Support Our Hometown Hero
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc for just about everyone throughout the world. We listen to the news reports and become saddened by the destruction of this virus. We are concerned about our families and friends who are part of our innermost circle—as we should be. But how often do we think about life outside of the virus? It is easy to forget that many people are dealing with various situations that affect their quality of life. People like Dustin Heard—our hometown hero—who is imprisoned in what he describes “a death trap” as a result of the Raven 23/Biden 4 case.
You may recall this excerpt from the article published in the Jan. 9 issue of Olney Enterprise that summarizes the case, “Dustin and his peers were assigned to protect American diplomats during the Iraq war in 2007 and were known as Raven 23. The team was ambushed and responded accordingly. However, the Iraqi government accused the soldiers of shooting civilians.”
Gina Keating, the journalist who has been covering the case said, “The first judge threw the case out before the trial in 2009, citing prosecutorial misconduct pointing out that the government did not have enough evidence to support the manslaughter convictions they were seeking. The U.S. Department of Justice elected to re-indict Dustin and his comrades in 2013. The Raven 23 men were tried in Washington, DC in 2014 and convicted of multiple counts of manslaughter.”
Last year, Dustin’s sentence was reduced, and he is still serving time for a situation many believe was unjust.
Since the publication of that article, political leaders such as Rep. Springer and Congressman Arrington have stepped up to rally behind a presidential pardon, but your support is still needed now more than ever. Dustin and the family are grateful to everyone who signed the online petition. Now, you can show your support in other ways while Dustin is awaiting the President’s decision. You may add money to Dustin Heard’s commissary via Western Union. You may visit www.WesternUnion. com, click on “Pay an Inmate” and “Federal Bureau of Prison”. Enter his inmate number: 16020-081. The transaction fees range from $2.95 - $10.95 depending on the amount you wire. You may also write to Dustin: Dustin Heard 16020-081, USP Atlanta, US Penitentiary, P.O. Box 150160, Atlanta, GA 30315.
Erik Prince, the founder and former CEO of Blackwater, Inc. gave an inside look of Blackwater in his book titled, “Civilian Warriors.” Prince notates that while Heard was serving with his company, Embassy Baghad presented Heard with a certificate of appreciation for “outstanding professionalism.” Prince gives an overview of Heard’s military career as well as Heard’s role with his company, stating, “Dustin Heard was the rear turret gunner in the fourth Raven 23 vehicle. The twentyseven-year-old Texas native had enlisted in the Marine Corps at nineteen. He served in Bahrain, then Kuwait, then near Karbala, in Southern Iraq, as part of team that recovered downed pilots and aircraft. After earning several commendations and awards, Heard was honorably discharged in 2004, at which point he signed up with Blackwater.”
We must not forget our hometown hero who elected to join the military to protect our freedoms. He stood up for us, now let’s stand up for him.