Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Collin P. Green delivers remarks during the change of office ceremony July 30, 2019 during which NAVSEA 06 (PMS-340) Major Program Manager Capt. Robert “Chad” Muse was relieved by Capt. Brian O’Lavin. (U.S. Navy photo/Laura Lakeway)
Yesterday, we had a fairly unprecedented occurrence. President Trump had to personally intervene to prevent the US Navy, and particularly one admiral, from carrying out a personal vendetta against a sailor President Trump had ordered restored to rank after a court-martial conviction. The sailor was Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher. The admiral was the head of the Navy’s Special Warfare Command, Rear Admiral Collin Green. Read my post on this happening, President Trump Slaps Down the #Resistance Among the Navy Brass After They Continue to Try to Persecute Chief Eddie Gallagher. In what can only be taken as a sign that Green disapproved of Trump’s action, on Tuesday he ordered letters to be sent to Gallagher and his former platoon commander, Lt. Jacob X. “Jake” Portie notifying them that they were to appear before an administrative hearing that would decide their fitness to continue as part of the Navy Special Warfare community and which would be empowered to revoke their SEAL Trident badge.
Gallagher isn’t allowed to be represented by legal counsel. He’s allowed to review the evidence against him in a room set aside for his use, but he can’t copy it or take pictures of it.
He must submit a list of witnesses to Green by Nov. 27 but the rear admiral will determine if the witness is relevant or reasonably available before greenlighting an appearance before the panel, according to the letter.
The proceedings will be closed to the public and even other witnesses.
That is what provoked the Trump tweet:
The Navy will NOT be taking away Warfighter and Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher’s Trident Pin. This case was handled very badly from the beginning. Get back to business!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
Now Admiral Green may find himself in danger of having his career ended. Gallagher’s lawyer has filed a complaint with the Navy IG alleging a wide range of corruption and vindictive acts by the military command responsible for Chief Gallaghers prosecution. Much of it has been substantiated via media investigation and by trial testimony but thrown into the mix was one allegations specifically targeting Admiral Green:
Second, and more sinister, is that we have learned that on Monday morning, November 18, 2019, RADM Green assembled a staff meeting and made clear his contempt of the President and disagreement with the President’s decision, before declaring that he intended to remove SOC Gallagher’s trident anyway.
It is incomprehensible to understand how, given the Commander in Chief’s clear guidance that he felt the punishment was too severe for such a minor offense, how RAMD Green thinks it is appropriate to countermand this and increase the punishment. Moreover, no flag officer should ever be speaking contemptuously of the Commander in Chief in front of his subordinates.
All allegations against general or flag officers get investigated by THE Inspector General of their service, not by the command IG. That means there must be an investigation of this allegation and it will be handled by the Pentagon. The standard of proof is “preponderance of evidence” not “beyond reasonable doubt” and the fact that this complaint was filed means there is someone in the meeting who ratted out Green’s tantrum to Gallagher’s lawyer.
If it is substantiated, then Green is in a great deal of trouble. Even if it is not substantiated, Green’s career is probably over. I can’t imagine a White House as prickly at the Trump White House letting this slide.
One of the interesting features of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is that unlike a conventional body of law, the overriding concept is the maintenance of good order and discipline not the preservation of individual rights. One example of this is Article 88 or Contempt Towards Officials. It reads:
“Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
The reason for this should be obvious. You can’t have people in command of other people with tanks and guns talking smack about the federal or state government or the commander in chief. If someone in a position of authority starts giving the impression that maybe they won’t obey orders they are given, then nothing good ever comes from that.
A finding against Green would probably not result in a court-martial but it would result in him being retired Rear Admiral Green the new VP at some Defense contractor in very short order.
This kind of arrogance and insubordination is befuddling to me. The idea that you’d have a commissioned officer, particularly a flag officer who really should know better, take it upon themselves to try to tell the President, their commander-in-chief, to FOAD and expect to skate signifies a systemic rot within the military that I would have never thought possible. That apparently he didn’t even bother to try to conceal why he took the action…and we can only speculate at the language used but it probably wasn’t measured and restrained…is simply unacceptable. The Resistance is on display. It is not being concealed. And it needs to be crushed and then eradicated.
READ: President Trump Orders Navy To Revoke Medals Given To Eddie Gallagher’s Prosecutors
READ: President Trump Restores Chief Petty Officer Gallagher to his Pre-Court Martial Rank
READ: Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher Acquitted of War Crimes Charges by Court Martial
READ: Judge Tosses Military Prosecutor in Trial of Navy SEAL
READ: Judicial Fragging in the Military (VIP content)
READ: Trump Issues Pardons in Three Highly Controversial War Crimes Court Martial Cases