Three Grenada Soldiers Have Records Partly Cleared After Courts- Martial
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Three soldiers who were court-martialed last year for smuggling Soviet rifles back from Grenada have had their records partially cleared through grants of clemency.
The Army said Friday the three - one officer and two enlisted men - had received clemency during the past week. The decisions remove a dismissal sentence against the officer and bad conduct discharge orders against the enlisted men.
The actions, disclosed in a prepared statement, came in cases that received significant attention because of the involvement of Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Metcalf III. Metcalf tried to bring 24 AK-47 Soviet rifles back from Grenada in 1983. He was stopped by U.S. customs agents and subsequently received a written reprimand.
The Army officer who was court-martialed, Capt. John E. Dorsz, has maintained his punishment was inconsistent and too harsh compared with that of Metcalf, who commanded the Grenadan invasion in October 1983.
Dorsz has admitted bringing three Soviet rifles back into the United States, one of which he intended to keep as a souvenir and two others to give to his alma mater, a military school.
The clemency actions do not overturn the court-martial convictions of either Dorsz, Staff Sgt. Allan J. Cassatt or Sgt. Bruce Willard. Each still has a legal appeal pending. But the clemency decisions do overturn a key part of their punishment and ″remove the blot from their record,″ said Lt. Col. Craig MacNab, an Army spokesman.
As a result, MacNab said it is now possible all three men could return to active duty.
MacNab denied that the clemency decisions were in any way connected to Metcalf’s punishment.
″This shouldn’t be linked to any external event,″ MacNab said. ″This has nothing to do with what the Navy did or did not do. It has been handled within normal Army channels.″
The Army has maintained that all its soldiers were treated consistently in its own investigation and that the Navy’s treatment of Metcalf and a handful of Marines who smuggled weapons back from Grenada was none of its concern.
The Navy, meantime, has justified Metcalf’s reprimand by noting that more than 300 Marines were given amnesty for voluntarily turning in weapons, and that only those who ignored the amnesty or tried to sell the weapons were court-martialed.
According to the Army’s statement, Assistant Secretary Delbert Spurlock granted Dorsz’ clemency petition May 24. The clemency petitions of the two enlisted men were considered and approved Thursday by Maj. Gen. Hugh R. Overholt, the Army’s acting judge advocate general.
Dorsz is on inactive reserve status as a result of his court-martial. He was convicted on Aug. 23, 1984, and sentenced to dismissal, six months’ confinement and fined $3,000.
Willard was released from military jail May 23 and his term of enlistment has expired, MacNab said. The clemency action will allow him to leave the Army with a better discharge, or he could ask permission to re-enlist, the spokesman said.
Cassatt, meantime, served four months in prison and was released from confinement Jan. 18. He currently is on excess leave status pending the results of his legal appeal. The clemency action will allow him to go back on active duty but at the reduced rank of private, MacNab said.