Michael's Dispatches

Threat from American Soldier


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.]


Michael Yon
Kandahar Province, Afghanistan

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pete K · 8 years ago
    Michael, a written tirade seems a long way from the scariest thing among the various scary behaviors I have encountered. Nobody's ever actually tried to do me in but I'm a naturally aggravating sort of guy and I've encountered written animosities, angry phone conversations, road rage of various sorts, belligerent threats in parking lots and an occasional cranky sergeant or cop.

    I figure a smart fellow can usually figure a way to avoid dangerous confrontations and, when that's not possible, defuse them or retreat from them.

    If the guy's really a dangerous loose cannon, avoid him and avoid aggravating him.

    Of course, one could also avoid war zones completely, which you have not, so perhaps you may may need to pause and think a bit to figure out how avoiding your loose cannon might be done.

    It sounds like this character has you a bit spooked.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Julia Mason · 8 years ago
    This MSG,as described in the article, could be described as a sociopath. They are dangerous to those who they cannot manipulate with charm, physical threats nor verbal and physical abuse. Thank you, Mr. Yon for bringing this kind of thing to the attention of the military. Too bad, domestic justice refuses.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David Parsons · 8 years ago
    ... would carry a loaded firearm and verbally threaten someone with violence. Should overgrown children possess firearms?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Violette · 8 years ago
    maybe saves HIS life,YOURS Michael Yon,eventually OTHERS...IF the"military" takes actions,I hope,BUT HOPE IS NOT ACTION
    You should be buddies not enemies ...
    enough of them out there !
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Adam Neira · 8 years ago
    I trust Michael Yon's words. He wouldn't make this claim unless it was valid.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    jetdrvr · 8 years ago
    There are always those in every war zone who murder for sport. The psychopaths in whatever uniform. To some, killing is fun. Killing the helpless is often more fun. So you'd better bloody well believe it, pal.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shaun · 8 years ago
    Remind me again how we justify putting people through this process we call war........If we can see no clear split between right and wrong where is our humanity? Soldiers are just people - but what blurs the moral vision so much that such acts can be carried out? And all done in my name. And yet I seen no alternative.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jbad04 · 8 years ago
    Valerie-with family in the military, I support them too. But, as with any large organization, there are unfit elements. The incidents Yon speaks about have been well documented and convictions obtained under military law. To try and excuse criminal action by saying it is due to stress is doing a diservice to the vast majority of soldiers who do their duty honorably under extreme pressure without committing criminal acts.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    atuxedo · 8 years ago
    John, google CJ Grisham and the Huntsville Times. There was a total ruckus here in town, affecting both the school system and in particular AD military parents and their kids. I know what I am talking about because it affected my family personally. We had just moved here and things were scary. I have to say that I believe Michael Yon, and am sad to see that CJ Grisham is not getting the help that he needs. Stay safe Michael. Hopefully CJ will be sent back home soon and receive all the help and assistance he needs to regain his emotional balance.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      aeronathan · 8 years ago
      I was wondering exactly why that name rung a bell and now it makes sense. I never did hear what the result of all that controversy was. Makes me wonder exactly what went on with it all....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CB · 8 years ago
    Michael, you have been there on the ground as the one with the gun. There is a responsibility that is entrusted to those men and women that are there. While they represent every American and Allied civilian, the line is thin between secure and control and committing a crime. It is these individuals that place more of us in due harm. When these people can surround themselves with others and alter their judgement through bitterness and hatred, we need to be careful. They can rationalize their actions and provoke others into furthering their madness. You cannot argue with a sick mind! They can justify murder, as we have seen. We all have seen 'accidents' from friendly fire and often the circumstances that precipitated these are not brought to light. Be careful! Many of us rely on the truths that you show for a more comprehensive understanding. As others have stated, watch your six. Be safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shea Brown · 8 years ago
    Michael,, we need brave and intelligent reporters like you right here at home now,, consider putting your energies to work back here in the U.S. There are enough Mexican drug cartel networks functioning quite freely in the U.S. now to provide ample opportunities for brave "front line" reporting. As for Afghanistan, the best thing I have ever read about it was Matthew Hoh's resignation letter to his bosses at State . The one thing you surely have in common with this psycho master sergeant is that neither one of you know why our troops are in Afghanistan. Perhaps this is the real source of frustration for both of you. Time for you to consider the worth of the mission and your mission.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    removed for profanit · 8 years ago
    Removed HRH comment for profanity (Webmaster)
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 8 years ago
    If anyone can stir up controversy in the Milblogger arena, it's Mike Yon and MSgt CJ Grisham. :-* Both have a wide audience and a plethora of followers and supporters.

