Nov. 15 (UPI) — The US Navy charged two Virginia Beach-based Navy SEALs and two Marines in the 2017 strangulation death of U.S. Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar. The Navy accused the suspects of strangling Melgar in a chokehold after breaking into his room while he was sleeping and restraining him with duct tape they acquired from Marine quarters.
The four service members, whose names were not released, were charged Tuesday with felony murder in Melgar's death at age 34, and were also charged with involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary. If the charges result in conviction, they could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
Melgar, who was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group in Mali, West Africa, to counter terrorism, and served two tours in Afghanistan, was found dead on June 4, 2017, in embassy housing, in the Malian capital, as first reported by The New York Times. In May, his name was inscribed on the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Memorial Wall at Fort Bragg, NC.
Admiral Charles Rock, commander of Norfolk-based Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, decided to move forward with charges after he obtained a Naval Criminal Investigative Service report into Melgar's death.A preliminary hearing on the charges is set for Dec. 10 at Naval Station Norfolk.
A US Special Operations Command spokesperson said the charges should not tarnish the reputation of U.S. Special Operators worldwide. "We will not allow allegations or substantiated incidents of misconduct erode decades of honorable accomplishments by the members of U.S. Special Operations Command," Captain Jason Salata said. "If these allegations of misconduct are substantiated, they represent a violation of the trust and standards required of all service members." (UPI)
Colonel Lang asked me to write something about this. Naturally I have strong feelings concerning this incident, but finding the right words was difficult. I am enraged by the murder of one of my Special Forces brethren. I am viscerally disgusted by the behavior of the SEALs and Marine Raiders. Although not convicted, they have continued to lie through their teeth as each preceding lie is exposed. They marked themselves as men void of all truth. That alone should be cause for stripping them of all rank, honors and privileges. They should each receive a BCD after a stint in the brig. If convicted of murder, they should hang… literally.
Why were these men in Bamako in the first place? This was an intelligence collection mission in support of US, French and Malian operations targeting AQIM terrorists in Mali. They were probably conducting military source operations (MSO), formerly called low level source operations (LLSO). This has long been an inherent capability of Special Forces. Advanced HUMINT training for Green Berets has increased dramatically as our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ramped up. Seems the SEALs of DEVGRU (formerly ST6) and Marine Raiders of MARSOC didn’t want to be left out. I see no logic in this. These commandos are not suited for HUMINT controlled collection operations. They should stick to kicking in doors and killing bad guys. This abomination in Bamako proves that.
Since the initial reporting of this murder back in June 2017, stories circulated about the reason for the assault. The SEALs were skimming intelligence contingency funds, money meant to pay sources. That’s a mark of death among case officers. It’s a crime of unlimited opportunities. The only defense is the integrity and discipline of the practitioners. SSG Melgar reportedly called the SEALs on their transgressions and was prepared to report their crimes. That the SEALs may have committed a murder to cover up their crimes of theft and breach of trust is especially enraging.
At least one report I read said SSG Melgar also confronted the SEALs about their poor fieldcraft or tradecraft. The special operations ethos doesn’t lend itself to running agents. That requires the finesse, patience and humility more common to my Special Forces brethren.
My experiences with the SEALs of DEVGRU did not leave me overly impressed. I and a couple of former Det Berlin Green Berets noted that their fieldcraft was shit when they weren’t assaulting an objective or swimming in the surf. I don’t know if this was a trait of the DEVGRU SEALs or all SEALs. I had a former Viet Nam era SEAL as one of my RECONDO instructors in Hawaii. He was indistinguishable from my former MACV-SOG instructors. Quiet professionals, the lot of them. Maybe it’s generational. I thank God I had the humility and patience to learn from that generation. DOL