Monday, November 25, 2019

The case against Chief Gallagher

A person I know who is retired Special Forces emailed about the Navy and Chief Gallagher.  With his permission I'm posting his thoughts because they give a view from the inside (and one that you will not hear from the Media):
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I thought it was pretty much crap what they were charging him with, so I’m glad to see the President defend him. However, on the other hand…having served in small unit spec ops, I’m a firm believer that team business is team business, and the President needs to mind his own. While I didn’t want to see Gallagher go down for anything he was charged with, if his team has lost confidence in him, or thinks he’s a wild card, or simply doesn’t want him on the team anymore for whatever reason, that’s their business and it shouldn’t be interfered with. Team dynamics and relationships are critical to team survival. If there’s heartburn between Gallagher and the rest of the team, that’s to the detriment of the team.

We did the same thing in SF. Instead of “trident” reviews we called them peer reviews. It’s unthinkable to me for someone outside of the team to intervene in a peer review.


... reading between the lines, and again, having served on a small team…I would have my own reservations about being on a team with Gallagher. I mean let’s face it, we’re at war, war isn’t pretty, and we don’t send choir boys to do the kind of work that team was doing. But Gallagher seems like a bit of a wild card, reckless, not entirely in control, too much emotion/hatred in his actions. His actions don’t describe the cold, calculating, professional and emotionless warfighter you need in that role. I feel confident in saying that if anyone on my team had done the things he’s accused of, I may not necessarily want to see him hang for any of it, but I may think twice about him being one of only 11 other people my life depends on. And that’s all a peer/trident review is. And I think it’s warranted in this case.
Note that this "case" against Gallagher has nothing to do with the JAG corps or Articles of War of Uniform Code of Military Justice.  It's purely between Gallagher and his team.  I still think that a good pruning of Navy (and other branch) Pentagon deadwood would invigorate the military, and suspect that Obama's Pentagon purge did a lot of damage - damage that needs to be fixed by removing his appointees.


pigpen51 said...

I read this, and got the same vibe of Gallagher. And if his team doesn't have confidence in him, for whatever reason, he has to go. The same as any single one on the team, down to the lowest man. The type of operations they do now days are so dangerous and involve such political repercussions if messed up in so very many ways, that there is often no room at all for mistakes, or seconds lost due to questioning of orders or confidence in a team mate or leader.
I hope that they give Gallagher the chance to retire on his own, rather than kick him out. Let him go with dignity for his service, for obviously he has done a lot for this nation. He has just outlived what he is able to do any longer.

Dan said...

If the Chief has over 18 AFS, short of a GCM or SBCD conviction he will retire. I don't know much about how the SEALs work but I wonder if he can't be reassigned somewhere (NSW HQ? SOCOM? SOCOM is far away from Coronado...) and keep his Trident. Even giving your friend the benefit of his experience we should remember that Chief was acquitted of all but one chickenshit charge. But that's just me.

Kinnison said...

I've read several places that Chief Gallagher is retiring this month and wanted to retire with his trident.

Aesop said...

His team wasn't the ones who wanted to (nor should) decide whether he keeps the trident and stays a SEAL.

If they want him off of their team, yes, absolutely.

Anyone making judgments about Gallagher who didn't actually serve with him about that is also butting in, no matter how many tours you did with anyone else.

Trump never said "he has to stay on his team".
He said you can't kick him out of NAVSPECWAR just becuase you've got a case of the @$$ with him, and you can't railroad a guy after mis-charging the wrong man of crimes he quite evidently didn't commit.

Gallagher was the subject of witchhunt by a bunch of JAGoffs who should be the ones cashiered, for multiple egregious violations of the UCMJ, which are federal crimes.
Not three levels down, but TO THE BONE.

Fire the whole JAG corps tomorrow, for cause, and then start fresh, and require 5 years' fleet service before you can even apply to move to JAG. After law school.

Bringing civilian lawyers in, handing them commissions, and letting them sit as prosecutors and judges of military conduct has been a military disaster since ever. Gallagher is just the most recent result.

As for Gallagher, there are multiple other teams, activities, and other commands where he can still be a SEAL, but not on his last team.

The problem was, and is, that the NAVY was trying to punish him for being innocent, long after the final whistle had been blown on that by POTUS. They had their one bite at the apple, and they blew it.
They should have gotten over it.

