Urinating Marine; no regrets

| July 16, 2013

SGT Joseph Chamblin was court-martialed and pleaded guilty in December to urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban and dereliction of duty for not stopping junior marines from urinating on the bodies. A local news station in North Carolina interviewed him yesterday;

“These were the same guys that were killing our family, killing our brothers,” he said.

One of the brothers, Sgt. Mark Bradley, was killed by an IED blast days before the incident.

“We’re human,” Chamblin said. “Who wouldn’t (want to get revenge) if you lost your brother or mother? Wouldn’t you want revenge?”

After a gun battle in enemy territory, Chamblin said nearly a dozen Taliban insurgents were dead and he and his colleagues were ordered to recover the bodies, which is when the incident happened.

“It’s not like it was a conscious thought or decision but one was like, ‘You know what, (urinate) on these guys.’ And some said, ‘Yeah, (urinate) on them,'” Chamblin said.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the actions” utterly deplorable” at the time and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed to hold the Marines involved accountable.

“Do you want the Marine Corps to be a group of Boy Scout pretty boys or do you want guys that will go out and kill the people trying to take advantage of your country and kill Americans?” Chamblin said. “Which do you want? Because you can’t have both.”

I would hope that the young Sergeant at least regrets that they made a video of their actions. While I don’t condone their actions, I certainly sympathize with what feelings led to the incident. I don’t agree that they needed to be court martialed over the whole thing – there are other tools in a commander’s tool box to handle things like this. This was a State Department prosecution with the media egging them on. There is a serious lack of real leadership in the DoD that should have prevented their persecution.

I can’t see myself urinating on the bodies of my dead enemies or allowing anyone in my charge to do it. Young Sergeant Chamblin was wrong, but he didn’t deserve a court martial.

Category: Marine Corps, Terror War

Comments (40)

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  1. PintoNag says:

    Well, I’ll put it this way. If I had a new neighbor move in, I’d rather it be Sgt. Chamblin, than Leon Panetta or Hillary Clinton.

    ’nuff said.

  2. ChipNASA says:

    Puhleeze…..now while admitting that I was never ever even close to battle, this is the LEAST I’d have done to the enemy had they killed my friends.
    In WWII there are numerous reports of decapitating soldiers and putting their heads on pikes and also cutting off their genitals and stuffing them in their mouths (Japanese did this to Americans they killed.)
    It’s WAR and it’s GAME ON!!!
    Just don’t document your atrocities Sgt Dumbass.

  3. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    During WW II, Marines and, presumably, soldiers, in the Pacific were reminded that mutilating Japanese was a court martial offense. They were, reminded! Shit happens. It ain’t nioce. It ain’t fit to be shown with vacation at Yellowstone photos BUT the response was both political and predictable. Stupid move of the decade: Shooting a video.

  4. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @2. While you were writing, so was I. Damned similar comments, eh?

  5. HM2 FMF-SW Ret says:

    Must have been a slow news day.

  6. ChipNASA says:

    2/17 Air Cav,
    Exactly although I was not aware that our guys were threatened with courts marshall.
    /”But we’re MARINES!!” … should be a valid defense argument 😀

  7. Combat Historian says:

    What they said above: if you’re gonna do something naughty, LEAVE NO AUDIO-VIDEO EVIDENCE EVER!

  8. USMCE8Ret says:

    Yeah, making a video wasn’t such a good idea, but I get where he’s coming from and understand the rationale.

    Small potatoes in comparison to how those fuggin’ savages conduct the business of war.

  9. PintoNag says:

    @6 If we didn’t put some kind of brake on the Marines, they’d go out and conquer the world and give every state in the nation a country for a Christmas present! 🙂

  10. Smitty says:

    Its fucking war! the only crime here is making a video. i recall a video some of my guys made after a haji had a really bad day. they used him as a puppet named ‘Al’ who told of his bad day voiced by someone off camera. he really hated americans and was just trying to kill a few when the evil americans shot him all up and ruined his day. it was tasteless and tacky, but other than making them destroy the video, there were no other repercussions. it is war, ya are killing people that are trying to kill you! who cares about a stupid tasteless video? the guys are already dead, they dont care if someone is pissing on them.

