Greetings to all Michael’s supporters,

It has been a while since we sent an update, but we are glad to report Michael is doing extremely well. It has been 2 years since he was released from Leavenworth and he has not wasted a minute. He thoroughly enjoys ranching, and spending time with his family, especially the niece and nephew. His niece really enjoys riding horses on Michael’s place and picking up the eggs the chickens so generously provide.

His assimilation into the small community has been as easy as it could be. Many there know Michael’s story and have offered their prayers and support for anything he might need – much the way many of you did throughout his appeal process and imprisonment. Michael is very blessed to have so many people who have his back and continue to contact him or hold him up in prayer. We have no doubt that he will have a very successful future.

Michael named his small ranch – “SCAK Ranch” – for his fallen soldiers Steven Christofferson and Adam Kohlhaas. They were killed in Iraq on 4/21/2008, which creates a lot of intense reflection for Michael every April. Also, please keep the Christofferson and Kohlhaas families in your prayers as this time of year is especially hard on them.

Only 3 of the Leavenworth 10 remain in prison, as several have been released within the past year. Perhaps President Obama will find it in his heart to release the remainder of the L10 after their long incarcerations. As a by-product of war, we know many terrorists have been released from Guantanamo, and about 1/3 of those released return to the battlefield. Also as a consequence of split second decisions in the fog of war – we know NONE of these Leavenworth 10 warriors are a danger to anyone, they have lost their military careers & benefits, and should now be returned to their families to become productive members of society.

Here is a recent article which explains the stories of the remaining incarcerate L10:

You can add Michael on Facebook – Michael Behenna – and he would love to hear from you.

Bless you,
Scott & Vicki Behenna
Proud Parents of Michael Behenna


As we approach the blessed season of Christmas there is so much to celebrate and to be thankful for. Michael was released over nine months ago and he enjoys his freedom in ways that you and I most likely take for granted. The freedom to behold the beauty of wide open spaces, of sunrises and sunsets, quiet drives along the backroads of Oklahoma, listening to the restless sound of the autumn wind, or just sitting quietly on his porch as deer and wild turkey cross his front yard in the country. It is a peaceful life for a man at peace with himself.

Michael’s work, although physically taxing, gives him a great sense of accomplishment and purpose. Cattle ranching certainly seems to fit him well and the cows don’t ask many questions ….unless they are hungry. He enjoys the hard work and the long days. Most nights he is asleep before his head hits his pillow, with his dog Bo snoring right beside him. We truly believe that his new life was made possible by the support and prayers that each of you provided for Michael during his difficult time in prison.

While Michael is free to enjoy his life there is still much to be done. I am speaking of several other Soldiers who remain incarcerated in Leavenworth under similar circumstances as Michael. They too need to be lifted up and told they are meaningful and not forgotten. These Soldiers are part of what we call the “Leavenworth 10” and were also convicted of murder in war zones. Their alleged crimes were not massacres, but rather an instantaneous reaction to a threat against them or their Warrior Brothers. None of them had criminal records prior to their single military incident and we personally vouch that they are definitely not a threat to anyone. A few have been paroled, but several remain in prison with long sentences. You can read about their individual stories at A simple letter or a few dollars to their canteen accounts will go a long way to showing them that Americans still care about them. In this time of giving, please consider them a worthy cause for your prayers and support.

We sincerely hope that you are filled with joy and gratitude this holiday season and surrounded by all those you hold dear.

Merry Christmas to you all!


A little over three months has passed since Michael walked out of the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth. Although not totally free, as he is required to report to a Federal Parole Officer on a regular basis, Michael is living his life on his own terms. He works on a large ranch in northern Oklahoma and is learning the every day trials and tribulations of being a rancher / farmer. Michael finds great peace in rising early and putting in a hard day of work in the hot sun. Then each night he makes himself supper before sitting outside on his patio to watch the deer and wild turkey cross the road near his home. It is a good life.

Work is not the only thing Michael has been up to. In May he traveled to the Florida Keys with our family and some awesome friends to enjoy several days of fishing, eating and catching up with everyone’s lives. In late June Michael became an uncle as his brother Brett and his wife Kirby welcomed a beautiful baby girl named Lily into the world. And in July Michael traveled to Zion National Park in southwest Utah with Shannon and her Dad and sister where they hiked Angel’s Landing. It was a trip they had talked about for five years in the visitation room at Leavenworth and finally were able to experience it together.

