Former Fort Stewart soldier dismissed over threats

Saturday, April 17, 2010 11:38 AM
Last updated 4:58 PM
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BAGHDAD - The Army has dismissed a soldier who threatened fellow troops and sent the Pentagon a violent rap song he wrote to protest his Iraq redeployment orders, officials said today.

The dismissal for misconduct means Spc. Marc A. Hall will avoid criminal charges but lose all military benefits earned over at least four years of service, including an earlier tour in Iraq.

Lt. Col. Eric Bloom, an Army spokesman, said today that top brass decided to discharge Hall instead of taking him to trial in part because he admitted his guilt.

"He understood the threats he made to his fellow soldiers," Bloom said. "With the loss of his benefits, the time he's already done in jail and his reduction in rank, that's justice served."

Hall has been jailed since Dec. 11, two days before his brigade with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was scheduled to leave for Iraq. He was charged with the military offense of communicating a threat after telling his battalion commander that he might shoot or otherwise attack a fellow soldier, according to Army lawyers. He had served in Iraq in 2007-08.

But it was a CD recording of a rap song that Hall wrote and sent to the Army's personnel office in July of last year that gained notoriety for the case.

At that point, Army lawyers said, Hall knew his unit was scheduled to deploy - just two months before he was to finish his four-year enlistment contract. An unpopular Army policy known as "stop loss" requires that soldiers who are assigned to a unit at the time it deploys will be kept in the ranks for as long as the duration of the yearlong tour.

On the recording, Hall denounced the Army for the policy and rapped about opening fire with his military-issue M-4 rifle.

"I got a (expletive) magazine with 30 rounds, on a three-round burst, ready to fire down," Hall rapped. "Still against the wall, I grab my M-4, spray and watch all the bodies hit the floor. ... I bet you never stop-loss nobody no more, in your next lifetime of course. No remorse."

Hall's civilian attorney, David Gespass of Birmingham, Ala., said that although some of Hall's words may have seemed threatening to the Army, he's convinced the soldier never intended to harm anyone.

"The song was a way for him to sort of vent," Gespass said. "He was, I think, less and less happy about the idea even of having a weapon and using it."

Gespass said soldiers appearing as witnesses at Hall's Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury, testified that "they thought he was a joker and they didn't take him seriously."

Although he felt Hall would likely have been acquitted by a court-martial, Gespass said he and Hall's military lawyer feared the soldier would have remained deployed in Iraq after his trial and decided the best thing for him was a discharge.

"We are really happy that he's coming home," Gespass said. "We think it's the best solution for all concerned."

Critics have called the case a free speech issue, saying Hall should not be punished for venting his anger about being sent back to Iraq right before he was supposed to get out of the Army. His lawyer also has denied that Hall is violent, calling the rap a "fantasy" instead of a threat.

Bloom said that Maj. Gen. Terry Wolff signed off Friday on a plea deal for Hall to admit guilt and be discharged from the Army instead of face trial in Baghdad, as military lawyers requested. Had he lost at trial, Hall could have spent up to 15 years in jail.

Still, the case was far from sealed: Army lawyers concede that Hall never took physical action against any troops. His threat came the month after Maj. Nidal Hassan allegedly killed 13 people in a shooting spree at Ft. Hood, Texas - a period when the Pentagon was taking extra precautions about potentially violent soldiers.

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bclicious
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bclicious 04/17/10 - 12:36 pm
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What a coward!

What a coward!

Sargebaby
4690
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Sargebaby 04/17/10 - 12:58 pm
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I've got another name for

I've got another name for this jerk! Can't post it, though!

cadam12
5
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cadam12 04/17/10 - 12:58 pm
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AT FIRST I WAS CONFUSED BY

AT FIRST I WAS CONFUSED BY THE STATEMENT THAT HE WAS "dismissed". BEING A RETIRED MILITARY I KNOW THE ARMY DON'T "DISMISS' anyone. SHOULD HAVE PRINTED HE WAS DISCHARGED.

Ushouldnthave
0
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Ushouldnthave 04/17/10 - 01:49 pm
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Give me the salary, benefits,

Give me the salary, benefits, free college, retirement, but don't ever, EVER, dis me by expecting me to do the job that you hired me for. Is you crazy?? This is Generation Y; the beginning of the Idiocracy.

Sargebaby
4690
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Sargebaby 04/17/10 - 01:57 pm
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I know a bunch of people who

I know a bunch of people who resemble that comment, USH!

audioofbeing
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audioofbeing 04/17/10 - 02:53 pm
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On one hand I want to commend

On one hand I want to commend the guy for being willing to stand up for his beliefs even though it cost him so much. On the other hand, he's a complete moron, so I kind of doubt he knew what the hell he was doing, and this wasn't about morality so much as him just not wanting to go back to Iraq. With that in mind:

Guy, just shut the hell up and do what is no doubt your last tour in Iraq. You were serving in 2007, you're coming up on the end of your service. Iraq is safer for Americans than Iraqis these days, you're going to come back. You get all the benefits you worked for, and then you can broadcast your lame rap song as much as you like. Moron.

