Col. Shane Tomko, commanding officer of the Wounded Warrior Regiment addresses the Marine Corps Team following their victory over Army in wheelchair basketball at the 2014 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. (Mike Morones/Staff)
The former commander of the Marine Corps' Wounded Warrior Regiment has been was released from the brig after pleading guilty last month to having an inappropriate relationship with an enlisted Marine and other charges.
Col. Shane "Rhino" Tomko left the brig on Saturday June 25, said Marine Corps spokesman Rex Runyon. He had been was sentenced to 60 days' confinement at his May 27 court-martial, but military judge Col. Pete Rubin said Tomko would receive credit for the three weeks he had already spent in custody.
Tomko was released after 50 days because he received five days off his sentence for good behavior for each month he spent in the confinement, Runyon said. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will consider Tomko's request to retire. Tomko is currently not on terminal leave.
"The female Marine was not alleged to have engaged in any misconduct as it might relate to the charges for which Col Tomko was convicted," Runyon said in an email. "She was not charged; therefore, she was not punished in any way."
At his court-martial, Tomko admitted to Rubin that he had exchanged inappropriate Facebook messages with the female corporal under his command between from May 2014 and to August 2015. Some of the exchanges contained sexual content.
Tomko also pleaded guilty to having a subordinate obtain testosterone for him, violating a military protective order not to contact his wife, and showing up d to his May 6 arraignment with a blood alcohol more than three times the Virginia state limit of 0.08.
Prosecutors noted that at the time of his arraignment, Tomko was living behind the enlisted barracks at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. He and he drove to the courtroom while drunk as Marines were getting in their physical training PT and heading ed to chow. As punishment, Tomko was sent to the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford, Virginia, on May 6. He was later transferred to the U.S. Navy brig in Chesapeake, Virginia.
In February 2015, Tomko's exemplary military career came crashing down after a command investigation into his relationship inappropriate behavior with the female Marine led to his removal as commander of the Wounded Warrior Regiment. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1983, later earning his commission and becoming an infantry and special operations officer. Prior to taking the reins at the Wounded Warrior Regiment, he served as the operations officer of the North Carolina-based 2nd Marine Division.
His military attorney, Maj. Geoff Shows, argued at his May 27 court-martial that Tomko suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, which had turned him into "a Marine officer who is so broken that he can’t get out of his own way."
Shows argued that Tomko drank after being told not to because he was distressed about being prohibited from seeing his wife. Tomko was also struggling with his recent diagnosis of having low testosterone levels, which the colonel was struggling to accept.
Tomko had difficulty holding himself together during his court-martial. His arms often shook uncontrollably during the proceedings, and he delivered an emotional and semi-coherent statement in court explaining how he had fallen apart after several combat deployments.
"You can't unsee what I've seen," Tomko said. "How do you tell your wife, 'Honey, I killed a bunch of people today?'"
He also recalled hearing a woman scream when he arrived at her home to inform her that her son had died.
"Your body breaks down," he said. "You just hurt."