Leader Blues

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

TOP STORY > >Cabot military lawyer recognized for service

By GARRICK FELDMAN
Leader editor

A Cabot attorney who serves as a judge advocate in the Army Reserves has received one of the military’s highest honors for his service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Capt. David J. Green, who is with the 81st Regional Readiness Command based at Ft. Bragg, N.C., recently received the 2008 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award at a ceremony at the Pentagon.

Twenty-eight commissioned and warrant officers from the active Army, Army Reserve and the National Guard were honored at the awards ceremony.

Green, 37, was praised for his legal work in Iraq and Afghanistan, particularly for his efforts establishing a military judicial system in Afghanistan.

He’s been awarded the Bronze Star for his legal work in the war zones at great personal risk to himself and his comrades, as well as for his humanitarian work providing school supplies to children who could not get an education under the Taliban.

“We set up the first-ever court martials in Afghanistan,” Green said in an interview on Monday.

“I served in Iraq in 2004 for six months. Then I was mobilized in 2006 to serve as the acting command judge advocate for the Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg and then in 2007-2008 to serve in Afghanistan,” the captain said.

“Military court martials did not exist when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan. It was Green’s job to show the Afghan military how to bring prisoners to trial and assure them of their rights.

“We didn’t want them to capture the Taliban and kill them,” said Green, who has just returned from Afghanistan after a year-long tour.

“We told them they should not carry out illegal orders. They couldn’t kill prisoners or steal food. They were taught what they were fighting for, which is as important as pulling the trigger.”

“We helped set up court martials in Afghanistan and advised judges how to interrogate witnesses and advise defense counsel how to defend their clients,” Green said.

The U.S. military has divided the country into several judicial sections to help administer justice throughout the country.

“I traveled quite a bit. It was dangerous. I traveled in convoys, helicopters or C-130s. I traveled to every corps to make sure there would be no tribal warfare or ethnic cleansing,” Green said.

He recalled one dramatic incident when the military confiscated $10 million worth of unprocessed heroin from the Taliban.

“We showed the Afghans how to interrogate prisoners,” Green said. “We taught them about proper legal procedures. We taught them the rule of law.”

In addition to his legal work, Green volunteered 100 hours passing out school supplies to Afghan children.

“We would write home and ask people to send us school supplies,” he recalled. “We then passed them out, especially to young Afghan girls who could not attend school under the Taliban.”

“It’s a great honor,” he said after accepting his MacArthur award. “I’m humbled to receive it.”

A former military police officer and infantryman, Green worked his way through law school in North Carolina.

In civilian life, he is in corporate supply management with Alltel. He previously worked for Entergy, which had recruited him from his native Michigan. After working in New Orleans, he was reassigned to Arkansas and settled in Cabot.

“I fell in love with Cabot and central Arkansas,” he said.

He and his wife Kristin have four children, Connor, 11, Tessa, 10, Gavin, 6, and Caleb, 4.

Green said his his wife’s “support has been beyond compare and words cannot describe my awe and appreciation of her many sacrifices as a mother and wife during my two deployments.

“Additionally, Alltel has been a model employer and completely supportive of any needs my family and I have had. They truly walk the talk regarding employer support of our nation’s citizen-soldiers,” Green said.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. presented the awards at the Pentagon and praised the soldiers for their accomplishments.

“The common thread that binds soldiers together, that causes men and women to do extraordinary things, is the kind of leadership we celebrate here today,” Casey said.

The soldiers being honored commanded several companies in combat, and trained Afghans and Iraqis in war, law, governance and economics.

“Their units were the best,” he said. “Because of leaders like this, our Army is the best at what it does.”

The award was created in 1987 by the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Foundation to recognize company-grade officers who demonstrate MacArthur’s ideals of “duty, honor, country.” The award promotes effective junior leadership in the Army.

Commanders of various recipients were present to congratulate their nominees. Family members and friends filled nearly every available seat.

Each year, Army major commands nominate a limited number of eligible soldiers for the award and forward the selectee’s information to the Pentagon for review.

Soldiers are chosen for the award based on leadership, influence, proficiency, values, team-building and personal skills.

“These soldiers have without a doubt demonstrated Gen. MacArthur’s ideals of duty, honor and country,” Casey added.