“EVERYONE IS EXPENDABLE”
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 16, 2016) — In our continued reporting of the story of the death of civilian contractor Thomas J. Boyle, Jr., who was killed in Afghanistan on July 19, 2012, The Post & Email again spoke with his widow, Pauline, who on this occasion detailed her experiences dealing with the U.S. military in her attempts to find the truth about her husband’s death.
Our previous three articles provided an introduction and background to Boyle’s tragic death under circumstances which remain unexplained by the Department of Defense and the several insurance companies which carried policies bearing his name.
In Part 1, The Post & Email reported that Mrs. Boyle alleges that two poorly-trained U.S. Army Reservists accidentally killed her husband during an attack by insurgents. She further alleges that not only have they not admitted to their roles in his death, but they have also actively participated in covering up the truth.
The website Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children (USMC), which has reported on the case extensively, reported on September 14, 2015 that Mrs. Boyle was first told her husband died of “blast injuries,” then later, “multiple gunshot wounds.” The website stated:
The Army’s first narrative of the events in Kandahar was that one “insurgent” detonated a suicide vest. One of the documents listed the first cause of death as “blast injuries” for Mr. Boyle. A later death certificate was amended to say “multiple gunshot wounds,” after Mrs. Boyle obtained the autopsy photos and clearly deduced that no suicide vest was detonated.
Mrs. Boyle confirmed to The Post & Email that the article quoted her correctly.
Further, USMC reported:
After viewing the crime scene photos obtained by Mrs. Boyle, it was apparent that Mr. Boyle’s body had been moved and staged. Tom Boyle did not die where his body was lying. One photo even depicts a removed bullet fragment identified as 5.56 – NATO rounds. AK’s used by the insurgents were 7.62 in caliber.
Yet a letter from Ladd Tremain at the Army Medical Examiner’s office declared that there was NO BALLISTICS evidence retained in Mr. Boyle’s body, so there was no ballistics information to give her.
Because her own investigation did not begin until after her husband’s funeral, Mrs. Boyle made the difficult decision to have his body exhumed for a second autopsy independent of that which was conducted by the U.S. military. “One significant determination was that more entrance wounds than exit wounds existed. Yet AFME denied ever doing any ballistic testing and insisted that no bullets or fragments were found and removed. Another magic bullet? Then why hold my husband’s body for ten days? Why was each bullet wound sewn shut? That sure indicated intervention on someone’s part,” Mrs. Boyle told us in our first installment.
In addition to a military cover-up, Mrs. Boyle believes that the insurance companies, represented by powerful attorneys working out of major cities, have committed fraud by denying that they held, or owed a payout on, “accidental death” policies resulting from her husband’s death. She terms the insurers’ silence and obfuscation, along with misleading statements made by their attorneys, a “coalition of corruption.”
Mr. Boyle had purchased four insurance policies just prior to making his last trip overseas as an employee of Engility Corp., a subsidiary of L-3 Communications, providing support to the U.S. military. A retired 30-year Chicago police officer, Mr. Boyle was restless in his retirement and wished to contribute his skills in war-torn areas of the world.
In May 2012, Mr. Boyle was assigned to the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion based out of Jackson, MI, which was deployed to Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
Mrs. Boyle told The Post & Email that contracting companies reap huge financial benefits by using civilians and in her husband’s case, by receiving death benefits from “janitor policies” paid for by the insurers and about which the surviving family members know nothing.
In our previous interview, Mrs. Boyle called the military investigative report, known as a “15-6,” on her husband’s death “a work of fiction.” “These investigators should go into creative writing. If you’re smart and you know the details, you can see the holes in all of the reports,” she told The Post & Email.
Mrs. Boyle also detailed her communications with another civilian contractor in a different part of Afghanistan who was tragically killed eight days after sending her an email stating that he had located the report on Mr. Boyle’s death which he would “secure and send.” “Tom’s name was taken out; he is referred to only as a civilian killed,” the contractor had told her.