  11. Just Plain Jason says:

    What ever happened to non-judicial punishment?

  12. Hondo says:

    Can’t approve of the act. Fully understand the why, and might have done the same myself if of similar age and under similar circumstances.

    Well, except for the part about allowing it to be filmed. That was manifestly stupid.

  13. Arctic Fox says:

    Once Big Elephants in the Pentagon get hold of an issue involving small fry — esp when the news media chimes in with ratings-driven outrage — all sense of proportion goes away. Marines peeing on dead bad guys? Hey, you begin with a bunch of REMFs making policy. Then you have the old draft dodgers and younger draft dodger wannabes making policy. Heck, you may as well be George Zimmerman. They want a show trial. They’ll get their show trial. It’s all about the politicians and policy guys marking their own territory — speaking of peeing.

  14. Every one of those Marines should have to pull an extra hour of guard duty. That’ll teach them! Same goes for that Bales guy.

  15. TMB says:

    If it wasn’ for the video, he would have received an Article 15 or a formal reprimand.

  16. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    You can riddle them with bullets or shred them with shrapnel. You can vaporize them with high explosives. Depending upon the circumstance of the fight, you can strangle them, plunge a bayonet into them, beat them to death, pusk them off a cliff, or drown them. But one thing you cannot do is piss on them. That’s just not nice.

  17. Twist says:

    I think the DOD should look up what Eleanor Roosevelt had to sat about Marines.

  18. Smitty says:

    they all deserved a very stern ass chewing and the squad leader deserved a reasonable smack up side the back of his head. of course im just talking about punishment for making the tape, the act itself isnt worth the time nor energy to make a deal about

  19. Grimmy says:

    My hope isn’t that the Marine regrets the filming, but that he regrets that so horribly many of his fellow countrymen have turned into knee crawling, thumb sucking, heaping bowls of bitch-punk in snivel sauce.

    Semper Fi

  20. Grimmy says:


    I fully approve of the act.

    No respect what-so-ever for the savages. None. Not in life. Not in death.

  21. Verm says:

    #16 Exactly right.

    Guard duty. Sensitivity training (can’t believe I just typed that). Scrub the head. Maybe, but court martial is ridiculous.

  22. B Woodman says:

    I find SecDef Pansy-panty’s actions “utterly deplorable” at the time.
    I also vow to hold SecState Shrillery Clin-ton accountable for her actions, especially to Benghazi-gate. But, that’s right, she gets a free pass, “Does it matter at this point what the definition of the word is, is?”

    Four Marines pissed on already dead Taliban.
    SecState Shrillery caused four good Americans to be defenseless and KIA.
    As an American, which would YOU find as the greater crime?

    “Do you want the Marine Corps to be a group of Boy Scout pretty boys or do you want guys that will go out and kill the people trying to take advantage of your country and kill Americans?” Chamblin said. “Which do you want? Because you can’t have both.”
    Well said, young Marine, well said. And with your and your squad’s court martial convictions, another nail in the coffin of a once proud and fearsome American military.

  23. Jumpmaster says:

    Panetta and Clinton were never supporters of our military and now obama is working hard to neuter our Armed Forces.

  24. PavePusher says:

    “This Marine is hereby restricted to base for a period of 24 hours, and will demonstrate proficiency in field sanitation methods to the satisfaction of his company Gunnery Sergeant. Case closed.”

  25. USMCE8Ret says:

    Helmet cams are cool and provide some raw footage, but just like an e-mail or internet post (or video, suc as this case), if you think it might get you into trouble, don’t fuggin’ post it.

    I hope it was a good piss, though.

  26. NHSparky says:

    Better to be pissed off than pissed on.

    But sadly, in a PC-overladen environment where a full Captain (Navy Captain, meaning O-6) on fast track to flag rank can have his career shitcanned over a few tacky jokes while underway, did these guys really think anyone in any position of authority was going to have their backs?

  27. Roger in Republic says:

    Without video it’s just another war story, No Shit.

