Michael's Dispatches

Threat from American Soldier

92 Comments

25 September 2011
Kandahar Province, Afghanistan

Every American service member is a representative of the United States of America.  If an American Soldier were to write about President Obama, “I want to rip his head off and piss down his windpipe!” we would expect that the Secret Service would investigate further before the President visited a base where that troop is stationed.  If that same Soldier published the same words about his Commanding General, while both are in a war zone, his behavior would be grounds for reduction in rank, at a minimum.  Sane or insane, public hatred coming from an armed American Soldier in war should be taken seriously.  The trooper is paid by US citizens, and the weapon in his hands is the property and responsibility of the United States.  He is paid and armed by us to represent us.  His actions, ultimately, are his responsibility and the responsibility of his chain of command.  His every action—in word and in deed—reflects upon the United States.

Threats are especially serious coming from an American service member armed with a powerful automatic weapon and plenty of ammunition.  When those threats occur in a war zone from someone who has publicly discussed his mental health issues, no sane person would brush them off.  Time and again, we have seen tragedies unfold and then look back and say, “There were signs. . . .” In Fort Hood a Soldier murdered 13 people.  In retrospect, the signs were obvious, and we did nothing.  

Over here, in Afghanistan, soldiers have murdered for sport.  I was embedded with their brigade but with different units.  This was a very small group of Soldiers whose actions negatively cast light on the far higher professionalism of the general military population, but they did it nevertheless. Back in Iraq, five soldiers got drunk, raped a young Iraqi girl and murdered her family.  They also murdered the girl.  During the crime in which they raped and murdered the fourteen-year-old girl, they executed her six-year old sister.  Then our soldiers burned the people they murdered.  Iraqis, allegedly in response, kidnapped some of our Soldiers and disemboweled and dismembered them alive.  Our response to the missing Soldiers was to kill a lot of Iraqis in the area while searching for our Soldiers.  The drunken rape, and multiple-murders, and what then unfolded as a result, is a largely untold story of the Iraq war.  We have a small percentage of criminals in uniform in our midst.  The results of their evil actions will echo through history.

During the dozen years I have been in the military on active duty or covering the wars, I have felt threatened only twice by American soldiers.  Both times I warned other Soldiers of sufficient rank and position to cause action.  Nothing happened.  The first soldier is dead.  He shot himself last year.  He was under investigation for sexual harassment of another officer.  He was to be escorted to another base but committed suicide.  When I raised the flag about five years earlier, nobody wanted to believe my confidential warnings probably because of his combat record and the fact that he graduated from West Point, and due to his personal connections.  It was clear at the time that they saw my warnings as evidence of a personal feud between the officer and me.  There was no feud.  He was a dangerous man.

The second soldier is Master Sergeant CJ Grisham.  He is stationed at Kandahar Air Field nearby, where I must often travel.  I have cautioned the Army numerous times through back channels.  This soldier concerns me as a lethal threat to my person.  Most recently, in another angry tirade, Grisham wrote, “I want to rip his head off and piss down his windpipe!”  In my world, there is no television and people die all the time.  All bullets are live.  All threats are real.

Since the current wars began, I have alerted people about four soldiers.  The two Generals I warned about were fired last year—one was subsequently convicted of a crime—and both were sent home from Afghanistan.  They were incompetent.  The third soldier shot himself and went home dead from Afghanistan.  The fourth is CJ Grisham.  He should not be in the US military carrying an assault rifle.  Grisham has the motive.  He has the means.  He has access to his target.  He has stated his desire.  His behavior toward many people in the past has been that of a remorseless, soulless bully.  His narcissism is apparent.  When he’s backed into a corner, Grisham turns on the charm and claims to have PTSD in a shameless act to garner sympathy.  He has gathered small cult-like group who vigorously defend him.

I am an unarmed American citizen in Afghanistan.  I have warned the Army and they have done nothing.  I feel physically threatened by Master Sergeant CJ Grisham.

[Minutes ago I received a message from the Army that they are investigating.]

Sincerely,

Michael Yon
Kandahar Province, Afghanistan

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    ErikW · 6 years ago
    Mr. Yon, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you for what you're doing. I'm just a civvy but I hold our soldiers in the highest regard and feel that I owe them, at the very least, to know what they are going through and you provide that.

