The Army has provided service histories for three former Green Berets involved in a failed incursion into Venezuela earlier this week, an incident that’s still short on details.
The service records come the same day Venezuelan state-owned television released spliced clips from an interrogation of one of the two former Green Berets who Venezuelan authorities say was captured along with about 60 individuals from their Venezuelan irregular force.
Former Green Beret turned private security consultant Jordan Goudreau said in a video to announce the raid Sunday that he helped orchestrate the operation. He later identified his two colleagues as U.S. special forces veterans in a now deleted tweet. He did not respond to a request for comment placed at his office Wednesday.
Former Sgt. 1st Class Goudreau, 43, served on active duty as a special forces medical sergeant and indirect fire infantryman from 2001 to 2016. A LinkedIn account associated with Goudreau stated that he previously served in the Canadian Armed Forces for three years in the mid-1990s.
As a U.S. service member, he deployed to Iraq from November 2006 to April 2007 and from March 2010 to September 2010. He later deployed to Afghanistan from May 2011 to June 2011 and again from January 2014 to June 2014.
Goudreau received three Bronze Star medals, the Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist Badge.
Former Sgt. Airan Berry, 41, served on active duty as a special forces engineer sergeant from 1996 to 2013. He deployed to Iraq from March 2003 to June 2003; November 2004 to June 2005; and February 2007 to March 2007.
Berry received two Bronze Star medals, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, Ranger Tab, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, the Special Operations Diver and Special Operations Diving Supervisor Badges.
Former Staff Sgt. Luke Denman, 34, served on active duty as a special forces communications sergeant from 2006 to 2011, later serving in the Army Reserve until September 2014. He deployed to Iraq from March 2010 to September 2010.
Denman received the Army Commendation Medal, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge and Parachutist Badge.
Filings for Goudreau’s security consultancy, Silvercorp USA Inc., date to February 2018 with the company’s main address in Melbourne, Florida. The filings also identify Goudreau as CEO and Drew White as COO. White is a former Army friend who reportedly broke with Goudreau last fall. Service records for White weren’t available on Wednesday, Army officials said.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that U.S. officials are in the initial stages of a federal investigation into the possibility that Goudreau violated arms trafficking rules. Citing anonymous officials, the AP reported that the investigation stems from the March 23 seizure by Colombian police of a stockpile of weapons being transported in a truck.
In the heavily edited Venezuelan state-media video released Wednesday, a man in custody identified as Denman said he first met Goudreau while assigned to Germany in 2009, and started working for Silvercorp earlier this year. He said his job was to provide mission planning and training to the rebels from camps in Colombia, a job for which he expected to be paid $50,000 to $100,000.
Denman went on to tell the interrogator that he and the other Green Beret were instructed to take control of an airport in Caracas so a plane could take Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro out of the country following his capture. A local media report from Denman’s native town of Austin, Texas, stated he received aircraft pilot training between 2012 and 2014 at Texas State Technical College.
“I was helping Venezuelans take back control of their country,” Denman said in the video.
Taped and edited confessions like this could be made under duress. When prompted by the questioner, Denman said that President Donald Trump commanded Goudreau, though he made an exaggerated eye movement in the process.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday echoed denials of involvement from Trump and Defense Secretary Mark Esper the day before.
“If we had been involved, it would have gone differently,” said Pompeo. “As for who bankrolled it, we’re not prepared to share any more information about what we know took place. We’ll unpack that at an appropriate time.”
In Denman’s interrogation, the veteran implicated U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as an early co-conspirator in the plot. Goudreau has also released a contract showing what appears to be Guaidó's signature on an 8-page agreement for nondescript “general services.” But Goudreau has noted that Guaidó never issued payment for the agreement.
For his part, Guaidó has denied involvement in Goudreau’s plot.
“Nicolás Maduro, you are responsible. They knew about the operation, they infiltrated them and waited for them to massacre them,” Guaidó said on Tuesday.
About eight fighters were reportedly killed in the clashes on Sunday. What led Goudreau to believe the ill-fated plot would succeed is unclear.
“You’ve got to introduce a catalyst,” Goudreau told the Associated Press in a phone interview on Monday. “By no means am I saying that 60 guys can come in and topple a regime. I’m saying 60 guys can go in and inspire the military and police to flip and join in the liberation of their country, which deep down is what they want.”
Goudreau announced the incursion as a “strike force” over Twitter on Sunday while tagging Trump’s own Twitter account. Social media pages for his company have since been deleted.
Five American citizens who were arrested during a Citgo business meeting by Maduro’s forces in November 2017 are also still being detained in the country. Due to the diplomatic row between the two countries, there is no U.S. embassy operating in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas that could immediately assist the detained U.S. veterans.
All consular services were suspended in March 2019 as crime, civil unrest and the economic outlook of Venezuela declined dramatically, according to the State Department.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.