Since he has been out Michael has promoted the cause of the other Leavenworth 10 soldiers who are still incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth. These warriors, who found themselves in similar circumstances of war as Michael was, have been imprisoned for far too long. The war in Iraq has been over for several years, the conflict in Afghanistan is winding down, and the US government continues to release the enemy who killed countless citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan and scores of US and Coalition forces. It is past time that the Army gave these Leavenworth 10 Soldiers, who fought so bravely for this country in multiple tours of combat, their own freedom so they can be reunited with their families.

Here is a link to an article and audio of Sean Hannity’s radio show where Michael spoke of these remaining Soldiers in Leavenworth.

Bless all of you for your love and support of our son and his chosen brothers who remain behind bars!


Sweet Freedom – a right that should never be taken for granted!  It has been one month since I was released from prison and I have savored every moment of my freedom from behind those iron bars.  Everything about life on the outside is so much more wonderful than I even imagined it would be.  For the past four weeks I have taken each day as a gift to be cherished – spending it with my family and friends and doing the things I want to do when I want to do them.

For the first sixty days of my parole I am required to live at my parent’s house.  This is a good thing because it allows me to catch up on my mother’s home cooking which I receive in fair trade for working her long neglected flower beds.  Every day I go to the stables to ride a horse named Sue who is as stubborn as Shannon is (Sue has bucked me off twice, but I’m convinced I’m growing on her) and have even put in time fishing on the river.  I continue to read and to soak up the blessings of my life.  At the end of the month I will participate in a 3-day cow calf course in Shawnee where I will get my first taste of life as a rancher.

The only thing that taints my newfound joy is when I think about those I left behind at Fort Leavenworth.  In prison this small group of men and I became a band of brothers who had all experienced war in its most real form.  These honorable men fought for their country and did not deserve what they were given for their service.  I was fortunate to have the support structure that I had or I would still be in prison to this very day.  I humbly ask that you give the same support to them that you gave to me.  When I was behind bars my favorite time of day was without exception when the mail was delivered to my cell.  I remember receiving cards and letters from you and the encouragement I felt knowing that I was not forgotten.  It transformed despair into hope.  These are good men whom I got to know personally and I vouch for every one of them.  If not for the untenable positions put upon them in the heat of battle they would never have seen the inside of a prison.  They need your prayers, your cards, your letters, magazines and books, and your donations for their legal fight for freedom against a military justice system that is short on justice and long on political correctness.  As a convicted felon I am not allowed to contact any of these men and so I ask that you do so for me.  They are each a cause worth fighting for.   The stories of John Hatley, Joseph Mayo, Michael Leahy, Derrick Miller, Cory Clagett, Michael Williams, and Clint Lorance can be found on the website

I saw a video recently where an elderly man said, “You think this is just another day in your life?  It’s not just another day.  It’s the one day that is given to you today. It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.”  I am trying to live my life like that – where I see each day as a gift of freedom and where my only response to that gift is gratitude.  To each one of you I want to express my deepest gratitude for giving me this incredible gift through your countless acts of kindness and support.  Praise God Almighty, I Am Free At Last!

Michael Behenna


With tears of joy in our eyes we are happy to tell all of you that Michael is coming home!  He called us this morning to tell us his parole had been granted and he will be released on March 14, 2014.  So in one month Michael will finally be home with his family.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow…..

It has been, to say the least, quite a ride.  Michael signed up for the Army in order to serve his country and honor the innocent people killed on 9/11.  As a lieutenant he led his men in the ‘Mad Dog’ 5th Platoon into combat in Iraq and with them bravely faced a determined and ruthless insurgency.  Then his story took a bizarre turn when he was charged and later convicted of killing a known Al-Qaida cell leader who was directly involved in an IED attack that killed two of his soldiers, Steven Christofferson and Adam Kohlhaas.  He spent the next five years of his life in a small cell in the medium security wing at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth serving a 15 year murder conviction.

Life is often not fair, and as we have seen, justice is sometimes hard to come by.  For the innocent man who is sent to prison, life can seem especially cruel.  To survive that requires strength that comes from deep inside.  It also requires the love and support from family and close friends.  Michael always knew he could count on his family and friends to be there for him.  What has rocked his world is how thousands of people he has never met could will him through this struggle.  YOU DID THAT!  As you’re reading this I want you to say to yourself ‘they’re talking to me’.  YOU made the difference in how our son responded to this adversity.  Whether you sent him a postcard, a letter, put money in his prison account, contributed to his defense fund, wrote your Congressional Representative, shared Michael’s story with a friend, rode your motorcycle in a rally of support, or lifted Michael up in prayer to Almighty God, you made the difference.  YOU literally saved our son’s life with your love and support, and for that we will be forever grateful.

