Case

MSG John E Hatley

Service awards and recognition include: Bronze Star Medal (2), Meritorious Service Medal (2), Valorous Unit Award (2), Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Army Commendation Medal (3), Army Achievement Medal (7) Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge (2), Expert Infantryman Bade, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, German Marine Schutzenschnur (Marksmanship) Badge (Gold), Army Service Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Ribbon 2/BSS, Saudi Liberation medal (Saudi Arabia), Saudi Liberation Medal (Kuwait), National Defense Service Medal (2), NCO Professional Development Ribbon (3), Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (6), Overseas Service Ribbon (5), Kosovo Service Medal, NATO Service Medal (2), Overseas Service Bars (5) (Combat Stripes), Marksmanship Badge (expert)

Case details

         In March/April of 2007, my crew along with a patrol from 2nd Platoon (SGT Joseph Mayo’s Platoon) was patrolling an area south of our Combat Outpost (COP). We identified two (2) suspicious individuals cross the road in front of our patrol. We followed them, which resulted in a pursuit and captured them in a house. They had approximately 4-6 hand grenades, ammunition and other weaponry on them. They were Sunni in a predominately Shia area. After questioning them, we found out that their house and a car in front of their house had been burned. The aspects of the burn were indicative of a molitave cocktail. The car was completely destroyed. They stated they were just trying to defend themselves because the Shiite in the area were trying to run them out or kill them. After the questioning was concluded, I believed the statements that they had made to us and asked them if they could tell us where the bad guys that had been threatening them lived. One of them said yes and he would take us there. We concealed their faces and were taking them to the trucks when we started receiving rifle and machine gun fire from the south. We left the civilians in the trucks (this was at approximately 1300 hours) and occupied the rooftops of the houses directly to our south. We identified where the fire was coming from and returned fire in that direction. The enemy broke contact and fled to the west. We pursued approximately 5-7 blocks and identified them occupying a house. We cordoned off the house and entered and cleared it. We secured four or five military aged males along with approximately 3 women and children. We asked the men where the weapons were. We were told they had none. After a thorough search of the house, we found (under a stairwell) a duffle bag approximately ¾ full of linked ammunition. In one of the store front rooms on the front of the house, we also found a room with PKC’s (a 7.62m, belt fed automatic weapon), RPK’s (a 7.62m, magazine fed, fully automatic weapon) sniper rifles, Binoculars, Night vision goggles, ammunition and bullet proof vests.
          We secured the individuals, conducted X-spray tests, questioned them and took them back to the COP. We discussed if we had enough information to process them for DHA (Detainee Holding Area). Due to the Catch and Release Policy that was one of our Rules of Engagement, it was determined that we did not have enough evidence to process them through DHA. As a result of the discussion, the decision was made to release them. Releasing detainees after questioning is a common procedure and in fact it is necessary procedure. If there isn’t enough evidence to process them through DHA, then releasing them is the only other option. During that deployment, I would estimate that more than 50 times detainees were released after questioning without being processed through DHA. Prior to releasing the detainees, we refueled our vehicles, checked our combat loads (this is a process of double checking your equipment, ammunition and readjust equipment in the vehicle), some of us refilled our coffee cups and went back to our vehicles to drive the detainees to the area in order to release them. We left on patrol at approximately dusk and traveled to a remote location and released them. The drop off point was farther west than where we had picked them up. That is not uncommon at all; many times we would just walk them up to the front gate of our COP and tell them to leave. The only people behind the vehicle when the individuals were released were: myself, SFC Mayo, SGT Leahy and SGT Evoy, who was in the turret. Everyone else on the patrol was approximately 100-300 meters away.
          Subsequent to the allegations made, CID commenced an investigation. After Army divers and a CID investigation team spent approximately a week investigating in Iraq, they were unable to obtain any evidence. There was no physical evidence and no forensic evidence. CID questioned people that were also residing in the house where the individuals were originally detained. The persons that CID questioned identified themselves as family members of the individuals that had been previously detained for questioning. The family members that CID questioned said no member of their family was missing.

PROBLEMS IN IRAQ
  • Even if you received mortar fire, you were not permitted to counter fire.
  • If DHA released detainees, we were required to pay them American dollars for their inconvenience.
  • Every house was authorized an AK47 and 50 rounds of ammunition.

recent comments

  • Tony Wysinger

    Free John Hatley TW - Krum, Tx.

  • Medina

    I got to serve under him in bagdad , and he was the greatest nco i have ever met. He truly loved his soldiers. The justice system made a mistake ,and imprisoned a great man and here. All of damage inc. 2plt never forget how he took us in ,and the things he taught us.

  • Clifford Gabriel

    Sara 2 more book will be sent out to Afghanistan to SSG Parker and SFC Fernandez. Thank you for the books, the look in the Soldiers eyes when they turn the pages it brings them back to happy moments in their lives. Thank you again. SSG Gabriel

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