    Not sure what you're beliefs are but I'll give you the best I can offer. Watch your ass and God Bless.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    PFC Madosky · 6 years ago
    Lets face it sir the United States Army does not do much for soldiers with these kind of problems. They train us to be killing machines and put us under extremely stressful situations for years at a time but only choose to turn their heads when problems like this arise. I hope you remain safe it is hard enough to worry about the enemy and it becomes hell when you have to worry about those on the same side.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leonard Hartley · 6 years ago
    It is against the law in the US to verbally threaten someone and a person can be arrested and charged. How much more serious should a reported threat be acted upon in the military by an creditable witness such as yourself. In the case of the Ft. Hood assahola who murdered "his men" in cold blood for the dead prophet of Mecca then those who disregarded the obivious warnings should be charged with at least negligent homicide and punished. Mr. Yon please arm yourself discreetly and watch your back. Contact the highest officer you must to see this man removed from that theater and hopefully get help.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom · 6 years ago
    For the defenders of this guy, it easy to second guess Mr. Yon, but when a highly trained and heavily armed soldier makes a threat, ultimately it doesn't matter if he follows through. The threat is the crime. Does Mr. Yon need to be dead before it is real enough for the Sgt's Defenders?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tammy · 6 years ago
    "His behavior toward many people in the past has been that of a remorseless, soulless bully. His narcissism is apparent. When he’s backed into a corner, Grisham turns on the charm and claims to have PTSD in a shameless act to garner sympathy. He has gathered small cult-like group who vigorously defend him." Very well said. Anytime I've witnessed it, it wasn't pretty. I feel bad for people who have had to endure him in person.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tim Lum · 6 years ago
    Mr.Yon; I will forward your post to Secret Service contacts for action. All the best...tim
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ken · 6 years ago
    Stay safe, I am sure someone is watching this fool.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ThJudg · 6 years ago
    If it were me I would let some of the many good friends you have made with the rank & file warriors as to what this idiot has said. I would be willng to bet that those guys would be more than willing to watch your back. More than likely, they might even make this guy an "Offer he can't refuse."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Austen · 6 years ago
    He is a serious threat and I have read other blogs which seem to dismiss his crazy behaviour.... I made a complaint to the Whitehouse about this incident. It will be interesting to see if they ever reply. Keep safe My Yon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tim Lum · 6 years ago
    I MISREAD THE POST ABOUT THE THREAT TO YOU PERSONALLY. I WILL MODIFY THE REQUEST...T
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Stacey · 6 years ago
    PFC Madosky,

    I can't yet claim to be a part of the 'we' who should be trying to help members of the Armed Forces and Veterans with PTSD. But, it's not for a lack of trying. I have around five more years of college before I reach my objective. However, my hope is to work in an official capacity helping returning service members rather than simply 'check the box'.
    After eight years AD and three additional overseas, I have a wee bit of experience under my belt. Should you need or want to vent to a complete stranger (perhaps the anonymity may help), I'll figure a way give you my email address.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lifesaver · 6 years ago
    The stress on our soldiers is very evident. Carrying on two wars, multiple deployments etc. And now we are seeing people who come home and shoot up people in bases, their families, civilians. Mental health is a big issue and is not properly dealt with. This guy sounds like a person I was married to. Give him a weapon and a few fans and some power and it fuels his ego. Like fire raging out of control it continues to feed him until it blurs his sense of reality and right/wrong. He has a sense that he is bigger than the rest of us. I would definitely watch my back. I worked in a locked psych unit. He sounds like he needs to be there IN ISOLATION. I've read his blog..he's out in Pluto somewhere with my ex husband.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John · 6 years ago
    And what exactly was it you did to cause Master Sergeant CJ Grisham to make this threat? If you're going to go public you should also provide more details cause the way you wrote this article you left the reader with more questions than answers. But perhaps that was your intent?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lifesaver · 6 years ago
    What reason would he have to lie? Reporting what he sees isnt free yanno. Money doesn't fall from the sky. Mr. Yon sacrifices his life to tell us what the hell is going on. Luckily for me, I still choose to trust people. He's not an insurance salesman for God's sake. I'd like to see YOU go out there and get your butt in a sling to tell a story. As far as I am concerned, Michael has brass ones. And I respect that.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Iman Azol · 6 years ago
      "Money doesn't fall from the sky."

