At 10:00AM on 29 June 2022 at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard, the US Government will appeal the 9 February 2022 decision by military judge and Commander Hayes Larsen, US Navy who dismissed with prejudice based upon Unlawful Command Influence exercised by U.S. Marine Colonel Christopher Shaw in a case involving U.S Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman Eric Gilmet.
This case originated while the three members of MARSOC (aka the MARSOC 3) were deployed to Erbil, Iraq where on 1 January 2019, Mr. Rodriguez, a retired US Army Special Forces, surrounded the MARSOC 3 with seven of his friends and Rodriguez violently assaulted Gunnery Sergeant Danny Draher by punching him in the face twice and attempted a third strike before being stopped by Gunnery Sergeant Joshua Negron who threw only one punch knocking Rodriguez to the ground, who later died four days later following his medical evacuation to Landstuhl, Germany.
Gilmet who immediately assisted Rodriguez with medical trauma care until being properly relieved after the MARSOC 3 notified their command and returned with Rodriguez back to their base.
The Marine Special Operations Command is the military convening authority in the MARSOC 3 case and has charged all three (including Draher who was assaulted by Rodriguez and Gilmet who provided medical care to Rodriguez) with negligent homicide and involuntary manslaughter.
In 2021 the prosecutor, Major Thomas, USMC requested the military judge, Colonel Scott Woodard USMC to impose a gag order on the MARSOC 3 prohibiting communication to the press by the MARSOC 3 and their defense attorneys, which Woodard disapproved.
This action was soon followed in November 2021 by Colonel Shaw, a Headquarters Marine Corps’ Staff Judge Advocate who drove from Washington D.C. to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and threatened eight USMC defense attorneys that damaged the ability of three service members assigned to the Marine Special Operations Command.
The two Marine Gunnery Sergeants had their hearings before a military judge at Camp Lejeune, N.C. in court on 24 June 2022 and are awaiting a decision.
Similar circumstances occurred in 2007-2008 with the same Marine Special Operations Command who accused seven of their Marines (aka MARSOC 7) of negligent homicide in a case that occurred on 4 March 2007 in Bati Kot, Afghanistan, which are detailed in the new book, A Few Bad Men, written by myself, Major Fred Galvin, USMC, (retired) the commanding officer of the first Marine Special Operations Task Force and one of the MARSOC 7 that was accused during a war crimes trial for allegedly mass murdering Afghan civilians.
Lieutenant General James Mattis, USMC, who was the convening authority in 2007 of the MARSOC 7 case, unleashed an unprecedented 45 criminal investigators and 4 prosecuting attorneys after the MARSOC 7, in addition to fully imposing a punitive gag order, threatening a legally naturalized Marine to deport his mother to Mexico if he didn’t sign the prosecution’s manufactured statement, and barred the media from all defense witnesses with exculpatory evidence.
The MARSOC 7 case was finally adjudicated four months after the trial ended on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend, not with any legal terms (e.g., innocent, not-guilty, or dismissed) but by stating that the Marines, “acted appropriately” regarding the largest alleged war crimes case by machine guns during the war in Afghanistan.
I fought for 15 years to clear the reputations of the MARSOC 7 and have also fought for 3.5 years in actively supporting the MARSOC 3. Now the same extreme prejudice by the US military to convict its special operators who acted in both cases by using self-defense and appropriate force is clearly visible. The professional destruction that occurs when Marine and Navy Special Operators are falsely accused of homicide has long-lasting grave psychological, physiological, and professional impacts to the service members and their families, in addition to the severe damage to the morale and military effectiveness of the troops who are immediately judged when defending themselves. The decisions of senior military commanders to swiftly and over-zealously prosecute their troops will lead to over-cautious decisions and needless loss of American lives when facing future conflicts against China and Russia.
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