U.S. Navy Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher will begin a board review process, Wednesday, Nov. 20, that could result in the 20-year military veteran losing the Trident pin that identifies him as an elite SEAL.
Gallagher was found guilty, in a July court-martial, of posing with the corpse of a teen ISIS fighter during a deployment to Mosul, Iraq. The verdict, which also found him not guilty of the premeditated murder of the teen and of shooting at two civilians, was upheld by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilda on Oct. 29. In finalizing the verdict, Gilda also upheld the demotion of Gallagher from Chief to First Class Petty Officer, reducing his lifetime pension.
On Friday, Nov. 15, President Donald Trump issued an order returning Gallagher to the rank he had before the court-martial at Naval Base San Diego.
Naval Special Warfare Command, Capt. Tamara Lawrence, said Tuesday, Nov. 19, that the SEALs have implemented Trump’s order to restore Gallagher’s pay grade. But Trump’s intervention does not remove the conviction from his service record. Because of that, she said, his conduct can still be reviewed to determine if he deserves to remain a SEAL.
On Wednesday, Gallagher was to receive a letter signed by SEAL Commander Rear Adm. Collin Green advising him that a board is being convened to review his performance. Such reviews can be held for various reasons, including medical issues, alcohol or drug abuse and loss of confidence by command.
Green could remove Gallagher’s Trident without a review board because he is an enlisted SEAL — the board review is typically reserved for officers. Gallagher’s case will be reviewed by three of his peers, who also will be given a rebuttal statement from Gallagher.
Gallagher served eight deployments and was awarded two bronze stars. He also was up for a Silver Star before accusations from SEALs in his platoon emerged during the court-martial.
Three SEAL officers who served with Gallagher during the 2017 deployment also will be reviewed: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, Gallagher’s troop commander; Lt. Jacob Portier, the officer in charge; and Lt. Thomas MacNeil, the assistant officer in charge.
Since 2011, 154 SEAL Trident pins have been revoked.