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Navy SEAL Jailed For 10 Years After Hazing Death Of Green Beret

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Navy SEAL Jailed For 10 Years After Hazing Death Of Green Beret

A US Navy SEAL has been jailed for 10 years for his role in the death of an Army Green Beret whilst they were stationed in Africa in June 2017.

Chief Petty Officer Tony DeDolph, who served with the elite SEAL Team 6, pleaded guilty earlier this month to involuntary manslaughter, hazing, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy following the death by strangulation of Army Staff Sergeant Logan Melgar.

DeDolph's sentence was handed down by a military jury at a naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. As well as the jail time, he also had his rank reduced, forfeited his pay and allowances, and was dishonourably discharged, according to an official.

At a January 14 plea hearing, DeDolph explained the circumstances that lead to Melgar's death, which was supposed to be a 'tape job' prank but turned into a disaster when Melgar did not awake from a choke hold applied by DeDolph.

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The naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. Credit: Naval Station Norfolk
The naval base in Norfolk, Virginia. Credit: Naval Station Norfolk

He explained how the men involved were trying to teach Melgar a lesson after they deemed him to have deserted them whilst serving in Mali in 2017.

However, after he was placed in a choke hold and taped up with duct tape, the SEALs were in 'a state of shock and deeply disturbed' when he became completely unresponsive.

DeDolph explained how his role in the prank was to apply a rear naked choke - commonplace in martial arts - and cause Melgar to temporarily lose consciousness.

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The choke cuts off blood supply in the neck, rendering the person unconscious for a short while. Whilst the person usually revives after a short while, Melgar did not.

DeDolph said: "I effectively applied the chokehold as I have done numerous times in training, in combatives, and has been done to me.

"Usually by that time [about half a minute], the individual has gotten up, and he did not."

DeDolph is the third of four soldiers - two SEALS and a Marine - to be court martialled for Melgar's death.

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The case reveals the nature of the misconduct that sometimes happens in the USA's elite military forces, and shows how the service personnel sometimes address perceived slights outside of the accepted channels.

It's not known why they were in Mali at the time, but US Special Forces have been deployed there to help train local forces to fight extremists.

Logan Melgar. Credit: PA
Logan Melgar. Credit: PA

Adam Matthews, another SEAL who pleaded guilty, said in 2019 that Melgar had abandoned them whilst driving separate vehicles through an unsafe zone.

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DeDolph also said that Melgar 'had ditched' them as a 'prank' and they decided to get their own back.

He said: "It was more of like a pack mentality, group decision."

The plan was to bash his door down with a sledge hammer to scare him, then bind him with duct tape and choke him.

The incident was supposed to be filmed, and someone was going to dance around in a gorilla mask.

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DeDolph had faced a maximum sentence of 22 years, losing his rank, and dishonourable discharge.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: army, US News

Tom Wood
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