Special Operations General will not restore Golsteyn's Special Forces tab

Jack Murphy
January 10, 2020 - 10:52 am
SF tab

Photo by Staff Sgt. Austin Berner


Lt. Gen. Francis Beaudette who leads Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) has denied the restoration of Maj. Mathew Golsteyn's Special Forces tab.

Golsteyn had his Special Forces tab and Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) revoked in 2014 pending murder charges stemming from an alleged confession to a war crime while taking a CIA polygraph test in 2011.

In 2015, Golsteyn appeared on Fox News where he seemed to double down, conceding to at least one major part of the allegations by saying that he had in fact killed an Afghan that he suspected of being a Taliban bomb maker. Golsteyn told the CIA during an interview that after killing the suspected bomb maker that he buried him in a shallow grave, but later returned, dug up the body, and threw it into the burn pit on their Forward Operating Base.

Golsteyn has denied the murder charge and as his case was heading to court-martial, he received a pardon from President Donald Trump along with Lt. Clint Lorance who had been convicted of war crimes in Afghanistan.

Having been pardoned by the President, Golsteyn sought to have his tab and medal re-instated. The Special Forces tab is worn on the shoulder of the uniform of every soldier who graduates from the Special Forces Qualification Course and is a symbol of the rigorous training completed and membership to an elite group of soldiers.

Stripping Golsteyn of his Special Forces tab is a form of social shaming that the Army engages in when it feels that a particular member has disgraced Special Forces. For most Special Forces soldiers, it is akin to a wolf being kicked out of the pack.

Gen. Beaudette's decision is not final as an Army panel will convene to further investigate the matter, a Army spokesperson told Connecting Vets. The statement reads:

"The Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR), the agency’s highest level of administrative review for personnel actions, will consider retired Maj. Matthew Golsteyn’s request for reinstatement of the Special Forces Tab and the approval of the Distinguished Service Cross.

In 2014, the Army revoked the Distinguished Service Cross approval and Special Forces Tab. On Dec. 3, 2019, following a thorough review, the Commander of the Army Special Operations Command denied Golsteyn’s request for reinstatement of the Special Forces Tab.

The Army has asked the ABCMR to consider those decisions along with Golsteyn’s request for removal of a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand issued on April 24, 2014, from his official Army record.

President Trump granted a full and unconditional pardon to Golsteyn on Nov. 15, 2019. At the time of the President's pardon, Golsteyn was pending trial by court-martial for premeditated murder, an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, for actions in Afghanistan in 2010."

Chief Eddie Gallagher went through a similar ordeal. He was acquitted of all but one charge during his war crimes trial. The Navy wanted to take Gallagher's SEAL trident which holds the same symbolic value as the Special Forces tab, but President Trump intervened to prevent this from happening. It remains to be seen if the President will interfere with internal Army matters to perform a similar favor for Golsteyn. 

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.