When the Marines’ headquarters in Hawaii came under fire from Taliban gunmen in February, it was widely thought they were in the middle of a mission to capture a Taliban commander.
But it turns out the Marines had been in the country to investigate a murder and found nothing.
They didn’t even know that a murder had occurred.
It was a little more complicated than that.
After a week in Afghanistan, the Marines realized that they were just being pulled into an investigation that they knew little about.
And that they didn’t know how to stop it.
“We didn’t understand what we were doing,” said Maj. Matthew B. McAlpine, the Marine Corps spokesman in charge of the investigation.
In the midst of an investigation, they were left to wonder: Why did the Marines get involved?
And why would they be investigating the murder?
In the case of the murder in February and the Marines investigation into it, McAlphyns explanation seemed to have the ear of one Marine who had been involved in the investigation into the murder of a former Marine, Sgt. 1st Class Michael L. Poynter.
The Marine said he was a Marine Corps veteran who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said that while investigating a murder in the area, he had learned that the victim was a former lieutenant colonel and a veteran.
The former lieutenant, the former marine said, was killed during a firefight with Taliban fighters.
That lieutenant was killed while defending his unit, McAfee said.
“So, I was pretty upset,” McAlpyns told reporters.
But after being told that the investigation was closed, he said he decided to contact the Marines to ask for help.
He didn’t want to lose the sergeant, who he knew was an important person to him.
“And they just sent a letter back, and I thought, Well, that’s it,” McAfee told reporters, adding that he has since talked to the other three Marines who were involved.
It’s unclear how McAlpens letter ended up in the hands of the Marines, who had the sergeant’s name on it.
It wasn’t until two weeks later, in March, that McAlpidans letter was handed over to the Pentagon by the Department of Defense Inspector General.
The IG said in a report released Tuesday that “it is not clear whether the letter, which was sent on March 13, is related to the investigation of the Poynters murder, and it is not known whether the information it contained was included in a briefing given to the three Marines involved in investigating the Poyster killing.”
It was unclear how long McAlpaces letter remained with the Pentagon or how it ended up with the Marines.
The investigation was never completed and the investigation wasn’t ended until last month.
McAfee, the Army sergeant, said he felt the investigation had been a waste of time.
“I think the way they were handling this was not the best way to handle a homicide investigation,” McArmin said.
He added that he hopes the investigation will be reopened.
“The way I felt about it was that they should have taken it back and said, Well this is over,” McAllister said.
But the Marine said that was not going to happen.
“When the investigation is closed, I think we need to reopen it, but I’m not sure what that will look like,” he said.