Families of Slain Green Berets Demand Further Justice from Jordan

The three Green Berets killed in Jordan were identified as Staff Sgts. Matthew Lewellen, Kevin McEnroe and James Moriarty. (Photos courtesy U.S. Army)
The three Green Berets killed in Jordan were identified as Staff Sgts. Matthew Lewellen, Kevin McEnroe and James Moriarty. (Photos courtesy U.S. Army)

The families of three Green Berets slain in Jordan are pleased with the conviction of their sons' killer, but have more demands for the Jordanian government.

In a July 17 letter to the Jordanian ambassador, the families of Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew C. Lewellen, Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty -- three Special Forces soldiers who were shot and killed Nov. 4 by security forces while entering Al-Jafr Air Base in Jordan -- lay out demands that include the prosecution of other security involved in the attack and restitution to be paid to the grieving family members.

"You have met the first demand, the successful prosecution of M'aarek Abu Tayeh. This is a good first step, but it is only the first step," wrote James Moriarty, speaking on behalf of the three families.

Moriarty's letter requests the extradition of Ahlam Aref Ahmad Al-Tamimi to the United States for criminal prosecution and that "military or criminal charges against all the Jordanian military gate guards and the barrel truck operators for dereliction of duty for failing to protect the lives of our soldiers or cowardly conduct under fire."

The letter was sent just after a Jordanian military court convicted 1st Sgt. Abu Tayeh in the shooting deaths of the three Special Forces soldiers at the Jordanian air base. The court sentenced the Jordanian soldier to life in prison with hard labor.

The defendant had pleaded "not guilty," saying he opened fire because he feared the base was coming under attack.

"We also request that Jordan allow the FBI to re-interview M'aarek Abu Tayeh to see if he is ready to acknowledge why he chose to kill our sons," Moriarty wrote. "Finally, and only to be discussed following all the above preconditions, restitution to each of the three families."

It's been a little over four months since Moriarty, Brian McEnroe and Chuck Lewellen held a March 7 press conference at the National Press Club to share new details of the events that unfolded in the Nov. 4 attack.

Initial reports of the incident accused the Americans of failing to stop at the gate and also of having a negligent discharge, which allegedly caused security guards to panic and open fire.

All three fathers maintain that they were briefed by the Army and the FBI on Feb. 28 and shown a detailed video of the shooting that refuted those accounts.

They described the video that showed the vehicles carrying the Americans enter the gate without incident and drive up to a guard shack that concealed Abu Tayeh, who first shot and killed McEnroe and Lewellen at close range with an M16 rifle.

The video then showed Abu Tayeh leave the guard shack and shoot Moriarty's son, who was attempting to fight back.

The attack ended, the fathers said, when another Green Beret circled around a Jersey barrier and fired his pistol into the side of the attacker, wounding him.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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