Marine Corps LCpl Riley Schultz Found Dead at Camp Pendleton Entry Control Point; Death Ruled Suicide by Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound But Family Disputes Findings (March 15, 2019)

U.S. Marine Riley Schultz

Lance Corporal Riley Schultz, U.S. Marine Corps

In the early morning hours of March 15, 2019, Marine Corps Lance Corporal Riley Schultz was found dead near a guard shack with a gunshot wound in his head. Nineteen-year-old Lance Corporal Schultz was on guard duty at Camp Pendleton in California when this tragic incident occurred. Riley was discovered by a Marine who was assigned to replace him at this entry control point. The Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) were assigned to investigate Riley’s suspicious death but their investigation appeared to conclude when the medical examiner ruled that Lance Corporal Riley Schultz died by suicide via a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Riley’s family isn’t going to simply accept the outcome of the investigation. His family knows him better than anyone and his brother said Riley was the happiest he had ever been. Riley’s mom told the press that becoming a Marine was his dream and he worked hard and prepared for his enlistment before joining the USMC at the age of 17. Riley’s mom said he loved being a Marine and things were going well in his personal life when he died. Although this investigation appears to be an open and closed case with the Marine Corps, Riley’s family disputes the cause of death and plans to continue to fight for justice for Riley.

In the News:

The Marine from Colorado found dead at a Southern California base earlier this month died by suicide, according to 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh, a Marine Corps spokesperson. Rob Low reports. -FOX31 Denver (March 27, 2019)

The Navy is investigating after a Marine from Colorado was shot to death while on guard duty at Southern California’s Camp Pendleton. -CBS Denver (March 27, 2019)

Lance Cpl. Riley Schultz was discovered dead around 4 a.m. March 15 with a gunshot wound to the head. -Denver7 – The Denver Channel (March 27, 2019)

Related Links:
Lance Cpl. Riley Schultz From Longmont Killed While On Duty At Camp Pendleton
Marine Found Dead at Camp Pendleton Guard Post from Gunshot Wound to Head
Riley Schultz, Marine, shot dead while on guard duty at Camp Pendleton
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Marine Shot, Killed While on Guard Duty at California Base
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Medical Examiner: Marine From Colorado Died By Suicide
19-Year-Old Marine Found Dead at Camp Pendleton Killed Himself: Officials
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Family of Camp Pendleton Marine disputes suicide ruling despite Marine Corps findings
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Longmont Marine took his own life
Violent Crime, Non Combat Death, and Suicide at Camp Pendleton, California (USMC)
Lance Cpl Riley Schultz, age 19 | Gun Memorial

Extraordinary Claims Should Require Extraordinary Evidence (June 26, 2018)

National GuardGuest Post by Liz Ullman:

Enrique Costas comes from four generations of dignified and recognized military service. His grandfather’s name is in the history books as one of the first soldiers to join the Puerto Rico National Guard to serve the United States. His father defended this country for 32 years, earning an Air Medal for heroism in Vietnam; his nephew will be commissioned as an officer in the next week and will be going on active duty.

Costas enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard in 1988. In 1999 he volunteered to be assigned as a Recruiter, earning top awards and commendations throughout his almost 14 years as the Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention (RR) Command office in San Juan. He was also selected and participated for seven years in the Puerto Rico National Guard Honor Guard, the team responsible for carrying our Nation’s and Army Colors in the highest of the Government’s activities and celebrations.

He was responsible for achieving monthly production for the three main tenets of the Guard recruiting office: Recruiting, Retention and Attrition Management • Staff resourcing for two Army battalions covering 13 cities • Supervising and mentoring up to 10 recruiting and retention non-commissioned officers.

Costas was a champion in mission accomplishment with the highest integrity and ethics. His walls are filled awards and photos with the Guard’s top-ranking officers, including General Clyde A. Vaughn, who personally commended Costas for his service and integrity. Costas retired in 2014 after Honorably serving our Nation for over 26 years.

The biggest mistake Costas made in his career was simply being on duty during the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program also known as G-RAP, a cash incentive opportunity for civilian soldiers to bring in new recruits. With no direction from Washington D.C.’s Strength Maintenance Division, General Vaughn’s recruiters were supposed to intuit the 60 changes in the G-RAP rules over a seven-year period, while also working to fill the dwindling ranks of Guard troops.

Just before dawn, on an early October morning in 2015, Costas’s home was stormed by six Federal agents and two State police officers, in full tactical gear. Costas thought his family was under attack, and it was – by the Government he had served. Costas was arrested and taken to a Federal Courthouse where he was charged with “crimes” dating back almost ten years, during the days of G-RAP.

Costas is one of hundreds of General Vaughn’s recruiters who have been held responsible for not knowing the G-RAP rules that were never sent to them. And not just held responsible — charged with criminal intent to commit fraud against the Government. General Vaughn, who created and administered G-RAP, and who was administratively sanctioned for poor management, is enjoying full retirement in Virginia and Arizona.

Costas is going to prison.

The government’s “evidence” against Costas and other recruiters does not even meet the standard of circumstantial. In his case, the government admitted during trial to having no actual evidence, but only a “reasonable inference” that a crime could have been committed.

As a recruiter, Costas could not and did not participate in G-RAP. There were no Army regulations that governed G-RAP because the program was run by a private Alabama-based contractor called Docupak. Docupak was essentially incentivized to run a sloppy program, earning a 17% markup on every new enlistment, on top of their contract fees and administrative expenses. This lack of training stands in sharp contrast to how the Army usually operates, with manuals and rules on almost every action and procedure.