Mrs. Boyle told The Post & Email that she “had an uneasy feeling” several weeks before her husband’s death. “I continually asked all the soldiers I spoke to if anything odd had happened on the base between May 24 and May 28, 2012. Tom was killed June 19. I just knew something had happened between those dates. Just like everything else, I had nothing to go on, but I kept pushing and pushing,” she said.
Continuing, she told us of her probing:
“One soldier responded very rudely when he wrote in an email, ‘The incident happened June 19th, so I don’t know what incident you’re talking about between May 24th and 28th.’ Then he went on to say that he ‘blacked out’ through most of the incidents, but that’s not true. This is the same soldier who lost control of his saw (semi-automatic weapon) and fell over backwards. He is the one who I was told by intelligence agents shot other U.S. soldiers and killed an Afghani interpreter when he sprayed the tents. That same agent told me, ‘It was just like Benghazi.'”
“Would you say these were accidents?” The Post & Email asked, to which she responded:
It was in the midst of the attack – this soldier was reacting to the attack at the time he began firing his weapon. Putting the weapon on full auto was unwarranted but may have been considered accidental. And this is just one more example of how poorly-trained these soldiers were – one of the first rules of firearms is knowing your target and what lies beyond it.
I also asked at least six other soldiers what occurred May 24th through the 28th. They all gave the same answer; they couldn’t remember anything unusual.
I finally received a redacted version of the 15-6, and believe me, it was by no mistake that I received it on the first anniversary of Tom’s death. That was intentional, because by this time, the line in the sand had been drawn between the military and myself. Playing mind games is part of the diversion to keep you on an emotional roller coaster. Fortunately for me, I knew this already.
“So they knew that you suspected or knew that you were not being told the truth about his death?”
Yes, and I pretty-much told the military and the company, L-3/MPRI/Engility, that.
“It sounds as if their behavior is not what most Americans would expect of what is believed by many to be the best-trained fighting force in the world,” The Post & Email said.
In the Uncle Sam’s articles, you can see how rude many of the soldiers on base that day were to me. They denied the fratricide and were very vulgar and disrespectful. They lied about the incident to my face. Far from presenting to them any kind of moral or ethical dilemma, it’s indicative of our youth who, instead of accepting responsibility, place blame on anybody else. I got the impression that because I figured out the truth – they decided to post on Facebook that the entire 303rd should block me – “while I grieved for my incredibly patriotic husband.” He was so patriotic he allowed them to kill him. Do you see the level these soldiers will sink to in order to defer responsibility and accountability? Another common tactic – make the widow out to be crazy or irrational. Put the blame on her. These soldiers have no morals.
On one of the anniversary dates of the attack and the day my husband died, the 303rd held a “Happy Alive Day” party hosted by one of the men who actually shot my husband. Both shooters are in the photo I provided to you. They held a party about themselves – the absolute height of narcissism – not a mass card, not a memorial, not a prayer; nothing about my husband. This is our politically-correct military.
Regarding the 15-6, a great deal of it was redacted and the military would never respond to any of my further requests to release more information or address why it was redacted. I will send you some exhibits consisting of a series of emails from Lieutenant Colonel Matt McKinley, who was command on base that day. I scribbled some notes on them to make things clearer for you. McKinley was Tom’s commanding officer, and the emails were written to all members of the Advisory Group on May 25, 2012. You’ll see that the names were redacted but the dates were not. What is of importance is that these are the exact dates that I was asking each soldier about – questioning whether or not they had noticed anything unusual.
The subject is “Base Defense, General.” There is another one from Wednesday, May 23, 2012, from McKinley to the Advisory Group whose classification is “Secret” and whose subject is “PR Base Defense.”
[Editor’s Note: “PR” stands for “Provincial Reserve.” The Post & Email has seen the series of emails but has not released them because of their military classification of “Secret.” They were provided to Mrs. Boyle through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.]
