Michael Holmes vs. the Army and common sense

| February 28, 2011

What if I told you a story about a married US soldier in Afghanistan who repeatedly sneaked off of the base in his civilian clothes, accompanied by his girlfriend, a subordinate soldier. That they took their weapons with them, concealed in their clothing, and then willingly turned their weapons over to the owner of the restaurant where they dined. And then bragged about their exploits on Facebook and included pictures.

Throughout that retelling, you were picturing an Army specialist or young buck sergeant, weren’t you? What if I told you that it was a Texas National Guard Lieutenant Colonel? The same LTC who accused BG William Caldwell of trying to run intelligence operations against visiting members of Congress, LTC Michael Holmes. Well, in April, 2010, the Army conducted a 15-6 investigation into the antics of Michael Holmes and his girlfriend Major Laurel Levine (I know, she sounds like a superhero’s girlfriend or a stripper, doesn’t she?).

For background see Assoluta Tranquillita who links to all of the best blogs who wrote about this last week.

What were Holmes and Levine doing when they went off of the base in civilian clothes to dine in restaurants? They were drumming up business for the company they hoped they would found after their tour. They called it SyzygyLogos LLC and they hoped to do business doing exactly what they were doing for the Army in Afghanistan. That’s why they also took pictures of themselves doing the taxpayers’ business in civilian clothes to make it appear as if they already had a private company and were contracted with the US government. On your dime. This is from his company’s Facebook profile of SyzygyLogos LLC under title “Training the Afghans”

The investigating officer, LTC Richard Santiago, found the investigation to be a breeze since Holmes and Levine left a trail on Facebook like this;

So this is what Santiago recommended;

On May 18, 2010, Colonel Joseph P. Buche, Chief of Staff, approved all of Santiago’s recommendations except a. and f., so they didn’t get Article 15s or have their Federal status revoked. They got sent back to Texas in September. Apparently, Holmes stewed for nearly six months before he went to Michael Hastings of the Rolling Stone Magazine to spill his guts over what we’re supposed to believe is some heinous crime.

Oh, yeah, and Holmes tries to make it sound as if he’s some spook-like Psy-Ops guy, except he’s never been to any kind of training like that. They’ve kinda lost interest in the company they were forming during their duty hours in Afghanistan, too. I guess that happens when Holmes has to go home to his wife every night instead of Hotlips Levine.

Holmes told Fox News;

“Do I have an ax to grind? Yeah. But the ax is this. If they can do this to a lieutenant colonel, what are they doing to the sergeants out there? I have a lot of education and training. … I knew where to go and what the rules were and weren’t.”

Except that “what was done” to Holmes seems to have a mountain of evidence. I don’t know too many sergeants who would hand their personal weapon over to a foreign civilian and try to manipulate their training to look like the sergeant has a business.The pictures that Holmes or Levine themselves put and left on Facebook seem to support the 15-6 investigation.

Mikey Hastings and Mikey Holmes have a cheerleader in Glen Greenwald at Salon, who thinks that the character of the messengers doesn’t matter;

As usual, anyone who makes powerful government or military leaders look bad — by reporting the truth — becomes the target of character assassination, and the weapon of choice are the loyal, vapid media stars who will uncritically repeat whatever powerful officials say all while shielding them from accountability through the use of anonymity.

Given that Holmes has been proven by an Army investigation to be a liar (Holmes told the investigator that hed been given permission to wear civilian clothes and carry his personal weapon concealed outside of the wire – and the evidence of his duplicity has been posted on the internet by Holmes and Levine themselves) don’t you think the Hastings articles should be met with a measure of skepticism? What Greenwald and Hastings want you to do is read the articles without knowing where this bullshit is coming from. Like the IVAW gets bent out of shape when I investigate their individual backgrounds. We’re not supposed to ask where the information is coming from, or what might be the motivations of the messenger.

If the Army really went on a witch hunt to silence Holmes and Lavine, they might have included an investigation into the relationship between the two, but that investigation was specifically excluded from the 15-6. Personally, I’d have preferred that the command had given him an Article 15, that way we’d have been able to see if Holmes was prepared to take the charges to a court martial and risk a little “pound me in the ass prison”.

But you know what upsets me most about this whole story? It’s bullshit from the first word of Hastings’ article. Public Affairs and Information Operations are basically the same. There’s no difference except in which people are hearing the information product. If Brigadier General Caldwell was willing to tell visiting Congressmen and Senators bald-faced out-right lies, he could have had used either of those two offices to tell them with the same result.

The only way this is news is if Caldwell was planning on having Holmes waterboard visitors.

See more from Bruce McQuain at HotAir, Blackfive, Jimbo at Big Peace and from Mothax at The Burn Pit. There’s also more at Mudville Gazette, but I’m not exactly sure what.

Category: Phony soldiers, Rethink Afghanistan

Comments (27)

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  1. Old Trooper says:

    The one thing I noticed is that Holmes is really in love with himself. He basks in the light of thinking he’s the smartest kid in class and isn’t afraid to tell everyone how brilliant he is. That kind of arrogance is what stands out when they all of a sudden are the “victim” because the government was afraid of their uber-awesomeness and their mad skills.

  2. Old Tanker says:

    Well, well, well, color me surprised….

  3. OldSoldier54 says:

    Geez, these yo-yo’s are field grade officers??!! What a couple of ding-dongs.

