By Katie Kieffer
Lt. Clint Lorance needs your help. He is an American war hero who was unjustly sentenced to 20 years confinement, forfeiture of all pay, and dismissal from the U.S. Army because the Obama administration is apparently trying to appease the Afghan government. Members of his own platoon were pressured to testify against him to protect themselves from disciplinary action.
The day he turned 18, Lorance walked into the Greenville, Texas recruiting station and enlisted in the U.S. Army. The U.S. had recently invaded Iraq and he felt an obligation to serve his country. Before long, Lorance was thriving. Two years into his military career, Lorance was already a Sergeant.
Throughout the 10 years he served in the U.S. Army, Lorance kept his mother informed of all his accomplishments and award certificates. His mother told me that she now has all of these certificates and letters with her. Many are letters from his superiors recommending him for promotion. When his mother recently read through them all herself, she found they were: “All stating his excellent performance and being highly recommended as an outstanding young man. Not one bad word or one bad report.”
Lorance’s superiors described him as trustworthy, highly skilled, very organized and by-the-books (a vital trait in the Military where order and respect for leadership keeps everyone safe and on-mission during the fog of war).
Lorance served in the U.S. Army with a perfect record for 10 years when he was suddenly stripped of his weapon and dismissed from the Army without explanation in July of 2012. He was thrown into an impossible situation during his first time commanding an active-duty rifle platoon in a very dangerous region in Afghanistan teeming with Taliban insurgents. Around this time, the Obama administration implemented “Afghan in the Lead,” a nebulous set of rules of engagement whereby American commanders were supposed to let the Afghan forces take the lead, if the Afghans wanted to lead.
Lt. Lorance was leading his rifle platoon on a combat patrol in Taliban territory when U.S. Army helicopters overhead alerted him via radio to the presence of insurgents in the area. It is a common tactic of the Taliban to utilize “spotters” on motorcycles who communicate sightings via ICOM signals and carry grenades, which they toss at American forces. Suddenly, Lt. Lorance’s platoon encountered Afghan motorcyclists who exactly fit the description he had received over radio.
With seconds to react, Lt. Lorance used his common sense. He authorized his American marksmen to make precision shots and route these ostensible Taliban spotters instead of relying on his Afghan soldiers, who had less training and a reputation for being trigger-happy. Lt. Lorance did the right thing; he eliminated what his intelligence told him were Taliban and also eliminated the loss of additional innocent lives that could have been lost had he authorized his Afghan soldiers to lead. He made the best call he could, with seconds to react and under immense pressure. Nevertheless, after 10 years of serving honorably in the Army with a perfect record, he was dismissed for using street smarts instead abiding by silly rules of engagement that could have jeopardized innocent Americans and Afghans.
Lt. Lorance is now sitting in confinement, awaiting a clemency hearing, and he wrote this letter to his supporters on September 1, 2013:
My fellow Patriots:
The past year has been a turbulent time for myself and all of you great American Patriots. I’ve been through many challenges in my life, and I’m thankful for who they’ve turned me into. The current challenge for me is enduring the banter, shrewdness and internal politics inherent to a prison population. It is arguably the most difficult obstacle that I’ve faced in my life, however, knowing I’m not alone in this arduous journey makes the road a little smoother. I’m standing strong on the “inside” as I’m confident you’re standing strong on the “outside.” You have my most sincere thanks and respect for taking a stand against injustice. You are true-blue Americans. NEVER GIVE UP – NEVER GIVE IN.
Sincerely and respectfully,
The last line in the letter, “Never Give Up, Never Give In,” is Lt. Lorance’s life motto. He is an amazing man who devoted his life to caring for others. Instead of judging him, we need to hear his side of the story. As his mother says, “He has written a story himself” through his exemplary character and actions.
I will keep you posted on developments regarding Lt. Lorance’s case. In the meantime, we all need to stand by this heroic man who faces injustice because the Obama administration apparently chose to appease the Afghan government instead of supporting our American troops. Moreover, he and his family need prayers to stay strong and upbeat as they face the hurdle of their lives. It’s up to us to remind our Commander-in-Chief: No man left behind.
Easy ways you can help Lt. Lorance:
1.) Please sign this petition to free Lt. Lorance from prison. He needs 25,000 signatures.
2.) His family seeks “character witness letters” that his attorney will bring to Lt. Lorance’s clemency hearing. Any American may write a reference letter on Clint’s behalf. These letters will be viewed by the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division. You could express your feelings on Clint’s character or write a note expressing your concern about the treatment of our returning heroes.
Please address your letter to:
Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division
Mail your letter to:
Anna Lorance P.O.Box 545 Celeste, Texas 75423
Your signature is required at the bottom of your letter. Your letter will help Clint’s defense team make a case at his upcoming clemancy hearing, so please send yours in soonest!
3.) Please visit DefendVeteranLorance.com, to find links to his life story, his Facebook page and his PayPal donation page. His family needs to raise funds for his legal defense. If you are a member of CHASE Bank, there is a special non-profit organization set up for Lt. Lorance through CHASE Bank. Anyone in the world may walk into their CHASE Bank branch and make a tax-deductible donation to: “Defend Veteran Lorance.”