These are vulnerability assessments from Lt. Col. Matt McKinley. He realized the base was not protected properly, and he was asking for additional supplies and help prior to the “attack,” and these were obviously denied. By the way, “PR” was attacked previously on more than one occasion. So our military put our soldiers out there knowing that they were pretty-much defenseless. And the company Tom worked for, L-3/Engility, had an obligation to protect my husband – an obligation it chose to ignore.
There are emails dated June 25, 2012, after Tom’s death, which went to Andrew Burton, the reservist who conducted the sham investigation – this I say because what I received was totally not what happened. Burton received quite the promotion in the military after this “investigation.” Coincidentally, this investigation into what happened at PR was his last job in the military before his retirement.
So Burton was aware of the vulnerability assessments since they are part of the investigative record. There were two or three vulnerability assessments in total throughout the years. They identify security holds, risk assessment, lethality, and I’m saying they also would have identified the location of the generators, which were shut off by the insurgents almost immediately when they gained access to the base. They just walked up and shut them off, and that cut communications between the TOC – tactical office center and outside help – the larger bases.
This part which I am going to tell you some might find to be purely conjecture, but I don’t think I’m off-base in what I am going to say. It’s not so much the vulnerability assessment that is so repulsive; it’s who was copied on it and who forwarded it to others. Because those insurgents, or the ANA, or the Taliban, whatever you want to call them, got their hands on this risk assessment or the emails, they knew – McKinley pretty-much spelled out where the weaknesses were, therefore giving them the guideline for a successful attack. I say this because McKinley, the day before the attack, ordered soldiers to reinforce his tent, taking sandbags from Tower 4, which was the front gate. So even though he was asking for help in the beginning, he knew that attack was coming. There had already been an attack that morning at a nearby base; PR was notified and should have been put on high alert but was not. Why?
So in my opinion these soldiers, and my husband, were nothing but pawns. It proves that everybody was at risk because of command. The other aspect is that Tom paid the price for lack of training and force protection. The negligence on the part of the military is unbelievable. The two soldiers who I allege killed Tom shouldn’t have had a gun, they were so inept. How does a person get shot over 13 times by two different soldiers in a short span of one another? How does an “accident” like this happen?
I think I’ve sent you a roster; there were only 25 soldiers on that base plus command. It was a small joint base or FOB (Forward Operating Base). Out of that roster, you have one that I’ve identified as falling over backwards shooting a good 4-6 of his own soldiers accidentally and killing an Afghani interpreter. Two other U.S. soldiers shot my husband in close succession of one another. So you have three totally untrained, inept soldiers shooting without the caution and protocol that should have been observed still free from accountability, and yet you have Clint Lorance sitting in Ft. Leavenworth.
OK, call it fog of war, but Clint Lorance didn’t mean to murder anyone, either. He acted on the intelligence provided to him that the oncoming motorcycle traffic may be driven by a terrorists wearing suicide vests. Lorance acted honorably. This is a prime example of the U.S. military cherry-picking who they wish to prosecute and who they don’t; who they wish to punish and who they don’t; and who they wish to protect and who they do not. Now it’s even deciding who gets insurance payouts and who doesn’t.
What is really, really disturbing is the comparison of this incident to Benghazi: You have a base, an area of military support that is knowingly not being reinforced. They’ve asked for help; they’re not getting help. They’ve asked for supplies and they’re not getting the supplies to protect themselves. They’re left right out there to fend for themselves. The parallels are uncanny.
Everyone is expendable; everyone is a pawn, and now we’re back into the business of war.
There was another Lt. Col. at that time, Patrick Michaelis, who after Tom died called me and said he would come to my home and tell me the particulars as to how Tom died. Remember: no one had told me anything except that my husband was dead.
