- Monday, 21 October 2019
- Written by Jeff Thompson
War hero or murderer? It’s a question that has dogged the military career of Army Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn for eight years. Golsteyn’s story is an extraordinary one — a Green Beret decorated for valor in combat who, during a job interview with the C.I.A. in 2011, volunteered that he had killed a suspected bomb-maker a year earlier in Afghanistan. The Army opened an investigation but did not charge Golsteyn, instead stripping him of a Silver Star and issuing a letter of reprimand.
President Donald Trump intervened in the case via Twitter, saying, “I will be reviewing the case of a U.S. Military hero, Major Matt Golsteyn, who is charged with murder.” As commander in chief, Trump complicated the military’s case against Golsteyn, raising questions of undue command influence, as well as the possibility that the prosecution is bound to be short-circuited by a pardon. With that tweet, Trump made an extraordinary intervention into the American judicial system.
“Major Golsteyn admitted to what appears to be a summary execution — a very serious crime under international law, and it is vital that the investigation go forward,” said Patricia Gossman, senior researcher for Afghanistan at Human Rights Watch.
Three years ago, in an appearance on Fox News, Major Golsteyn again said he had shot the Afghan. The Army opened a second investigation in late 2016, and charged Golsteyn with murder. In an interview, Golsteyn’s lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, called the Army’s decision to charge his client with murder a case of “political correctness,” and said he was glad that Trump was going to look into it.
Golsteyn was in Afghanistan in 2010 during the battle for the city of Marja in the Helmand Province. More than 15,000 American, Afghan, British, Canadian, Danish and Estonian troops attacked the Taliban stronghold. Over the next several months, dozens of Americans were killed, and hundreds were wounded. In February of that year, a roadside bomb killed two Marines who had been working with Major Golsteyn’s Green Beret team. There are conflicting accounts of what happened next.
Army documents, which claim to recount what Major Golsteyn told the C.I.A., suggest that he and his team began clearing buildings looking for the source of the roadside bomb, eventually finding explosive materials like those used in the bomb that killed the Marines. The team took a suspected bomb-maker back to its base where he was identified as a member of the Taliban. Golsteyn and another American soldier, concerned that if released, the man would kill American troops, took him off the base, shot and killed him and buried his remains in a shallow grave, the documents say.
According to public reporting and his admission, Golsteyn returned to the burial site to retrieve the body and burned it in a burn pit. Prosecutors say such alleged actions provide powerful insight into the major’s criminal state of mind at the time of the killing. A court-martial is set for Dec. 2 at Fort Bragg, the home of Army Special Operations. Golsteyn will stand trial for premeditated murder. He pleaded not guilty in July.
Pictured: Maj. Matthew Goldsteyn
- Monday, 21 October 2019
- Written by Jeff Thompson
Dr. Christine DiGaudio, principal of Ireland Drive Middle School, is Cumberland County Schools’ 2020 Principal of the Year, and Dr. Natasha Brown, an assistant principal at Lewis Chapel Middle School, was named the CCS 2020 Assistant Principal of the Year. The winners were made public Oct. 14 at the 2020 Administrators Dinner to honor educators for their leadership and commitment to student success.
DiGaudio, a 21-year veteran educator, began her career as a middle school teacher in 1998 after graduating from the State University of New York’s Buffalo State College. She later obtained a master’s degree from Ashland University, an Education Specialist Degree from East Carolina University and a Doctor of Education Degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
DiGaudio has served as principal of Ireland Middle School since 2013. “Leaders cannot and should not be trusted or respected solely due to their position or title; leaders must earn trust and respect,” said DiGaudio. She now moves on to compete against other local award recipients from the Region IV Sandhills/South Central Region of the state.
Brown has served as an assistant principal for six years. She began her career as an English-language arts teacher at Spring Lake Middle School after graduating from Fayetteville State University. She has since received a master’s degree from Fayetteville State University and an Education Specialist Degree as well as a doctorate from Liberty University. “As an instructional leader, it is my responsibility to ensure that every student has the opportunity to engage in a quality educational experience,” said Brown.
As the CCS Principal of the Year winner, DiGaudio received the Principal of the Year Award from the Cumberland County Board of Education, a cash award, an iPad mini and floral arrangement from CCS, an engraved desk clock from Herff Jones, a commemorative Principal of the Year ring from Jostens, two season tickets to the Fayetteville Marksmen Hockey games, a weekend stay at the Embassy Suites Fayetteville/Fort Bragg, a $5,000 check for school use and a $1,000 check for personal use from Lafayette Ford Lincoln.
As CCS Assistant Principal of the Year winner, Brown received the Assistant Principal of the Year Award from the Cumberland County Board of Education, a cash award, an iPad mini and floral arrangement from CCS, two season tickets to the Fayetteville Marksmen Hockey games and a $500 check for personal use from Olde Fayetteville Insurance.
Other Principal of the Year finalists were recognized at the event and received cash awards and iPads from CCS. They were Dr. Michele Cain from Cumberland Road Elementary, Christina Tucker from Ponderosa Elementary, Erica Fenner-McAdoo from Howard Hall Elementary, Stephanie Wall Rivers from Montclair Elementary, Shannon Booth from Cumberland Mills Elementary and Reggie Pinkney from Ramsey Street High.
Assistant Principal of the Year finalists were also recognized and received cash awards from CCS. The finalists were Kelly McKoy from Cumberland Road Elementary, Eric McLaurin from W.T. Brown Elementary, Ricky Tucker from John Griffin Middle, Niesha Witherspoon from Jack Britt High and Royvell Godbolt from Terry Sanford High.
Pictured from top to bottom: Dr. Christine Di Gaudio, Dr. Natasha Brown