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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 US military does not need Iraqi permission to provide close air support or evacuate wounded troops in 'emergency circumstances'
The U.S. military does not need Iraqi permission to fly close air support and casualty evacuation missions for U.S. troops in combat, a top spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS clarified on Tuesday.
Army Col. James Rawlinson clarified that the Iraqis do not need to approve missions in emergency circumstances after Task & Purpose reported on Monday that the U.S. military needed permission to fly CAS missions for troops in a fight.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.
Americans' mighty military may have met its match when it comes to erecting barriers to keep out intruders.
An alligator in Florida recently had zero trouble flopping over a chain-link fence to get onto a naval air base. Motorist Christina Stewart pulled over to film it, and local television station WJAX posted it on Facebook.