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Navy ‘Awaiting Further Guidance’ After Trump Tweets about Gallagher’s SEAL Trident

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Navy leaders appear to be awaiting a formal order from the president concerning Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher’s trident device, a symbol of his membership in the elite SEALs.

The top Navy spokesman said on Thursday that the service follows lawful orders from the president.

“We will do so in case of an order to stop the administrative review of SOC Gallagher’s professional qualification,” Rear Adm. Charlie Brown added. “We are aware of the President’s tweet and we are awaiting further guidance.”

President Donald Trump tweeted earlier that day that the Navy would not be taking away Gallagher’s trident pin, a coveted device earned by Navy SEALs.

“This case was handled very badly from the beginning,” Trump said, referencing Gallagher’s lengthy legal battle after he was accused and later acquitted of murder. “Get back to business!”

Tim Parlatore, one of Gallagher’s attorneys, said his client had received a letter instructing him to appear before a trident review board on Dec. 2 that would determine whether he would have the device revoked. Task & Purpose reported on Thursday that Gallagher’s review board had been “paused,” citing unnamed Navy sources.

Brown and Naval Special Warfare Command did not respond to questions about the status of Gallagher’s review board on Friday. Three of his superiors — Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch, Lt. Jacob Portier and Lt. Thomas MacNeil — also received letters this week that they, too, would be required to appear before trident review boards.

Those boards were also postponed, according to Task & Purpose.

Parlatore told this week that he has never reached out to the White House for assistance in allowing Gallagher to retain his trident. The lawyer compared the idea of the Navy revoking Gallagher’s trident to stripping the chief of his identity.

Gallagher’s legal team has filed a lengthy complaint with the Pentagon’s inspector general about how the Navy handled the SEAL’s case.

The complaint, which came days after Trump restored Gallagher’s rank to chief petty officer, alleges that Rear Adm. Collin Green, the head of Naval Special Warfare Command, “made clear his … disagreement with the President’s decision” by announcing in a meeting that he would convene a board to determine whether the SEAL should keep his trident.

Lawrence, a spokeswoman for the command, called that characterization “outright wrong.” Green has the authority to revoke Gallagher’s trident himself, but a Navy official told this week opted to have the SEAL appear before a board to allow members of the community to make the recommendation.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

Read more: Navy’s Top SEAL Can Revoke Tridents. Here’s Why He’s Sending Gallagher to a Board Instead

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