      So, a good story would keep the money coming, just like any other reporter, milking controversy they created?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vickie · 6 years ago
    I have sent money and will continue to do so. Mr. Yon does a great job reporting and is definitely an upstanding American.

    Michael, my family and I greatly appreciate all you do for our soldiers and their families. Please be safe and do NOT let your guard down. CJ Grisham needs to be taken out and brought back to the states before he carrys thru on his threat!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Renee · 6 years ago
    I pray for your safty.
    I am truly sorry for the family of that girl and her family.
    There are good and bad in all walks of life.A shame that those soldiers were not found out before something happened. Its a shame they disgraced the military and our USA. A sad day
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Raine Walker · 6 years ago
    [quote name="Tom"]...when a highly trained and heavily armed soldier makes a threat, ultimately it doesn't matter if he follows through. The threat is the crime.[/quote]


    Yes, the threat is the crime.
    Gods speed, Michael Yon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    PFC Madosky · 6 years ago
    Stacey, the thought is greatly appreciated but I am right on the horizon of my honorable discharge and have managed to find a way to let the stresses go. I now focus on helping the new soldiers in my unit the best I can with even the smallest things because I remember being at "the boiling point". Having people like you that want to help is an amazing thing and believe me you will be needed even more than you are now in five years. I greatly appreciate your goals and your humanity. Always remember if you only change the life of one person you have done more than enough and ultimately change the lives of all the people around them.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Valerie · 6 years ago
    I agree with you John. As much as I appreciate Mr. Yon's dispatches, there is a reason he has trouble remaining embedded. Nevertheless...there is freedom of speech. Would prefer BOTH sides released in these cases. This is Mr. Yon's dispatch and the Master Sargeant diserves his side to be known as well. I don't believe the story about our soldiers murdering for "sport". The pen should not become poisoned. Better to understand the terrible stresses involved. Our kids are great and if they do wrong, let their superiors handle it, not Mr. Yon with the simple stroke of a pen. This one paragraph taints many innocents. God bless Mr. Yon as we appreciate his work, but perhaps a bit more restraint would be better? Bless our kids doing the best they can and doing it soooo very well!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Terry Elliot · 6 years ago
      Gee Valerie since the incident in Iraq is well documented that involved about a half dozen soldiers from one of the Stryker Batts, maybe you should beleive it. Our soldiers are merely a subsector of the population in general and hence the same defective characters in the populace is in the military. BTW, I am an LTC in the reserves and an OIF veteran.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/feb/23/usa.iraq
  • This commment is unpublished.
    mjgeib · 6 years ago
    I believe that Michael has done an excellent job being objective with his posts as well as supportive of our military staff. Unfortunately, some of his posts reveal situations that the military may want to keep undercover (see: recent post regarding Forensics). This Master Sargeant CJ Grisham appears to be the type of individual to take everything he hears personal, with questionable objectivity. I'm unaware of the exact situation, but I am willing to give Michael the benefit of the doubt.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brandy Mills · 6 years ago
    Mr. Yon- I have been following your stories for awhile, and I know you wouldn't post this unless you felt that your life was in serious jeopardy. Please stay safe, arm yourself, and watch your back. I pray for Grisham's instant extraction from Afghanistan and subsequent mental evaluation. Thank you so much for what you do for our soldiers and for our country.

    Sherry Hale- Mr. Yon has also been fighting for our country by providing the world with accurate stories about deployed soldiers for many years now. He has been beside them through firefights, dangerous missions, etc. and continues to be despite constant threats to his person by the enemy and otherwise. Our soldiers are not the only heroes who are fighting for our country, and unlike Mr. Yon, they are paid for their noble service. Mr. Yon is honorably attempting to prevent another atrocity, such as those listed in this post, from occurring. You are the one who should be ashamed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    bee · 6 years ago
    With CJ Grisholm one doesn't have to do anything except hold an opinion of their own that isn't in line with his warped way of thinking. He attacked me verbally online, with no provacation from myself even after ignoring him and his followers I was very fearful. I work in the mental health field and I don't scare easily, but I was ready to get a restraining order against CJ if he had been stationed in our state. My then deployed husband looked into him for me, as CJ posted his profile picture in dress blues, from that my husband could determine rank, branch, and duty station. A wife of a deployed Soldier/officer, should not have to be threatened and harrassed by an Active Duty military member. This has nothing to do with Michael Yon, so don't blame the victim. It has everything to do with CJ Grisholm's behavior, attitude, and mental status.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    phil · 6 years ago
    Soldiers are not kids, some may well be young but they are men and women who are adults. Calling them kids tries to imply that they aren't in full control and need to be parented and that they aren't fully responsible for their actions.

