Navy SEALs investigated for death of soldier

| October 30, 2017 | 49 Comments

Stars & Stripes reports on an NCIS investigation they were handed from Army CID in regards to the death of Staff Sergeant Logan J. Melgar on June 4th at the US Embassy in Mali. The cause of SGG Melgar’s death was strangulation, according to CID.

Soon after the incident, two Navy SEAL Team 6 members were whisked out of the country and put on administrative leave while military law enforcement carries out its probe, the Times reported.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which was unavailable Monday for immediate comment, is now leading the investigation. U.S. Africa Command officials were also not immediately available for comment.

Melgar was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, N.C., the same unit as the team involved in an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger, where four soldiers died. The group is responsible for many AFRICOM special operations missions on the continent.

According to the New York Times, there a few versions of the events;

Much is unknown about what happened around 5 a.m. on June 4 in the team house. The initial reports to Sergeant Melgar’s superiors in Germany said he had been injured while wrestling or grappling with the two Navy commandos, according to three officials who have been briefed on the investigation.

According to one version of events, one of the SEALs put Sergeant Melgar in a chokehold. When the sergeant passed out, the commandos frantically tried to revive him. Failing that, they rushed him to an emergency clinic, where he was pronounced dead.

Given the character of the players in this little theater, I tend to believe that it was horseplay that got out of hand more than anything else. But I guess we’ll see.

Category: Army News, Navy

Comments (49)

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  1. FatCircles0311 says:

    Died in early June and still investigating? Good grief.

  2. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Best not to comment, as there are no winners in this case.

  3. Graybeard says:

    I suspect it is horseplay gone bad. Probably, if I had to guess, compounded by a SF mindset to not “tap out” ever. Pride and determination can get one through a lot – or get one hurt if taken too far.

    A horrible thing to happen to all the parties.

  4. Jay says:

    SF v SEAL….i’m guessing the SSG didn’t wanna tap and the SEAL held it a little too long. No winners in this case, pure tragedy.

  5. IDC SARC says:

    Not tapping out is one thing….holding someone until unconscious DOESN’T cause cardiac arrest.

    Continuing to hold someone and obstruct their airway after they pass out, or crushing their airway leads to cardiac arrest after you’ve let them go.

    • RM3(SS) says:

      I was taught the carotid restraint and used it many times. One of the things they cautioned us was overuse of it could cause Vagus nerve over stimulation and cardiac arrhythmia.
      I have seen attempts at a carotid restraint that became an armbar across the throat because of the violent nature of the struggling.
      Either way, very sad situation for all involved.

      • IDC SARC says:

        “Vagus nerve over stimulation and cardiac arrhythmia.”

        The Vagus nerves (10th cranial nerves)are paired nerves and their function is to slow the heart (Parasympathetic antagonists of the Sympathetic Cardiac Plexus)by innervating the heart and Aorta(Big Red.

        Anatomically, they are located in the sheaths overlying the Left and Right Carotid arteries. It is basically impossible to obstruct the artery without stimulating the nerve. That is the mechanism of a properly applied hold rather than to simply obstruct the airway. That innervation is also why a hold should in as much as possible only be applied to the one side. Barring across the throat completely obstructing the airway and both arteries while simultaneously stimulating the nerve (unavoidable) is inherently more dangerous because of the lack of circulation, airflow, and nerve compression.

    • TF-BA says:

      Bingo. You have about 4 mins to remedy an obstructed airway. I can’t imagine a situation where these cats, being team guys, forgot the training they received on creating a surgical airway. This looks all around horrible.

    • mr. sharkman says:

      x2.

      Plenty of choke stories here.

      But fvcking up and sliding from non-lethal to lethal is negligence, plain and simple. Likely booze-enchanced negligence is my ‘first hunch’.

      And it’s more than ‘hijinx’.

      Doing it right, and quickly, with 1 arm, in full battle rattle, is definitely a perishable skill. And one that you don’t want to let perish.

  6. STGCS Ret says:

    I thought that choking each other out crap was pretty juvenile for such superior operators. But it seems to be some kind of ritual in the teams.

  7. RetiredDevilDoc8404 says:

    That’s one ooops you just don’t want to be part of. Having been part of hijinks that went wrong (only cost me 6 stitches and a concussion), things can get out of hand – stay away from chokes and for chrissake, TAP-THE-F-OUT if you get put in one.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      Flip side – if the other guy wont accept a tap, you are no longer constrained by playtime rules either. Don’t dither, your time is limited.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      What 11BMailclerk said: and if the other guy won’t stop, you grab his man parts and yank them out of his crotch, or pound him there so hard he can’t breather. Also, you’re allowed to bite, kick, scratch, and whatever to get it to stop.

      • IDC SARC says:

        …bite em in the dick

        ** yes, there’s a story in there, yes, alcohol was involved…no it wasn’t me, but I was the NCOIC that had to deal with the fallout from the incident.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        One of these days, IDC_SARC, your bar bill is going to be paid because I will be sitting there with a video cam while you pound down a 5th of Rare Cask MacAllan Single Malt and tell me every sea/land story in your repertoire.

