The Rise and Fall of Major Jim Gant

April 15, 2014

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Ann Scott Tyson, American Spartan: the Promise, the Mission, and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant (NY:  William Morrow, 2014)


Whether you are interested in an unusual love story or in how the United States fights protracted wars, Ann Scott Tyson’s American Spartan is an important  book.. It artfully tells the story of the author and her now-husband, Major Jim Gant, a tough warrior-hero-thinker, who not only was one of the authors of the theory of Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan but became a pioneer practitioner, living among the Afghans in Konar Province for nearly two years.   In the end, the Taliban tried very  hard to kill him, and none other than Osama bin Laden identified Gant and his 2009 article, “One Tribe at a Time,” as a threat to the global jihad, at least according to the author. In the estimation of General David Petraeus and others, Major Jim Gant was the “perfect counterinsurgent.”

Major Gant, however, was also a psychologically wounded warrior and not fit for combat.   A multi-tour combat veteran, he had severe and apparently untreated PTSD before his final deployment, the result of too much close combat on previous tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.  How long can one ride on the hood of a Humvee, drawing sniper fire and scouting for and finding IEDs?  He was well into drug and alcohol dependence before he deployed.  His condition became worse as his tour progressed.  Indeed, he increasingly became the centerpiece of battles against his twin demons:  the Taliban and his superior officers.  His attitude about war and warfare went off the deep end, and he imagined himself a reincarnated Spartan.  He told his often mystified soldiers:

Who am I?  I am a warrior. My physical, emotional, and spiritual self revolves around being a warrior.  I believe war is a gift from God…. I am not a patriot or a mercenary.  I fight to fight…. I believe if you want to kill, you must be willing to die. I am willing to do both … I pray for a worthy enemy…. I believe in the wrathful God of combat.  I believe in Hecate (pp. 139-40).

On one occasion, Gant stood in front of a troop formation and ritually cut himself to remember his unit’s dead.  One soldier described him as “Dances with Wolves meets Charles Bronson…” (p. 140).  In relation to the Afghan tribe with whom they lived, the author concluded:  “The message was clear.  Jim was fighting not for his country but for his family, his men, and his tribe” (p. 212).  (This old soldier found the vision quest, Sparta-babble to be misdirected, dysfunctional, and more than a bit weird.  Fighting to fight is not cool or macho; it’s feckless. Uncle Sam pays soldiers to fight for their country, not the love of battle.)

While Gant might have seen his superior officers as an impediment to his warrior quest, the rest of the world should see them as dedicated, decorated Special Forces officers, who, in the main, have walked a mile in Gant’s shoes.  Unlike Gant, they remained interested in the general orders that prohibit drinking and sexual relations in the field.  They were concerned with the reputation of their storied regiment.   They were also interested in spreading Village Stability Operations, and not hunkering down in one area, Gant’s apparent preference.

Gant for his part encouraged his future wife to come to his area of operations, and from time to time, clandestinely engage in combat operations.  This is both unethical gonzo journalism and a violation of the laws of war.  Gant artfully deceived his superiors about the presence of his lover in the combat zone.  For her part, Ann Scott Tyson admitted entering Afghanistan on valid visa, but not one for the work she then set out to accomplish.  This grand, lovers-against-the-world escapade enabled her to write this book.  The Gant-Tyson affair was stopped when a supporting infantry officer, suspicious of Gant from the beginning, turned him in for smelling of alcohol.  Investigators descended on the compound, took Gant into custody, and the author exited, stage left.

The resulting investigation reveals the steamy side of being a “perfect counterinsurgent”: whiskey bottles, pills, and a cozy container-for-two in the middle of an Afghan village.  Gant’s case appeared headed for a general court martial, but was wisely downgraded to non-judicial punishment.  Still fighting a ghost from the end of the Vietnam War, his superiors wanted to protect the Special Forces Regiment from the reputation of being a rogue outfit.  The fate of the Village Stability Operations also hung in the balance.  They believed strongly that Special Operations did not mean special ethics or legal shortcuts.

In the end,  Major Jim Gant was severely reprimanded, removed from the Special Forces Regiment, stripped of his Special Forces tab, retired from the Army at the rank of Captain, and charged a six-figure fine that will be extracted over a lifetime of smaller retiree paychecks. Major Gant — sick, worn out, charismatic, and crazy brave — ultimately defeated himself with the help of loyal junior officers and NCOs, who would follow him anywhere, but could not tell him where to stop.

