“I AM STILL SEEKING YOUR ASSISTANCE WITH MY CASE”

by Sharon Rondeau

(Aug. 31, 2020) — On Sunday evening, former U.S. Army Capt. Gary Mason sent an email to the office of U.S. Senator for Maryland Ben Cardin which garnered an unusually rapid response.

The email was sent as a follow-up to Mason’s 2013 request for an investigation into the Army’s actions which led to his discharge in January 2015 after 15 years of service as well as abuses of fellow soldiers.

Mason initially contacted Cardin after a command order transferred him from Schofield Barracks, HI to Fort Lee, VA, after which he became a resident of Maryland since on-post housing was denied him.

The staffer who had served as a liaison between Cardin’s office and him as the inquiry into his complaint ostensibly progressed left a voice message on his phone at approximately 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, Mason said.

The Post & Email has reviewed emails exchanged in 2018 between the staffer and Mason.

The voice message arrived approximately 14 minutes after someone with a “US Senate” IP address accessed an article, the link to which Mason provided in his Sunday communication.

In numerous interviews over more than two years, Mason told The Post & Email that a military liaison in Cardin’s office ultimately urged him to accept the disability pension he was offered by the Army in lieu of attempting to salvage his military career.  Mason had hoped to continue serving as a chaplain, having received his ordination while deployed to Afghanistan in 2011.

In the past, Mason told us, Cardin’s office, in the person of the staffer who left the voice message on Monday, said the senator’s office maintained a voluminous file on Mason’s complaint and the progress of the inquiry.  However, when Mason asked for a complete copy of the documentation, the staffer countered that it had been “destroyed,” Mason said.  Additionally, Mason recalled, the staffer advised him to contact the senatorial offices serving the state to which he had recently relocated despite the fact that he had not yet informed her of the move.

Five years after first contacting Cardin’s office for help, in February 2018, Mason wrote a final letter to Cardin in which he requested “restitution in the form of wages lost due to careers cut short, due process, and payment for our pain and suffering,” referring to himself and a fellow Army captain whose acquaintance he made at Ft. Lee and whose career was similarly placed on an administrative hold.  Of that soldier, Mason related:

While assigned there, I realized that another African-American Captain assigned to Fort Lee was also undergoing the same type of retribution, retaliation and harassment from the same base commander as I. While supporting one another at Walter Reed, I found out that he in fact was being forced out because he reported that his general officer in Korea was having an affair with his wife. When he reported the incident to the chain of command, he also was forced into the mental health program and illegally forced to take psychological exams as well. He was then threatened by our commanding officers and chain of command at Fort Lee to keep his mouth closed about his affairs.

Once he reported the situation, he was then raped by 4 contractors that worked for our commanding general at Fort Lee in 2013. He informed me about this incident in his hospital room while assigned to Walter Reed. He was then visited by the battalion commander of the ALU at Fort Lee who advised him to keep quiet and that they would offer him 100% disability for his silence on the matters.

I was informed by my colleague to keep quiet or they would do the same to me.

Further, Mason wrote:

I filed a complaint and reported the threats and incidents to the Walter Reed Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the US Army Fort Meyers, Criminal Investigative Services. We were both ignored and denied protection or due process. Out of fear for my safety, I also reported the incident to the Montgomery County Police Department in Bethesda, Maryland.

Soon after, my fellow Captain was removed from Walter Reed and placed in a psychological institute in another state.

A year later he returned and we reconnected. I became his Non-Medical Attendant while he underwent a medical board for retirement. During that time, he was highly medicated by his doctors and he shared with me that he was being sexually abused in the psychiatric ward by the head director and neuropsychiatrist at Walter Reed…

The letter can be read here in its entirety:  GM Last request (Cardin)

The email Mason sent to Cardin’s office Sunday evening reads:

Dear Senator Benjamin Cardin,
It is with great sadness that I must write to you again.  The last time I wrote to you, I asked for your continued support and assistance as a US Army veteran who served our nation honorably, with a dire need for your immediate attention.  My brother in arms and US Army veteran, Captain Casey Harrell was found dead in the James River in Lynchburg, VA, in March of this year, 2020.  This is after the US Army charged only one service member for committing soldier abuse while we underwent a forced medical discharge from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  Our lives were threatened and our careers were ended for reporting soldier abuse crimes that we and countless others suffered at the hands of our fellow soldiers.  As you will recall, Captain Harrell was repeatedly drugged and sodomized by Dr. XXXXXXXXXX while a patient at Walter Reed and I was assaulted and reported unit-wide racism while at my unit in Hawaii-25th Infantry Division.
I provided irrefutable evidence to you and your office for years, dating back to as far as June of 2012.  After Casey was forced out, he was so fearful of retribution that he legally changed his name. Captain Harrell is now dead. His family is grieving. He served our great Nation honorably and even in death his family deserves closure. Congress is a soldier’s redress when his own men commit abuses. I am still seeking your assistance with my case. I kept my commitment to my Nation, but my Nation has not kept its commitment to me. I still hold out hope that my Nation will live up to its promise. When you have the courage to help me, even after all that has happened, you will be part of the healing that must take place in America.
Know that my faith and the faith of family have sustained us. It is my sincere desire to work with our leaders to bring reconciliation, to protect those currently being abused, and to recommend concrete solutions for real change in our beloved United States military.
I was born and raised in the DC Metropolitan area and believe that you are a man who is willing to make the hard choice to make things right for my family all others that you serve.
My family and I are still requesting full reinstatement of our military contract, pay, and restitution.
Very Respectfully,
Captain Gary Mason II
US Army Officer
Reverend
Doctoral Candidate
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Cardin’s website does not have a media contact listed, and the “Media Resources” link leads to a list of press releases and Cardin’s public statements on issues.  The “Contact” page indicates it is intended for constituents to submit “opinions on issues in front of Congress or other political and legislative messages.”

At approximately 4:15 PM EDT, The Post & Email called Cardin’s office to obtain the contact information for his media representative to obtain comment about Mason’s case.  The voicemail greeting stated that his office closes at 5:00 PM daily and to either call back or leave a message. We chose the latter option but did not receive a return call by the end of business Monday.

Addendum, September 1, 2020, from Gary Mason:

I took these photos while Casey and I visited Howard University in 2015. I would take Casey on daily trips throughout Washington, DC, and the metropolitan area when I served as his Non-Medical Attendant and Spiritual Advisor.

One of Casey’s desires was to attend Howard University’s Law School after he finished his military career. This is Howard University’s main yard in front of Founder’s Library.

I was brought to tears when I remember Casey bowing to his knees in prayer to ask God to grant him an opportunity to go to Howard University. I graduated from Howard University in December of 1997, with a BA in Communications.

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