Navy Region Southwest spokesman Brian O’Rourke has announced that the Navy will officially begin court-martial proceedings for Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher Friday. Gallagher has been charged with multiple war crimes, including the premeditated murder of an Islamic State prisoner of war and firing on non-combatants.
“Prosecutors contend that Gallagher, 39, is a callous murderer who stabbed to death the teenage detainee on May 3, 2017 near the Iraqi city of Mosul and also gunned down unwitting civilians with his sniper rifle, bragged about racking up kills and threatened to intimidate and publicly out SEAL buddies who complained to superiors and investigators about him,” The Navy Times writes.
Gallagher was arrested on Sept. 11 at Camp Pendleton and is being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego. He continues to maintain his innocence.
“Special Operations Chief Edward ‘Eddie’ Gallagher, 39, is in custody facing multiple charges including premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly slicing the combatant’s throat with a hunting knife,” The Daily Mail wrote at the time of his arrest.
Gallagher reportedly killed the militant in Mosul, Iraq, in May of 2017. After, he is said to have posed with the body.
Prosecutors say he then texted the photo to another SEAL and captioned the image “I got him with my hunting knife.”
“He has also been accused of performing a re-enlistment ceremony alongside the corpse and in front on American flag, according to prosecutors,” DM adds.
Several months later, Gallagher is believed to have fired at a male and female, both of whom were noncombatants. Both were killed.
Andrea, Gallagher’s wife, is refuting the charges. “This is not who Eddie is,” she told reporters. “He is a lifesaver. He is that guy who runs into the burning building when other people are running out.”
Gallagher does have a long history with The Navy. He is both a sniper and a medic. He’s been deployed for 19 years.
“After his latest tour, he was named named the top platoon leader in SEAL Team 7 and nominated for the Silver Star -the military’s third-highest honor,” DM notes.
Yet the charges against him say that Gallagher, “with premeditation, murder[ed] a wounded male person” by “stabbing him in the neck and body with a knife.”
He’s also been charged with obstruction of justice for “attempting to discourage members of his platoon from reporting his actions while in Iraq.”
“We train and operate in dynamic, complex and ambiguous environments and our operators are empowered and trusted to independently make difficult decisions during missions,” Tamara Lawrence, public affairs officer with the Naval Special Warfare Command said.
“They have consistently proven that their empowerment and trust is warranted. Allegations that indicate otherwise are, and will continue to be, investigated by the appropriate military and law enforcement authorities.”
Gallagher could face life in prison if he’s found guilty.