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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)
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.