Or just wait until you climb the ranks and hit E-7 at least, then you can just get reassigned for stupid stuff like this.

gaspringwater
3
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gaspringwater 04/17/10 - 02:55 pm
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Sounds like that dude is

Sounds like that dude is about as crazy as Corporal Klinger.

cristinadh
6
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cristinadh 04/17/10 - 04:07 pm
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I am appalled!!!

I am appalled!!!

disssman
6
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disssman 04/17/10 - 06:55 pm
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I am retired and it sounds

I am retired and it sounds like the Army renegged on his contract by trying to force him to stay a year longer. Those posters that disagree can go right down to the enlistment office and show their bravery and patriotism. As far as I am concerned this guy should have a chance to sue the U.S government and force that government to return to a draft which should include women. Of course if we do that, then the war is over, corporate welfare would take a huge hit and unemployment would skyrocket.

corgimom
19200
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corgimom 04/17/10 - 07:14 pm
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It is made very clear to

It is made very clear to everyone in the military that when you enlist, you give up a lot of your Constitutional rights and that you fall under UCMJ. Considering that he voluntarily joined, I do not have the slightest bit of sympathy for him. He knew what he was getting into.

All things considered, he came out ok, but I wish him lots of luck in his civilian career, and hope that he practices his hamburger flipping skills, because that's going to be the best he's going to do for a long, long time.

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 04/17/10 - 07:20 pm
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Wow..I am in awe of the above

Wow..I am in awe of the above poster. Guess there is one in every crowd, but here is a perfect example of an angry man, very capable of doing harm to others. Let's see...oh yeah! Kinda like the Fort Hood murders? I was in the military too, and they had policies I disliked, but I knew about them, and signed on the dotted line, just like he did. He deserved much more than he got. The Army was amiss in only one thing imho, and that was letting him off so lightly. He should have served hard jail time.

TheFederalist
0
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TheFederalist 04/17/10 - 08:24 pm
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Amen Corgi! He's very lucky

Amen Corgi! He's very lucky he will be still able to flip those burgers!

teapot
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teapot 04/18/10 - 11:55 am
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Boys and Girls, DO NOT join

Boys and Girls, DO NOT join the military just to have a job, free medical, pension, etc. because that nasty old drill sarge will be your mama and daddy for only a little while. THEN you will have to be an employee who will have to do a job, LIKE IT OR NOT. You take the man's money, you do the job he gives you. No one likes deployment, no one likes war, but you sign on for that. Heck, now you can take your cellphone and call home when you can, follow your friends on Facebook, Twitter and so on. just remember not to re-up for the bonus money.

Frank I
1132
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Frank I 04/18/10 - 12:58 pm
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I think he should remain in

I think he should remain in jail for the duration of the unit's deployment..

themaninthemirror
0
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themaninthemirror 04/18/10 - 01:32 pm
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What did he think they were

What did he think they were going to do, get him an audition for Amercan Idol?

disssman
6
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disssman 04/18/10 - 04:28 pm
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Corgi do you think that when

Corgi do you think that when he enlisted for a specific period of time, he actually knew that that time could be extended at the whim of the government? I really believe that the military couldn't stand the adverse publicity of a court martial and that is why they dropped it. After all an army relying on grandparents for recruits is in bad enough shape already. BTW those who condemn him for demanding a valid contract should show their colors tomorrow. P.S. I had a contract with the same department that said I would have free medical care as long as I lived, but they decided the contract was invalid.

disssman
6
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disssman 04/18/10 - 04:34 pm
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I meant to add, he messed up

I meant to add, he messed up by not waiting till his contract would have been finished. I do agree with throwing him out (unfortunately it will mean nothing as far as his next job goes) because he did swear to abide by the rules and follow the orders of the President and people over him. I just think that we should return to a draft including women, with no deferments, so everyone can be a patriot equally. Believe it folks the military is critically short people.

justus4
93
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justus4 04/18/10 - 08:49 pm
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There is an Army officer who

Unpublished

There is an Army officer who questioned the President's birth, and now is still refusing to deploy to Iraq. What spin is associated with his case? Free speech they claim. So why was Spc Hill facing punishment for using his free speech? It's the same ole story where particular citizens, who have a valid reason to be bitter, be charged with unreasonable violations. Spc Hill was due to ETS, but "stop loss" which is a backdoor draft, would force him to be extended. How cruel! And it happen everyday, but watch this officer's case. He will be defended by the ACLU (which all (R)s hate) and his rights will be firmly protected because his refusal is based on some kinda so-called "principles" Ha! And Spc Hill should have never been charged, and he loses ALL benefits. Let's see if that officer loses anything for speaking ill of the CINC. He will not.

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