    I suspect the truth here is somewhere in the middle. That said MSgt Grisham's actions and subsequent blogging about the school board incident reflects negatively on the position he held at the time, period and should have raised flags at the command level. As a First Sgt he had no business getting publicly embroiled in that dust-up, NONE!

    This one the first things you are taught as a part of military decorum. I know the frustration of trying keep your negative opinions to yourself and only voice them privately through the chain of command structure, but if you do not, you will be sorry, as evidenced by the reaction of MSgt Grisham superiors, which I agree with BTW in this particular incidence

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy Barrios · 8 years ago
    No one is a stronger supporter of Free Speech and the Constitution and I run several blogs to back that claim, but I cannot sit idly by and watch as a decorated NCO and hero to our nation, self destructs and then cries VICTIM! :-?

    Somewhere, somehow, there needs to be an intervention here in the life of a true American hero, gone solidly off the rails! :eek::

    Is anybody in the Beltway who gives a damn listening?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Linda · 8 years ago
    I did a Lexis search and extensively Googled Grisham & he needs to be watched. Mike's not the 1st person 2 feel threatened by this jerk. He's been under investigation before. I read a blog Grisham posted about Mike where Grisham himself posted a series of email exchanges etc he had with Mike and the word that came to my my was NUTS!!! & out of control. He needs to be stateside in psychiatric care.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mark Auman · 8 years ago
    This uncouth badass Grisham is the type who spends his off hours pulling the wings off flies. The Army needs to Section 8 the fool before he looses it while holding a weapon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    KEHammer · 8 years ago
    Dear Mr. Yon,
    Thank you for your continued honest coverage of the war. I am praying for your safety.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    SaraJean Greenaway · 8 years ago
    It is a dangerous enough thing you are doing out there Michael, without threats from people on who are supposed to be on your side. My thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sara Naukam · 8 years ago

    I am a spouse of a soldier who is in 4-4 Cav and I think you need to get your facts straight and be removed as a war correspondent Afghanistan. For example, you asked for pictures from 4-4 cav soldiers and they donated them but the problem being you registered them as your own. I do not like the story I am commenting on because it is about having people feel sorry for you instead of about what is really going on over there. Another thing is you boast about soldiers who you feel are top notch but they are just like you and want to be thought they are better than they actually are. The soldier that you brag about has went against so many opsec violations. Please get your facts straight because you have not credibility in my book.

    Thanks for all the stress and heartache of all the soldiers and their spouses in 4-4 Cav

    a concerned spouse in Charlie troop, 4-4 Cav
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Erik Peterson · 8 years ago
    Be careful, MIke. Trust your instincts, and live to fight (or shoot pics and write and report) another day. Also, trust the soldiers around you to watch your six. They won't be your PSD, but if they know what's going on, they will surely keep overwatch for you.

    And Texas is a good place to get away and have a few Shiner Bocks to recalibrate. :-)


  • This commment is unpublished.
    MAB · 8 years ago
    To the readers and the commenters… I am a Proud Mother of a US Army soldier who was KIA in Iraq in 2007, better known as a Gold Star Mother. I would like you to know that I know the details of my sons death, but not because it was published by any media or bloggers, but because I requested in 2009 from the Army.(and at that time I thought I was ready to hear it. (and it was not pretty) If someone had published or blogged about it in 2007 I can honestly tell you that my personal PTSD would have put me over the edge and I could have harmed myself to the end. I consider myself a fairly strong person most of the time these days..
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Koby · 8 years ago
    Raising a red flag on a personal verbal threat is a responsible act. The threat itself shows someone who has lost touch with the importance of their role, and respect for the subject matter and their environment. An explanation is great for a casual threat, but an apology is deserved for an aberration. A worthy man is accountable and responsible for his words and deeds, military or not. Measuring intent is everything when weighing this dispute. MY shows war, with no disrespect intended to the families of *non-drafted professional soldiers*, and to show his heart and respect, its notable he could probably make more money writing books from a beach in Cancun. Lets remember that - and this is a question of tact concerning MY, and not of malice or greed... and *keep that in mind when wives, families and mothers are making emotionally charged comments and sweeping character judgments*.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Chris · 8 years ago

    I there anything that a US Citizen can do to help?

    Will the military solve this? Please let us know how this is handled.

