Army general refuses to restore Special Forces tab for officer pardoned by Trump

A U.S. Army general refused a request by an officer who was pardoned by President Trump to have his Special Forces tab reinstated.

Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette — commander of U.S. Army Special Operations Command — denied the request by retired Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn on Dec. 3, The Washington Post reports.

The statement released by the Army on Thursday said that an administrative panel would review whether Golsteyn should have his Special Forces Tab and the Distinguished Service Cross — the military’s second-highest valor award — reinstated. The panel will also review a letter of reprimand Golsteyn received in connection with his case, according to the Post.

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Golsteyn was scheduled to go on trial this year for the killing of a Taliban bomb maker in Marja, Afghanistan, in February 2010.

The killing first became known during a CIA polygraph test that Golsteyn took in 2011, as the agency was considering him for a job. He had his Special Forces Tab and valor award stripped in 2014 and was charged with murder by Army officials in 2018.

In November, Trump pardoned both Golsteyn and former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who had been convicted of murder in Afghanistan. The president also reinstated the rank of Navy SEAL to Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder in 2019, but convicted of posing with the corpse of an ISIS fighter in Iraq.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not surprised,” Golsteyn told the Post. “I was really hoping they would do the right thing.”

Beaudette's move mirrors what the Navy's actions in November, when it decided to convene a board that would determine whether or not to expel Gallagher from the SEALs. This move was blocked by Trump, who eventually pardoned Gallagher. Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer was ousted from his post, after butting heads with Trump over the matter.