Green Beret Killed in Jordan Receives Silver Star

February 26, 2021Sandboxx News
The Silver Star ceremony. Photo by Erin Powers via 1st Special Forces Command.

The Silver Star ceremony. Photo by Erin Powers via 1st Special Forces Command.

This article by Stavros Atlamazoglou was originally published on Feb. 23, 2021, on Sandboxx News. Read more articles by Sandboxx here.

Last week, Staff Sergeant James F. Moriarty, a Green Beret assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group, was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest award for valor, for his actions during a friendly-fire attack in Jordan.

On November 4, 2016, Moriarty and several other Green Berets were returning to the King Faisal Air Base when a Jordanian gate guard opened fire at them. Despite repeated calls to the Jordanian Air Force Sergeant Ma’arik al-Tawayha to cease fire, the man continued his rampage, killing Moriarty and two other Green Berets—Sergeant First Class Mathew Lewellen and Staff Sergeant Kevin McEnroe.

Before he succumbed to his wounds, Moriarty managed to grievously wound Al-Tawayha, thus stopping him. Following a controversial trial, the Jordanian airman, who survived, was sentenced to life in prison—which amounts to approximately 20 years according to the country’s legal system—and avoided the death sentence that would have come if terrorism motives had been found.

To defend himself, the Jordanian airman claimed that he thought that the base was under attack and that he took the necessary steps to protect it. Video footage of the incident, however, goes right through his claims. Even to this day, his motives are still unclear, and extradition to the US is unlikely because of political reasons.

Read Next: What it Means to be a US Army Green Beret, According to 8 Green Berets

From left: The three Green Berets: SSG Matthew C. Lewellen, SFC Kevin J. McEnroe, and SSG James F. Moriarty. Army photos.

In an interview with the Army Times, Jim Moriarty was straightforward about his son’s actions on that fateful day.

“When that asshole [the Jordanian guard] comes around the back of that truck with the M-16 blazing, my son stands up in full view and takes him on. He was one of the most extraordinary human beings I’ve ever known, and I mourn him every day.”

Like son, like father, Jim Moriarty is a retired Special Forces Colonel who served in the 5th Special Forces Group, the same unit as his son. But he is also a lawyer, and with his legal expertise he managed to get the video of the attack released to the public.

Jim Moriarty also acknowledged that his son got the Silver Star mainly because of former Acting Secretary of Defence Chris Miller, also a Green Beret, and Brigadier General Kevin Leahy, a former commander of the 5th Special Forces Group.

“In the last five minutes of that video, I see a young man who was smart, engaged, present, wary and protective of the surviving [Green Beret],” Jim Moriarty told the Army Times. “He had a backbone of steel and was utterly unafraid of the challenge he took on.”

Moriarty and his fellow Special Forces operators were training several Arab groups that would fight the forces of Bashar al-Assad in neighboring Syria. They were there as part of a CIA operation.

Sandboxx News
Sandboxx News

Sandboxx News provides the latest news, entertainment, and motivation from all around the force.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Dear Jack: I'm Retiring From The Military — Help!

In this installment of “Dear Jack,” Marine veteran Jack Mandaville helps a career service member figure out life after retirement.

March 31, 2023Jack Mandaville
navy chaplains suicide prevention
US Navy Deploys More Chaplains For Suicide Prevention

Growing mental health distress in the ranks carries such grave implications that the U.S. chief of n...

March 31, 2023Associated Press
ukraine lessons learned
Opinion & Essay
Nolan Peterson: Lessons From Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

After living in and reporting from Ukraine the last nine years, conflict journalist Nolan Peterson h...

March 30, 2023Nolan Peterson
black hawk crash kentucky
9 Killed In Army Black Hawk Helicopter Crash In Kentucky

Nondice Thurman, a spokesperson for Fort Campbell, said Thursday morning that the deaths happened the previous night in southwestern Kentucky during a routine training mission.

March 30, 2023Associated Press
richard stayskal act military medical malpractice
DOD Denies Most Stayskal Act Malpractice Claims

Master Sgt. Richard Stayskal was diagnosed with lung cancer long after military doctors missed a tum...

March 29, 2023Maggie BenZvi
ukrainian wounded soldiers
‘On Tour In Hell’: Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers Evacuated

With bandaged heads and splinted limbs, the wounded soldiers are stretchered into the waiting medica...

March 27, 2023Associated Press
US oil mission
US Launches Airstrikes in Syria After Drone Kills US Worker

While it’s not the first time the U.S. and Iran have traded airstrikes in Syria, the attack and the ...

March 24, 2023Associated Press
The Gift jason dunham
‘The Gift’ Explores the Life and Legacy of Medal of Honor Recipient Jason Dunham

"The Gift" tells the story of the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor after the Vietnam War. ...

March 24, 2023Mac Caltrider
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved