Sunday, June 29, 2014

US Army Officer Was Forced to Resign For Going Native With Girlfriend In Afghanistan, They're Now Married

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A top Green Beret in the US Army was forced to resign in 2012 after it was discovered he was carrying on a year-long affair with a woman whom he had unofficially embedded in his Afghanistan unit.

Major Jim Gant, had on military orders “went native,” with his troops in the mountains of Afghanistan but authorities didn't know that his lover, Ann Scott Tyson, had quit her job and left her family to live with him.

He was soon reprimanded and relieved of his duties for “immoral and illegal activities and actions,” with his fellow officers and subordinates testifying that he was often “intoxicated and under the influence of pain medications.”

His commanders charged in confidential files that he had "indulged in a self-created fantasy world" of booze, pain pills and sex in a tribal village deep in Taliban and al Qaeda country with his "wife," journalist Ann Scott Tyson.

"We did fall in love, I would say over the course of about a week," Tyson told ABC News in an interview, recalling that Gant asked her to marry him within a few days of meeting each other. She laughed him off at first, but eventually he won her over.

The two first spoke over the phone in 2007 and eventually met in Washington, DC, in 2010. Both Gant and Ann Tyson were separated from their spouses and each with four kids by then but divorced by the time she went to join him in Afghanistan.

They got away with their battlefied romance for nine months. Tyson was one of America’s most experienced war correspondents - last with the Washington Post - and her wartime experiences provided her with a deep understanding of Gant's post-traumatic stress disorder, drawing them closer together.

“Not only could I talk to her, I loved looking at her, and she is a very wonderful woman, as well,” Gant says.

Gant left for Afghanistan in June 2010, and in March 2011, Tyson left her job to join him. She spent the time with Gant writing a book on him and his war efforts.

In 2009, Gant had persuaded the US army that the only way to get ahead of the Taliban in Afghanistan was to win the trust of the local tribes by going native, embedding American troops in villages and adapting themselves to their way of life.

He got the support of then-acting commander Gen. David Petraeus in 2010, and within months, he and other soldiers had successfully won over three influential tribes by living with, eating with, fighting with and even dying with those willing to fight insurgents. They’d even grown beards and wore local clothing.

But Gant was making enemies within the ranks - those who did not agree with his methods, or thought he was going too far.

Bringing in his girlfriend to his Afghan camp was the last straw. Their live-in relationship was completely against military protocol.

After he was reported and relieved of his duties, Gant was airlifted out of Afghanistan and back to the US. He was stripped of his special-forces honors, demoted to captain and pushed into retirement. His beard was also shaved, and he received a letter of reprimand.

All this happened in 2012 but the Army kept the case quiet until Tyson's book was published a few months ago.

Tyson had escaped the country on her own after Gant was sent home in disgrace. The army authorities never caught the two together.

The couple was finally married in Maryland in May 2013 and went back to Afghanistan that September to say goodbye to some of the tribesmen thay had become friends with.

They now live in Seattle, and plan to one day return to Afghanistan.

Via ABC News

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