Marines and Navy Officers Investigated in Death of Lockheed Martin Contractor in Iraq
Another scandal rocks the special ops world after Lockheed Martin contractor dies while serving in Iraq.
Two Marines and one Navy corpsman are under investigation in the death of a Lockheed Martin contractor in Iraq. All three of the accused were attached to a Marine special operations unit in Iraq. The incident is follows two other high profile misconduct cases linked to the special operations community.
Rick Rodriguez was identified by the Daily Beast as the Lockheed Martin contractor. Rodriguez died in Germany where he was taken for treatment following a scuffle on New Year’s Eve in the northern Iraqi town of Erbil. Rodriquez was a former Green Beret with about 20 years of experience in the Army.
A Lockheed Martin spokesperson confirmed Rodriguez’s death in an email. He said the contractor was “fatally injured” in a non-combat-related incident while working with the Special Operations Forces. He was part of the Operations Inherent Resolve operations in northern Iraq.
“We are supporting the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as they conduct an investigation into the circumstances of his death. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, and we are committed to supporting them during this difficult time,” the Lockheed spokesperson said.
Major Nicholas Mannweiler said the Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is assisting fully with the investigation.
Just last year, a Green Beret officer, Army Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, was killed in Mali. Two Navy SEALs and two Marine Raiders were charged with his murder. The details of the incident are unclear as the accused have repeatedly changed their story about what happened that night. However, all four men face the same charges of felony murder, involuntary manslaughter, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, hazing and burglary.
In another incident, Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward Gallagher was arraigned in early January 2019 at Naval Base San Diego for the murder of one injured ISIS captive.
The Department of Defense is not taking these incidents lightly. A review of ethics and standards for special operations units has already begun.
Top special operations commander Army Gen. Tony Thomas revealed that an assessment of other misconduct within the special operations units in the past year suggests that USSOCOM needs to rework the individuals and teams making up Special US Operations Forces all over the world.