        • David says:

          In one fifth? You are ‘way optimistic, or maybe meant to write ‘a cask of’

          • 11B-Mailclerk says:

            “Come, let us go. I’ve a cask of Amontilado……”

            • SFC D says:

              “Amontillado?…Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!”

              • Graybeard says:

                It is too bad folks in the military are so illiterate. Otherwise we would see literary references amongst accounts of recent events.

                • The Other Whitey says:

                  A likely-apocryphal story suggests that Poe based that particular tale on true events surrounding the demise of a particularly unpopular officer at Fort Independence. According to legend, in 1817 several enlisted men at the fort got LT Gustavus Drane drunk and sealed him in the fort’s catacombs in revenge for his killing of LT Robert Massie in a duel. The duel was said to have been fought over the outcome of a card game, with Drane as the aggressor.

            • Ex-PH2 says:

              For the enlightenment of all, the Rare Cask MacAllan:
              https://www.caskers.com/macallan-rare-cask-single-malt-scotch-whisky/

              I’d assume that with its embedded flavor of bourbon drawn from oaken casks in which bourbon was set to age, it might make a good addition to a BBQ sauce.

              • SFC D says:

                ’tis heresy you speak! To use such liquor in sauce would be an abomination before the Lord!

              • Ex-PH2 says:

                Nay, forsooth, good sir.

                ‘Twould be a sauce for the ages:
                A spicy wholegrain brown mustard, with the scent of cider vinegar wafting from the jar…
                the darkest blackstrap molasses available…
                a true dark brown cane sugar, with the aroma of honey clinging to it…
                a tomato paste, freshly made, as a thickener, and tomato sauce as the base… Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, adding its darkening notes to the mix… pink Himalayan salt, ancient as the mountains where it is mined…
                garlic and onion powder as a subtle balancer…
                a half cup of the Rare Cask Macallan adding darker notes of bourbon-soaked oak, vanilla and chocolate…

                Mix thoroughly over very low heat. Stir. Continue to stir until your arm feels like it’s going to fall off.
                Slap it on short ribs and let it soak in then roast the ribs.

            • E4 Mafia For Life. says:

              “For the love of God Montressor!”
              My daughter has “ED POE” on her veteran’s license plate. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone asked her if it was a tribute to a fallen comrade.

            • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

              No matter what, things are going to fall like The House of Usher.

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          Okay, okay – you guys can come, too. I never leave out anyone.

  8. ChipNASA says:

    This sounds like a bunch of “Grown men” acting like teenagers.
    It sucks because a three of them are fucked and the two still living are going to have to deal with the consequences of their actions.

  9. NHSparky says:

    One dead, two others with it hanging over their heads, regardless of reason.

    Nobody wins here.

  10. Pinto Nag says:

    If they were horsing around and it got out of hand, what will happen to the two SEALS?

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      Negligent homicide/involuntary manslaughter if death is caused unintentionally but directly by the actions of an individual(s)…no intent for anyone to die but someone did. That’s probably worst case scenario, but it’s a pretty severe situation.

  11. Docduracoat says:

    A literary reference to Edgar Allan Poe‘s “A cask of amontillado “!
    I love TAH as it is the most intellectual of Military blogs!

  12. GDContractor says:

    SSG Melgar left behind a wife and young son. I hope that they will be well provided for. Sad story all around.

  13. E4 Mafia For Life. says:

    If they were playing the old choking game, it’s possible the cricoid cartilage was broken. The correctly taught way to administer the carotid hold is to place the “v” of your elbow over the cricoid, leaving a space, thus protecting it, then squeezing the carotid arteries on either side limiting the flow of blood to the brain. Placing anything directly over the cricoid is un-good. Best thing to do is not to do this hold.

  14. Jeff lph 3 1963-1966 says:

    Very sad, and no comment as medical knowledge not being my forte.

  15. Doug says:

    This is a tragedy nightmare.

    I train with chokes 2-3 hours a day five days a week. There are just some from the back that guys try to kick out of in desperation and get tighter. You can’t see when they pass out from the back choking them. It has left a few people doing the twitching-chicken when someone else tapped out on me for them. I couldn’t even see them go out.

  16. Just An Old Dog says:

    I think that with the explosion of MMA and the rejuvenation of unarmed combat in the Military there is a metric shit-ton of that type of training going on.
    Both formal and off duty.
    There is a retired Navy SEAL Officer named Jocko Wilnick who while serving in Iraq used to practice on and with his Unit.
    It was a running thing to have some unwitting new guy offer to tussle with him or “provoke” him so he would choke them out.
    Sad case here.
    I would surmise that any type of punishment would be based on how much, if any alcohol was consumed.

  17. propsguy says:

    Alcohol was involved in this. I’d bet any money.

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