Major Jim Gant, however, had more enablers than those brave souls who fought with him.  The commanders who seized on his fresh ideas, skill, and reputation did not look out for his welfare.  I wondered, over and over, how he could pass a pre-deployment physical and maintain a security clearance.  In a 22-month tour, why were there no visiting lawyers, medical officers, Inspectors General, or no-notice command inspections to catch Gant in the act of being Gant?  His post was visited many times, even by Senators.  But no one looked into how the people really lived there.  Gant conducted his own Potemkin Village Stability Operations tour, and the VIPs saw what they wanted to see.

The story of the American Spartan tells us a lot about Village Stability Operations, designed to work with tribal elements to build Afghan Local Police (ALP) units.  Started in 2010, this program had great potential, but, as this book points out, people are one of its weak points.  The Afghan government interface was weak.  Gant’s team was well prepared for all that the mission required, but other teams were not. Gant taught himself the Pashtun language and wondered why so few Green Berets, more than a decade after the war began, spoke the language of the tribes.   His replacement team leader wanted to know where the mess hall and gym were in the Afghan village where they were going to live.   That leader’s new team came in wearing Kevlar — physically and mentally — and never connected with the local Afghans.  They failed quickly. Other observers saw a limited talent pool available to deal with Afghans at the Gant level of proficiency. Andrew Exum, a two-tour combat veteran and then a mainstay at the Center for a New American Security, wondered:  “I just don’t see how the United States can back a strategy that is predicated upon being implemented by geniuses”(p. 74).

Citing Army experts, Tyson notes that today, there are 25,000 ALP in local areas, policing about 20 percent of the Afghan population (p. 347).  Under the watchful eyes of Green Berets and other special operations personnel, the program has been successful. It is not clear if Village Stability Operations will continue to be a success without the presence of U.S. special operations personnel.   Like most aspects of Afghan security, time will tell what lasts and what fades, what remains constant and what changes direction.

When we ask ourselves why Major Gant fell from grace, we also have to look in the mirror.  The all-volunteer Armed Forces — active and reserve components — are not made for a decade of large-scale, protracted warfare.  That fact, however, did not and will not stop us from engaging in protracted warfare.  The U.S. Government chose to wage large-scale, protracted war in part by grinding down the best and the bravest until many of them died, broke, or fell from grace.  On the jacket of Tyson’s book, Gunner Sepp, himself a former special operator, writes: “There are many stories here.  One of the most troubling is about what happens to elite troops after their country has kept them in combat for more than a decade.”  Jim Gant’s fall is an object lesson for America and a warning to our nation’s leaders.  It will also be a blockbuster movie that probably will not be as good as the book.


Joseph J. Collins is a retired Colonel who teaches strategy at the National War College. A former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, he has been writing about Afghanistan since 1980.


Photo credit: Luc Galoppin

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29 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of Major Jim Gant

  1. I know people are tired of reading reviews of this book. However, this on is worth reading as it is the most balanced objective review and analysis of Jim Gant’s story.

    1. COL Collins,

      Thank you for writing this review (and thanks also to COL Maxwell for commenting on it). I’m one of the few officers that’s had the distinction of serving with Jim Gant both in SF and in the Infantry. Jim is a complex figure and I’m torn between whether he created a persona and sought to live up to it or if that’s who he was from the beginning. At this stage it’s a moot point because I’ll ever know for sure.
      I and a few of my colleagues have been following Jim’s story for years and I can say three things for certain: 1) Jim truly believes in his neo-Spartan persona (he was already that way when we were LTs together) 2) Jim was a charismatic small unit leader, a passionate soldier, and talented writer but a terrible officer. 3) The manner of both his rise and his fall are not surprising to me in the least. He always dared his leadership to keep him in check (none did). I respect the hell out of him but I wouldn’t trust him.

      Lino Miani
      MAJ, SF

      1. Lino,

        Well written albeit the last part, I would caveat by saying I would trust him unequivocally in a fire fight. Good to see you’re still fighting the good fight!


      2. Lino,

        Thanks for your 1st-hand and balanced input on Jim Gant’s story. You may remember that I served in your Infantry Scout platoon and Gant’s warrior spirit was alive and well in the Scouts, even well after he had moved on. SOLAMF!

        – Josh Nicholson

  2. Inspectors General at a remote COP? Pre-deployment physicals that would ferret out alcohol abuse? Soldiers who fight “for their country” rather than for the love of their brothers or of battle?