    God bless you, Michael Yon
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jackie · 8 years ago
    Soldiers of any rank don't always know when they need to go home, sometimes they need to be told by a friend, sometimes they need to be directed by a higher up. I'm sure this CJ Grisham didn't start out his service in this mindset, but war is funny that way. Sometimes it takes people and changes them. Maybe it is time he heads home.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Erick Brockway · 8 years ago
    Sorry, Mike, you've lost it. Go home.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    WarSea378 · 8 years ago
    I've always found your blogs to be not only informative, but also honest. While there may be detractors of your writings, it is mostly because they have a personal stake and feel hurt by the truth. I don't blame them for it though, the truth hurts, and often, we don't appreciate the fact that sometimes the "good" fall off track. While I support and enjoy your work, I don't think using this forum to handle a personal dispute is all that appropriate. I'm not calling you wrong Michael, but this is a personal issue and it strays from your professionalism and your unbiased, damned fine, ability to convey Troop actions to those who otherwise would have little knowledge on such important information. The mass media does not report like you do, not even close. I hope you can resolve your differences, but in the future, I'd like to read your unique insight to the war at hand and not a personal argument. Thank you so much for the years of incredible and credible reporting.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    KP · 8 years ago
    Up for the ultimate irony Mike?

    Be the voice of the soldiers fighting for America, spend years living with the risk of IED death every day and finally be killed by a guy on your own side...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Roger · 8 years ago
    This just came over the net - http://www.facebook.com/MichaelYonFanPage/posts/10150329762275665 - not sure of any adjudication but it doesn't bode well. CJ Grisham is an active blogger, or at least was one. Personalities and stress go a long way towards "issues" but someone has to cap this before it goes way to far. I've followed and supported Mike for a long time in both donations and words and I sincerely hope this works out well (even perhaps for both!)... we have enough 'against' our warriors that even vetted infighting should not exist. [B]Hang tough and 'try' to stay safe!!![/B]
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Clinton · 8 years ago
    Everybody has a job to do. MY is a journalist. His job is to expose what is going on in the world and report it. If you do not like the fact that he does it, thanks for sharing your opinion. Please go turn on your TV and watch the watered down baby food the regular media provides.

    I believe there is a need for journalists like MY. They are necessary to expose the lies and the atrocities, whether they are performed by the Taliban, Soldiers, or our Government. We the people have a right to know how our tax dollars are being spent.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Clinton · 8 years ago
    In regards to those who feel he is being immature for posting about somebody who is threatening to his life, don't tell me you'd do anything different. If you were genuinely concerned about your personal safety, you'd report that person and their actions to anybody who is capable of doing something about it. Because this is our military failing to take action, I believe this falls into the category of what a journalist is expected to report... an atrocity against another human that is being swept under the rug.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Terry Elliot · 8 years ago
    If he threatened Yon, he should be gone. End of Story.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Williams · 8 years ago
    If you have to embed somewhere else in Afghanistan, I might be able to help you out. Send me a private message on facebook and I'll give you details.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    pmr · 8 years ago
    MIke my insides temble for you I can't help bur wonder hoe you can rest but knoe this if he kills you we your followers will see him hang
  • This commment is unpublished.
    DrMarkJump · 8 years ago
    As a chaplain serving with Marines, I was sometimes told, "My job is to kill people and break things." I would reply to the effect, "Your job is to represent the U.S. and enact U.S. policy. That may sometimes involve killing people and breaking things, and if it does, I pray you do it right. But those actions are the tools, not the purpose."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Lavigne · 8 years ago
    What a clown. Interesting that he's your competition as a milblogger. You're nothing but a distraction, Michael. Go home. You're waaaaaay too high maintenance compared to the REAL journalists who come in to tell the story.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    bjr118 · 8 years ago
    This guy Grishom is a sociopath.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jay Cee · 8 years ago
    Way to cover yourself and document in the event something happens.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Warrant4 · 8 years ago
    I am a veteran of almost 30 years active duty. I spent the last ten years in public education. It is MUCH worse than you say. You are only seeing "a small percentage". Look at the facebooks and myspaces of these guys; their pictures, language, t-shirt designs, all of it. Do some web searching. The case you mention is one of HUNDREDS of courts martial cases from the past few years involving personal assualts, murders, or rapes. Hundreds. There are MANY cases of personal assualt going on HERE in the US by military members coming back and feeling frustrated because their tour of duty was not enough of a "rush". So rape and assualt right here in the good old USA is what they turn to. We have raise a broad spectrum of the population on a lack of religion, lack of morality, graphic movies, and kill-a-guy video games. What in the world did we expect? Now we have a bunch of wannabe Cowboys wearing the uniform and running around the world getting people to hate us even more than they did.
  • This commment is unpublished.
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