- By James Chittenden
- 10 June, 2014
- Comments Off on Parris Island Sergeant Major Retains Defense; Receives Wide Support
BEAUFORT, SC—Marine Corps Sergeant Major Paul Archie, a 26-year veteran who was involved in a confrontation with protestors outside the Parris Island main gate last Thursday has hired local counsel from the law firm of Mikell, Weidner, Wegmann & Harper, LLC. Archie was charged with third-degree assault and battery in connection with the encounter.
Third degree assault and battery is a misdemeanor in South Carolina and could result in up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $500.
The encounter took place in the presence of a Port Royal police officer and was partially captured on camera by a crew from WTOC TV, Channel 11, a CBS affiliate. Ethan Arguello was protesting the recent Taliban prisoner exchange. He stated that he was doing so to represent active-duty Marines who could not protest. Arguello was wearing a Marine Corps drill instructor’s traditional hat, known as a “campaign cover”.
“He pulls up and he walks up to me and says, ‘Are you Ethan Arguello?’” the former Marine told WTOC. “I said ‘yes’, and he said ‘I spoke to you on the phone yesterday’ and I said ‘yes’. He said ‘I know I told you not to wear that campaign cover.’”
The video shows Archie and Arguello in a heated face-to face confrontation, with contact between the Archie’s forehead and the brim of the campaign cover worn by Arguello. The cover came off Arguello’s head, was caught by Archie, who took it, put it in his vehicle and left the scene. The cover was later dropped off at the front gate at Parris Island for Arguello, who later retrieved it. The video does not show Arguello spitting in Archie’s face prior to the brim of his campaign cover contacting Archie’s forehead in an apparent head butt.
Widespread coverage of the incident and reaction on social media prompted the commanding general at Parris Island and top leadership at Headquarters Marine Corps to act quickly. They moved to relieve Archie or demand his retirement.
However, support and sympathy for Archie materialized quickly. While active-duty Marines are generally prohibited from opinion-based comment, former Marines who served with Archie are not under any such restrictions.
Jason Gagnon of Hartville, OH served with Archie on recruiting duty and condemned “…hasty decisions” of leadership, adding that he regarded Archie as a mentor. He went on to say that Archie “has always been there for me and always done the right thing in my eyes. He would do the right thing for any Marine, even the former Marine who was out there protesting”.
Troy Shielein, a former drill instructor who now serves as the Wayne County, MI director of veteran’s services provided a written statement in Archie’s defense. Shielein also served with Archie during combat tours in Iraq.
“SgtMaj Archie is a Marines’ Marine that has spent the last 25 plus years not just ‘changing lives’ by transitioning civilians into United States Marines but also ‘infecting’ all those Marines he has come in contact with over the more that 2 decades of his heartfelt leadership. His leadership has been regarded as the highest in standard not only in garrison but also as he was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat Valor (V device) on the battlefield in our Iraq tour in 2007.”
He went on to provide additional context that has not been mentioned in any other media coverage. During the previous weekend, “…SgtMaj Archie laid his father to rest and did they take into consideration that just the night prior, SgtMaj Archie was dealt a blow as one of his Drill Instructors (was found dead aboard Parris Island)?”
Beaufort defense attorney Larry Weidner is representing SgtMaj Archie. For questions regarding the charge, contact him at (843)521-0004. Additional background information requests are coordinated through Triumph Business Communications at firstname.lastname@example.org .