U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi freed from Mexico
Who is Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi?
Like many young Americans, Sgt Tahmooressi joined the U.S. Marine Corp when he was 19 years old. His reasons, he loves his nation and wanted the honor of serving beside those with similar feelings. In 2010, Sgt Tahmooressi was sent on his first deployment to Afghanistan in the Marjah district. He participated in combat operations for seven months, forever leaving a mark on him. It isn’t everyday a young American is riding in a vehicle that hits an IED (improvised explosive device) and are able to live to tell about it. On his second tour to Afghanistan in the Helmand province’s Nawa district with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. It was during this deployment that Sgt Tahmooressi was received his combat meritorious promotion to Sergeant; though Marines are promoted on a monthly basis it is rare for them to be promote while serving in a combat zone and even rarer under meritorious conditions. This promotion only went to show how well Sgt Tahmooressi’s career of three years in the Marine Corp was going and how great of a Marine he truly is. Again during this deployment Sgt Tahmooressi was part of a combat operation leading a section on a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) for his battalion and partnered units within the district, always at the ready to react when the call for assistance is made. Sgt Tahmooressi returned from Afghanistan and like many other veterans started suffering from the effects of being in a Combat Zone and other traumatic incidents.
Sgt Tahmooressi attempt to go to college classes while serving in the Marine Corp Reserves, but found concentrating on his classes and course work to be extremely difficult. It was during this time he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that developed over time from his deployments to Afghanistan. It was during this time period that Sgt Tahmooressi started fearing those around him and started carrying his legally purchased weapons in his truck. Seeing the pain Sgt Tahmooressi was going through, the Marine Corp offered treatment to help him learn how to cope and attempt to have a normal life with PTSD. Sgt Tahmooressi accepted the offer and left his home in Florida to go to San Diego, California where he would receive his treatment.
San Diego, California
Less than a week into his treatment in San Diego, Sgt Tahmooressi made the mistake of crossing into Mexico in his truck while carrying his fire arms. Though he has never denied entering Mexico prior to this incident, Sgt Tahmooressi was very adamant that he had always crossed the border on foot and never had to worry about the weapons in his truck. A wrong turn in a city he did not know all that well lead him into trouble that would have a long term lasting event.
Sgt Tahmooressi has from the start stated he accidently took a wrong turn on a ramp leading into Tijuana, Mexico and the Mexican checkpoint. Though the guards at the checkpoint have stated they gave Sgt Tahmooressi a chance to leave Mexico without his weapons, Sgt Tahmooressi has stated this never actually occurred. During this wrong turn, Sgt Tahmooressi went as far as to call 911 in attempt to receive help on this horrific accident and situation he was finding himself in. It is reported the 911 operator told him there was nothing they could do since he was on Mexico soil. Alone in a foreign country, Sgt Tahmooressi found himself under arrest by Mexican officials. The claim has been made that he requested a U.S. translator and a notification be made to U.S. Embassy; however, this did not occur until eight hours later. During this time period the young Sgt was interrogated where he continued to express his innocence’s due to his accidental entry into Mexico. Sgt Tahmooressi was then moved to La Mesa penitentiary in Tijuana.
Incarceration in Mexico
Following a month of sitting in the La Mesa penitentiary and many request to the U.S. State Department to assist in the release of Sgt Tahmooressi; Cal-Rep Congressman Duncan Hunter started making inquiries into the Marine’s situation. Hunter took the time to visit Sgt Tahmooressi and began to take an active role into his release, on the grounds that he has PTSD and easily confused causing the accidental turn into the Mexican checkpoint. Hunter has written letters to Mexican government officials and to Secretary of State John Kerry in attempt to have Sgt Tahmooressi released and returned to the U.S. for treatment. The mother of Sgt Tahmooressi has gone as far to say “…the month he has spent in a Mexican jail outweighs the damage done during his two deployments to Afghanistan” and continued to seek aid from both the U.S. and Mexican government.
During his incarceration in the La Mesa penitentiary, Sgt Tahmooressi told his family and others he was threatened by inmates, stripped and beaten repeatedly by guards, denied water, and chained to his cot for more than 30 days. Though this caused a further outrage in the U.S. from his family, friends, veterans, Veteran groups and some political groups; he was not releases, but instead moved to El Hongo penitentiary in Tecate, Mexico. Finally, after 101 days of incarceration Sgt Tahmooressi found himself in a Mexican Courtroom in which the judge stated he would remain in Mexican custody.
Though President B. Obama has not done anything to assist in the release of Sgt Tahmooressi at least 71 BipartisanCongressmen have taken a look at the case and formulated a letter for his release, dated 8 July 2014 to Mexican Judge overseeing Sgt Tahmooressi’s case. See letter at
http://www.scribd.com/doc/233217143/Congressional-Letter-Tahmooressi. Sgt Tahmooressi’s mother has ensured a White House petition has received the minimum required of 100,000 signatures and still it took three months to receive any type of response from the White House. In the end all she wants to know is when President Obama last discussed her son’s case with Mexico's president, Enrique Pena-Nieto; which as the American people know hasn’t happened. Only after a three month wait, did supporters of Sgt Tahmooressi receive a response to the petition to have him freed: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/response-we-people-petition-sgt-andrew-tahmooressi. Like everything else in this case the response was nothing more than a slap in the face to supporters and veterans across the nation. Many who don’t understand why after this young man gave so much to this nation is not receiving the attention due to him or others in his position.
Finally, after eight months of incarceration Sgt Tahmooressi has been released from Mexican custody and returned to the United States and his family. In the end it took individual such as Montel Williams (Ret) Navy Lt Com, Greta Van Susteren, multiple Bipartisan Congressmen, family, friends, individual veterans, Veteran Groups across the nation and attorneys to secure Sgt Tahmooressi’s release by their continue request to have him evaluated for his past and current health issue. A Mexican Judge listened to the report on Sgt Tahmooressi PTSD condition and determined it is in the best interest of all involved to have him released back to the United States to receive treatment. The charges against him have not been dropped and it is unknown what will occur with them. In the end it only took 214 days to attain the release of this Courageous American Veteran for an accident of misdirection. As of 1 October 2014, Sgt Tahmooressi is resting at home in Flordia with his family as he awaits treatment for his PTSD from his deployments to Afghanistan and his treatment in a Mexican penitentiary.
In the end
This harsh treatment of an American hero is yet another slap in the face of many veterans by the current President and his government. It seems in the end, only those taken under suspicious circumstances are actually important to find a release for. Though every American and Veteran deserve our countries full attention when held against their will by a foreign nation or group, it is important for all to know that innocent or not someone is going to standup and inquire what is happening to you. We as Americans are constantly told to accept others from foreign nations at face value and to not judge them guilty before all is heard. So why don’t these same people attempt to ensure we, as Americans’, are afforded the curtesy in other countries.
© 2014 Sandy D