Reenlisting Next To An Enemy Corpse Isn't A War Crime, Navy Judge Rules

Bullet Points
A Navy SEAL Is Accused Of Committing War Crimes In Iraq

A Navy judge presiding the case of a Navy SEAL accused of committing war crimes in Iraq in 2017 has ruled that performing a reenlistment ceremony over the corpse of an enemy fighter doesn't constitute a war crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Navy Times reports.


  • Navy SEAL Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher stands accused of executing an unarmed ISIS detainee with a hunting knife following the Battle of Mosul.
  • According to his charge sheet, Gallagher posed next to the body and took pictures before carrying out his reenlistment ceremony and hovering a drone over the corpse.
  • Navy Times reports that Navy Capt. Aaron Rugh determined in a Friday ruling that the reenlistment ceremony and drone flight "are not prohibited acts" under Article 134 of the UCMJ, which covers unenumerated offenses that undermine good order and discipline and bring discredit to the U.S armed forces
  • "The judge is saying that two of the specs under charge 3, the [Article] 134 violation, did not rise to the level of war crimes," Navy spokesman Brian O'Rourke told Task & Purpose. "The judge said 'these are in extremely bad taste, and you should have known better.'"
  • When asked how such a reenlistment ceremony didn't qualify as prejudicial to good order and discipline under Article 134's broad definition, O'Rourke demurred: "I can't answer for the judge."

Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward "Eddie" Gallagher at home and in Iraq in 2017.(U.S. Navy)

  • Lt. Jacob Portier, who faces charges of dereliction of duty amid claims that he covered up Gallaghers alleged crimes, reportedly told his superior officer that,"there was nothing criminal" involved in the reenlistment ceremony, according to documents obtained by Navy Times: "It was just in poor taste."
  • "It is honorable for a Navy SEAL to reenlist on the battlefield, the same battlefield where he was willing to sacrifice his own life to protect our nation," Portier's defense attorney told Navy Times.
  • Gallagher's civilian attorney Phillip Stackhouse did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the ruling from Task & Purpose.

SEE ALSO: 'I Got Him With My Hunting Knife': SEAL Allegedly Texted Photo Cradling ISIS Fighter's Head

WATCH NEXT: Inside SWCC

The suspect in the death of 21-year-old U.S. Marine Cpl. Tyler Wallingford, who was fatally shot in the barracks of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort more than nine months ago, was found guilty in military court of involuntary manslaughter earlier this month and sentenced to more than five years.

Read More
U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dylan McKay

A U.S. Navy aircrew has been rescued after their MH-60S helicopter went down into the Philippine Sea on Saturday.

Read More
Photo: Fort Jackson Public Affairs

A 19-year-old Army private who died during basic training earlier this month was posthumously promoted to private first class, just before friends and family gathered for a memorial service to honor his life on Jan. 16.

Read More

The Veterans of Foreign Wars has demanded an apology from President Trump over recent comments in which he downplayed the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries suffered by American troops in an Iranian missile attack.

"The Veterans of Foreign Wars cannot stand idle on this matter," William "Doc" Schmitz, VFW National Commander, said in a statement Friday, noting TBI is a serious injury known to cause depression, memory loss, severe headaches and other symptoms in the short and long-term.

Read More