Michael Ross Stahlman
Colonel, United States Marine Corps
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 853-08
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Colonel Michael R. Stahlman, 45, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, died October 5, 2008, from injuries sustained in a July 31, 2008, non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California.
The incident is currently under investigation.
For additional background information on this
Marine, news media representatives may contact the MCAGCC Twentynine Palms
public affairs office at (760) 830-6213.
Courtesy of Gazette.Net
9 October 2008
A Bethesda native and decorated Marine Colonel who died last week in Iraq is being remembered as an upstanding colleague.
"He had an outstanding reputation. He was very highly regarded here and continues to be," Lieutenant Colonel Steve Stewart, the senior Marine at the U.S. Army Legal Center at the Judge Advocate General's School in Charlottesville, Virginia, said of Colonel Michael R. Stahlman.
Stahlman, 45, died on October 5, 2008, from injuries suffered from a non-hostile incident on July 31, 2008, in Anbar Province, Iraq, according to the Department of Defense. He taught at the Judge Advocate General's School earlier in his career.
Defense officials have not released details about how Stahlman was injured, but have said the incident is under investigation.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Stahlman was an investigative officer in the case of a Marine accused and later acquitted of murdering 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005. Defense officials would not confirm that report.
Funeral arrangements for Stahlman have been made for October 30, 2008, at Arlington National Cemetery, according to a blog dedicated to Stahlman called "Mike on the Mend." In a post on the blog, it was reported that in late September Stahlman developed sepsis, a condition in which an overactive immune system creates small blood clots.
In comments left on the blog in reaction to Stahlman's death, one anonymous commenter wrote: "Mike was a truly a stand out among Marines I have worked with during my career. Whenever I asked him for help or advice, he would immediately respond. It always felt as if he dropped everything else to help me. Somehow, I feel that is the case with everyone Mike met."
Stahlman was assigned to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at 29 Palms, California, where he served as Staff Judge Advocate and director of Legal Services.
Stahlman graduated from the Marine Military School, a college preparatory school, in Harlingen, Texas, in 1981. He was a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who majored in political science, was assigned to the 13th Company, and graduated with distinction, according to a spokeswoman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
He was then commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and completed the Basic School at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. He also completed Naval Flight officer training at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, and F-4 specific flight training at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas.
He graduated from California Western School of Law in 1993 with a juris doctorate and admitted to practice law in California.
Stahlman then received a masters of law in criminal law from the Judge Advocate General's School in Charlottesville, Va. He began teaching criminal law at the Judge Advocate General's School in May 2000, and from May 2001 to May 2003 served as vice chairman of the criminal law department there.
His decorations include the Meritorious Service
Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, the Navy Commendation Medal,
the Army Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star
in lieu of second award.
By Katherine Shaver and Josh White
A Marine colonel and military lawyer from Chevy Chase, Maryland, died Sunday of injuries he suffered in Iraq this summer, making him one of the highest-ranking officers to have died in the war, Pentagon officials said yesterday.
Colonel Michael R. Stahlman, 45, was injured July 31, 2008, in a "non-hostile" incident in Anbar province, military officials said. "Non-hostile incident" is the military term for deaths unrelated to combat, such as from illness, accident, suicide or homicide. Defense officials said Stahlman's death is under investigation but is not believed to be a homicide; they did not elaborate.
Two friends said Stahlman suffered a gunshot wound and never regained consciousness. A family member who spoke on condition of anonymity said relatives have been told few details about how he was injured.
Stahlman died at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda after he underwent brain surgery in August and battled a systemic infection recently, friends said.
He served last year as an investigating officer -- similar to a judge -- in a preliminary military court hearing for a Marine lieutenant accused and later acquitted of obstructing the investigation into the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005. A defense official said Stahlman's death did not appear to be related to his legal role in that case.
A 1985 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stahlman was assigned to Headquarters Battalion at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., academy and defense officials said. He left for Iraq in February for what was supposed to be a tour of about a year, friends said.
The family member said Stahlman grew up around the world -- his father worked for the U.S. Foreign Service -- and admired the Marines who guarded U.S. embassies. His family, including an older brother and sister, lived in Chevy Chase from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, said the relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the family wanted Stahlman's wife, Kim, to speak publicly about him.
Kim Stahlman did not return a phone call yesterday, and her father declined to speak by phone from his Connecticut home. Friends said Michael Stahlman is also survived by the couple's two daughters: Piper, 7, and MacKenna, 11.
Although Michael Stahlman grew up throughout the Middle East and Central America, friends said he considered Chevy Chase his home town.
"It was a touchstone for him," said Joe Matza, 45, a North Carolina financial financial planner and Naval Academy classmate.
Stahlman attended the Naval Academy after graduating high school from a private military academy in Texas, Matza said.
"He set tremendously high standards for himself," Matza said. "He excelled at everything -- academics, athletics -- and he made it look easy. Whatever we did, he was number one, and he didn't even break a sweat."
For all his accomplishments, Matza said, Stahlman had almost no ego.
"He got to the Naval Academy and was already
in ship-shape," said Rick Camacho, 46, another academy classmate who lives
in New Jersey. "He was a very motivated, great student -- very smart and
very patriotic. He was someone you knew was going to devote his life to
The 45-year-old Marine was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, where he served as the Staff Judge Advocate and director of legal services for the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center and Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command.
The circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.
The Washington Post reported Stahlman had been shot, had undergone brain surgery and was battling a systemic infection.
A native of Bethesda, Maryland, he graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1985 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Following graduation, he completed The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, naval flight officer training in Pensacola, Florida, and then F-4 specific flight training at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, Texas.
In August 1990, he attended California Western School of Law and in 1993, Stahlman received a Juris Doctorate and was admitted to practice law in California.
After being selected to attend the Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Virginia, Stahlman received a Masters of Law degree in criminal law. In May 2000, he began teaching criminal law at the Judge Advocate General’s School and from May 2001 to May 2003, he served as the vice chair of the criminal law department there.
He was promoted to his current rank in July 2007.
Stahlman’s personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award.
In honor of Colonel Stahlman, Capitol flags in Sacramento will be flown at half-staff.
A blog entitled Mike on the Mend gave well-wishers information on Stahlman’s treatment and now hosts condolences and memorial announcements.
According to the blog, Stahlman will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia October 30, 2008.
An announcement the Marine’s death on the blog states his wife was at his side.
Supporters added entries such as, “It is an honor to have known and served with Colonel Stahlman. He was larger than life. Our prayers are with his family.” Another writer posted, “Mike was a great American and a good friend.” “Colonel Mike Stahlman is the gold standard for professionalism, character and integrity,” wrote another. “I am honored to have known him and to have worked with him.”
Stahlman’s survivors include his wife and two
A trust has been established. If you wish to contribute, please do so at:
Stahlman Family Fund
The primary goal of the fund is to help with
the children's care, education and well being as well as the future needs
of the family.
October 29th - Viewing at Murphy Funeral Home,
Murphy Funeral Home
STAHLMAN, MICHAEL ROSS
Posted: 11 October 2008 Updated: 14 January 2009 Updated: 26 February 2009 Updated: 19 April 2009 Updated: 10 March 2011
Photos By Eileen Horan, February 2011