A Christian attorney and former Marine says he shares the outrage of other veterans who are upset that Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha received the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award.

John MurthaMilitary Times reported that in one of his last moves before leaving office on March 13, then-Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter quietly awarded the 19-term Democrat with the service’s highest civilian honor. According to a Murtha news release, the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award is an honor bestowed in “those extraordinary cases where individuals have demonstrated exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long-term benefit to the Navy, Marine Corps, or the Department of the Navy as a whole.”

But when news of the award surfaced, some veterans groups became outraged because of Murtha’s statement in 2006 in which he claimed that a squad of Marines responded to an IED ambush in November of 2005 by rampaging through the village of Haditha and murdering Iraqi civilians “in cold blood.”

But more than two years later, six of the eight Marines and sailors accused of crimes at Haditha have had their cases dismissed. One was found not guilty, and the last one has been discontinued indefinitely.

Brian Rooney is a spokesman for the Thomas More Law Center, which has defended the commander of those Marines, Lt. Colonel Jeffrey Chessani. “[Murtha] won’t apologize, and then you have him being honored for these other kinds of issues by the Secretary of the Navy,” Rooney notes. “It’s disgraceful. As a former Marine myself, I have a hard time stomaching it, and I can understand the outrage. ”

He adds that he intends to sign a petition by Vets for Freedom calling for the Navy to rescind Murtha’s award.