  3. War changes people. Except for the Senior O’s – they don’t go to war, they pack up their plush garrison accommodations and send it overseas. They utter the same catch phrases, continue making bad decisions, are never accountable, and never live up to the standards they preach to everyone else. Every time there’s a suicide, or a ‘fall from grace’ , you’ll find some bad leaders that turned a blind eye when they should have taken action.
    With the attention on VSO and MAJ Gant, there’s no way a handful of GOs didn’t know what was lurking. While MAJ Gant was dodging bullets and his own demons, they just kept writing OER bullets.

    1. Scott, you hit the nail on the head. Senior Os should be held accountable for everything from being fat and lazy, not passing height and weight, to the many lost lives in the recent wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    2. “kept writing OER bullets”? I sincerely doubt they even did that. I’ve never had an OER that I didn’t write (or at least draft) myself since I made CPT many, many moons ago. Even when I worked for my unit G1 I had to write the rater and senior rater blocks and wrote the narrative and citations for all awards the past 15 years. All my “leadership” would do is tell me which award to write myself up for.

  4. The reviewer hits the nail on the head with all the things wrong with this book and the two clowns that were its main subject. One of the tell-tale signs is quoting a guy like Andrew Exum. An arrogant narcissist who will never miss an opportunity to explain how he has all the answers for COIN. He is all that is wrong with the DC “experts” who make a living on the think tank cocktail party circuit.

    You’re no genius, Andy. And neither is Gant.

  5. Had the pleasure of listening to Gant and Steven Pressfield as guest lecturers hosted by USNA. As a Marine ANA advisor who experienced first hand the need for a CAP-like solution along the Pech in 2006, I was intrigued by the Gant-Pressfield “It’s the Tribes, Stupid” approach. I prayed the Midshipmen discerned the problem with aligning loyalty to a single village to the point of taking up arms against neighbouring villages where the conflict was often a blood dispute. A shame Gant’s demons couldn’t be exercised. God bless him in the next phase of life.

  6. I hope that the Army goes back and restores MAJ Gant back to his rank with full retirement benefits. In-fact a case can be made that the Army violated law by discriminating against and then punishing a disabled person. The Army was actually the cause of MAJ Gant’s PTSD by leaving him in what amounted to nothing more than an “undercover operation” for 19 months, and while it continued to benefit from his service, it did nothing to ensure that his physical well being or mental stability remained in-tact. Therefore, the Army contributed to MAJ Gant’s actions by contributory negligence and in some cases it actively promoted his actions. Being that the Army caused his PTSD, and being that MAJ Gant is still afforded protection under the law by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Army should have never been allowed to take punitive actions against MAJ Gant and he should have been allowed to exit the Army with full benefits through a medical retirement. I hope an attorney reads this and then goes back to challenge the Army in an effort to reverse its decision. I also hope that the Army and other branches of service, as well as law enforcement agencies use a Lessons Learned from Major Gant’s story as to what can inevitable happen to anyone who is allowed to work undercover or in such environments as Major Gant’s for so long without continuous interaction by leadership and the “family” for which they truly belong to. The bottomline here is that you can’t truly achieve Village Stability Operations without sacrificing something or someone… in this case it cost MAJ Gant his soul.

  7. I served on a sister MiTT with Jim Gant in Iraq in 2006-2007 and helped coordinate and execute his Silver Star Ceremony for combat actions in and around Balad, Iraq in 2006. I will say many were in awe of him as well as extremely loyal. I thought he was crazy, because he would slip into Baghdad in the middle of night with a select few team members and vehicles (unauthorized of course) and compete in UFC related fights – or boxing matches in an underground ring against the locals (with others pulling security). He would often come to work with black eyes or scratches. his fall from grace does NOT surprise me one bit.

  8. I served with Jim Gant while I was an instructor at Robin Sage, I found him tiresome, a legend in his own mind. He had a small following of fanboys who idolized him. The rest of us just found him annoying. He loved having the captive audience of Sage students. He would tell overly dramatic tales that inevitably ended with him bawling. I found his behavior in front of the students embarrassing and unprofessional.

    When Gant left, and I heard that he had gone back to AF, I knew no good could come of it. I bear him no ill will, and I am not pleased with the way the Army and the SF Regiment treated him at the end of his career. That said, I can’t think of a reason why anyone would read a book about him.

