Marine Corps discharges captain tied to sniper scandal


Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has signed the discharge paperwork for Marine Capt. James Clement, who was recommended for separation late last year for failing to supervise Marine scout snipers who engaged in inappropriate war zone combat during a 2011 deployment to Afghanistan.

Clement was the executive officer of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines when scout snipers attached to that unit filmed themselves urinating on enemy corpses in a video later posted to YouTube. Marine Corps Times covered Clement’s case extensively after he was charged with dereliction of duty in connection with the incident.

Capt. James Clement

His defense team, led by civilian lawyer John Dowd, alleged that Marine Corps leaders had attempted to thwart their efforts by classifying materials they needed to review as they built a defense. The charges against Clement were quietly dropped last fall and he was referred to an administrative board of inquiry instead. 

During the board of inquiry in October, Marine Gen. John Kelly, head of U.S. Southern Command, testified in his defense, calling him an exemplary officer who didn’t deserve the treatment he’d received.

“I can’t offer an official apology to him and his family, but I think at the end of this board, he should receive that from someone,” Kelly said the day before the board recommended that Clement be separated.

Clement was recommended for an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps Oct. 17, and quickly appealed the decision.

But Mabus finalized the board’s recommendation Wednesday in a brief memo, released at the same time as the Marines released an investigation report into the sniper incident. According to the Wall Street Journal, this March 2012 report found that discipline in the sniper unit had broken down because the snipers were seen as strong in combat and were given more latitude in their behavior. On the day of the sniper patrol during which the urination video was taken, the snipers had also engaged in other loutish conduct, according to reports.

“During that day’s mission, the Marines punctured the tires of a tractor with a knife and vandalized a water well, running the risk of alienating the local Afghan population,” WSJ quoted the report as saying.

Clement is the last of eight Marines to face punitive action regarding the sniper incident.

“This fine young Marine deserved a lot better than he received,” Dowd said.

He said the Marine Corps has not yet provided a date for Clement’s separation.


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  1. That’s O.K., we’ll need good officers and leaders like him in the new U.S. Constitutional Army (USCA) coming soon. Watch for it.

  2. Rebecca Lewis on

    We send men to war then punish them when they engage in behavior that has happened for thousands of years. To urinate on an enemy may not be American per se, but it is the act of warriors making a power statement. I don’t know about the other activities and what motivated the slashing of tires and so on, but to discharge these men is ridiculous. If discipline needs to be accomplished bust them in rank. That’s all that’s needed. These men were victims of our ridiculous policies dumbing down our military.

  3. chazz burdette on

    Obama suck ups in the Corps are not Marines but politicians. If the Commandant had any balls he would NEVER would have allowed this to happen! Defence Secretary hagel may he rot in hell for what he is doing to the military as well!

    These men in office are obamas henchmen in destroying our military while they sit back in there cushy positions and safety!

  4. I believe these comments are misguided. All military personnel are briefed numerous times prior to and once they are in a combat zone on “the rules”. Stress, fatigue, fog of war, anger, boredom, and maybe weak command may have been factors in the snipers actions but that doesnt mean that they, and the Captian in question, should not be held accountable. UCMJ may suck at times but a statement had to be made that this type of incident is unacceptable.

  5. These Marines, in combat or not, have a code of conduct they are to follow as Marines. If they urinated on enemy combatant corpse, then they should have been court marshaled and discharged under the UCMJ. If those of you, particularly Rebecca Lewis, had an ounce of brain cells, she would remember the images of those 2 American contractors charred bodies being drug and paraded around in Mogadishu. Had this been the Taliban doing this to dead American servicemen we would have lost our collective minds.


    Once a Marine ALWAYS a Marine.

  6. @chazz: Amos is the biggest Obama suck up in The Corps. If he hadn’t had his nose so far up Obama’s butt he might have been able to qualify better than Sharpshooter. The only balls he has are in Obama’s hip pocket.

    Amos is the one that classified the information needed for the defense. Just another example of his throwing good men under the bus to further his career. He is a disgrace to The Corps and should never have received one star, let alone four.

    Much, much better officers than him were drummed out of The Corps because they wouldn’t prostrate themselves at Obama’s feet.

