The charge-sheet describing Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward “Eddie” Gallagher’s actions in Iraq has been leaked, and it is disturbing.
Chief Gallagher has been charged with four different violations of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). More specifically, Gallagher is accused of murdering a captured fighter by stabbing him in the neck and body; shooting at unarmed civilians; obstructing justice by encouraging his platoon members to remain silent over his actions on three separate occasions; wrongfully using a dead ISIS fighter to reenlist and then operating a drone on the body — details on how he did that remain scant; and finally, abusing banned controlled substances.
Now that the Article 32 hearing has been completed, the officer in charge will consider the evidence. Thereafter, he will decide whether the evidence is substantial enough to justify a court-martial, and present his report to the Naval Special Warfare Group ONE — which has been overseeing the investigation.
Judging from the indictments on the charge-sheet, a court-martial is almost certain. One of Gallagher’s lawyers, Philip Stackhouse, anticipates that there will be a court-martial, but he remains confident that his client will be vindicated.
According to the Navy’s Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), which has been leading the investigation, the captured fighter that Gallagher allegedly stabbed to death was only 15 years old. The boy had been wounded during a coalition airstrike and then captured by the Iraqi Army during house-clearing operations. The Iraqis handed the wounded to the SEALs for medical treatment. It was during the triage process that Gallagher struck.
C.S., the SEAL medic who was treating the kid, told NCIS investigators that Gallagher “walked up without saying anything at all” and started stabbing the boy. An Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Chief attached to the SEAL platoon added that he “couldn’t believe what had happened [as] this was just a brainwashed kid.”
According to Special Warfare Operator C.M., Gallagher intimidated members of his platoon by threatening to expose alleged illegal actions. He said that “I have shit on all of you. If you bring this up you all go down.”
Gallagher was arrested in early September and has been confined to the Miramar Brig since then. A month afterwards, his platoon leader Lt. Jacob “Jake” Portier was charged with covering up Gallagher’s alleged crimes.
A 19-year veteran, Gallagher was assigned to SEAL Team 7, a West-Coast team based in Coronado, California.