The top admiral in the Navy is expected to strip Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher of his rank on Wednesday, enforcing a sentence as part of a lesser conviction in a highly publicized war crimes case, despite efforts by President Trump to stop the Navy from doing so, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News on Tuesday.
SEAL commander, Rear Adm. Collin Green plans to remove Chief Petty Officer Gallagher’s Trident pin, a decoration bestowed on SEALS, to reinforce “good order and discipline” across the force, the source told Fox News.
Commander Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Navy told Fox News that the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday, supports Green’s decision to uphold the mitigated sentence against Gallagher, who was acquitted in July of killing an ISIS fighter in Iraq.
A San Diego jury formerly sentenced Gallagher to a reduced rank and four months of confinement, which he has already served, for posing with the body of a dead Islamic State fighter, which was considered the least egregious of the seven charges he was facing.
The White House announced that Trump signed an order Friday reversing the sentence and “directing the promotion of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward R. Gallagher to the grade of E-7, the rank he held before he was tried and found not guilty of nearly all of the charges against him.”
Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokesperson for the Naval Special Warfare Command confirmed Tuesday night that the department has “implemented the President’s order to restore Chief Gallagher’s paygrade.”
The impending move by Green is a direct contradiction of Trump’s order and will move the issue into the jurisdiction of the Trident review board of Gallagher’s peers, which will deliberate and finalize his sentence.
There have been about 150 instances of SEAL Tridents being removed in the history of the SEALS.
A senior U.S. defense official told Fox News that Trump’s order in favor of Gallagher goes against the example the Navy hopes to set in light of Gallagher’s actions.
Trump also granted clemency Friday to two Army officers accused or convicted of war crimes. The president granted the release of Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance from a military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas six years after he was found guilty of second-degree murder. Trump ordered that murder charges against Maj. Matt Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, be dropped.