    Calling for M.Y. to self censor is a problem as well. The whole point of this blog for him to write and for us to read it is to get a better insight into the war.

    I'm sure M.Y. thought long and hard over this post like all of them
  • This commment is unpublished.
    rappini · 6 years ago
    Mr. Yon if you are an American Citizen why aren't you covered by 2nd Amendment and carry protection.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SGT Carter · 6 years ago
    You watch your six Mike...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    michael ginapp · 6 years ago
    Michael,
    Contact your Congressman, Senator, or maybe LTC Allen West make them aware of the situation and do not I repeat do not delay in doing so. What you may have is an embittered lifer who was passed over for promotion and these kind a very dangerous.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John F · 6 years ago
    [quote name="John"]And what exactly was it you did to cause Master Sergeant CJ Grisham to make this threat? If you're going to go public you should also provide more details cause the way you wrote this article you left the reader with more questions than answers. But perhaps that was your intent?[/quote]

    Michael's life is threatened and the best you can do is question why the perp is angry?? Does it matter? Perhaps on the occasion that the physical threat is removed then someone could sit down and have a philosophical touchy feely discussion about the "why" but negating the threat immediateley should be the only consideration until accomplished.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sara Johnson · 6 years ago
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John F · 6 years ago
    The 2nd Amendment does not apply when the citizen is in another country. In fact, being in a war zone has its own rules no matter where you are.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John F · 6 years ago
    That is good. But for some reason knowing the Army is "looking into it" is not all the reassurance I would want.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Diane · 6 years ago
    While I appreciate your journalistic style and subject matter, I must conclude that you have also threatened MS Grisham in your commentary about his threats.

    Your last paragraph, is basically telling MS Grisham, that you "took out" the other three who have threatened you and he is next.

    I also visited his blog and have found nothing threatening about what he has written. Freedom of speech should not be reserved just for embeded freelance journalists.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sara Johnson · 6 years ago
    That soldier needs to be pulled, sent home and helped. For God's sake I sure hope they don't wait for a disaster.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Iman Azol · 6 years ago
      Yes, pull every soldier who makes an angry statement. That will leave us...

      Oh, wait.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Suzan Zaner · 6 years ago
    It is irrelevant what Michael Yon did or did not do! You cannot commit an evil(threats or violent acts)in the name of good, or as my mother used to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right!".
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Juan · 6 years ago
    I think CJ just has a crush on you Mike.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kat · 6 years ago
    Being the Mother of two soldiers having completed tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan I can tell you they are not kids, they are men trained to kill. Any soldier threatening harm to a civilian or another soldier needs to be pulled from duty and duly assessed. PTSD or not, that's no excuse for leaving a risk in the ranks. Additionally, suggesting that our "kids" would never rape or murder children or civilians during a combat tour is just as naive as believing it doesn't happen in the civilian world either. They are people, military people, but still just people: not Christ. If this guy wasn't a threat MY wouldn't write about him. Grow up, Val.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Webmaster · 6 years ago
    Note from Webmaster: Although everyone is entitled to their opinion. Trolling in the comments section is not permitted and comments will be removed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
    I am going to assume PFC Madosky is sincere, but if you are experiencing issues you are provided many avenues. Your chain of command is first. If the MSgt is in your chain, you can go directly above. You have a chaplain, an Inspector General, Congressmen and others who will dutifully listen to you and more importantly act. I went six weeks on Active Duty without pay and I wrote my Congressman after giving my chain of command ample time (a month) to resolve. Yes it was a little painful but I wanted the system fixed for the next Airman.

    Finally, don't forget Military One Source. I used them after my Afghanistan deployment for counseling. It's a free benefit for you. Use it!