  9. Thanks to many who commented on my review of the book. I am taken back again over how many knew about Major Gant’s trials and tribulations but let it all go anyway. One person mocked the notion of IGs going to remote locations. In my day (1970-98) they did … maybe we need to resurrect that old tradition. Thank you all for your great service. This old soldier stands in awe of what you all have done. Joe Collins

    1. The only thing you didn’t catch was the criticism of Gant, by a SF O5! – for using irregular tactics. That is actually scarier than his admittedly flaky behavior, as it indicates a systemic problem with SF leadership (see my comment below)

  10. I have a hard time being objective about this one. I knew Jim Gant briefly about twenty years ago. I was a 21 year old ROTC cadet at Lewis for summer camp, and Jim was in my platoon. He was prior-enlisted, 5th SFG combat vet from Desert Storm, and he provided some of the… up-close sustained mentoring that I hadn’t gotten from some of my previous peers and leadership, I’ll put it that way. I’m surprised he didn’t beat me to death, to be honest. I probably had it coming. He summed me up at the time as all book learning and zero maturity, even if I did have what he considered a decent focus on combat readiness.

    Well, ROTC didn’t work out between a knee injury and the 1995 cutback, but a few years later I tried the soldiering business again with a lot of Jim’s advice still echoing in my ears. Glasses were too thick for SF, but I put in reasonable work in the 101st. In all, some of what I accomplished I chalk up to his help.

    With that in mind, I have a hard time reading his explosion after the fact. Part of it doesn’t surprise me at all- the guy didn’t seem to be able to do anything partway even twenty years ago, but I can only hope he finds some sort of peace since a glorious death wasn’t his thread.

    Jim, if you do see this, thanks.

  11. I just finished reading “American Spartan” yesterday. My opinion… Though troubled, Maj. Jim Gant’s approach to bringing the Afghans to our side was more than valid. As they say “the proof is in the pudding” and he definitely got positive results when the hide bound regular Army could not. My opinion of the US Army officer corps has definitely been greatly diminished. The more than obvious jealousy and the “I didn’t come up with this so I won’t use it” mentality is petty and does not serve this country well. In fact, I consider it shameful. It’s my opinion, having studied military history for 50 years, that combat officers that can inspire American fighting men to “storm the gates of hell” are rare and therefore very valuable. To have served his country in the gallant way that he did (a decorated and wounded soldier) and be treated the way he was in the end is a sickening stain on the US Army as far as I’m concerned.

  12. Having read the book, even written from his wife’s perspective, it is clear that for mental health reasons he needed to be relieved. Her account reveals major PTSD issues even before a two year deployment. One thing that does disturb me is that in the account of the referral for court martial, the investigating officer, a SF LTC, condemned him for the use of “irregular tactics.” Frankly, that is amazing and a sign that the USASF may have some significant leadership problems. “Irregular tactics” are exactly what the SF are supposed to use and are trained to use – it is the very reason for their existence. Nothing in the book – or that I have heard of otherwise, indicates the use of tactics that are anything EXCEPT consistent with exactly what Special Forces officers and enlisted troops are trained to do and by doctrine supposed to do. I’ve listened to my father (who served in the 10 SFG in the days of Sage and Thorne) discuss their doctrine and tactics, and it is fully consistent with how Gant approached the problem. His solution would earn plaudits from evaluators at Robin Sage. As a consultant for JIWC, I developed a decision model for MEDCAP programs in COIN and other stability operations- and his actions appear to be a great validation of the underlying assumptions I made. If we have SF O-5s condemning officers for “irregular tactics,” there is a systemic leadership problem in the groups that needs to be urgently addressed. The fact that a team leader was even deployed with Gant’s PTSD issues is another sign of significant leadership issues. AS I said, from my reading of the book, he probably shouldn’t have been deployed and had health issues that should have had him removed long before he was – I am not claiming he should have been left in place. Expecting irregular warriors to be successful without using irregular tactics, however, is completely asanine.

