IAFF: Stolen Valor?

Mathew Golsteyn, Chief of Operations

During my time as an IAFF member, the position now known as “chief of operations” has been populated with low-key civilians or folks with a labor background.

IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer Ed Kelly changed all that.

He tapped Mathew Golsteyn, a former U.S. Army Major who served with the Special Forces, to be his right-hand man.

His decision is interesting as Golsteyn is seemingly larger than life with a pedigree to prove it.

Kelly is either comfortable in his own skin or looking for some reflected glory, a trick that General-President Harold Schaitberger has employed, once tapping 9/11 leader and FDNY officer Pete Gorman as his chief of staff.

Perhaps if you aren’t a hero, you should at least keep one close at hand.

But there is a fascinating complication, as Golsteyn’s shield is tarnished if not crumpled.

He is a decorated Afghanistan combat veteran who admitted to killing an un-armed Taliban fighter under circumstances which the Army found less than honorable but which others have found to be practical, and effective if not downright necessary under the exigency of war.

Golsteyn was theoretically judged by Army peers but anyone who has watched IAFF “justice” in action can also attest that so-called “peers” can have their own agenda and that justice may be anything but.

While in Afghanistan, Golsteyn engaged in combat actions which saw him awarded the Silver Star which was to be upgraded to the Distinguished Service Medal.

The Post reports, “Golsteyn braved enemy fire repeatedly after watching a Taliban sniper round nearly hit another Marine who was manning a rooftop observation post on their base. Golsteyn was credited with launching a mission to find the enemy marksmen, slogging through muddy fields under fire to help an Afghan soldier who had been wounded, returning fire with a powerful anti-tank weapon, and coordinating repeated airstrikes by F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets and a Predator drone. For those actions, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Army’s third-highest award for valor.”

Golsteyn’s acts of valor stand alone and were accomplished separate and apart from any other event, yet the Army revoked his citation as if his display of courage and leadership can be photo-shopped out.

The Army may have stolen his award from him but his acts, and attendant courage, remain intact.

He has been described as not especially union oriented, a Type-A personality, not easy to work for and a Trump supporter.

But he also inspires loyalty, an area where others should take a lesson.

During the Afghan investigation his troops were offered immunity to testify against him and they all took a pass.

We can only note with irony and amusement that Golsteyn has written to Trump complaining about the “decay of moral courage” and “quibbling micro-managers at the Pentagon.”

Now he finds himself in the employ of Harold Schaitberger, a man bereft both of morality or the concept of loyalty and who has never found a decision too small to micromanage.

It must be fun to watch.

While the armed forces are hardly the place to find union-friendly leadership, I hope Mathew Golsteyn will profit from his own shabby treatment and understand that someone has to keep the bosses in line and that is a central reason why unions exist: to protect workers from injustice of any kind.





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