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Report: DoD Investigating Whether Navy SEALs Strangled Green Beret To Death In Mali
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is probing whether a pair of Navy SEALs were responsible for the strangling death of Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar, an Army Green Beret reportedly found dead on June 4 while deployed to Mali, the New York Times first reported on Oct. 29.
Melgar, a 34-year-old Texas native and Army Special Forces soldier who saw two tours of Afghanistan since joining the Army in 2001, was discovered in the embassy housing he split with "several other Special Operations forces" in the country's capital of Bamako, according to the Times, which reports that U.S. Africa Command "immediately suspected foul play, and dispatched an investigating officer to the scene within 24 hours."
AFRICOM did not announce Melgar's death following the discovery of his body in Bamako, despite commands' habit of announcing both combat and non-combat deaths. The investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death remained secret until Oct. 29, when the New York Times reported that NCIS took on the probe from AFRICOM on Sept. 25 (NCIS declined to comment when reached for comment by Task & Purpose).
The two Naval Special Warfare operators, according to the Times, "were flown out of Mali soon after the episode and were placed on administrative leave." U.S. Special Operations Command and Naval Special Warfare Command did not immediately respond to request for comment from Task & Purpose.
News of the investigation comes amid a renewed focus from Department of Defense planners, lawmakers, and the American public regarding U.S. military operations in Africa following the Oct. 4 ambush that left four soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group dead.
The Army has been actively engaged in Mali since at least Feb. 20, 2013, when President Barack Obama notified Congress that the Pentagon would deploy 40 troops to Niger to set up a drone base, and facilitate intelligence-gathering for French forces locked in a grueling battle with al Qaeda-affiliated militants in the neighboring country.
While the Times reported that Army soldiers were deployed in Mali "to help with training and counterterrorism missions, a 2013 U.S. Army Africa slide distributed shortly after Obama's notification to Congress did show Mali among the 13 countries receiving advisory and training support from the DoD as part of the African-led counterterror campaign there. The latest update to the Defense Manpower Data Center shows just 12 conventional active-duty military personnel stationed there, although special operations forces are often excluded from the DoD database for operational security purposes.
"A small team of U.S. service members are in Mali at the request of the Malian government to coordinate and share information with international counterparts as they continue to counter Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) to bring stability to the region," an AFRICOM spokesman told Task & Purpose.
UPDATE: This article was updated to include responses from NCIS and AFRICOM. (Updated 10/30/2017; 9:56 am EST)
Hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War have repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital
In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.
Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.
And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
White supremacist Coast Guard officer stockpiled firearms and hit list of Democrats for mass terror attack
A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.
(Reuters Health) - Military service members who are at risk for suicide may be less likely to attempt to harm themselves when they receive supportive text messages, a U.S. study suggests.
The Army allegedly missed this soldier's stomach cancer for 4 years. His widow wants someone to answer for it
The widow of a soldier whose stomach cancer was allegedly overlooked by Army doctors for four years is mounting a medical malpractice lawsuit against the military, but due to a decades-old legal rule known as the Feres Doctrine, her case will likely be dismissed before it ever goes to trial.