  28. Devtun says:

    The article says Chamblin is retiring in Sep w/ only 15+ yrs service…I must have missed something.

  29. FatCircles0311 says:

    Not even gonna lie I would have pissed all over the Taliban without a second thought. I wouldn’t have video taped it however, that was stupid. I always had a rule when going out on ops, no recordings. It’s only a liability for command to use against you.

  30. AtDrum says:

    Video tapes and cameras. In this PC day and age I fear them more than any weapon…

  31. JohnE says:

    Lemme see…you give them training and capability to kill, blow up, burn, fold spindle and mutilate their enemy, then the opportunity, and you get pissed when they piss on the dead bodies of their enemy? Send mixed messages much? Watch any videos the other side puts out about what they do to still living foes? This is war, against a determined and deadly enemy…this is the last of my concerns. Only problem here is that they videod and released it…gotta be smarter fellas.

  32. Hondo says:

    JohnE: the problem is that these knuckleheads inadvertently gave the enemy help by giving them a major propaganda windfall. They technically violated the laws of land combat, which we signed up to obey, and also provided the Taliban with talking points (“Look at those filthy Infidels – they desecrate out dead!”). And they provided video evidence of doing so.

    I agree with you. The offense itself is IMO relatively minor, and absent the film probably would have been handled appropriately. By filming it, however, these fools made it a big deal the minute the film got out. Though DoD IMO probably overreacted somewhat, they were in a position of having to do something.

    IMO an Article 15 for ALCON would have been about right, with minor stuff for the youngsters and harsher treatment for any NCOs or officers involved. That option probably disappeared when the film went public.

    Any of our readers who are still downrange – MAKE your guys/gals be smarter than this. ENFORCE the rule of, “No pictures if you’d be ashamed to have your mother or Pastor see them today – or to see them on the front page of every newspaper in the country in a year.”

  33. Twist says:

    @28, If the Marines are anything like the Army, they are offering 15 year retirements.

  34. AtDrum says:

    We enforce it. Just heard my wild eyed Kiowa pilot of a company commander tell an LT to get stuff of a webpage.

    We are the white knights of the world in war. We can’t stoop down to enemies level. Yes, it means more of us die. But that is professionalism. Even if America doesn’t want to know what is done to bring the world up, we try and play by rules to let America sleep better at night. Such is sacrifice.

  35. Old Trooper says:

    So; Hillary Clinton says that the Marines involved need to be held accountable? Ok, honey, YOU, Panetta, Jarret, and Obama need to be held accountable for Benghazi. Fucking bitch.

    I’m with Jonn on this; they shouldn’t have video taped it.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Oorah! Get some!

    “We train young men to drop fire on people, but their commanders won’t allow them to write ‘f*ck’ on their airplanes because it’s obscene.” –COL Kurtz

  37. USMCE8Ret says:

    @33 – Yes, Twist. Given the criteria (15+ years), some are eligible for early retirement. I think its still part of the whole “downsizing” thing.

  38. RC Jones says:

    How soon we forget our history. The Moros were kicking the Army’s butt in the Philippines, so they sent in the Marines. I think before WWI. According to my Marine uncle who served in WWII, The General realized that the Moros believed that if their bodies were ‘defiled’ after death, they would not go to paradise. Therefore, he ordered every Moro body ‘be defiled’. The usual method was sewing it up in a pigskin body bag, but ‘field expedient’ methods were used when body bags were not available. Urinating on the body was one method used. That ended the Moro Rebellion in 6 weeks. (USMC Veteran oral history. Believing my uncle, if I had been deployed to fight against Muslims, I would have brought a gallon of lard with me and painted a pig-fat cross on every dead body. And lubricated my bullets with pig-fat.

  39. Old Trooper says:

    @38: I believe it was Pershing who ordered that. I could be wrong (not that THAT has ever happened before).

  40. 1953 says:

    Ordinarily I wouldn’t condone desecrating dead bodies, but in this case I’ll make an exception. I hope these Marines come through this ok.

    As other posters have already mentioned, the Apaches, the Viet Cong, the Japanese in WWII as well as various others have all engaged in similar tactics. Not to mention those animals in Somalia.