Rep. Duncan Hunter: Strip secretary’s power to revoke medals

Rep. Duncan Hunter: Strip secretary’s power to revoke medals

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter tells Army Times he intends to introduce legislation that would strip service secretaries of the power to revoke awards from their troops.

Hunter’s proposed amendment follows his vocal criticism of Army Secretary John McHugh, who last year punished a Green Beret by revoking a soldier’s interim Silver Star —- an award the soldier’s command hoped would be upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest award for valor.

McHugh rescinded Maj. Matt Golsteyn’s award as the result of an investigation, the Army has said, although no details of Golsteyn’s alleged misconduct has been publicly released.

Hunter, in commentaries posted via National Review and The Daily Beast, defended Golsteyn, describing him as a war hero and victim of a “witch hunt.”

In the National Review piece, co-written by author and Marine combat vet Bing West, Hunter said the investigation related to the death of a “known Afghan bomb-maker,” who was allegedly killed in a 2010 firefight — not the incident that earned Golsteyn his SIlver Star. Th commentary added that Golsteyn, who has been stripped of his special forces tab, was being forced into retirement.

“There’s no criminal charges on this guy. And they revoked a valor ward for a completely separate incident. They should be embarrassed,” Hunter told Army Times.

After reading the completed investigation, McHugh determined that law and regulations “required that he revoke certain awards,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker, McHugh’s spokesman, in a statement.

“Although the CID investigation did not result in a prosecution, the Army has taken and is taking appropriate action in response to the evidence uncovered in the investigation. We will be providing a comprehensive explanation of the CID investigation and the decision to revoke the awards to the [House and Senate] Armed Services committees,” Kasker wrote.

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