  4. Just A Grunt says:

    Un-fracking believable. They both should be drummed out of the service like they did, and here is where I date myself, the old tv western called “Branded”.

  5. There MUST be a DADT policy in place for fools and nitwits?

    Okay, so it ain’t quite the same; it would explain how these two got promoted though.

  6. brat says:

    Surprised? Not so much! *gasp* Thanks for this. Have used yours as the basis for a Monday morning update, and linked to you:



  7. Andy FMF says:

    The loss of security clearances kinds cut into the business’s marketability and I guess that goes to what the legal community calls “motive”.

    Anyone want to play a “Fraud, Waste, and Abuse” game?

    I’m sure that there is another IG investigation just waiting to be sprung on them.

    So does their tour qualify for VFW membership or should this tour instead be considered a business trip?

  8. crucible says:

    Doggone good reporting!


  9. Andy FMF says:


    Does that mean completing SERE school requirements on line means that I can claim attending SERE school? =)

  10. NHSparky says:

    Why does this assclown still have a commission?

  11. WOTN says:

    Well, I was pretty happy with myself last week, what with finding the financial incentives of Hastings and RS, even though Jonn published the first rebuttal.

    Then I wake up this morning to see a righteous smackdown of Hastings & Holmes on the pages of TAH and the intrepid Canadian investigator, AB.

    Yeah, I added to the original article. I added the follow-up of the very thorough smackdown initiated by the prim & proper teamed up with the knuckledragger. Come to think of it, I should call it The Beauty and The Beast!

    Keep up the good work, Jonn & Brat!

  12. Bobo says:

    Crap, he had to be a Guardsman, didn’t he.

  13. NHSparky says:

    I’m a bit rusty on the NG commissions, but can’t the governor rip his up? Calling Rick Perry, pick up white courtesy phone, please.

    I’ve seen E-4’s with more sense than this jackwagon, furthering my opinion that officer’s aren’t necessarily smarter, just better educated (ha!).

  14. brat says:

    rofl @ WOTN.. That would be MS Prim and Proper to you..;)

    I just have this image stuck on my brain cell of Mikey(Hastings in this case) with his steno notepad, watching the big kids doing the REAL work. But then, I am not sure if Mikey could even take accurate notes..

  15. Jacobite says:

    I second Sparky’s motion, and notion.

  16. ROS says:

    What is it with you and Michaels, AB??? ๐Ÿ˜€

    As sparky asked, why DOES he still have a commission? He handed his weapon to a foreign civilian. Why was he not handed an OTH discharge?

  17. PintoNag says:

    Where IS a lightening strike when you need one??

  18. Bobo says:

    @NHSparky et al- Once his commission is federally recognized, there isn’t much that can be done. On top of it, the offenses were committed while he was in a Title 10 status, so the TX ARNG has no jurisdiction. On the flip side, while he was on Title 10, the AC could (should) have pushed the issue with the 15-6 recommendations and gone the court martial route. He would have been subject to all the same fun, to include Leavenworth, as the AC. Instead he got the GO Letter of Reprimand, which, if he had kept his mouth shut, could have easily been swept under the rug when he got back to TX. I’m not sure if, since there was already a final outcome, if the AC has any recourse in bringing this back in for another punishment. If so, they can recall him to active duty.

  19. DaveO says:

    Okay, now things are clearer. The phone-colonel is creating a bit of subterfuge in his legal case by going the whistleblower route. Hope he registered in advance.

    And he posted it on Facebook.


  20. NHSparky says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Bobo–having never been a reservist or NG, I wasn’t sure. Frankly, he got off with a slap on the wrist, but then he decided to go flapping his cockholster.

    Recall him to AD, and go the Art. 15 or court-martial route. Dude is a total embarassment. Something tells me he could face that, even if not in an AD status if he’s commenting on actions which took place on Title 10. I know that I could still face federal prosecution for divulging classified material even though I left active duty over a decade ago.

  21. Bobo says:

    Actually, if he did any of this stuff while he was drilling, he could probably be subject to prosecution under Texas law. When in a drill status, ARNG soldiers are not subject to the UCMJ, but, typically, each state has a state law that is very similar, if not a copy of, the UCMJ for those in a drill status. When I was an M-day guy, I had a company commander who would swear out warrants for AWOLs through the week. There were more than enough guardsmen who were troopers who were willing to show up to Joe’s work place or college classroom and take the offender away in cuffs.

  22. Doc Bailey says:

    Quite frankly I’m shocked he didn’t get any UCMJ action. Had any unnamed Sergeant (like he claims to be sticking up for) done HALF the shit he tried to pull his ass would have been in Levenworth faster than you can say “Troop you done F**ked up”. The shame of it all is that, some tin foil hat types believe him, and we will (no doubt) be hearing this “psy-ops” use against Senators for YEARS to come. Right along with 9-11 was an inside job, Bush planed to go to war with Iraq on 9-12, the EVER popular “War for oil”, or the ENDLESS droning on of Haliburton, enron etc.

  23. bubbagump says:

    Mikey is on youtube giving a civilian history class on Afghanistan, outside in the village perimeter, in uniform, and burning tax money. big egos…

  24. Redleg319 says:

    One not-so-small correction. Is Lieutenant General Caldwell, not Brigadier General Caldwell. LTG Caldwell was a BG like 12 years and 2 promotions ago, and a Major General at least by 2004 when he took command of the 82nd Airborne Division