    For the MSgt, I haven't obviously heard both sides but sounds like a lapse in military bearing at the least. Hope he gets the help he needs.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John-Capt in ANG · 6 years ago
    Appears his career dissipation light was blinking some time ago

    "how a blog brought a soldier down"
    http://m.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/12/how-a-blog-brought-down-master-sergeant-grisham/
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leyla Najma · 6 years ago
    Thank you for sharing! That was not easy and it must be incredibly stressful to do your work and know this crazy person is out there.
    Hoping someone like this guy gets help doesn't do much. The best thing to do get the word out. Good for you!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Andy Ross · 6 years ago
    It takes two to Tango! Now I'm obliged to read 1SGT Grisham's side. Apparently, the two have had a little pissing contest going on for some time.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ned Chipley · 6 years ago
    Several of these comments question Mr. Yon's warnings about Mr. Grisham; one wants more "details" as if more details were needed than what he has written. Mr. Yon has been in enough combat over the years with enough soldiers under stress to be able to assess danger to himself and others. If those in authority ignore this very straight-forward warning they will be even MORE culpible if/when something very bad happens than those who ignored the warning signs of the Islamic terriorts in a soldiers uniform at Ft. Hood.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Zach · 6 years ago
    Lol love the stories. Had to post a blog about this guy though? Has the military stopped policing their own this bad?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark · 6 years ago
    Read both members blogs..These two have an "uneasy" history at best.. Waaaay to much ego by both parties here. I thought it was all about the supporting the troops. Gentlemen, reminder, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are the enemy..
  • This commment is unpublished.
    epador · 6 years ago
    Unfortunately as Mr Yon has personally experienced and is yet again experiencing, and as I can note from personal experience, there is a strong tendency in the uniformed services to shoot the messenger rather than deal appropriately with the bad news, especially when the one hearing the message has a "career" to protect.

    Godspeed, Michael.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chris · 6 years ago
    This story was run by military times in regards to the MSGT that MY is talking about.

    http://militarytimes.com/offduty/technology/offduty_blogger_120809/
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John F · 6 years ago
    Grisham sounds like a decent chap with a bit too much attitude. Don't know what prompted him to threaten Mike, but it looks like he has had issues with what is appropriate many times before, and certainly should know better than to post the comment Mike quoted. Poor judgment. Mike has gone after people before, but every time I have seen him do that, he did so with facts, and integrity, and not with emotion and threats. I have to side with Mike on this one. Even if he is mistaken, he is always professional.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robert Jones · 6 years ago
    There are always 2 sides to any story and it would be interesting to hear the other. That said, I think you're doing the right thing by taking this public, especially if this soldier's ranking officers won't act to resolve the conflict between you two.
    Keep up the great work, Michael, and watch your back. You're solo and these guys are in some tightly knit units that may try to protect their own. I understand that's a matter of survival for them and don't begrudge them for it but you still will need to watch your own back, as you are doing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leah · 6 years ago
    If a MSG is bold enough to violently threaten a civilian blogger/reporter in this manner, imagine how much terror he could strike in the heart of a subordinate soldier he might also happen to dislike?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Thomas · 6 years ago
    If the MSG was quoted as saying "I want to rip his head off and piss down his windpipe" I'm pretty sure it's not going to go any further than someone writing a report. Just for the fact the "threat" was not said directly to you, but was referring to you. And I really don't think calling him out in this forum where I'm pretty sure you know he reads is a good idea, its just going to fan the flames on whatever beef he has against you. Go through the proper channels and air your complaints and avoid contact or referances to him, otherwise it may not reflect a good light on you either.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leah · 6 years ago
    While the MSG's quote is clearly indefensible and threatening, this Military Times article illustrates an intersting struggle active-duty soldiers experience when exercising their 1st Amendment Right to free speech, particularly in the political arena. I believe there is a tendency for the military to encourage it's more outspoken, politically-engaged soldiers to "shut up" out of, perhaps, embarrassment? There was a US Army general I'd heard of who "suggested" to his senior officers to remain politically neutral and voluntarily admitted he himself did not vote in elections for this reason. I believe it's reprehensible if US soldiers are being discouraged/disenfranchised from exercising their Constitutional freedoms even while they fight to protect them. It's too bad M.Y. and the MSG didn't share a more supportive relationship in their efforts to convey their first-hand views (even if there may have been differing opinions).

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