E-mail to Reporter at the Associated Press

September 23, 2011


Ref: News story "Marine suicide sparks hazing inquiry," Associated Press, Sep 17 04:53 PM US/Eastern

Dear :

I had written the letter below to Breitbart at the beginning of this week because that is where I picked up your story, not finding the article at any other conservative news site and no link to contact you.  As of today, Friday, September 23, 2011, I have not heard from Breitbart so they obviously have no interest. 

However, I called AP in New York this afternoon and they supplied me with your e-mail address in Hawaii.  If I knew it was going to be this easy, I would have done this in the first place.   Please accept my apology.  Also I am writing to you because my son does not have a computer.  In fact the place he lives is only a temporary arrangement, his jumping from job to job in the last five years.

If you wish to contact him after reading the following, please e-mail me and I will forward you his cell phone number in North Carolina.  At that time I will step aside, since you should deal with him directly.

But I wanted you to know the bases of his story so you could understand the full depth of what happened and then make a decision if you wanted to contact him.  The following is what I had forwarded to Breitbart.  Thank you for your time.



Our son, Matthew Kallback, soon to be 28, had gone through a similar harassing five years ago as the Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Lew.  Matthew was given early release after two years in the service with a less than honorable discharge.  

To begin, several Marines would harass him when he was serving in Afghanistan, for among other things being friends with Afghan Freedom Fighters.  

Then when Matthew came back to live in the Marine Barracks in Hawaii, a group of Marines would come unannounced on several occasions and beat him up in the bathroom.  His officer told him to suck it up, even after his head had been slammed in a toilet rim and his nose reformed. 

As a child he had suffered a concussion, his having a six-inch crack in his skull from falling on a concrete floor.  So he was lucky not to have been permanently injured in these beatings. 

We filed a complaint while he was still in the service in Hawaii with then Senator Dole.  But she seemed not interested, and at the end of the process allowed a letter to be forwarded to Matthew from the Navy Department that arrived after Matthew had been sent home.  In the letter none of his many complaints of abuse were mentioned.  The letter ended in a thank you for his serving in Iraq, when he had never been there.  To add insult to injured, he was also sent a letter saying he was not to step foot on any of the bases in Hawaii, treating him as if a traitor to the United States.  

While serving in Afghanistan Matthew had experience items being stolen out of his tent along with an Army Staff Sgt. witnessing Matthew being struck by other Marines, their nickname for him being “shitbag.”   And of course they were also the peer beatings the letter had left out.

Finally, after realizing Senator Dole had no interest in our son’s abuse, Matthew went to the VA in Asheville.  The patient advocate helped him to file a full complaint to the Navy in Washington D.C. so he could have an honorable separation to receive benefits and medical coverage.  That was over a year ago, the Navy by law supposed to have returned a decision. 

Matthew currently still has zero benefits for a less-than-honorable release, struggling to find work and always angry about the beating.  He had called a hot line a few weeks ago around three in the morning, the memories eating into him as if a failure, and having to talk with someone.

We understood the Marines at the time of serving were going to give him medical leave, but then discovered he had some codeine in his blood from hanging out with some musicians on a short leave not far from the base in Hawaii.   Matthew had always played guitar, which he had taught himself in high school and helped him deal with frustration in life.

Matthew had signed a release that allowed the Marines to give him a blood test, his thinking nothing was wrong and that he had only overslept.  He had not realized he had drunk from someone else's glass at the studio.  Matthew is not into pot or drinking, even having stopped smoking a few years ago.  He also has never been in any trouble since being sent home over five years ago.  So none of this makes any sense to us. 

Also, Matthew was not allowed a lawyer at his hearing at the base in Hawaii, his being suddenly thrown into solidarity confinement and in shackles for a month on suicide watch.  After that he was tossed to my wife and I, our having retired to North Carolina from northern New Jersey.

I complained on the phone to the Hawaii Marine camp commander when I discovered our son was going to be put in jail for having some codeine in his blood, my saying to the commander people took codeine for colds.  I had also asked the commander why he had referred to my son while at a Brigade Rest with the other Marines, as a terrorist.  

The commander said anyone involved in any kind of drug to him was a terrorist.  My son was stunned to have been called that, standing at rest with his peers and then calling me at the time on his cell phone and repeating what had been said to him, the conversation 20 seconds long if that. 

