A self-described "good old boy" born in Texas, Massey was honorably discharged from the Corps in December 2003 after 12 years of active duty. Trained as infantry, he was stationed in Parris Island as an infantry instructor for three years, then moved on to recruiting duty, then was deployed to serve as Staff Sergeant in Iraq in command of more than 35 men. During his tour of duty in Iraq he and his troop killed approximately 30 unarmed civilians, including children. Staff Sergeant Massey was unable to reconcile his training, US rhetoric regarding the "liberation of Iraq", and traditional American values with the orders he was given in Iraq. He refused to continue killing and asked to be seen by a psychologist who sent him back stateside immediately for treatment. Jimmy was ultimately granted an honorable discharge and a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He describes the U.S. invading force invading Iraq like "a bunch of pit bulls loose on a cage full of rabbits" right from the very beginning, and that is what turned the Iraqi people against the U.S. occupiers, the killing of innocent civilians. For example he tells of receiving orders from higher command to open fire on a non-violent demonstration of Iraqis with M-16s and 50-cal. machine guns.
When he went to his superiors about his changing feelings regarding the war, he was offered a desk job away from combat, he responded to this offer by saying "Thank you sergeant major, I don't want your money anymore. I don't want your benefits. You killed some civilians, and you're gonna have to live with it partner, and I'm gonna tell the truth." Massey hired a good lawyer which meant that he was discharged rather than court-martialed. Since his discharge, he has been telling the truth.
His conviction is this: "I'm not going to kill innocent civilians for no government. ... I was taught and raised by parents and relatives that there are certain things you don't do, and killing innocent civilians is one of them."
See this interview "I Killed Innocent People for my Government"
Jimmy Massey is a co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against the War.