In the United States, our military comes from all walks of life. And like in the civilian world, you have some really great people. You also have some folks who would steal from their own grandmothers. That is the nature of any large organization. When I served, I served with some great people, I also served with a couple guys who probably should have been in prison.
The military also has its own set of rules, the uniform code of military justice. It details non-judicial punishment, known as Article 15, this covers a gamut of issues, and punishment can include confinement to quarters, loss of rank, loss of pay, and extra duty. Smart off to your squad leader, and you could find yourself in front of your commanding officer receiving one of these. A service member can survive getting an Article 15, and even go on and have a long career.
Then, there are the more serious crimes, these are punishable by court martial. Among the crimes serious enough for court martial are war crimes. Since 2001 there have been a number of high profile war crime cases that have gone to court martial.
Navy Chief Edward Gallagher was charged on ten criminal counts.
- Attempted murder
- Premeditated murder
- Aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon x2 on non-combatants
- Firearm, discharging willfully, under such circumstances as to endanger human life at non-combatants
- Obstructing justice (three counts)
- Wrongfully pose for an unofficial picture with a human casualty
- Wrongfully complete reenlistment ceremony next to a human casualty
- Wrongfully operate a drone over a human casualty
- Wrongful use of a controlled substance—Tramadol Hydrochloride
- Unlawful possession of a controlled substance
He was found guilty of only one, wrongfully posing for an unofficial picture with a human casualty. He was supposed to be reduced in grade to E-1.