The day of the funeral, Michaelis called me and spoke with me, offering his condolences and then stated that he would come to my home when he was stateside and provide more information. It was in December, about six months after Tom’s death, that Contractor 2, who we talked about in a previous article, wrote me and asked, “Has the Lt. Col. been to see you at your house?” and I said, “No, he said he was coming when he got back to the states,” and I was thinking everyone was still deployed over in Afghanistan. It turned out that he had returned in late November and didn’t bother to see me, call me or anything. That’s when the contractor really started getting angry about things. Six months after my husband’s death and no one has the consideration to tell me what had happened.
I believe it was February when Michaelis sent me an email and said he wanted to stop by, and I told him, “You can stop by after I get the 15-6, because I’m going to have questions based upon that report. You’re not going to come to my home and tell me something, and that’s going to be the end of it. I want time to gather my questions and I do think I am due an honest response to all of them.”
It was that uneasy feeling with me again, one that confirmed to me he was involved in this, and the fact that he was stateside and had already lied to me once made me more suspicious. Michaelis was deployed at Camp Nathan Smith in Afghanistan, a larger nearby base, and was involved in other shady aspects relative to this issue – I’ll go into that later, but suffice it to say he could have said, “Out of respect, I’m sorry this is your first holiday without Tom…I will come to your home right after the holidays.” He could have said anything to appease me. Or he could have made an effort to tell me the truth – it takes only one day to fly here and back, but he obviously was not going to do it.
At this point, I was still contacting insurance companies and Engility/MPRI for information. Full disclosure was not going to happen – and they never did provide a full explanation. I do not even have the complete administrative record from the insurance companies despite having sent certified letters. The administrative record is everything in the file and would include emails between L-3/Engility and the insurance companies. As beneficiary I am entitled to this, yet they refuse to send the complete file. This is the file attorneys receive, but the insurance companies seldom, if ever, share this documentation with the policy-holders/beneficiaries.
Communication on every level with every entity slowly went downhill as I came across more and more lies. I came right out and asked them, “Was my husband killed by friendly fire?” and that was it; I never heard from Michaelis again; never heard from McKinley or the insurance companies or Engility. The doors were shut.
So I went to the Army Inspector General. I first reached a woman in that department who said, “This is what you have to do. First of all, send me the 15-6 you have.” I assume she wanted to compare my 15-6 to the one on file. I sent it to her and waited a week or two and didn’t hear anything. Then I called on a Friday morning and reached the executive director of the IG, Duane Rackley. I stated to him my concerns and asked for a status update. Rackley said, “Hold on, please,” and I could hear him keying-in certain things to the computer. He was quiet for a while, and the first thing he said to me was, “Mrs. Boyle, the entire Army is not corrupt.”
To me, that was like a big break that validated my search. I thought I had found someone who was going to help me – to do what was right. And I said, “What do we do next?” and he said, “Hold on; I have to check some things out; I’m going to get back to you,” and I said, “OK.”
I didn’t hear from him for a few weeks, so I called him, and he said, “The 15-6 is as stands; it is correct, and there’s nothing else I can do.”
Then I sent him a very strongly-worded email and included a photo of my deceased husband after his body was moved and staged. I was showing him that I had acquired documentation that would uphold my allegation. Rackley hit the roof, so to speak, and demanded that I tell him how and where I acquired the photo and from whom. I refused to respond to his requests since the military does not have any authority over civilians and then he wrote to me that because I refused to cooperate – my complaint was closed. In my lengthy response to him I stated, ‘Obviously the military believes my husband’s life to be insignificant. I am determined to uncover the complete truth. To this end I remain relentless and unforgiving.” Another door was shut.
Throughout all this, I was still FOIA-ing the Army and the Department of Defense. In the beginning, I would get phone calls but nothing in writing when they would tell me because it was an attack on a base, they didn’t do an investigation. I said, “A civilian is killed on a base and you don’t do an investigation?” and then that person would never answer my emails or contact me again. This went on and on.
Several of the soldiers had told me the video of the incident survived, because the videos on base that day had a 15-minute battery backup when the insurgents shut off the generators. So it recorded the entire attack. When I asked about the video, the Army said nothing existed. I have some recorded audio from one sergeant there who said that he knew of the vulnerabilities and that a video existed and that he saw it. He’s now retired from the Army.
