Video released by the Jordanian military reveals for the first time footage of a November gunbattle that left three U.S. Army Green Berets dead, including Matthew Lewellen of Kirksville, Mo.
The video shows a group of U.S. soldiers arriving at the al-Jafr base in southern Jordan in four vehicles. They appear to be permitted access and the caravan begins driving into the base. But a Jordanian soldier suddenly opens fire on the vehicles. The soldier later said he feared the base was under attack.
The victims of the shooting were 27-year-old Lewellen, a staff sergeant; Staff Sgt. Kevin J. McEnroe, 30, of Tucson, Ariz., and Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty, 27, of Kerrville, Texas.
The Jordanian government initially said the Americans had disobeyed entry procedures at the base but later withdrew that claim. The government also claimed that an American had been the first to discharge a weapon, according to James R. Moriarty, the father of another slain soldier.
The Jordanian soldier responsible for the deaths, 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha, was eventually sentenced to life in prison with hard labor, and Jordan’s military said in a statement Monday that he had “acted against orders and military instructions and had not acted in self-defense,” The Associated Press reports.
Lewellen’s parents recalled to The Star in March the horrible aftermath of learning their son had been killed. They said they believed their son had been murdered and that politics complicated matters.
“We fund Jordan a billion dollars a year, and as far as I’m convinced one of their commanders executed my son,” said father Chuck Lewellen.
The Jordanian military wrote on YouTube that the country’s king had allowed the release of the video after a previous video had been published explaining what had happened.
“The government of Jordan lied to the world,” James R. Moriarty said earlier this year.