  7. Jason Turner on

    Not the Corps I am proud of!!! Shame on them for the actions against this Captain and using him as a fall guy! We are the Marine Corps not the flipping Peace Corps! Get over your politically correct asses and let warriors bet just that! And BTW piss on the Taliban and thanks to the Scouts who did it for all of us sitting at home! Semper Fi to them and to hell with those who used them for propaganda! Tired of this B.S.!

  8. Larry D Prusha on


    I’m sorry to hear that you’re being punished for somebody else is Miss behavior ,I’ve noticed in my career when junior Marines that are underneath you mess up you’re also punished with them and charged as dereliction of duty . well sir you didn’t do it and shouldn’t be punished for it . you as a human bean can’t be held accountable for somebody else’s actions if you’re not there to correct them . thank you sir for doing your job well my cover goes off to you . I come to attention and salute you and thank you for your services . Semper Fi

  9. Another career ruined by fucking Amos. That guy is such a piece of shit, two faced tool. What a joke. He’s a pitiful Marine and a disgrace to all the Commandant’s that served before him. Can’t wait till your ass is gone for good. And to the idiot Snipers who filmed that shit and posted it on you-tube or whatever you are complete morons, brainless idiots.

  10. Those Marines should have been fined 35 cents for pissing on them and $1000 for being stupid enough to get caught.

  11. Mabus is as corrupt as General Anus. I expect to see all these heroes reinstated once we have a real president, and all these traitors who side with the Taliban are kicked to the curb. I have written my congressmen and senators to demand they ramp up the investigation into Amos actions! NO WAY any actions should be taken against this hero as long as their are open investigations into the corrupt actions of the CMC.

  12. That’s bullshit those review boards are most of the time seated with people who have no ideal about combat or being a boots on the ground Marine and if you can’t take a Marine General on the fact that he stands behind this Marine what the fuck do we have them for?SEMPER FI Skipper those assholes on the board will get there’s someday, dealt with it myself

  13. This makes me very sad. We send them off to war and then punish them for being warlike. What about the guys chopping off heads on Al Jazeer?! No wonder so many of our bravest have lost their lives in Afghanistan. They are fighting in fear…of ourselves and what may appear on the local news back home – of being discharged or criminally punished by the government who sent them there. To this marine and his family we can only say ” I’m sorry”….

  14. As an officer in the Marine Corps what he did was out of order. And I believe he should be punished.
    Semper Fidelis always faithful

  15. Walter H. Polk on

    It is time for the American public to take action to rid the Corps of assholes such as Amos. A disgrace to all Marines to have such a political correct Commandant as the asshole.

  16. Until you have walked in our boots then you have no right to pass judgement. Keep sleeping peacefully in your beds at night. You’re welcome…

  17. The board’s disregarding Gen. Kelly’s views is outrageous. Kelly is a true warrior, and his views should have carried the day. Sec. Mangus is just some Ivy League puke who should not hold the office he holds. So what if a couple snipers urinated on a dead Taliban. So what? It is abundantly clear that the Sec Nav and CMC set out to screw this young Captain. What an outrage.

  18. Lee Armstrong on

    I am so glad that I retired from the military. The boobs – from the CIC down the ranks are a disgrace to this country. P.S. I hear Putin is looking for a few good men.

  19. What’s so disturbing in these comments are all the lame brains trying to say this is “Obama’s” fault, or “Amos is an Obama kiss-up.” When will you realize that this is all Gen Amos; nothing about the President. Or maybe you all were asleep at the wheel when all those stories about “UCI” and “Amos” were/are catching headlines everywhere.

    Clement was sacrificed at the Gen Amos altar; President Obama has nothing to do with it. Clement didn’t deserve to be separated or even punished; he wasn’t even there.

    @0311: what you said is stupid beyond belief. You and your fellow infantry bubbas are “beyond questioning.” What the hell Marine Corps do you serve in? The one I serve in says all Marines are held accountable for their actions. Maybe you serve in the Russian Marines or something…

  20. @Jeff, T Johnson and Lt Waller

    You’re focusing on a narrow part of this story and are obviously either ignoring or pretending you don’t know the whole story.

    The issue is not whether Marines who have violated regulations, orders or law should be punished, but whether they are entitled, in the process, to the protections which the UCMJ guarantees any defendant.

