Day 2: The Men of Raven 23

Welcome back! It’s day two of our week-long Free Raven 23 Fact Series: What You Should Know About the Raven 23 Case. Yesterday’s post covered the basics about the Raven 23 case. Today’s post focuses on the men themselves: Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nick Slatten, and Paul Slough.

You can read their bios by clicking their names above. We also invite you to click here to watch our Team Raven 23 video. In this video, you will find even more details about their service history, testimonials from the peers and leaders who worked with them, and messages from the men themselves.

For example, you will learn that, while serving as a member of the Marines’ elite 1st FAST, “Dustin selflessly worked to recover the remains of a downed U.S. Navy pilot . . . amidst hostile enemy fire during the initial combat operations in 2003 outside Kirkuk, Iraq. Dustin, and his team, did what needed to be done to ensure that this Gold Star Family received the closure that they deserved and that the pilot was able to be transported to what would be his final resting place.”

You will learn that Evan Liberty’s Commanding Officer of the Marine Security Battalion (State Department) said this about Evan: “I can positively state that I would trust him completely in any assignment. He has proven to be totally dependable and will perform superbly under extreme pressure. I would eagerly seek Sergeant Liberty’s services in any capacity where the highest moral and personal character is required.”

A fellow soldier whom Nick Slatten mentored had this to say about Nick: “As a young soldier, I quickly found myself emulating many of [Nick’s] qualities. His leadership style for instance, had a profound effect on my development as a soldier and warrior. However, it was Nick’s judgment and selfless desire to protect his soldiers that I’ll never forget.”

You will learn that Paul Slough—the man against whom the DOJ brought the most charges—is, in fact, the epitome of calm under fire, actually earning his Combat Infantryman Badge for “choosing NOT to engage the enemy due to the lack of positive identification (PID) while under enemy fire . . . because he did not have PID and there were too many civilians around to make a bad decision.”

And you will read inspiring messages from the men of Raven 23, including this message from Evan Liberty:

“It goes without saying that this situation has been the most difficult thing I have been through. [It has] changed me as a person and made me realize what is really important in life. It has brought me closer to my family and friends and taught me many lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. 

I had two choices after the verdict was given: (1) I could have let it destroy me and given up, or (2) I could use it to make me a better and stronger person. I chose option two, but it has not been easy.

The only way I remained positive is with the support I have received. It has been overwhelming and humbling to say the least. Everyone from family and friends to complete strangers have helped me tremendously. There is no way I can ever repay all of you, or put into words how much it has meant to me. I can only say thank you and tell you that your support has kept me optimistic and determined to leave here a better person.”

From all this, we hope you get a small glimpse into who these men really are and what they stand for. These grandsons, sons, brothers, nephews, uncles, cousins, husbands, and fathers, are FAR from the caricatures the media and the government has portrayed them to be.

Until tomorrow, thank you for taking the time to learn more about the men we are fighting to free.