“From what you have said, a number of them have retired since your husband was killed.”
Well, that’s their way out of any accountability. It works for those in the military, but in my case, Tom was a civilian and you have the criminal actions which include insurance fraud to consider.
That’s the difference here, and every soldier I’ve talked to I’ve made sure to mention the insurance, so if they didn’t know about it before, they know about it now. Had Tom been military, the cover-up might have worked, and I’m sure it’s worked in the past. I am confident in saying Tom was not the first to die under these circumstances and other families deserve not only justice and the truth, but also accountability.
“The Army denied that the video existed in response to my FOIA requests; however, you have copies of the emails from CID (Criminal Investigation Command) to me stating they would provide me a copy of the video when coming to my home to brief me earlier this year. The very same video that the Army stated did not exist – well, CID has it.”
The motto of CID is “Seek diligently to discover the truth, deterred neither by fear nor prejudice.”
On March 16, 2016, Mrs. Boyle was contacted by email by a U.S. Army colonel in which he stated, “We are looking to set up a day to brief you” on the circumstances of her husband’s death. The message suggested April 6 as the date of the meeting. Mrs. Boyle told The Post & Email that it was understood that the U.S. Army team, consisting of three Colonels, would be meeting her at her home and airing the video, which would show how her husband was killed as well as provide additional documentation. “I offered my home as a safe haven, and that is always the location of military briefings for deceased,” she told us.
Mrs. Boyle was asked to supply the names of family or close friends who would be in attendance, either in person or remotely, which she did, to include her son and a citizen investigator.
However, on April 1, Mrs. Boyle received an email from one of the colonels scheduled to debrief her on April 6 stating that the meeting would take place at a hotel approximately an hour from her home. “We have coordinated for a suitable location there to brief you,” the colonel wrote.
On the same day, Mrs. Boyle responded:
That is over an hour away from me Colonel XXXXXX – minimally – traffic will make the trip longer. Is there no way you can find your way to my home? I ask also because of the sensitive nature of what we will discuss and how I will have to publicly be seen after same. I believe I deserve some form of privacy afterwards and an hour plus drive home is really not the proper forum for myself and my son.
I ask that you rethink the location
April 1 was a Friday. On Monday, April 4, Mrs. Boyle received a response from the same colonel stating, “After considering other venue options for the detailed briefing we have prepared for you and your son, I’m unable to change the venue for our meeting.” The officer stated that the location they had reserved was “in a small, secluded part of the hotel for your and Ryan’s privacy” and offered to change the time so that traffic might be less of an issue.
Mrs. Boyle then responded:
May I say once again that ‘ a discreet briefing location in a small, secluded part of the hotel for you and Ryan’s privacy’ is an unacceptable location’. How incredibly insensitive for you to suggest the change in venue.
I propose we reschedule for another date when the United States Army can respectfully brief me in the privacy of my home – just as you do every other deceased ‘American Hero as are all who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation’.
I ask for no more respect, no less, than any other family member of an American who died for our nation.
To which the colonel responded:
I’m sorry that you feel my proposed location was insensitive, as that was never my intent.
As a matter of practice, these types of highly sensitive briefings are traditionally held at a neutral location. We stand ready to brief you at a neutral location near your residence, but unfortunately cannot agree to brief you in your home.
The CID officer again offered to meet Mrs. Boyle at the proposed hotel with the caveat that if he did not receive an affirmative response from her by 8:00 a.m. the following day, April 5, he would “stand down at this time until / unless we can come to a mutually agreeable briefing location.”
“Have you heard from them since they ‘stood down?'” The Post & Email asked Mrs. Boyle, to which she replied:
Nothing. I sent an email asking for the documentation they were to provide me at the briefing and said that if I had any questions after that I would contact CID. I have also FOIA’d the same information. They never answered my request.
Where else have we heard those two words – “stand down?”
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.