God bless each and every one of you!


This time of year is very difficult for Michael and our family, but we wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you who took the time and effort to write to Michael or financially contributed to his prison account.  Your response to him was overwhelming and provided a much needed boost to his morale. We can’t thank you enough for your continued support and prayers which sustain our son more than you will ever know.  He can’t physically respond to all the many letters and cards he receives, but he wanted to make sure we conveyed his heartfelt appreciation for your steadfast support.

Here is an excerpt from an earlier letter which Michael had us share with you a few summers ago and the words are as true now as they were when he wrote them:

“Each day I strive to not focus on the bad, but to find the good. I immerse myself in books that take me a thousand miles from this place of concrete and steel.  I push forward in my quest of self-discovery and self-observation seeking wisdom to call my own.  From the small window in my prison cell I can see a cornfield where a farmer toils in the hot summer air and I find myself longing to walk that field and feel the earth beneath my feet and the sun against my face. My hopes are to someday have my own land upon which I will raise cattle and spend all my waking hours in that warm sun upon my horse whose name only I will know.  

Gratitude is not something one would expect to find behind these walls, but it is here where I found it…waiting to teach me what really matters in this life. And while I sleep she gently reminds me how truly blessed my life is.“

Michael’s 1st Parole Hearing has been set for January 9th, 2014, and we hope it will be his last. We will represent Michael before the Army Clemency and Parole Board in Washington DC, and we should hear the results within two weeks of the Hearing.  Please say a prayer for the Board’s discernment and courage to examine Michael’s case with an open heart and mind about what a Soldier faces in battle. We know Michael is not a threat to society and will be a productive American citizen who will always hold his head high.

We wish you all a blessed 2014 and God willing it will be the year we will finally welcome Michael home.


A retired Army colonel recently told us that there are three things that will change a person’s soul:  war, prison, and the desert.  These are all things that Michael has experienced in the past five years.  As for the state of Michael’s soul we would say emphatically that it is at peace.  In fact that is what Michael told the reviewers at his first Parole Hearing at the US Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) in Leavenworth on October 22nd.  Without qualification he has no bitterness or enmity towards anyone for the unimaginable path he has traveled.  Instead he continues to read, study, and improve himself as he looks forward to a future beyond prison walls. The USDB Board Michael met with will make a recommendation to the full Army Clemency and Parole Board in Washington DC.  Hopefully, we will be scheduled to represent Michael before the full Parole Board some time in December.   We will know two weeks after the full Board Hearing as to whether Michael will receive Parole.

The holidays are fast approaching.  For most of us that means the hustle and bustle of busy malls, Christmas music, and time with family and friends.  But for those like Michael who ‘celebrate’ the holidays behind iron bars there is a dark and heavy cloud of loneliness that is difficult to fathom.  Amid the smiles and laughter inside the packed visitation room at Leavenworth there remains an unspoken sadness; the cruel knowledge that when the clock strikes 4pm families will exit out one door into the fresh air of freedom and the inmates will exit out another door that takes them back to an unnatural place, devoid of so much of what we consider human.  One door represents life, the other door represents death.

Like life and death, grief and gratitude are blood brothers.  One cannot have one without the other.  It is almost always the experience of grieving what has been lost that makes us aware of how much we have to be grateful for.  So on this coming Thanksgiving day, as our family sits between those two doors in the crowded visitation room at Leavenworth, our hearts will be filled with gratitude for the blessing of sharing time with those we love most on this earth.  We will know that our time is short, but it is that very knowledge that will help us appreciate it even more.

Our gratitude extends to all of you who have supported our son and our family on this journey.  May you each have a wonderful Thanksgiving that is filled with a grateful heart and time spent with those you love.

