It was 2009 in Iraq when one of my teammates decided to initiate an impromptu combatives match with half of a SEAL platoon, never a great idea under any circumstances. He was the senior Special Forces medic on our team and we had been doing some joint operations with a SEAL platoon in Mosul. Now we were all blowing off some steam around the camp fire and our medic decided to take it to the next level by “rolling” with a SEAL on the gravel strewn across our camp.
Our Special Forces ODA had a positive experience with the SEALs up until this point, but I was a little concerned. Tempers can flare and a routine game of military grab ass can turn into full-blown fisticuffs. I’d seen it happen when I was in Ranger Battalion many a time. With a dozen SEALs standing over my team-mate, I was worried that it might get out of control and that they would start stomping our medic while he was on the ground. Thankfully, my concerns were unwarranted. The SEALs were proportional and took turns rolling with our medic. A good time was had by all. Like I said, this is how soldiers blow off steam in-between missions sometimes.
My thoughts were immediately pulled back to that night when the New York Times broke a story that two SEAL Team Six operators were under investigation for the murder of U.S. Special Forces soldier named Logan Melgar. The incident took place on the night of June 4th in Bamako, the capital of Mali in central Africa. As Americans have learned as of late, U.S. Special Operations personnel are active in this region of the world, a point brought home by many when a Special Forces ODA (Operational Detachment Alpha) was ambushed in Niger last month.
According to what has been reported, the two SEALs initially told investigators that they found Melgar unsconcious and tried to revive him. When a medical examiner determined that Melgar died by homicide via asphyxiation, the SEALs apparently changed their story, stating that they were participating in a combatives match with Melgar that went bad. They tried to resuscitate him but were unsuccessful.