10 Marines Punished Following Investigation into Death of Former Green Beret in Iraq

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Lockheed Martin contractor Rick Rodriguez, a 20-year Army veteran and Green Beret, was pronounced dead Jan. 4, 2019, after a physical altercation involving multiple active-duty servicemembers on New Year's Eve in Iraq. (COURTESY FACEBOOK)
Lockheed Martin contractor Rick Rodriguez, a 20-year Army veteran and Green Beret, was pronounced dead Jan. 4, 2019, after a physical altercation involving multiple active-duty servicemembers on New Year's Eve in Iraq. (COURTESY FACEBOOK)

This article by Jeff Schogol originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.

Ten Marines have been disciplined administratively following an investigation into the death of a former Green Beret who was working as a contractor in Irbil, Iraq, according to Marine Forces Special Operations Command.

Rick Anthony Rodriguez died at Landstuhl, Germany, on Jan. 4, 2019. Two Marine Raiders and a Navy corpsman have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with his death.

Washington Post reporter Dan Lamothe first revealed that 10 other Marines had been punished.

"The investigation into this case revealed collateral misconduct resulting in administrative punishments of 10 Marines," said MARSOC spokesman 1st Lt. Justin Cox. "Since these issues were handled via administrative measures vice courts-martial, we are unable to release additional information."

None of these 10 Marines are MARSOC critical skills operators or special operations officers, Cox told task & Purpose.

The Marines come from various Military Occupational Specialties that support Marine Special Operations Forces, he said. No further information about the Marines was available.

Separately, three members of the 3rd Marine Raider Battalion face general courts-martial for Rodriguez's death: Gunnery Sgt. Daniel Draher, Gunnery Sgt. Joshua Negron, and Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet.

On Jan. 1, 2019, Rodriguez allegedly got into a fight with the three men following an argument with Gilmet at a bar in Irbil. Rodriguez, who was working for Lockheed Martin at the time, was seriously injured after Negron allegedly punched him in the head.

The three men initially returned Rodriguez back to his on base-quarters, but when it became clear that he was having problems breathing, they took him to the base's trauma center, Draher's attorney Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose in December.

Gilmet's trial is scheduled to take place from Oct. 13-23, followed by Negron's general court-martial, which is slated to occur between Nov.9-20. Draher is expected to stand trial between Dec. 7-18, Cox said.

"During this process, it is imperative that the rights of the service members are protected, and the integrity of the military justice system is maintained," Cox said. "It is also imperative to remember that these charges are merely accusations and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. MARSOC is committed to ensuring this legal process is conducted in a fair and impartial manner."

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