    I’m assuming from your comments that you would have no problem, if you were accused of a crime, of having a single individual dictate to the court what the outcome of your trial should be and what the punishment should be, and that it would be acceptable to you to have evidence which might help your defense hidden from you by the same people who are going to dictate the outcome of your trial.

    Really, Jeff? Is that what you’d like if you yourself were the defendant? No problem with railroading you and depriving you of the right to a fair trial, as long as the statement somebody wants to make gets made?

    How about you, T Johnson? You claim to have been a Marine (I’m doubtful). Is that what you joined the Corps and fought for, to have the justice system perverted by an officer who is nothing more than a lapdog to the president and is motivated only by the desire to make himself look good to his political master?

    Lt Waller, why don’t you tell us exactly what Captain Clement did? Any real idea?

    What in the name of God is wrong with you two? Your willingness to ignore the crimes that were committed against these defendants (yes, they are in fact crimes under the UCMJ) in the name of making a statement is just pathetic.

  21. @Neutron73

    I struck a nerve with you didn’t I? Were you there with the sniper team? Do you know the actions that were leading up to that moment? I doubt it. Keep purifying that water or working on the AC system, if you were even in the Corps. You rock. My “infantry bubbas” and I do not need your pity or your praise. We signed up to do this with the full knowledge of the possible side effects. There are far more worse things that go bump in the night than some peepee on some dead Terrys.


  23. “Infantry Bubbas” really????? Your a idiot 0311 that’s the gayest thing I heard in my life, what a boot…….

  24. @A Gorden VERY WELL SAID! Our sons and daughters did not sign up to see the justice system perverted the way Amos has done – not just with these cases, but with others that the judges have even called him on. He is a disgrace to the Corps, and to the Country. Mabus is as well for tolerating his actions.

  25. Ellie Marine Mon on

    I I come from a military family and understand then I care what our military faces in that particular theater. I have faith in our military, especially special units, to do what needs to be done as diplomatically as possible. But when you see and LIVE what they live I’d say this was nothing that warrants this severe form of discipline. I’m so ashamed of our leaders for defending our defenders. This is not about giving an inch they’ll take a yard, but a hand slap or ass kicking are too different things. I support these men and feel for them and their families.

  26. Piece of shit government desk monkeys, it’s pointless to even waste you breath telling them how it is. They will NEVER get it because they were born as cock suckers!! unfortunately they slipped through the cracks in OCS and our DI’s weren’t able to beat the true warrior into them. I hope they all get cancer and piss on themselves. Why can’t we do our job as the warriors we are and not worry about the shit bag that wants rank to fuck you. Marines do there job better than anyone, we win because it’s what we do. Keep chargin Marines!!!

  27. Capt. James Clement,

    I would go anywhere in this world under your leadership !

    To a-mos and obozoo I would not trust you with a slinky, near me or any front line position.

    40 years from now the US gov’t will recognize that they made a mistake, and will reverse this ruling.

    sad day, sad story, a me RICA

  28. It’s one thing to urinate on them, it’s another to film it….in this day and age that is just stupid. Things like this DID happen in the past, but the media and facebook, and twitter and cell phones with cameras were not there to make it an international scandal in minutes. Using your head is still the best option.

  29. Granted that filming the event wasn’t a wise choice, I don’t believe that the punishment fits the “crime.” Involuntary discharge seems to be a pretty heavy handed response to somebody who otherwise appears to be a fine officer. After hearing from Gen Kelly, I would have thought that a vote for retention by each board member would have been an easy call. Perhaps something more was at play beyond the evidence presented during the hearing.

  30. This fine officer is separated for failing to catch and stop the single incident of men under his command urinating on bodies of their enemies. Gina McCarthy is promoted to head the EPA after failing – for 3 years – to detect and stop the chronic abuse of fiscal discipline and permitting or encouraging outright lawlessness in her department. She was direct supervisor of one John Beale, who from 2010-12 collected nearly a million dollars in fraudulent retention bonuses and expense claims, and missed over 600 days of work citing the clandestine work he was doing for the CIA…

    I pray that enough men like Capt Clemens stick it out to rebuild when the next President assumes power in 2017?

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