Our story involves Mohamed Faridi, a 13B Soldier stationed at Ft. Polk. Faridi was a likeable, friendly person but a marginal performer at work. However, he speaks Syrian Arabic (2+) and Yemeni-Arabic (3), so he had that going for him. But, for some reason he wanted to go be a Ranger, then during his training he sustained an injury which put those aspirations on hold. During his recovery, his unit was notified of a possible deployment to Iraq. Subsequent to this he said that he couldn’t kill his Muslim brothers. His unit tried to reason with him that if he went to the Rangers there was a high probability he might have to kill one there. It wasn’t making sense. So, Faridi states that he isn’t going to train any more and that he isn’t going to deploy. The unit then puts him on Rear D for the multiple field problems, and everything went smooth until it was time for their JRTC rotation and the unit needed everybody to participate. Well, Faridi is not going to have any of it and goes AWOL.
While he’s not the first person to go AWOL to avoid going to the field, he does however pull pitch and fly to Morroco. Bold move, and an A+ for originality. Not a week later he’s back on post, and promptly receives a FG article 15 for the AWOL, but no other actions or flags are raised.
Sometime between his venture to Morroco and 25 June, Faridi received a check from an overseas address for $22K. Additionally, Faridi had a warrant for his arrest issued from Alexandria, LA Police Department for substantial damage he allegedly caused to a hotel room.
On or about 22 June, Faridi purchases a Mercedes C class. On 25 June, Faridi trashes another hotel room, this time in Houston, TX. Hotel Security asked him to leave and after he loaded his possessions into the Mercedes he tossed his keys in the road stating “he wouldn’t need the car where he was going” and then left on foot towards The Galleria, a local place that has a lot of bars. Additionally, Faridi left several phones in the Mercedes and his room when he departed. The next day, 26 June, Faridi was back in Louisiana and was seen on camera buying .40 caliber ammunition at Walmart. After that, he proceeded to a pawn show where he stole a .45 caliber Hi Point pistol (no security cam footage was available) and fled in a silver SUV.
Louisiana Criminal Intel put out a SITREP on Faridi and the subsequent BOLO followed. Between the afternoon of the 26th and noon on the 28th of June, 902d MI began actively engaging the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. CID was also brought in and began assisting. The FBI began working with Houston PD to begin processing the Mercedes and contact the seller of the vehicle.
On 28 June, around 1400 US Army North publishes the Faridi BOLO stating that Ft. Polk DES assisted the unit in completing Faridi’s Drop From Rolls paperwork and was sent to USADIP so his Desertion warrant could be entered into NCIC. I did some checking and the reason for the instant DFR submission was that Faridi was categorized as a Special Category AWOL.
AR 630-10 states to meet Special Absentee criteria, the Soldier must have access to Top Secret information in the past 12 months or is currently assigned to a Special Mission Unit; SPC Faridi had neither criteria as he is assigned to C Battery, 5/25 FA as a 13B. Less than 90 minutes after the BOLO is pushed, ARNORTH publishes an update to the BOLO stating that Faridi had been located deceased in a hotel in Houston. Soldiers in the unit state that they were told that Faridi had committed suicide and NOK notification was not made. It is worthy to note that NOK is not required in DFR cases.
However, there are many questions that are raised.
– Why did the unit classify him as a Special Category AWOL, much less even know about that special provision?
– Why was Faridi’s DEERs profile moved to inactive status within 48 hours, a process that usually takes a couple of weeks?
– Why is there no record of Faridi in the Houston PD police-only access web page, or any John Doe deaths?
– Why is there no social media or news reports of Faridi’s death at the hotel?
– Why was there a rush to DFR Faridi? The only possible route the unit could have picked (unless they were told by someone) is Option 4. They may have tried to state he was option 7 (Special Category) but I have already ruled out Faridi didn’t meet that criteria. Option 4 which states there is reasonable belief that the SM intends to remain permanently absent. However expressing intention not to return is not enough to DFR someone from the Army. If Faridi was intending to leave the Army, and also this country, I ask this: Why would Faridi go from Houston back to Louisiana, buy ammo, steal a different caliber pistol and then go back to Houston? I do not assess that SPC Faridi intended to leave the country at all but had some other alternative motives.
Lastly, here’s the issue with the shooting narrative.
1. If it happened during the morning, that means everybody on the hotel floor would have heard the shot and somebody would have called the cops.
2. There’s no social media/news reports as of this morning.
3. If he used a pillow or something else to muffle the sound, the cleaning personnel would have discovered him prior to 1400 (because of early check-in times) and would have killed the BOLO that ARNORTH pushed.
4. If he muffled the shot but left the do not disturb sign on the door (if he had the room for more than one night), the cleaning people wouldn’t have found him until a day later (the 29th), which makes the BOLO update sketchy.
Are you as confused as me?
This is Billy, reporting for USAWTFM. Keep your head on a swivel folks!