SecNav was a slow learner; probably RAdm Blockhead of the SEALs will also be a casualty. He certainly deserves it, ideally after being reduced in grade about 3 steps and retired, or court-martialed, dealer's choice.
So be it; good riddance.

Aesop said...

Also, CDR SALAMANDER's blog has an item that notes that Gallagher just announced his retirement (too late to save SecNav's job...bummer!), stating that he had inadvertently become a lightning rod for both sides, which was not his desire nor intention.
Still even money the overall SEAL CO retires this week too.

Navy higher-ups should have just STFU and taken their lumps.

Old NFO said...

Gallagher's rep was as a hard assed Chief in the field. Apparently the juniors in his platoon didn't like that and wanted to get rid of him. In any case, retiring is probably the best thing he can do for himself, the Teams, and the Navy.

Divemedic said...

Team or not, Trump has the final say. When you are in the military, you obey lawful orders. Trump is CINC, and if he wants the Chief to keep his Trident, that is what happens.

The man was retiring anyway, so it isn't like he is going into combat. The real issue here is that the President has a portion of his officer corps who think that they can do whatever they want. Sorry dudes, you are in the military, not a debating society.

Anyone who doesn't do as they are told needs to be reduced in rank to whatever level they can follow orders in. Once a few heads roll, maybe the President can actually be in charge for a bit.

pigpen51 said...


One thing to remember, is that once you become an Admiral or General, you have proven yourself to be a political ass kisser, not a talented soldier or sailor. They may or may not be a good warrior, but the political part is always present, and it happens during several different administrations. So these guys started their rise to the top, like a turd, during Obama's years. They never seemed to really support the president, and it has shown.

McChuck said...

I understand that SpecOps is a different animal, but allowing the privates to fire their squad leader just doesn't sit well with me. (Yes, I know they're all NCOs. Same difference.)

Been there, got that T-Shirt said...

I see a lot of pontificating from a group of folks who sound to me like they’ve never served in a high stakes small team kind of environment. Let me ask one simple question. Does a Navy SEAL posing for pics with a dead corpse sound like a professional, senior, stable team member...or does it sound more like a young, unstable and unprofessional team member? For everyone saying it was nothing more than the junior members of the team taking an opportunity to get rid of their hard ass senior team member, I say your comments show a total lack of understanding of spec ops team operations. No disrespect intended, most of us don’t have that kind of experience in our resumes. But that’s not how it works at all. This isn’t basic training and it isn’t regular garrison service. At that level, on those teams, there’s no hard ass senior member giving daily rations of crap to junior members. Everyone on those teams is treated like the professional and accomplished soldier they are. Think of what it took for them just to get there. These aren’t privates mad at their drill instructor. They are treated as equals. I guarantee you every member of that team is on a first name basis. And again, does posing with a dead corpse sound like the actions of a senior, role model team member or one of the young kids who still had a lot to learn? Take it from someone with operator experience, Gallagher is off. Tier 1 operators don’t make headlines. Period.

Been there, got that T-Shirt said...

And with all due respect to Mr. Dan, I’d like to point out that being innocent/acquitted of a crime doesn’t make you a reliable team operator.

And to Mr. Aesop, I dare you to show me a tier 1 operator that made headlines and remained in that tier 1 unit.

pigpen51 said...

I must agree with you on this one. That is what makes the media putting SEAL Team 6 into stars so off putting to me. The have encouraged those men, who as a rule have always stayed in the dark, to seek the limelight. They have done this, by offering them huge amounts of money for writing books, via ghost writers, etc. I mean, I understand, a 15 year member who has made it onto SEAL Team 6, the ultimate of the special operations for the United States, is probably still making less than 60,000$ per year. Now you have a book publisher offering to give one of them an advance on a book of half a million dollars, and what do you think they are going to do?
I have read that it costs over a million dollars to fully train the most elite special operators of the United States. Not just SEALS, but also the other highly trained ones as well. To invest that much money into them, and then to not figure out a way to encourage them to remain in the military for a career, both via financial rewards and also through some other ways, is not very cost effective.
My son who is went on terminal leave today, from the Navy, and will be discharged Dec. 27th, said that the SEALS that he had met, were extremely low keyed, and if asked what they did for a living, always said something along the lines of, I'm in the Navy. And only if pushed, would they reveal that they were a member of the SEALS. We run the risk of changing that spirit if we continue to allow the media to keep raising their profile, and make them more visible. There is a danger that doing so could end up causing more harm than any possible good that might come from it.