Published: Thu, November 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Despite Trump Support, Navy Board May Strip Eddie Gallagher Of SEAL Status

Despite Trump Support, Navy Board May Strip Eddie Gallagher Of SEAL Status

Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher may be stripped of his status as a Navy SEAL, potentially setting up a confrontation between the Navy's top brass and the commander in chief.

'What the bureaucracy is doing to him now is pure and simple retaliation, ' he said.

Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, 40, was acquitted by a military jury in July of committing war crimes-including killing a wounded Islamic State fighter-while deployed to Mosul in Iraq in 2017.

The Navy will reportedly also review three SEAL officers who oversaw Gallagher: Lt. Cmdr.

But the plan to strip Chief Gallagher of his Trident pin - symbolising his membership of the Seals - could put the Navy's most senior officials on a collision course with the president, who is the commander in chief of all of the United States armed forces.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Rear Adm. Collin P. Green, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, would issue an order Wednesday directing that a Trident Review Board be convened to determine whether to withdraw the emblem from Gallagher and the three other officers - Lt. Cmdr.

Earlier, he told ABC it was the "worst thing" they could do to Gallagher. Robert Breisch, Gallagher's troop commander, Lt. Jacob Portier, the officer in charge, and Lt. Thomas MacNeil, the assistant officer in charge.

Green has the ability to pull Gallagher's Trident without a review board because he is an enlisted SEAL.

According to Portier's letter, his review board has been instructed to specifically look at Portier's 2017 deployment in Iraq and his actions through July 2019 to see if he "displayed a gross lack of professional or personal judgment, lack of moral or ethical behavior and/or conduct inconsistent with the SEAL ethos".

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The review boards, according to a Navy personnel policy, consist of at least three officers qualified in naval special warfare in the grade of captain or above.

The process is expected to last until sometime in January. The review boards' recommendations will be sent to Green.

Parlatore said Green's move to strip Gallagher of his SEAL status marked a direct challenge to Trump's authority as commander-in-chief and an act of insubordination for which Parlatore said the admiral himself could be court-martialed.

Along with three other unidentified members of his unit, Edward Gallagher, 40, was "notified today that a process will start to evaluate and look at their continued service as SEALs", spokeswoman for U.S. special forces Tamara Lawrence told AFP. Still it would be considered a mark on their career that they were cast out of the prestigious warrior force.

Naval Special Warfare spokeswoman, Capt. Tamara Lawrence, said in a statement that Green "remains focused on delivering a capable, ready, and lethal maritime special operations force in support of national security objectives, which includes assessing the suitability of any member of his force via administrative processes".

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday gave a similar endorsement Tuesday. That led to his rank being reduced.

Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, said he's not surprised the Navy would call for a review.

Since 2011 the Navy has removed 154 Tridents, NYT reports.

'I think this would have happened anyway to a SEAL with a court-martial conviction, 'he said.

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