  13. I have been thinking over this book for quite a while now. The problem Ann Tyson herself recognizes is that a condition of the “One Tribe at a time” application is that it holds the possibility elite warriors positioned in these Afghan communities are subject to “going native”. You might end up with a Colonel Kurtz instead of a Lawrence of Arabia and that is an unfair extreme, and certainly not Maj Gant’s condition. That the US army rather than acknowledge the risk of what close living with Afghan’s over periods of years might result in is also a sad omit by care of our soldiers and it goes deeper than simple PTSD or possible BTI. Gant put an AK in his mouth and pulled the trigger in a semiconscious state. He should have been treated and afforded the honors his sort of Spartan heroics merited. On the one hand I cautioned going native has been largely ignored by an increasingly liberal American culture that may even consider it a good thing in the USA, on the other we have seen too many instances of VA abuse and the recent scandal of deaths resulting from criminal record keeping and back logs and the apparent continuing cycles of suicides, demands an accounting. The honorable Major Jim Gant’s special circumstances should be an opportune gateway to accord service personnel greater consideration instead of less. And furthermore the Army’s use of sexto further attack Gant is at best symptomatic of a dysfunctional system that has failed to help our wounded warriors and instead seeks only to minimize costs by fixing aberrant blame.
    I won’t go so far as to say his relationship with Ann was anything but indiscreet but the full count of charges is nothing but perverse in themselves. It is interesting how many high ranking Warriors, warriors have been brought down by sexual charges that for the most part ;ack substance in the world of the big PX. To include Gant’s mentor General Petreaus. Is it the sexual indiscretions, that would be unsubstantiated as action deserving of punishment ? Especially as they began to rise in rank after Clinton was in office, is this some sort of liberal pay back or just an easy means to fix blame where it does not belong?
    I agree this is a great article, even tough I might take it down another path. It isn’t just about PTSD american culture is floating in the bowl where they put Major Gant’s career.

  14. I appreciate the objective review of the book. The situation was poor for Jim Gant to be in, and I know he has admitted to it. What hurts is what it has done to him as a man and warrior. I don’t agree that the only reason we fight is for country only and not for the love of battle. “Sirens Song: the Allure of War” is a great literary example. I feel in a lot of ways connected to Kunar, and RC East in general. I’ve also been in a situation where the higher command relentlessly set out to rid themselves of all non-ORG leadership, needlessly ruined many Soldiers along the way, particularly the USAR and NG units. The amount of digging they had to do to pull it off was on the level of total tactical distraction an the write ups that followed made it look like if change was not made the war would be lost. Most of this was based on hearsay, disagreements, and a rejection (on our part) of living in a “garrisonized” environment in theater (constant formations, PT tests, and air tight CONOPS). Minor infractions were made, but no death resulted and everyone in my unit came home alive despite clearing routes all over RC East. Disagreements regarding last minute CONOP changes, TTPs, higher’s use of ISR to spot check Soldiers on mission for PPE, and interference with BSO missions just lead to chaos and extremely low morale. Individuals were targeted and many of them left the Army following the 11-12 campaign. If it wasn’t for 2-27 IN, close friends, and guys like retired SF MSG Tony Pryor, heads would have rolled. The worst part was visiting our higher and seeing rampant abuse of resources, favoritism, sexual misconduct, fraternization, suicide, and massive double standards. All of it covered up and denied. If it wasn’t for warriors like Pryor it would have been hard to keep it together. We had a big sense of purpose, connection to our ANA counterparts, and shared tactical success. Seeing how 2-27, who’s BC spoke Pashtun, ran COIN in northern Kunar opened our eyes. That was the model for COIN by a regular infantry unit. After finding out about this story I highly agree with the principle of the tactics and the concept of one village at a time. But I also see how not every unit has their head in that fight, and my RCPs certainly didn’t early on. It wasn’t our job, frankly, but witnessing the success it had when applied correctly afforded not just fluidity of operations, great relationships, and respect from locals, but helped expose HVTs and really aid the AtN OPS we became enamored in for C-IED. Jim Gant had demons to deal with, and there were a lot of failures from the bottom up. Our issues, and mine, weren’t on that scale but I relate heavily to not “going with the flow” and how disagreements with higher leaders (not actual dereliction of duty and orders) can be destructive to a unit. Everyone on the outside looking in verified that to some extent, which has become something I battle with every day because of the great Soldiers that left the Army, the horrors regarding abuse and unlawful downgrading of awards, and rejection of valor by instead launching investigations to find fault and error. When they hate you, you better have a squeaky clean appearance and all skeletons well buried or hell will bear down. Being given little to no guidance, even when requested, is unfortunately common practice by many leaders CAB hunting or writing evaluation bullets. I couldn’t stand for what was happening unjustly to my Soldiers, the bullshit from a micromanaging and hypocritical command, so I took as much heat as possible. Without the fellowship we had, the desire to fight (we preferred to stay on mission instead of on base), and purpose developed from the people I mentioned, I dare to say it would’ve lead to disaster. I get tremendous value from Gant’s efforts and I don’t view him as any kind of disgrace. I’ve seen worse that has led to much disgrace and nothing will ever be done about it.

