Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher’s fate is now in the hands of the service's top admiral

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Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher'

(Courtesy photo)

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson will now make all decisions regarding sentencing for Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Eddie Gallagher, who was found not guilty of killing a wounded ISIS fighter but convicted of posing with the fighter's corpse, the Navy announced on Saturday.

"Richardson, in accordance with the Manual for Courts Martial, withheld Navy Region Southwest's authority to take any action in the Gallagher court-martial Saturday, Aug. 3," a Navy statement says. "He will assume responsibility for any disposition action in the trial. Any previous post-trial action has been rescinded."


Gallagher had been sentenced to reduction in rank to E-6 and time served, but his final sentence needed to be confirmed by the convening authority, which had been Rear Adm. Bolivar, commander of Navy Region Southwest.

Navy Times Editor Carl Prine first reported on Saturday that Richardson have removed all court-martial authority for the Gallagher case from Bolivar.

Gallagher's attorney Timothy Parlatore called Richardson's decision to become the convening authority "unprecedented" and he intends to provide the CNO with whatever information is required to finally resolve the case.

"Given the strong judgment and leadership the CNO showed the other day in resolving the Portier matter, we're very grateful and hopeful that this will help lead us to the ultimate resolution," Parlatore told Task & Purpose on Saturday. "We'd like him to be able to retire with his E-7 pension."

Richardson's decision comes after an enraged President Donald Trump ordered Richardson and Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to revoke Navy Achievement Medals that had been awarded to the prosecutors in the Gallagher case.

The president has been an outspoken advocate for Gallagher, whose legal team included three attorneys with ties to Trump, including the president's personal attorney Marc Mukasey. After Gallagher was found not guilty of murder, Trump tweeted, "Glad I could help!"

My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead

"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."

Opinion

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.

They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.

As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.

But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.

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Conflict photographer Lynsey Addario's seen a hell of a lot of combat over the past twenty years. She patrolled Afghanistan's Helmand Province with the Marines, accompanied the Army on night raids in Baghdad, took artillery fire with rebel fighters in Libya and has taken photos in countless other wars and humanitarian disasters around the world.

Along the way, Addario captured images of plenty of women serving with pride in uniform, not only in the U.S. armed forces, but also on the battlefields of Syria, Colombia, South Sudan and Israel. Her photographs are the subject of a new article in the November 2019 special issue of National Geographic, "Women: A Century of Change," the magazine's first-ever edition written and photographed exclusively by women.

The photos showcase the wide range of goals and ideals for which these women took up arms. Addario's work includes captivating vignettes of a seasoned guerrilla fighter in the jungles of Colombia; a team of Israeli military police patrolling the streets of Jerusalem; and a unit of Kurdish women guarding ISIS refugees in Syria. Some fight to prove themselves, others seek to ignite social change in their home country, and others do it to liberate other women from the grip of ISIS.

Addario visited several active war zones for the piece, but she found herself shaken by something much closer to home: the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina.

Addario discussed her visit to boot camp and her other travels in an interview with Task & Purpose, which has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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An Army staff sergeant who "represents the very best of the 101st Airborne Division" has finally received a Silver Star for his heroic actions during the Battle of the Bulge after a 75-year delay.

On Sunday, Staff Sgt. Edmund "Eddie" Sternot was posthumously awarded with a Silver Star for his heroics while leading a machine gun team in the Ardennes Forest. The award, along with Sternot's Bronze Star and Purple Heart, was presented to his only living relative, Sternot's first cousin, 80-year-old Delores Sternot.

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U.S. special operations forces are currently field testing a lightweight combat armor designed to cover more of an operator's body than previous protective gear, an official told Task & Purpose.

The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

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