Charges reinstated against corpsman in MARSOC homicide case

| August 17, 2022

MSG Rich Rodriguez

It seems we’ve never posted a picture of the deceased retired Green Beret, Master Sergeant Rich Rodriguez, who was allegedly pummeled to death in a bar fight with two Marine Raiders and a Navy Corpsman while a defense contractor in Iraq in 2019. I’m correcting that here, and I am intentionally not showing the face of his alleged assailants.

The three MARSOC operators had homicide charges dismissed against them after a high ranking Marine JAG told the MARSOC defense counsel that his career was “Shielded but not protected” from reprisals regarding the cases he was working. This was done in front of a whole JAG detachment at a Q and A section. The defense claimed unlawful command influence, and frankly I can see why.

The government appealed when they lost the unlawful command influence case, and the charges against Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet have been reinstated, though it seems likely the defense will appeal.

From Marine Corps Times;

A Navy corpsman again faces homicide-related charges, which had been dismissed, after a military appeals court panel overturned the previous ruling of a lower court judge.

Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet could again face trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter, obstruction of justice and negligent homicide along with two Marine Raiders in the death of retired Green Beret and defense contractor Rich Rodriguez following a brief fight outside of a nightclub in Irbil, Iraq, on Jan. 1, 2019.

Charged along with Gilmet are Marine Gunnery Sgts. Daniel Draher and Joshua Negron, who also had requested charges be dismissed after a top Marine lawyer made what multiple sworn statements from other military attorneys deemed “threatening” statements to Gilmet’s defense counsel in November 2021.

Gilmet’s civilian counsel, retired Marine Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, told Marine Corps Times on Monday that he had spoken with his client and they were determining next steps.

“He’s incredibly disappointed and like me thinks that the opinion is wrong,” Vokey said.

Procedurally, Vokey said, Gilmet can accept the ruling and proceed to trial, request a full appellate opinion, impaneling the entire panel for a ruling or appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services, which is the last stop before an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three MARSOC operators were at an off-base nightclub to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2019. Witnesses later said Rodriguez approached the three men inside of the club, saying that they were not showing him proper respect due to his Army Special Forces master sergeant status.

The argument ended, but Rodriguez waited outside the club after closing time and again confronting them.

A brief fight ensued, and Rodriguez was knocked unconscious. The three men checked on Rodriguez and transported him back to base. The checked on him at times throughout the night but he stopped breathing at one point. The three men started emergency medical procedures and then took Rodriguez to a nearby medical facility.

He was transported to Landstuhl, Germany, where he died a few days later.

More on the case at the source. We previously talked about this case here.

Category: Crime, Green Beret

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That UCI is an albatross that takes down about any case. Unless Joe Biden does it.


“…they were not showing him proper respect due to his Army Special Forces master sergeant status.”


Would you suppose there could be a reason why Mr. Respectable wasn’t taken to a “nearby medical facility”?


Well, this is interesting.

This is MSG (Ret) Richard Rodriquez obituary:

Some highlights from the obit:

Enlisted as an Infantryman in August 1991; retired 31 August 2012.

Served with 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Ranger Training Brigade and 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) in Italy.

Awards include Bronze Star Medal (BSM) with V, BSM (4th Award), Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) with V, ARCOM (4th Award), Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Special Operations Diving Supervisor Badge, SCUBA Diver Badge.


He is buried at Arlington and according to this, he was working for Lockheed Martin when he passed away.

MI Ranger

This guy and I moved in the same circles. He came in less than two months before me. If he was in 173rd, he went to Italy after me though. A BSM and an ARCOM with Vs, plus four other BSMs for service. Sounds like he was in SF for quite a while.
Not sure why, he felt the need to tell people to respect him. I always thought, you keep your head down and do what needs to be done, and your actions show why you should be respected.


ninja wrote “…was left lying in the street by his fellow contractors…” Some friends, huh? Maybe dood had gotten drunk and disorderly before? Drunk and stupid is no way to go thru life. Sounds like he had been a true Warrior and had Honorable Service and the three that were charged had been trying to help him out. Don’t know, I wasn’t there. Does seems as if there was some “undue command influence”, technically.


