In addition to their professional skills, marines are trained to show exemplary demeanor and to behave in a graceful manner befitting the community they belong to. In spite of this training, reports of sporadic occurrences of unruly activities on the part of marines is not uncommon in the media. What does the incident of four U.S. marines shown on the Internet urinating on the dead bodies of the Taliban indicate? Does it mean that marines are insufficiently trained about how to treat the war dead? Most of people consider it a criminal and ignoble act while a few defend it considering it just an isolated incident. They literally believe in the concept ‘All is fair in love and war.’ U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R.California asked Defense Secretary Leon Panetta not to treat too harshly the marines accused of urinating on the Taliban corpses. Fifty-two personnel in Okinawa were seized in 2008 for crimes including; rape, indecent assault, robbery, and burglary. Let us examine others who have committed these acts as well:
1. Charles Joseph Whitman
Charles Joseph Whitman was born to Charles Adolph Whitman and his wife Margaret in Lake Worth, Florida, U.S. on June 24, 1941 and died in Austin, Texas, U.S. on August 1, 1966 at the age of 25. Whitman received his early education at Ann’s High School in West Palm Beach. He was an above-average student. He was taught piano lessons and had a flair for firearms since his childhood. His father had many firearms and taught his sons about their use. Charles Joseph Whitman was a former marine and a student at the University of Texas. On August 1, 1966, he killed 16 people and wounded 32 others. Some wounded expired a few weeks later. He was shot dead by an Austin police officer, Houston McCoy, who was assisted by another Austin police officer, Ramiro Martinez.
2. Charles Chi-tat-Ng
Charles Chi-tat-Ng was born on December 24, 1960 in Hong Kong. His father was a strict disciplinarian and tried to discipline him, but he was expelled from various schools whereupon he was sent to England where his uncle was a teacher. He went to the U.S. on a student visa when he was 18 and was soon convicted for a hit-and-run automobile offense. Instead of paying restitution, he joined the marines. He stole weapons from the armory at the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station when he was a Lance Corporal and was locked up in a Hawaiian Marines’ jail. He was discharged disgracefully. After serving a two-year sentence, he met Leonard Lake. They kidnapped, raped, tortured, and murdered approximately 11 to 25 people including men, women, and children. They filmed their barbarous acts, and the films are in the custody of the State of California which did not release them to the public.
3. Joseph Michael Swango
Joseph Michael Swango, also variously known as David J. Adams, Michael Kirk, Jack Kirk, and Michael Swan was born to Muriel and John Virgil Swango in Tacoma, Washington, U.S. on October 21, 1954. He attended Quincy Catholic Boys High School. He used to play clarinet and was a member of the Quincy Notre Dame band. After his graduation from the recruit training center at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Swango served in the Marine Corps. He was a licensed physician and is a famous American serial killer. He was involved in 60 poisoning deaths of patients and colleagues. He confessed to having caused only four deaths. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole and is serving his sentence at the Supermax Prison in Colorado.
4. Anthony Sowell
Anthony Sowell was born to a single mother, Claudia Gertrude Garrison, on August 19, 1959 and was raised in East Cleveland. He entered the United States Marine Corps on January 24, 1978 at the age of 19 and served in the U.S. Marines for seven years. During his service he spent a year overseas with the 3rd Force Service Support Group. Corporal Sowell was awarded a Good Conduct Medal, one Service Star, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, a Certificate of Commendation, and a Meritorious Mast award. Identified as the ‘Cleveland Strangler.’ Anthony Edward Sowell turned out to be a serial killer when he was arrested in October, 2009 and 11 dead bodies were found at his Cleveland duplex. Sowell was charged with 11 murders, rape, and kidnapping. He was convicted on July 22, 2011 and sentenced to death.
5. Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald, also known as Alek J. Hidel, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. on October 18, 1939 and died in Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Texas, U.S. on November 24, 1963 at the age of 24. He was a U.S. marine assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station in El Toro in July, 1957 followed by his assignment to the Naval Air Facility at Sugi in Japan. He was a fully trained and tested shooter. According to four Government investigation agencies, he was the sole assassin of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested 40 minutes after the assassination of the President. Two days after his arrest, while he was being shifted from the police headquarters to the county jail, he was shot dead by Jack Ruby, a nightclub owner. The shooting was seen live on TV.
6. Itzcoatl ‘Izzy’ Ocampo
Itzcoatl ‘Izzy’ Ocampo lived in Orange County, California since he was seven months old. He attended Yorba Middle School, Valencia High in Placentia and Esperanza High School in Anaheim. He joined the U.S. Marines at the age of 12. As a member of Platoon 3031, he graduated from boot camp in October, 2006. He served at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He was discharged in June, 2010, after which he was found quite mentally disturbed. Ocampo was arrested on suspicion of brutally stabbing to death six people of whom four were said to be homeless. His former officers, during an interview, described him as an ordinary marine showing no signs of any criminal behavior.
7. Amir Mirzaei Hekmati
Amir Mirzaei Hekmati was born in Arizona, U.S. in 1983. He is a U.S. citizen, and his family lives in Michigan. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a marine from 2001 to 2005. According his father, who is a professor at a community college in Flint, Michigan, Hekmati went to Iran to see his grandmother, but he was suspected of spying for Iran and was arrested for investigation. He was convicted of spying by an Iranian court and sentenced to death, but the Iranian Supreme Court overturned the death sentence.
8. Howard W.Ross
Howard W. Ross of Baltimore is a 38-year-old, divorced, former staff sergeant of the Marine Corps who was suspected of sexual misconduct. On investigation for a court martial, he was pled guilty of raping one female trainee. He also confessed to offering money to another trainee in exchange for undressing and dancing in front of him. His confessions also included stealing, possessing child pornography, and sexual harassment. He had been demoted to the lowest rank and sentenced to one year’s confinement. Although it was considered an isolated case initially, it was found to have a broader base, and seven other similar cases were under investigation.
9. Cesar Laurean
Cesar Armando Laurean, commonly known as Cesar Laurean, was born in Mexico on November 13, 1986. He was a marine corporal in the 2nd Marine Logistic Group. Lauterbach accused him of sexual assault, and a federal warrant was issued to arrest him. He escaped unlawfully to avoid persecution. The FBI and Naval Criminal Investigative Services issued a wanted flier for him and announced a reward of $25,000 for information leading to his arrest. Laurean was convicted of murder, theft, and fraud on August 24, 2010. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
10. Leonard Lake
Leonard Lake, also known as Leonard J. Hill and various other names, was born in San Francisco, California , U.S. on October 29, 1945 and died on June 6, 1985. He was obsessed with pornography at an early age. He joined the Marine Corps in 1965 at the age of 19. He served as a radar operator in Vietnam. After being diagnosed with Schizoid Personality Disorder, he was discharged on medical grounds. He was arrested in 1982 but escaped and met Charles Ng. Both committed crimes including; rape, abducting, torturing, and killing mostly people known to them. Twelve bodies and charred bones were unearthed from his ranch. While being interviewed by police, he asked for a glass of water, consumed a hidden pill of cyanide and collapsed. He was kept on a life support machine for four days before his death.
Training can impart capabilities but does not guarantee its lawful usage. It is a very well-known phenomenon that any form of energy, like electricity, when utilized properly is a blessing but otherwise may prove fatal by electrocution. Marines are highly trained shooters and snipers. Whereas they usually perform courageously and skillfully to serve the cause of national security and honor, occasionally a black sheep acts contrarily, at times even turning out to be a serial killer. Proactive actions against predictable criminals can possibly reduce, if not eliminate, the criminal acts by marines.