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Report: Navy SEAL Told Witness He Used Duct Tape, 'Choked Out' Green Beret Strangled To Death In Mali
The witness recounted that Petty Officer Tony DeDolph, a Navy SEAL, said he and others wanted to "get back" at Melgar, a Green Beret, for what they perceived as a slight against them, NBC News reported on Nov 13. The witness in the report alleged that several people were upset at Melgar "after they felt he intentionally tried to evade them while he was driving to a party." DeDolph allegedly told a witness that he "choked [him] out," referring to Melgar.
DeDolph suggested that he and fellow SEAL Adam Cranston Matthews use duct tape on Melgar, the witness said, according to NBC News. The witness also said that the SEALs, who may have been afraid that their actions could be viewed as hazing, did not mention the duct tape in their interviews with investigators.
Investigators ruled Melgar's June death a "homicide by strangulation." While he lived in the embassy housing with the SEALs, he reportedly told his wife he was having issues with two of them, The Daily Beast reported Nov. 12.
"If true that the Navy SEALs were involved in the death of Staff Sgt. Melgar, this is something that would be a huge tragedy and something that I have not witnessed in my entire career," retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, the former head of special operations troops in Africa, said to NBC News.
Melgar's death is under heavy scrutiny after The New York Times and The Daily Beast reported that investigators were looking into whether the SEALs, members of the elite SEAL Team Six, were skimming a portion of funds intended to compensate confidential informants.
Melgar reportedly discovered their actions and turned down the money when he was offered a cut, special operations community sources told The Daily Beast.
DeDolph initially told investigators that he and Melgar were wrestling at 4 a.m., and that Melgar was drunk, according to NBC News. Matthews was also present, according to the report. DeDolph and Matthews said they all fell onto Melgar's bed before they realized Melgar was not breathing.
An autopsy report reportedly contradicts the assertion that Melgar was drunk. A former military official told The Daily Beast the document said there were no drugs or alcohol in Melgar's system. Melgar's friends and comrades told The Times that Melgar did not drink.
DeDolph and Matthews were reportedly flown out of Mali and placed on administrative leave, shortly after Melgar's death.
Melgar, a 34-year-old Texan, deployed to Afghanistan twice. He was assigned to Mali with the 3rd Special Forces Group to help train locals and support counterterrorism operations.
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Former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who led a Marine task force to Afghanistan shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, said the Washington Post's recent reporting about the U.S. government's pattern of lies about the war over the last two decades is not "revelatory."
Mattis, who was interviewed by the Washington Post's David Ignatius on Friday, also said he does not believe the U.S. government made any efforts to hide the true situation in Afghanistan and he argued the war has not been in vain.
Here are 10 key quotes from Mattis regarding the Washington Post's reporting in the 'Afghanistan Papers.'
The Navy relieved a decorated explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officer on Thursday due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, the Navy announced on Friday.
The Taliban may not have breached the walls of Bagram, but they damaged the hell out of its main passenger terminal
Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.
The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.
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.
Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."
So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.