It gets more interesting:

“Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet is one of three MARSOC Raiders who were aggressively confronted by an inebriated civilian contractor while on authorized liberty in Erbil, Iraq. One of the Raiders acted in self-defense and neutralized the threat with one punch which rendered the belligerent contractor unconscious. Since the contractor was left lying in the street by his fellow contractors, the Raiders picked him up and took him back to base. (NOTE: All of the above was captured on video)”

“Out of concern for the unconscious inebriated contractor possibly asphyxiating on his own vomit, the Raiders watched over him through the night. When the contractor stopped breathing, the Raiders performed advanced lifesaving measures in an attempt to resuscitate him. Unfortunately, despite being medevaced to a hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, the contractor died four days later.”

Old tanker

After reading the story including the mention of video capture of the situation I really can’t find much fault with the 3. At worst there is negligence for not just taking him to a medical facility to begin with.


At a guess, they may have been trying to avoid creating a record of the incident that would certainly have followed.

Be curious to know what the pathology reports say about the cause of death.


We read somewhere that his family took him off life support.


Anyone who was every stationed in Germany had more than a few nights like the one they had and no one died. One night I personally carried an unconscious buddy nearly 3Km while changing trains twice to get him back to the barracks so he wouldn’t miss movement in the morning. Bumps and bruises and hangovers. Which is likely why they didn’t do more.

But every once in a great, great while bad things did happen. This was one of those nights.


Weekend CQ always fun?


The good old days of having booze mailed to you in a mouthwash bottle vs deployment bar hopping in a G-JET.


More interesting information:,choked%20on%20his%20own%20vomit.

“For those unfamiliar with the MARSOC 3 case, in Erbil, Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) on New Year’s Eve, 2018, with permission to leave base, the three decorated Marine Raiders were assaulted by a drunken civilian contractor, Rick Rodriguez, after he instigated a verbal confrontation. Video footage shows Rodriguez, a retired Green Beret, acting so aggressively that he was thrown out of the establishment. Footage also shows that he decided to wait outside in the path of the MARSOC 3 as they later exited and were walking to their vehicle. After Rodriguez had thrown his third punch, one of the Raiders stepped in to defend his fellow Raider from receiving additional harm and knocked Rodriguez out with one punch. Rodriguez’s group of friends either left or stood around not knowing what to do.”


“The three Raiders brought the contractor back to base for observation.”

“Chief Eric Gilmet watched over Rodriguez through the night and into the morning. After having been relieved early that morning by a base contractor, Gilmet was called back to find that Rodriguez was now unresponsive. Rodriguez was then transferred to a hospital in Germany where he died four days later of complications arising from his intoxicated state and from having choked on his own vomit.”

“During the subsequent Article 32 hearing,
video evidence and testimony from the lead investigator confirmed that Rodriguez was the aggressor and sole instigator in the incident and that the Marines did not use excessive force, nor did they attempt to obstruct justice.”

USMC Steve

So the guy got pissed because he felt they weren’t showing him sufficient respect for being a retired green beanie, and started shit because of it? Guess what – retired means retired. It meant he USED to be a green beanie master sergeant. It also means he isn’t anymore. That ass whipping is one he brought on himself. Too bad he died from it.


I’d like to hear what IDC SARC has to say about all of this.

Skivvy Stacker

This is no Homicide case. At best it can be charged as manslaughter. It was basically a bar fight where a guy got knocked out.
Of course, any time you get hit hard enough to go unconscious means that you have had your brain stunned, and possibly incurred damage of some kind that will be permanent (all concussions leave lasting effects). The fact that the Raiders and Corpsman did what they could to care for this guy tells me there was absolutely no intent to inflict death or great bodily harm, so we can say they didn’t have MURDER on their minds (which is the killing of a human being with the addition of malice). But I also don’t know if there is any such animal as Misdemeanor Manslaughter…


Stupid ass E7 Gimlet must have forgotten the HM creed…

WTF was he thinking… should have walked the fuck away and reported it instead of being part of it.