A Navy SEAL accused of using a knife to execute a wounded ISIS fighter in 2017 will face an Article 32 hearing next month, one of his attorneys told Task & Purpose.
Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher is accused of killing an ISIS fighter in Mosul after the SEALs treated the wounded man for his injuries, said Phillip Stackhouse, a civilian attorney who represents him. Neither the charges or the SEAL's name and rank have been previously reported.
“There are members of his unit that are making the allegation that he pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the neck and body,” Stackhouse told Task & Purpose on Friday.
Stackhouse contends the ISIS fighter actually died of combat wounds, but he declined to describe those wounds or what might have caused them.
Gallagher currently faces charges of premeditated murder and aggravated assaults – the latter for allegedly shooting people in Iraq, Stackhouse said.
“They say they’re non-combatants; we say that he shot combatants,” Stackhouse said.
The Navy SEAL has been held at the Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego since Sept. 11, when he was taken into custody while being treated for traumatic brain injuries at the Camp Pendleton Intrepid Spirit Center, according to Stackhouse.
Gallagher’s hearing is slated for Nov. 14 in San Diego. Under military law, this preliminary hearing determines whether there is enough evidence to send the case on to court-martial.
Neither Stackhouse nor Naval Special Warfare Command would provide Task & Purpose with Gallagher’s charge sheet. Stackhouse said the commander of Naval Special Warfare Group 1 has issued a protective order that potentially prevents the document from being released to the public.
Gallagher joined the Navy in 1999 and initially served as a corpsman from 2000 until 2004, when he joined the special warfare community, his official biography says. His awards include two Bronze Stars with “V” device for valor; three Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, including one with combat “V;” Army Commendation Medal; two Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals; Combat Action Ribbon; Presidential Unit Citation; Meritorious Unit Commendation; Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
A spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare Command declined to comment on the specifics of the case.
“A service member currently assigned to a Naval Special Warfare unit is under investigation by NCIS for professional misconduct while deployed to Iraq in 2017,” Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence said in an email. “We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and will cooperate fully with investigative authorities.
“All members of Naval Special Warfare are required to comply with the Laws of Armed Conflict and U.S. law and regulations in the conduct of military operations.”
Gallagher’s wife Andrea told Task & Purpose that her husband was first detained in June when more than 20 Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents raided their house and traumatized their two sons by pulling them “Into the street in their underwear at gunpoint.”
She condemned authorities for arresting her husband while he was at the Camp Pendleton Intrepid Spirit Center pending his retirement date next year.
“My husband was receiving holistic care and treatment from a program we waited a year to get into and was ripped out without warning – shackled like a common criminal, and held in solitary confinement for 72 hours. He has now been in jail for nearly six weeks of pretrial confinement,” Andrea Gallagher said on Friday.
Calling the allegations against her husband “malicious and shameless,” she vowed to stand by him until he is proven to be innocent.
“His family, friends, and SEALs, former Marine and Scout Sniper colleagues all stand beside Eddie,” Andrea Gallagher said. “Eddie is a hero and we are patiently awaiting the restoration of his good name and reputation.”