Military and Police

Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher: The Vindication of a Hero

The prosecution of Special Operations Chief Edward (Eddie) Gallagher, the 39-year-old Navy SEAL who has been in the news for much longer than he should have been, is settled today. The long-tried verdict was “Not guilty” of all but one minor charge.

One year after returning from his eight overseas deployment to Iraq, Gallagher was arrested on Sep. 11 (an ironic date) and was held in the Miramar Brig.

Gallagher was accused of firing on civilians, obstruction of justice, and possession of controlled substances as well as posing with a dead ISIS fighter and murder of that ISIS prisoner.

These charges were introduced at an Article 32 hearing, the standard procedure for the military justice system.

The execution was said to have occurred after the Iraqi Army wounded the fighter during an air strike. They then turned the ISIS fighter over to U.S. SEAL team 7 for medical assistance. Gallagher has been accused of executing the ISIS fighter by stabbing him in the neck with a hunting-type knife.

After the execution, prosecutors claim that Gallagher posed with the body of the ISIS fighter in violation of U.S. military regulations. He was also accused of conducting a re-enlistment ceremony next to the corpse.

The prosecution accused Gallagher of firing on noncombatants and placing civilians in danger. He was also accused of wrongly firing on noncombatants at least once during his deployment to Iraq in 2017.

The drug charges stemmed from accusations Gallagher consumed, without prescription, the opioid tramadol hydrochloride, multiple times during his deployment. He was also accused of using the performance-enhancing steroid Sustanon-250, a testosterone injection, while in San Diego in June 2018.

Tramadol is commonly prescribed on deployment. It is just a step up from Motrin (internally called ranger candy). It is not a powerful opioid at all, in my opinion.

Gallagher also allegedly urged members of his SEAL platoon to refrain from discussing his actions in Iraq with investigators. The charges, centered on complaints of his team, were characterized by the defense as a way to get back at a leader his team did not like and wanted to retaliate against for his tough style of leadership and repeatedly placing them in dangerous situations, something for which SEALs are superiorly trained and stellar.

This is the official tally of charges:

Charge Sheet[8]
CMJ Article Charge/Specification
Article 118 Found Not Guilty of Premeditated Murder
Article 128 Found Not Guilty of Aggravated Assault with a Dangerous Weapon x2 on non-combatants
Article 134 Found Not Guilty of Firearm, discharging-willfully, under such circumstances as to endanger human life at non-combatants
Article 134 Found Not Guilty of Obstructing Justice x3
Article 134 Found Guilty of Wrongfully pose for an unofficial picture with a human casualty
Article 134 Found Not Guilty of Wrongfully complete reenlistment ceremony next to a human casualty
Article 134 Found Not Guilty of Wrongfully Operate a drone over a human casualty
Article 112a Found Not Guilty of Wrongful Use of a Controlled Substance – Tramadol Hydrochloride
Article 112a Found Not Guilty of Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance – Sustanon-250

In the end, Edward Gallagher was only found guilty of posing with the dead ISIS fighter. He can face a maximum of four months confinement, something he has already served. This charge does not allow for a dishonorable discharge.  In the end, Edward ( Eddie) Gallagher’s order by the very government he has dedicated his life to is over.

Eddie Gallagher is an American hero. The treatment of this warrior, one who served 19 years in the service of his country, is a stain and illustrates how our country treats service members that it puts in impossible positions. This is the country eating it’s own young. And it is disgraceful.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Jon Harris

Jon Harris is a former Army NCO, Sergeant Morales Club member, civilian law enforcement officer, and defense contractor with over 30 years in the law enforcement community. He is published in Army Trainer Magazine, authored regular columns in several newspapers, and is the author of the Cold War novel Breakpoint. His adventures as a security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq can be found on www.dispatchfromdownrange.com. He holds a B.S. in Government and Politics and an M.S. in Criminal Justice and is currently completing his Juris Doctor degree.

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