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Eddie Gallagher was found not guilty on the most serious charges, but he could still leave the Navy as an E1
Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher dodged the most serious charges the Navy threw at him during his court martial, but his final sentence could be far worse than what the jury originally handed down.
If the convening authority approves the jury's sentence of four months' confinement and a reduction in rank from E7 to E6, Gallagher will be busted down to the rank of E1, according to Navy officials.
According to Navy regulations, the service requires anyone confined for over three months to be reduced to the lowest enlisted pay grade.
"Automatic reduction in pay grade is governed by Article 58a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and regulations approved by the Secretary of the Navy contained in the Manual of the Judge Advocate General," Lt. Sam Boyle, a Navy spokesman, told Task & Purpose.
"The applicable provisions provide for automatic reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade in a case in which the sentence, as approved by the convening authority, includes confinement in excess of 90 days."
This means that Gallagher's sentence of four months in the brig — despite its status as 'time served' since Gallagher was confined prior to trial — has put his post-trial rank in jeopardy.
The time confined also pushes back his retirement eligibility date, according to Tim Parlatore, one of Gallagher's attorneys.
"I don't think that they appreciate the collateral consequences of what they did," Parlatore told Task & Purpose of the jury's sentence.
Gallagher was found guilty earlier this month on just a single charge of unlawfully posing with a human corpse over photos he took with the body of an ISIS fighter along with other SEALs in his platoon.
He was found not guilty of the premeditated murder of a wounded ISIS fighter and attempted premeditated murder of unarmed civilians.
Whether the original sentence is carried out or reduced is now up to the convening authority, Adm. Bette Bolivar, who has up to four months to act, according to Navy Region Southwest spokesman Brian O'Rourke.
Bolivar can approve the sentence or offer clemency, which is what Gallagher's attorneys are banking on.
Parlatore said he will be requesting Bolivar disapprove the sentence and instead bring the charge down to non-judicial punishment level.
As part of this effort, Parlatore has been crowd-sourcing similar cases of service members being punished at NJP for taking photos with corpses.
He told Task & Purpose he has heard from at least 25 people offering to help.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that no U.S. troops will take part in enforcing the so-called safe zone in northern Syria and the United States "is continuing our deliberate withdrawal from northeastern Syria."
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan earlier on Friday said Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.
On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.
A new documentary series about Clint Lorance pits the infantry officer convicted of murder against his former soldiers
The fog of war, just kills, and war crimes are the focus of a new documentary series coming to STARZ. Titled Leavenworth, the six-part series profiles 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, the Army infantry officer who was convicted on murder charges for ordering his soldiers to fire on three unarmed Afghan men on a motorcycle, killing two and wounding the third, while deployed to the Zhari district in Kandahar province, on July 2, 2012.
A big stereotype surrounding U.S. service members and veterans is that they are defined only by their military service, from buying "Dysfunctional Veteran" t-shirts to playing hard-boiled, high-octane first-person shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty (we honestly have no idea where anyone could get that impression).
But the folks at OSD (formerly called Operation Supply Drop), a non-profit veteran service organization that aims to help troops and vets connect with each other through free video games, service programs and other activities, recently found that most of the gamers they've served actually prefer less military-centric fare like sports games and fantasy RPGs.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.