Peace be with you all,
Scott & Vicki Behenna

P.S.  Please consider sending Michael a card, a letter, or even a money order (for snacks and phone calls) during this upcoming holiday season.  We promise you it will make Michael’s day!  Michael’s address is:

Michael Behenna  87503
1300 N. Warehouse Road
Ft. Leavenworth, KS   66027-2304


Bless each and every one of you for your heartfelt, supportive, and uplifting letters for use in Michael’s parole packet. We believe that each of the letters individually are probative of many aspects of Michael’s case, and in mass, the letters provide a sound basis for the Army Parole Board to release Michael to return home to his family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Also, we are pleased to announce that Michael supporter David Kahan with Azymous Interactive has developed a mobile app called Free Michael. This app is freeof charge and has great graphics, superb music, and is very informative.  I wish we would have had this year’s ago as it is a great way for you to track Michael’s cause.  To download this app or to learn more about it simply go to the app store on nearly any smart device (Apple devices, Android phones, Kindle Fire, Google Play Store, and Amazon Play Store) and search on Free Michael Behenna.  You can also obtain the app by clicking on the following link:  Please download the Free Michael app and tell as many of your friends and family about it.

Thank you to Mr. Kahan for creating this wonderful app.  And thank you again to all of you who provided us with letters for Michael’s parole packet.  The fight for Michael’s freedom goes on! 


Thank you so much for the huge outpouring concerning our request to contact your local VFW chapter about the courageous VFW Resolution to free Michael. We don’t know the final outcome of the Resolution as the VFW National Conference will not vote on resolutions until the end of this week. We will advise you when we hear the result.  We realize that the VFW request may have been more of an appeal to those who had military contacts, but we certainly appreciate all those supporters without military contacts that also cold-called their VFW’s to assist with Michael’s resolution.

We have one more very important request for all who have followed Michael’s case and want to help him directly. Michael is eligible for parole for the first time in January 2014 and his parole packet must be completed by the end of August 2013. It is our desire to provide the Army Parole Board with hundreds of letters of support as well as letters of employment.  We want to leave no doubt in the Army Parole Board’s mind that Michael is more than an acceptable risk to leave prison; that in fact he is openly welcomed back into American Society by the public at large.

Please take the time to draft and sign a short letter of support (one page only) and/or a letter of employment, and either email or mail them to us for inclusion in Michael’s parole packet (the email and physical mailing address are at the bottom of this email.)  We have included a few bullet points for possible inclusion in your letters, but feel free to write with passion and from your heart. A note of caution…insulting the Board will be counterproductive as the Board did not place Michael in prison, but they hold the keys to his release.

Please address your letters as follows:  To the Parole Division – US Disciplinary Barracks

Letters of Support:  How you know Michael, or how you learned about and followed his case; what you know about Michael’s character and family support, or how you have read that he served the country honorably and has paid a severe price (a price that he will continue to pay throughout his life with a felony conviction); knowing the facts and circumstances surrounding Michael’s background, case, and service, you welcome him back into society and know he will succeed with such overwhelming support.

Letters with Offers of Employment:  Name of Business, Company, LLC, or Partnership; Position and Duties; Salary and/or Commission.  Note that Michael completed a Bachelors of Science from the Univ. of Central Oklahoma; studied history, military science and general studies while in college, and is well read (over 300 books while in prison).  He has also studied a lot about ranching while he has been incarcerated and would especially be interested in anyone who would hire him to work and learn to operate a ranching business.)

This is our first and hopefully our last time advising the Parole Board about the support base that has been encouraging Michael all these years and is patiently waiting for him to walk out of prison a free man.  For all the unbelievable efforts, tears, prayers, cards, and letters you have offered to Michael and our family, sending a letter to the Parole Board is the one way you can directly have your voice heard about what has happened to this brave soldier who was imprisoned for an action taken in a war zone to protect himself and his Brothers-in Arms.  Last week a jury in Florida exonerated George Zimmerman and said that he had the right to stand his ground when confronting an unarmed teenager.  The Army on the other hand declared that Michael lost that same right to defend himself when confronting a member of Al-Qa’ida in Iraq.  Please take this opportunity to let the Army Parole Board hear the thoughts of every day Americans who will not leave this Soldier behind and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

We must bind all the letters of support and employment letters into Michael’s parole packet and send it to the Army Parole Board BEFORE September 1st, so please send your letters to us no later than August 23rd (just a month away).

Bless you for your continued support of our son,

Scott & Vicki Behenna
Email address:
Mailing address:  1050 E. 2nd Street #169; Edmond, OK  73034


On July 4th we celebrated the many freedoms that all of us enjoy because of the sacrifices of millions of brave men and women in uniform since the founding of our nation.  Of course July 4th was not a day of freedom for Michael or the other Leavenworth 10 who remain in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth.  For them it was a painful reminder that the freedom they fought for on our behalf is no longer theirs to enjoy.

