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Marine Corps responds to Gold Star family's allegations of 'misleading, offensive' information

Jul. 31, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr.'s father Greg, left, his mother Marina, third from left, and his two brother watch as his casket is carried into St. Agnes Cathedral for his funeral Mass on Aug. 18, 2012, in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr.'s father Greg, left, his mother Marina, third from left, and his two brother watch as his casket is carried into St. Agnes Cathedral for his funeral Mass on Aug. 18, 2012, in Rockville Centre, N.Y. (Mary Altaffer / AP)
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Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr. (Marine Corps)

The Marine Corps responded in part to a 10-page letter from a Gold Star family that accused the Corps of misleading the public about events in the aftermath of their son’s death.

The family of Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr. learned last week that the Afghan youth who killed their son and two other Marines in an insider attack in Afghanistan was sentenced by an Afghan court to seven years, six months in prison. The family’s attorney, Michael Bowe, fired off the strongly worded letter to Marine Corps commandant Gen. Jim Amos on Tuesday, demanding that the Marine Corps retract a statement on the sentencing of the killer, Ainuddin Khudairaham, and a timeline of communications allegedly made with families of the fallen.

Bowe called the release of the information a “publicity stunt,” saying the media received confirmation of Ainuddin’s sentencing before the families did. He also said the timeline failed to show how little information the families received about the case as it developed.

Marine officials are standing by the information, saying it was released to press outlets following inquiries about the Buckley case.

“The Marine Corps did not release information related to the 2012 FOB Delhi shooting as a ‘publicity stunt,’ ” said Col. Dave Lapan, a spokesman for Amos, in a July 30 statement. “The information was released in response to queries received from several media outlets. Those media queries were apparently based on the release to the press of a previous letter from Mr. Bowe to the deputy staff judge advocate of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan.”

Lapan said Marine officials provided copies of the Marine Corps press statement to casualty assistance calls officers so that they could pass them on to the families of the fallen Marines at the same time they released them to the five media outlets who inquired about the case.

The intent, he said, was that the families would receive the information from the Marine Corps rather than the media.

The statement does not respond to all allegations in the letter. Bowe also claims members of the Buckley family was told by Marine Corps attorneys in Afghanistan July 21 that no date was scheduled for Ainuddin’s trial, even though he said they knew the trial was set to start the next day.

If the demands in the letter are not met, Bowe told Marine Corps Times the next step would be a claim against the Marine Corps in federal court, pursuing the family’s legal right to information.

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