Two Navy SEALs and two Marine Raiders are facing murder charges over the death of Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar, US Army Special Forces.
The four operators face numerous charges, to include felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary. The Navy has charged the four of breaking into the Green Beret’s room, assaulting him, binding him with duct tape whilst one of the SEALs choked him to death and then lying to Army and Navy criminal investigators about the event.
The two SEALs were assigned to the Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), also known as SEAL Team Six. The two Raiders were part of the Marine Special Operations Command (MARSOC).
The two SEALs, Chief Special Warfare Operator Adam Cranston Matthews and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Tony DeDolph, have been placed on administrative hold. The names of the two MARSOC Marines have been withheld. Their ranks, however, are known: a Gunnery Sergeant (E-7) and a Staff Sergeant (E-6). None of the accused have been in pretrial confinement.
Before becoming a SEAL, DeDolph was a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter.
A preliminary Article 32 hearing for the four accused is scheduled for December 10 at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. An Article 32 hearing is necessary before a general court-martial is adjourned. The hearing decides whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to the next phase.
The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) issued a statement:
“We honor the memory of Staff Sgt. Melgar, our thoughts remain with his family and teammates. If these allegations of misconduct are substantiated, they represent a violation of the trust and standards required of all service members. We trust our service members to safeguard our nation’s most sensitive interests and to do so with honor.”
A native of Texas, Staff Sgt. Melgar had served two combat deployments in Afghanistan with the 3rd Special Forces Group. In Mali, he was a member of the SOF outfit that provided security and intelligence to the American Embassy.
Navy Capt. Jason Salata, the spokesperson for SOCOM, added, “We will not allow allegations or substantiated incidents of misconduct to erode decades of honorable accomplishments by the members of U.S. Special Operations Command. Ours is a culture of professionalism and accountability, which prides itself in being a learning organization that uses critical self-examination in a relentless dedication to improvement.”
The West African country has been a hotbed of Islamic terrorist groups. Alongside local government forces and the French military, U.S. special operations forces have been waging a largely unreported war against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, an offshoot of al-Qaeda.