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The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
'What happens after that is out of their control' — Former military leaders and lawyers react to Trump's war crimes pardons
On Friday, President Donald Trump intervened in the cases of three U.S. service members accused of war crimes, granting pardons to two Army soldiers accused of murder in Afghanistan and restoring the rank of a Navy SEAL found guilty of wrongdoing in Iraq.
While the statements coming out of the Pentagon regarding Trump's actions have been understandably measured, comments from former military leaders and other knowledgable veterans help paint a picture as to why the president's Friday actions are so controversial.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper was tightliped on Wednesday on what he recommended to President Donald Trump about possibly exonerating three service members accused or convicted of war crimes.
Trump could order the Army to dismiss charges against Maj. Matthew Golsteyn and former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance as well as tell the Navy to restore Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's rank as a chief petty officer, Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth said on Monday's edition of Fox & Friends.
"I had a robust discussion with the president yesterday and I offered – as I do in all matters – the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations and we'll see how things play out," Esper told reporters on Wednesday after meeting with a Qatari official.
President Donald Trump is poised to order the Army to dismiss charges against Maj. Matthew Golsteyn and former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and force the Navy to make SEAL Eddie Gallagher a chief again, Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth stated on Monday.
Gallagher was found not guilty of killing a wounded ISIS fighter but he was convicted of posing for a picture with the dead man and demoted to first class petty officer. Golsteyn is accused of murder after repeatedly admitting he killed an unarmed Afghan man 10 years ago, whom he believed was a Taliban bomb maker. Lorance was convicted of murder in August 2013 for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men whom he believed were Taliban bomb makers, killing two of them.