawyer and intend to take it to first the board of naval discharge review then if needed to a court of law and even a suit against the DOD is we have to.
There are black and white guidelines that the navy violated here and we intend to call them on that. Navy law states that if I am to receive anything other than an “honorable discharge” I must either receive and average of 2.5 or lower on my biannual evaluations for that enlistment period which I have a 3.5 (above average),(all based on a 1-5 system) or I am entitled to an administrative separation board where I can present my case much like a court hearing and they decide, it is not at the sole discretion of my commanding officer as is documented currently. I was not afforded this right either.
My lawyer says we have a VERY strong case and expects to be able to turn this around. It is more frequent than people may imagine that military leaders do whatever they want when it comes to punishment, especially if I could make their career look bad.
Often times these commanders will over step their authority much like they did for my case and soldiers often times do not have the resources to fight the big Military and just give in. My attorney is also standing by to answer any questions or be interviewed on this.
Today there is a report of seven members from SEAL Team 6, including one involved in the bin Laden raid, receiving punishment for providing information to be used for a video game, yet our own President revealed names of SEALs and other sensitive information for filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow to produce her film, Zero Dark Thirty, lauding Obama for taking out Osama. The bottom line is, there can be no details of SEAL Team 6 on the night bin Laden died unless it comes from the SEAls, their Military superiors or the Government. No one is accusing the SEALs of releasing their own identities or telling any tales of the event. Judicial Watch has accused the Obama administration, based on evidence of emails.
Carl Higbie writes about saving the American Dream, which today seems a mission impossible. I’ve not walked a step in a Soldier, Sailor or Marine’s shoes. I understand that there must be discipline when it comes to a Military member criticizing their Superiors. I get it.
I know General Patton wouldn’t be happy, but then General Patton didn’t serve under the Rules of Engagement we have today, and would not have been happy about burdening his men with them. Beyond the obvious, unless there is something I don’t know, I would expect the Navy to follow designated procedure to issue a General Discharge. I would expect the Navy to honor a promised Honorable Discharge. I would expect an Honorable Discharge that is due and proper, cannot be denied, no matter what went before.
Carl Higbie has given years of his life to training and then using that training to defend our country. I ask you to please pass his story around. Help get the word out. If you blog, please take it an run with it. No attribution for my blog is needed. Just tell the story. Maybe we can help raise awareness and get the Honorable Discharge in the mail pronto – correct a terrible wrong, done in such a frivolous but stealth manner to this American hero. If you can donate to help Carl cover the legal expense of recovering his Honorable Discharge, please do so here.