  15. Seeing as how I am retired now and in North Carolina, I still have an ear in the community. I remember how information trickled out over the past years about this in particular.
    I was there for the invasion and a good amount of time afterwards in Afghanistan. Even then in 2001, 2002 along the lines of what Major Gant wrote about and set forth on doing later on, it was recognized to an extent as what needed to be done to quote “win”.
    So roughly we did. We established as best as could be expected ties with the villages to even living in them for periods of time before moving on to establish more firebases and strongholds. Also, to much disgust of higher commanders we did dump a lot of of gear and adorn ourselves in a good bit of the native attire and more.
    Serving in both the Special Operations community and also the Regular Army I saw all too well that there is this ever waging nasty fude between the two of who is who, who is in command and even down to trivial mundane things.
    Honestly in my opinion majority of the fude lies at the feet of the Regular Army. From senior officers to senior enlisted personnel, they could not simply play nice, step outside of their square minded thinking and by the book ways to simply work to accomplish a task with the guys who were only on the other side of the street back in the states. Not all though were that way and those officers and enlisted personnel were refreshing to see.
    Special Operations does have the cowboy mentality and overall command and control needs to respect the need/demand in our ever changing world and battlefield for Special Operations unique unconventional abilities. On the other hand though, it must not run wild, free and unchecked.
    As for the medical screenings, assessments, evaluations, it did not matter what was said or written over there or wherever, if you were ment to go and you were needed, you got cleared. Simple as that. That, I can personally attest to. One might argue you should have done something, perhaps, but when loyalty and duty call, you doeverything and more to get the job done.
    We ALL, have our shortcomings, secrets, indiscretions and whatnot that we must live with but for command to go to such lengths to make an example of Major Gant while they themselves have secrets and indiscretions much worse that they are hiding not only there but here as well is intollerable, inexcusable and unacceptable. May the wings of your bird be clipped and/or your stars be taken.
    It’s been nice reading material and well as other posts, as a final comment I say this, no-one deserves to live in oppression, every man, woman and child as a human is afforded the basic right to freedom of choice.
    Big John


  17. I had the opportunity to work on Major Gant’s team in both COP Penich and Mangwal village when he was standing up the VLP in 2010-2011. Even before I landed in Afghanistan I was aware of his fame within the SF community and had read “One Tribe at a Time”. He always struck me as extremely passionate and very high strung. I remember him coming into the SF area at COP Penich on a 4 wheeler one day and yelling out “We might all die today!”. At the time I wondered about his sanity. Still he was the type of man who I trusted to be there standing beside me in a fight. What the SF community did was throw him to the wolves and then do it quietly enough to not tarnish their own “stellar” careers. Why was he allowed to stay in combat, literally in the woods for two years? Why was the higher command who certainly knew things weren’t right allowed to play dumb until an Infantry LT just in from the States blew the whistle, apparently with a grudge against Major Gant? Special Forces is FULL of characters with bloated ego’s and “unique” personalities, and equally stocked with Quiet Professionals. He clearly was the former, and the SF leadership clearly allowed him to be that way as long as they weren’t held responsible for it, but isn’t responsibility a huge part of leadership? He did wrong, and he knew it, but given the extremely long time he spent with his tail on the front lines, and whatever his mental state became from it, he deserved to be reprimanded and even discharged, but not to be shamed for what truly amounts to his leadership failing him. As for the drinking in country, the Army encourages you to minimize injuries and drive on (FIDO). I myself have been nursing a severe spinal injury since combat in Iraq years earlier, and like many in the service had a few stiff drinks to help me sleep after long days in armor. The Army put out General Order Number One, but it was and is widely ignored. Some to party, but many to gain some relief, I believe Major Gant’s injuries played a large part in the reason for his drinking. My two cents. Jim if you read this, thank you for the time in Kunar. You’ve taken your lumps, now stand tall and know you did a hell of a job out there, regardless of how it turned out.

  18. Jim Gant, you epitomize “the soldier.” You were up against a sissified haierarchal Army going back decades. They are exemplified by the weak sisters we have running things today, from the Commander in Chief down. None of them are soldiers of merit and never will be. You deserve accolades these wimps will never have and will never recognize their betters simply because they can’t have the same recognition and have not, and never will, accomplish the things you did. You truly are a warrior, my friend. Strength and Honor. Sonny Gratzer

  19. I’m sorry to say it but if Gant had not had the personal problems and erratic behavior, they would have come after him a lot sooner. The military has always been very tolerant of personal weakness and misconduct but they really will not stand for a nonconformist who always does the right thing and is beyond personal and professional reproach.