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Career Military officials and politicians for the most part write and implement Rules of Engagement (ROEs) for our troops during deployment. Many of those who write the rules have never been in combat, and a majority of politicians have never served in the military at all. In other words, those who make the rules have never had to fight in a war with enemies who don’t care about or play by the rules.
Army Lieutenant Clint Lorance Gets 19 Years at Ft. Levenworth because He defended his Troops against Islamic Jihadists WRITTEN BY: TIM BROWN
1st Lt. Clint Lorance
1st Lt. Michael Behenna
Michael Behenna released from U.S. Disciplinary Barracks
Nervous energy coursed through the Behenna family Friday morning as they waited in a parking lot just outside the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. The ominous walls of the historic military prison loomed behind them as they scanned a nearby street for a white van.
“He’s supposed to come from that way,” Vicki Behenna said pointing east toward the main prison entrance. “But who knows with this place. He could come from anywhere.”
Just then, a white van approached on a side road from the opposite direction, turned into the lot and crawled to a stop in front of the small group of supporters.
A young uniformed woman stepped from the driver’s seat. After checking the family’s identifications, she turned and retreated to the back of the van and opened the doors. After serving five years in prison for the 2008 killing of an Iraqi man, former U.S. Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna emerged to the cheers of his family.
Despite warnings from officers not to rush the van, Michael Behenna’s longtime girlfriend, Shannon Wahl, sprinted toward him, nearly knocking him over as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
Dressed in an orange hoodie and gray sweatpants, his head shaved and sporting a short, trimmed beard, Behenna soon was surrounded by his family. He closed his eyes and lifted his head toward the heavens, embracing the parents who never gave up seeking his freedom. He buried his face in his mother’s shoulder. The family then gathered in a tight circle to say a quiet prayer.
1st Lt. Clint Lorance never imagined that following the rule of engagement to save not only his life, but the lives of his fellow soldiers against Islamic enemies would result in him spending nearly two decades in prison. But it did.
Lorance, 30, had been trained to make split-second decisions and his training culminated in a real-life scenario in July 2012 when he and his squad were on a foot patrol in southern Afghanistan. He had just been made Platoon Leader after his predecessor had been severely wounded.
At that time, Lorance led his troops into a Taliban-infested territory, where their air support had indicated that there were enemy personnel were in the vicinity. Jennifer Bucholtz reports what happened next.
While crossing a barricaded road designated only for military and police use, his platoon encountered a dreaded–and possibly deadly–threat: Three men on a motorcycle speeding directly towards them. Not only were the men driving on a prohibited road, but they ignored the platoon’s verbal shouts and hand signals commanding them to stop. They also fit the description of the enemy personnel as described by the overhead surveillance team. Fearing an impending ambush and/or vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, either of which could have resulted in the loss of additional men (his unit had already lost four soldiers), Lorance commanded his gunners to open fire on the motorcycle. The first shots missed the riders. The three Afghan men on the motorcycle roared through the platoon formation, then came to a halt nearby. All three dismounted and began walking aggressively towards Lorance’s troops, still ignoring commands to stop.
Not knowing whether the men might be armed with traditional weapons and/or suicide vests, he again gave permission to his men to open fire, resulting in the death of two of the Afghans. The third ran away but was found and detained later that day. His hands tested positive for homemade bomb-making materials residue, lending to the suspicion that he and his cohorts were preparing for an attack against American soldiers. Another local Afghan quickly retrieved the motorcycle from the scene and rode away on it before it could be collected as evidence or assessed for explosives. READ MORE