I asked the commander, knowing Matthew was mowing lawns while waiting to be discharged, why couldn’t he work the grounds there and serve out his time.  I told him Matthew was a kid who had been beaten up in high school and had only wanted to serve his country in the Marines.  But he said, “No.” 

Matthew still knows some Farsi in Afghanistan, which had been taught to him by the Afghan Freedom Fighters that he chose to hang around since his peers picked on him.  It was where he felt welcomed.  

In the beginning Matthew had successfully attended early entry for the Marines in New Jersey, where we had lived. Then on November 10, 2003. He went into the Marines to be taken to Parris Island. 

As I had told the commander, Matthew had only wanted to serve his country, being in special classes in high school with kids always picking on him, stealing his lunch money, and pushing him around.  One jock labeled him “Loser of the Month” on a Web site and called him a painted-face monkey.   For that Matthew got a screwdriver thrown at him from a car at night while walking home from work where he was a dishwasher. 

However after all this, the proudest day of our lives was picking this special education student up from Parris Island, seeing he had made it through one of the toughest boots in the military.  All his nutty friends had made fun of him for going.  And after meeting his Staff Sgt, I knew he had made it through some tough times. 

I remember Matthew’s phone call to us headed for Afghanistan.  He sounded more happy then I had ever heard him, "Dad, I'm on my way to Afghanistan and I've finally earned the right to be one of the bros,” and hung up.

And then all the rest that was mentioned happened; Matthew returned to us a broken spirit.  Yet he still loves the Marines, loves to talk with former vets and still feels a part of the group, our honoring that with USMC license plates on the front of our cars, proud that Matthew had served his country no matter what the base commander had said.   

My grandfather had come to Sweden in the early 1920’s to Ellis Island, working to bring his family three years later to America in steerage.   While living in servant quarters as a ground’s keeper for the large estates in Westchester County, NY, he lost two sons to illness before they could graduate from high school, with the third, my father, missing off of Okinawa in 1943 in WWII, later found.  

My dad’s Navy shore boat had broken down, forcing him to go across the Island with the Marines, which he never talked about.  I was the only grandchild to come out of my grandfather’s journey from Sweden.  I therefore have trained my children to be very proud of their great grandfather and the adversity they had to go through to come and live in America.  I had told this to the Marine camp commander in Hawaii, my father buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  But Matthew later told me the commander said to Matthew while in jail, “Your father talks too much.”  

Maybe I had, but I knew what was happening to Matthew wasn’t right.

Let me know if you are interested in speaking to our son. If so, I will pass you his phone number. 

From there I don't need to be involved, as mentioned above.  It's his story, not mine, his turning 28 in about two weeks.  For myself I have been an unwilling witness to his continued anger, and why I now write this letter in hopes it can be finally put to bed. 

Our hope is that the Navy will honor Matthew’s basic request for an honorable discharge.  It has being suggested that since Matthew was denied legal representation at his court marshal, the Navy may want to bury this deep so it goes away.  But with this new revelation of a Marine going through what our son had gone through, maybe the Navy can no longer hide it from view. 

As an FYI, I do know Matthew would like to talk with the parents of the deceased Marine.  I told him I would mention that in the letter when I asked permission to contact you.  I had told him, five years is too long to wait for something that is not coming.

Matthew did contact Congressman Schuler's office in Asheville about six weeks ago, but he has heard nothing back.  I contacted Schuler's office on Monday with a copy of the news story you wrote, advising the representative my son was now going to go to the media.  The advocate at the VA in Asheville, NC, was also sent a letter with your article. 

Our son had tears in his eyes when reading the story of Marine Lance Cpl. Harry Lew who killed himself, Matthew saying if someone in Washington D.C, or Dole had listened to him, rather than pushing him off, maybe that Marine would be alive today.

My son remembered that unwritten slogan you wrote about, too, when he had served that, "Peers should correct Peers."  It brought back memories for him all over again. 

That's what got Matthew beat up in the bathroom in the Marine Barracks in Hawaii after leaving Afghanistan.  He said you never knew when the beatings were going to come.  You just had to wait for them. 

Best regards, 






"Freedom is Knowledge"