The end of the legal struggle after the Supreme Court denied Michael’s petition for certiorari just causes us to turn up the heat in the political battle to convince those in power that there is no acceptable reason to keep Michael incarcerated.  In that light, James Wainscoat, a decorated veteran and strong supporter of Michael, has stepped up and helped his South Dakota State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter to pass a Resolution that calls for Michael to be freed. This Resolution will be put before the National VFW Conference which begins July 20th in Louisville, KY.  Although this was a huge step forward, this Resolution has no chance of gaining the support of the National VFW Conference unless many more VFW Chapters rally their delegates to support the Resolution.  To this end we absolutely need your help NOW!!!

We ask each of you to contact your local VFW officers or State VFW delegates to voice their approval for this Resolution without delay.  It is important that the National VFW committee handling resolutions know that the plea for Michael’s freedom be heard by the full convention and voted on – not killed in committee.  Mr. Wainscoat said he felt that the VFW, which is the only veteran’s group recognized by a Congressional Mandate, has such a powerful voice with Congress and the Administration that a resolution by them could turn the tide in Michael’s favor.  Thus it is imperative that we have the support of as many States VFW Chapters as soon as possible.

The veterans of this country have always been committed to never leaving any of their troops behind. Through the powerful influence of the VFW, whose members have bravely fought for the freedoms we too often take for granted, we will hopefully find a way to bring at least one more Soldier home. Thank you for this important first political step towards Michael’s release.  Please feel free to pass this on to your military connections.

Here is the Resolution:

Resolution No #1


Whereas, 1st Lt. Behenna was charged at an Article 32 hearing of Premeditated Murder of a known, capture or kill Al Qaeda operative Ali Mansur while in custody during a field interrogation; and

Whereas, 1st Lt. Behenna was ordered to return known Al Qaeda operative Ali Mansur to the Operational area (AO) and release him in accordance with the “Catch & Release” program of suspects, not having enough evidence to continue to hold them in custody for prosecution; and

Whereas, 1st Lt. Behenna took the known Al Qaeda operative back to the AO in handcuffs. Once inside the AO, he removed the handcuffs, stripped the suspect, and began to question the known Al Qaeda operative at gunpoint (in order to maintain control) as to his knowledge of the recent IED attack that had cost 1st Lt. Behenna the lives of two of his men, and two more seriously wounded; and

Whereas, according to 1st Lt. Behenna, Al Mansur lunged at the lieutenant; whereupon the lieutenant fired two control shots, killing the known Al Qaeda operative Ali Mansur; and

Whereas, the Army claimed 1st Lt. Behenna lost his right to self-defense as a result of pointing a firearm at the suspect for control, having removed the handcuffs from the suspect. Also in question was whether the suspect was executed in a sitting position or was attempting to disarm the Lieutenant, and cause bodily harm to 1st Lt. Behenna and others; and

Whereas, the dispute and credibility factor surrounded the fact of whether the known Al Qaeda operative was in a defenseless sitting position or in an aggressive attack mode? The dispute came down to the unwavering statement of 1st Lt. Behenna, and that of the Iraqi interpreter who because of the darkness and distance from the culvert could not provide a definitive statement as to what happened at the moment of the shooting; and

Whereas, the prosecution sent home their expert forensic witness whose testimony would have proven to be exculpatory evidence of self-defense on the part of 1st Lt. Behenna; and

Whereas, lacking the exculpatory evidence of the prosecutions forensic expert on blood splatters and bullet trajectory; 1st Lt. Behenna was denied a fair trial, up to and including the request for a writ of Certiorari from the Supreme Court; the final attempt at his Constitutional right to Due Process; now therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States that we support 1st Lt. Behenna and because he was convicted under such questionable circumstances of an alleged crime in a fast-moving and fluid combat zone against a member of the most feared enemy in the world, and has spent over four years in solitary confinement at Leavenworth Military Prison; we desire that 1st Lt. Behenna be released from prison immediately to attempt to pick up the pieces of his life.

Submitted by Department of South Dakota

To the National VFW Committee on NATIONAL SECURITY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS The intent of this resolution is: To obtain the release of 1st Lt. Behenna, in order for him to establish his new life after his military career was terminated.