A witness in the investigation of the death of Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar shed light on a possible motive, according to military documents obtained by NBC News.
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.
"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.
Up to 1,000 U.S. troops could remain in Syria — more than twice as many as originally announced, according to the Wall Street Journal.
President Donald Trump initially announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but U.S. officials said in February that several hundred troops are expected to remain in Syria to create a "safe zone" along the border with Turkey and to man the al-Tanf garrison, which is located along a supply rote that would allow Iran to supply its proxies in Syria.
On Sunday, Dion Nissenbaum and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported that the U.S. military is considering leaving as many as 1,000 troops in Syria to prevent Turkey from attacking the United States' Kurdish allies. So far, the United States and Turkey have failed to agree on how to secure the proposed safe zone.
U.S. Army Sgt. James R. Moore of Portland, Ore., a logitstics NCO with the 642nd Regional Support Group, shoots at the Fort Pickett rifle range as part of the Mortuary Affairs Exercise Aug. 15, 2018. (U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Gary A. Witte, 642nd Regional Support Group)
White supremacists take part in a march the night before the 'Unite the Right' rally in Charlottesville, VA. (Associated Press photo)
Seven U.S. service members have reportedly been identified as members of Identity Evropa, a white nationalist group founded by a Marine veteran and tied to the 2017 Charlottesville rally, according to leaked online chat logs examined by HuffPost.
Smoke rises from the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria March 17, 2019 (Reuters)
BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - Falling bombs raised smoke over Islamic State's last enclave in east Syria on Sunday, obscuring the huddle of vehicles and makeshift shelters to which the group's self-declared "caliphate" has been reduced.