The one rule that the prosecution seized on to brand soldiers and veterans as felons regarded the relationship between the Recruiting Officer and the Docupak civilian contractors known as Recruiting Assistants (RAs). When G-RAP began, those contractors were regarded as assistants to the Recruiting Officers. The Recruiting Officers might use the RAs to give that extra push to a potential applicant considering enlisting. The Recruiting Officers were encouraged to ask the RAs to attend recruiting events and help with the finding of potential candidates. The original program outline stated that the Recruiting Officer would provide specifics for each possible enlistment to the RA, including legal name, birth date and social security number. That information was used by Docupak to verify enlistments and process payments to their RA contractors. In later descriptions of G-RAP, the social security number would go from the new recruit to the RA contractor, bypassing the Recruiting Officer, which not a single RA contractor reports ever seeing or any evidence has ever been produced by Docupak that verifies it.

This procedural change has resulted in hundred of indictments and scores of convictions for identity theft and wire fraud. Soldiers and veterans are in prison. Costas, sadly, is on his way.

After the government filed more than 50 felonies against Costas, his defense team could not overcome the wrath of the United States and he was convicted by a jury who felt that with so many felonies filed, Costas certainly had to have done something wrong.

He did not. G-RAP was a tangle of mismanagement; the soldiers who were on duty during its tenure are paying the price of administrative failures by their command. In an internal investigation done by the Puerto Rico National Guard pertaining to G-RAP in 2012, the Investigating Officer admitted that “Recruiters had no formal training on how G-RAP operated.”

Costas and his family had their hearts broken when the prosecution opened with statements calling him a “cheater, stealer and a liar.” He said these words, “pierced the core of his soul.”

Presumption of Innocence or even the “benefit of the doubt” was never given. In the end the Government spent an estimated $100,000 prosecuting Costas and the jury found Costas guilty on three charges amounting to $3,000. Although never having a criminal record and an impeccable military career, the judge sentenced Costas to prison. In the end “reasonable inference” and circumstantial evidence weighed more than 26 years of honorable service willing to sacrifice life and limb.

Recently the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th District reversed and vacated a conviction of an accused soldier involving G-RAP and determined, that the “Government did not retain a revisionary interest in the funds and that it did not exercise supervision or control over the funds”. This decision cannot be applied to Costas unless the United States Court of Appeals for the 1st District, the Supreme Court, or Congress rules on it.

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
― Carl Sagan

The claims were extraordinary. The evidence was missing. And yet, a United States military hero and veteran has been sacrificed.

We respectfully request that Congress or the White House appoint a commission to review the G-RAP investigation, to identify Soldiers that have been unjustly stigmatized by it, and to recommend suitable cases for clemency and pardon.

Related Links:
Stop G-RAP Injustice | Facebook
The Conspiracy Behind the G-RAP War on American Soldiers (March 30, 2016)
If You Look at the Dollars, Guard Recruiting Assistance Program Investigations Make No Sense (July 12, 2016)
Top Ten Problems with the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) Investigations (December 15, 2016)
An Open Letter to Congress Regarding the Investigations of the National Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (June 5, 2017)

Army Paratrooper Pfc. Andrew Young Found Dead in Barracks at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy (August 19, 2017)

US Army

Army paratrooper Pfc. Andrew Young, 21, was found dead in his barracks at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy on August 19, 2017. Pfc. Young joined the Army in 2015 and was assigned to the A Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy since January 2016. The incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
Army paratrooper found dead in Italy barracks
US paratrooper found dead on base in Italy is identified

Air Force TSgt. Jason Friday of Buckley AFB in Colorado Found Deceased (August 18, 2017)

USAF Seal

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Air Force man from Buckley found dead; investigation underway
Air Force man from Buckley found dead; investigation underway

Fort Bragg Army Soldiers Spc. Allen Stigler, Jr. and Sgt. Roshain Brooks Died of Wounds Sustained While Engaged in Combat Operations in Iraq (August 13, 2017)

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Spc. Allen Stigler, Jr., US Army and Sgt. Roshain Brooks, US Army

Army soldiers Spc. Allen Stigler, Jr. and Sgt. Roshain Brooks died of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations on August 13, 2017 in northern Iraq. An Army artillery unit was firing on an Islamic State position when a “mishap” occurred but it was not listed as enemy fire. Five others suffered injuries that were not life-threatening. Spc. Stigler and Sgt. Brooks were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The incident is under investigation.

An artillery round meant to be fired at an Islamic State target in northern Iraq on Sunday exploded prematurely killing two American soldiers, defense officials said. –Stars and Stripes

Related Links:
DOD Identifies Army Casualties
Pentagon cites artillery “mishap” in 2 US deaths in Iraq
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Camp Pendleton Marine LCpl Cody Haley Died After a Tree Fell on Him During Routine Physical Training in California (August 4, 2017)

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LCpl. Cody Haley, US Marine Corps

The 1st Marine Division announced in a news release Marine Lance Cpl. Cody Haley, 20, was doing routine physical training when he was struck and killed on August 4, 2017 by a falling tree at Camp Pendleton, California. LCpl. Haley was from Hardin, Iowa and deployed with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit in 2016.

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Army Sgt. Jonathon Hunter and Spc. Christopher Harris Died After a Vehicle-Borne IED Detonated Near Their Convoy in Afghanistan (August 2, 2017)

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Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, US Army, and Spc. Christopher Harris, US Army

Sgt. Jonathon Hunter, 23, and Spc. Christopher Harris, 25, died as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle-borne improved explosive device (IED) detonated near their convoy on August 2, 2017 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sgt. Hunter and Spc. Harris were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve on behalf of the 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. According the the Department of Defense press release the incident is under investigation.

Related Links:
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
Two members of 82nd Airborne killed in Afghanistan
Military identifies Fort Bragg soldiers killed in Afghanistan suicide bomb attack
Columbus, Ind., soldier among 2 killed in Afghanistan attack
Specialist Christopher Harris: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
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