Sgt. Robert Richards, the U.S. Marine accused of urinating on the corpses of Taliban murderers, was found dead at his home in Jacksonville, N.C. last night, August 14. The investigation into the cause of his death is currently underway, although initial reports do not suggest his death was self-inflicted.
Medically retired, Sgt. Richards, 28, a decorated Marine sniper, pleaded guilty to violating Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and to failing to obey a lawful order in conjunction with the urinating incident.
Richards, a native of St. Petersburg, Florida, enlisted in the Marine Corps in January, 2007 and attended Recruit Training at Parris Island, S.C. After completion of Recruit Training and infantry school, then Pfc. Richards, reported to the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Promoted to Lance Corporal, Richards was selected for the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines' Sniper Platoon in August of 2007.
Following his first deployment, Richards attended Scout Sniper Basic Course in Quantico, Va., in March of 2009. He then deployed as the Team Leader of Sniper Team 1 with 1st Battalion 6th Marines as they returned to Afghanistan as the invading force for Operation Moshtarak the end of that year.
Three months into that deployment, Richards was severely wounded in combat and returned stateside, but his life as a sniper was far from over. In January 2011, Richards was put on the Battalion Meritorious Promotion Board and elevated to the rank of Sergeant (meritoriously).
In March of 2011, Sgt. Richards was back in the fight. It was this brutal deployment that stained the Marine’s stellar career. The urinating incident cost him more than a one-pay-grade demotion.
“I’m really tired of explaining why we pissed on them. What led up to it — what really led up to it is, they desecrated one of our Marines,” he said, noting that militants had spread a dead Marine’s body parts around, even planting another IED near some of them to try to kill Marine investigators.
“When you’re under that much stress, and you’re in that environment, your whole mental being changes,” he said. “You’re no longer Joe the Family Man.”
Sgt. Richards is survived by his wife, Raechel. He is expected to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
Examiner’s Note: Through a private source, I have obtained photographs of how the Taliban desecrated the body of a U.S. Marine; an act that led up to the pissing incident by Richards. Civilians might not understand, but Marines and Soldiers from around the world not only understood, but most say they would have done the same. Rest in peace, Sgt. Robert Richards. Much more on this can be found here.