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Trump restores rank to Fort Wayne native, Navy SEAL Gallagher

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – President Donald Trump has restored the rank of a Fort Wayne Navy SEAL who was found guilty of posing for a photo with a corpse but acquitted of more serious charges earlier this year.

Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher faced court martial on charges including murder and attempted murder. The counts stemmed from incidents while Gallagher was deployed to combat zones in Iraq.

A jury of five Marines and two sailors — all war zone veterans — acquitted Gallagher of the most severe counts in what was one of the Navy’s most high-profile war crimes in recent years.

He was convicted of a single count of posing with a human casualty and given the maximum sentence of four months’ confinement for the offense.

Gallagher served no jail time following the conviction because he spent nearly nine months in pre-trial custody. The jury called for his rank to be reduced, hurting his benefits just as the 19-year veteran prepared to retire.

The move by the president on Friday addressed that matter. It was part of a broader order from the White House, which included an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance and an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, who had been convicted of crimes in unrelated incident.

The portion of the order that applies to Gallagher reads:

Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a “V” for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor. Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified.

Gallagher, a Bishop Dwenger High School alumnus, earned a high ranking reputation as both as a Navy SEAL medic and sniper.

Gallagher was named the top platoon leader in SEAL Team 7 and was nominated for the Silver Star, the military’s third-highest honor, before he was accused of killing civilians and posing with a bloody body in front of an American flag while serving in Iraq.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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