REMEMBERING THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED, AND LIVING FOR THEM
Thank you all for being so patient for the past few months. There's been a whirlwind of development in this case, and I want to thank all the new subscribers for following this page and caring about DeRito VS USA. This is a full team effort, and I'm proud of those who have reached out and connected. It means more than you know.
First and foremost, this is Adam DeRito writing this entry. I have a few contributors here on the site, mainly my amazing future wife Ashleigh who has kept faith in me and this case for nearly a decade now. However, with the upcoming holiday, I figured I would reflect on a few things, and I hope you'll finish reading this.
Case Update: We received word back from the 10th District Court of Appeals finally after nearly a year. Although they agreed that my Constitutional argument that falsifying my mental health records was indeed a violation of my rights; the courts are sending it back to the Air Force and are requesting another Air Force Board of Corrections of Military Records. They have once again stated that these are "military matters" and should be handled as such; that it is not the role of the judiciary to intervene. We obviously disagree on this, and this is a tactic used by the Air Force to try and demoralize me, and make me give up when it comes to fighting this case. However, I will never quit. This case has become so much bigger than myself, and I believe it's happening for a reason.
For over eleven years now, I have fought for justice against a small percentage of corrupt officers in the U.S. military. Our military is not perfect, and it needs a significant amount of reform. However, we are still very much a functional fighting force. It is important for me to emphasize that only 10% of our military leaders are causing 90% of the problems. My team and I are here to fix that, and hold those who are responsible, accountable for their actions.
Why will I never quit? Like I have mentioned before, this is no longer about individual justice. After beginning the Dark Sabre Project, recording the Dark Sabre Podcast, and talking to hundreds of other survivors of sexual assault and harassment in our military whose voices have been silenced; I need to fight for them too. We need drastic change, and an unprecedented amount of accountability when it comes to failed leadership. Whether that's at our Air Force Academy, other service Academies, active duty, reserve, or national guard components, the change is desperately needed, and we can no longer ignore this. We as Americans are capable of amazing things. I witnessed that type of unity in this country after the terrorist attacks of 9/11; this year it will be the 20th year anniversary of the start of the global war on terror.
I have lost numerous friends since the war began, but the one that sticks out the most to me was a fellow classmate of mine from the United States Air Force Academy. Captain Matthew David Roland. Below is an excerpt from the Steel Hearts Foundation:
In the early hours of an August morning in Afghanistan, a special tactics Airman distinguished himself as a hero. After a long day of airfield operations on an unsecured landing zone, Capt. Matthew Roland, assigned
to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, volunteered to drive the lead vehicle in a convoy of U.S. Army Special Forces on Aug. 26, 2015, as he was most familiar with the route back to Camp Antonik in Helmand Province. All that stood between the team and camp was three Afghan-led security checkpoints. It was a relatively calm, quiet night as the convoy rumbled past two of the checkpoints without incident. Roland proceeded to the final checkpoint, parking the bus and leaving the engine idling as the team’s Afghan
translator disembarked to obtain clearance to pass. Two guards wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms granted passage, but at that moment, one of the guards moved toward a bunker fortified with a belt-fed M240B machine gun, while the other moved toward Roland’s driver-side window. As the guard came within 5 feet of Roland and raised his M4 carbine rifle to his shoulder, Roland reacted instantly. He keyed radio to shout, “Insider attack, insider attack!” and jolted the bus into reverse. Gunfire ripped through the steel and glass of the bus’s front, taking the full effect of the M4 fire. The 27-year-old Lexington, Kentucky, native was killed instantly, knowingly sacrificing himself in the line of fire to alert the convoy and to protect his teammates behind
him. Because Roland did not hesitate to protect others in the face of danger, he gave his special operations teammates enough time to react and eliminate both gunmen. From Eagle Scout to a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate with a degree in aeronautical engineering, Roland completed difficult tasks with a single-mindedness and sense of humor that impressed his peers and superiors. So, it was no surprise to many when he completed the rigorous special tactics training program in 2012 to become one of the few special tactics officers in the Air Force. He was trained as a military static line jumper, free fall jumper, an Air Force combat scuba diver, and a joint terminal attack controller. He deployed twice to Afghanistan and once to Africa. Even in his short time of service, the captain was a decorated veteran, earning the Bronze Star medal. With this Silver Star medal, he now joins an elite group of more than 70 Airmen who received the nation’s third highest medal for gallantry in action since 9/11. Thirty-five of those medals were presented to his small community of special tactics Airmen. While a Silver Star medal solidifies Roland’s legacy of valor, it won’t define the memory of Roland. To many in the special tactics community who knew him, those few seconds of heroism represent a lifetime of character that continues to positively impact others. “He was a Titan among men,” said Master Sgt. Jared Hodges, one of his Special Tactics teammates. “Capt. Roland’s tactical knowledge was unmatched, whether talking close air support doctrine or how to maneuver a force on the battlefield.” “I will forever miss my leader and my friend,” Hodges said of Roland, his Special Tactics team leader. “Rest easy, brother. Your fight is over.” “He was loved and respected and was good at what he did. As parents, we can think of no greater tribute,” Mark Roland said. “Matthew was a true patriot; he loved what he was doing and believed in it.” In the end, Roland was, and always will be, a man who sacrificed his life so that others may live.
(Written by SrA Ryan Conroy, 24th Special Operations Wing)
Matt and I trained together at the US Air Force Academy, and we both served as Army Programs Instructors while at "The Hill". Matthew was one of the people who inspired me to never quit, to always push my limits, and to remind everyone else around him that when things were getting hard that: "Today Is Not A Good Day To Be A P****" (TINAGDTBAP). It was his motto. He was kind, stern, knowledgeable, and he is one of the main reasons I continue to serve today. I will always try to inspire others with his story, to tell his legacy, and to ensure that we keep fighting, keep training, and live our best lives today; even if they are no longer physically standing beside us anymore.
Even though the Air Force Academy and their attorney's are giving my legal team and I another run around before the end result, we will not give up. Too many people have come to rely on us to help fix the Academy, and push real policy change for our service men and women.
I'm excited to announce that I'll be involved in more partnerships over the summer, that I will be working closely with more people in Washington D.C., and that the fight goes on, even if we have to redirect fire.
Dark Sabre Season 1 will be coming to a close here shortly, and I will be launching The Embark Podcast soon after: Positive People Doing Positive Things For Our Planet. I can't wait to release these episodes to you, and in the meantime, we will be recording for Dark Sabre Season 2 to be released in 2022.
Thank you all for keeping faith in the mission, faith in the team, and faith in yourself for supporting this cause of revolutionary change in our military judicial system. Embrace your loved ones this memorial day, remember the fallen, and live for them today; even if they no longer have a tomorrow. That is the best way we can honor those like Captain Matthew Roland.
Together, we will make a difference.