The folks at POW Net sent us this heartbreaking (not!) story of a poor GI who gave his all in Somalia then rejoined the Army to beat on Saddam’s Army for a while. His name is Earl Coffey and he’s been drummed out of the service for stealing a half-million bucks worth of Saddam’s hidden treasure. The Army Times tells his story like this;
He joined the active Army, then completed sniper, airborne assault and Army ranger training at Fort Benning, Ga.
He served as a Ranger sniper in Somalia in 1993, engaging in several fierce firefights and was shot in the leg during a battle that was later depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”
“It’s like what General Westmorland once said, that combat is a delightful thought to a young man who has never seen it,” he said.
Nevertheless, after a short time away from being a full-time soldier, Coffey rejoined active duty after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, determined to serve his country. It didn’t take long before he found himself right back in combat, this time in the Middle East.
Yeah, all of that “Ranger, sniper, airborne stuff – you can see it right here on his DD214, right?
What? You don’t see it? It’s right there next to his highest award – an Army Achievement Medal. Oh, wait…maybe not. And then there was the well-worn trail of tears in Iraq;
“We were destroying everything, everything we came in contact with, whether it was a building, a bunker, a trench, a human being, it didn’t matter,” he said during a 2004 military court hearing. “At times it was terrifying, and at times you just felt completely emotionless.”
Once, with Coffey’s unit taking sniper fire, he fired two rounds at a figure on a rooftop, only to discover he had shot an unarmed boy.
Another time, at a roadblock, Coffey watched as fellow soldiers — jittery about suicide attacks — fired warning shots to stop an approaching Nissan pickup. When it kept coming they fired a larger round, the resulting explosion lifting the truck in the air.
Inside, two children and a man died, and Coffey saw the surviving woman watch her family consumed by flames.
They left out the part about how the whole US Army in Iraq was playing soccer with a baby’s head. What? Didn’t everybody?
Since the Army Times did such a bang-up job of verifying his service in Somalia, I’m sure they got his storytelling in Iraq right. Right?
So here’s the picture The Army Times runs of Coffey – do you see all of that Ranger and Airborne training on the uniform?
You don’t? Well apparently the Army Times did.
The article continues with the blubbering about going to prison for stealing Saddam’s loot, but at this point I wonder if anything about Coffey is true. The Army Times picked up the story from the Kentucky Courier-Journal, but you’d think they’d do a bit of fact-checking before they put on their own pages.