Navy dismisses more SEAL war crimes cases…

| August 7, 2019

U.S. Navy Sea, Air, and Land team members conduct military field operations during exercise Trident 18-4 at Hurlburt Field, Florida, on July 11th, 2018. (Staff Sgt. Corban Lundborg/Air Force)

…removes controversial prosecutor.

War crime charges are falling like Autumn leaves in Navy Region Southwest, as all charges are dismissed against SWO1 Daniel Dambrosio, SWOCs Xavier Silva and David Swarts, and their CO, LT Jason Webb. They were initially charged with assaulting prisoners and were cleared at Captain’s Mast in 2012.

On 19 January 2017 they were again charged with assaulting prisoners by discharging their sidearms near a detainee’s head. Additionally, SWOC Swarts was accused of conspiring with LT Webb to cover up the incident.

In another day of bold moves by Navy leaders seeking to revamp the sea service’s criminal justice system, officials dismissed a war crimes case dogging four SEALs and transferred a prosecutor plagued by misconduct allegations.

Ending a case that had dragged on for 2 ½ years, Navy Region Southwest’s commander Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar dropped all war crimes charges against Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Daniel V. Dambrosio Jr. and two special operator chief petty officers — Xavier Silva and David N. Swarts — plus their former commanding officer, Lt. Jason L. Webb.

Military prosecutors in San Diego had accused them of abusing detainees at Village Stability Platform Kalach in the Chora District of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province on May 31, 2012.

Although authorities conceded that most of the abuse stemmed from Afghan Local Police militiamen beating villagers with clubs and car antennas, one detainee allegedly died after a round of brutal questioning, and investigators believed the SEALs could’ve done more to prevent the maltreatment.

Within the closed SEAL community, however, the case was seen as politically driven retribution brought by brass far from the battlefield and spurred by press accounts in late 2015 that pointed a spotlight at a murky Afghanistan counter-insurgency mission three years earlier.

The four SEALs had voluntarily entered non-judicial punishment proceedings, a Trident Review Board and other disciplinary hearings and were cleared, only to be charged at court-martial on Jan. 19, 2017, with what they said was little new evidence brought to the case.

Bolivar had been mulling a plea deal that would send them back to NJP , but on Tuesday she quashed the case, two weeks before a court-martial trial loomed.

Read the rest of the article, including the fate of CDR Czaplak, here: Navy Times

Category: Administrative, Afghanistan, Isis, Legal, Media, Navy, Terror War, Veterans in the news

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Jeez…..either the SEALs have severe discipline problems, or the Navy is REAAAAAAAAALY digging for things to try and charge people with. I’m leaning towards the latter.




IMNSHO – this is yet another case of what was documented as far back as ‘Nam and, I believe, WWII, of jealousy by those in authority of those special operators who are better warriors and willingly take on the danger the ‘superiors’ are too spineless to face.

War is, and always has been, ugly. It is not, and can not, be a civilized activity by the very nature of it. Not to say the ought not be some standards of behavior and accountability, but those standards need to be realistic.

Setting ROEs that are unrealistic and putting our warriors in situations where they must operate with a barbaric people creates way to many chances for some rear-echelon puke to cry foul.

RADM Bolivar may be feeling the heat, but I’m glad for our warriors.


Rules of engagement are dreamed up by REMF’s who never seem to consider the risks their silly rules create for the warfighters. But enterprising grunts will always find ways to flaunt the rules.

I encountered this shortly after arriving in Vietnam as a replacement NCO. On a company-size reconnaissance deep in Indian Country, we were setting up our perimeter for a night defense when all NCO’s were called into the company CP. The young captain informed us he’d just been notified that due to a recent spate of self-inflicted wounds, II Corps HQ had decided we should not keep a round chambered nor were we to discharge our weapons without permission from the company CP.

One older E-7 asked, “What if we get hit, sir? and we were told we still had to have permission from the CP to fire our weapons. “Even if we’re fired on, sir?” Yep, even if fired on.

Realizing that we’d been told not to FIRE our weapons, ONLY, most of us went back to our positions and had our troopers minimize the crimps on their grenade pins and line them on the parapets of their positions with the instruction that if they detected movement out front, start tossing grenades, and setting off the Claymores. No one would ever know where the first explosions came from once the whole perimeter opened up, as we knew damned well it most assuredly would.

Fortunately we didn’t get hit and the stupid rule was quickly rescinded.


It’s funny though how those stupid ideas and lessons learned from them get repeated. Upon hearing that the new standing order in the sandbox ~2004 was that individual weapons would be stored at the armory a LTC I worked with told us his experiences.

He’d been an Army private in Vietnam. When he first got there they had individual weapons all the time, then they migrated them to the barracks. After some issues (likely involving alcohol) they were moved to the armory. The first time the base came under attack, the men rushed the armory, which had an outward opening door. So the armorers couldn’t open the door to issue out weapons.

There we (well not me, cause I wasn’t over there) doing the same thing 30+ years later, and probably for the same reasons.

A Proud Infidel®™️

It looks like they still have a LOT more housecleaning to do.

Comm Center Rat

From the Navy Times article:

Bolivar dismissed the charges “‘without prejudice’, which means they can be brought back in the future if more evidence arrives or a different convening authority reviews the case.”

I recommend the CNO relieve RADM Bolivar to encourage her to pursue immediate retirement.


Same-same for Capt. Larrea. Some out-of-control, on a roll stuff has been going on there for a while.

And Bolivar’s ‘without prejudice’ leaves a back door to start over, so what was the point to dismissal? So that someone else can pick it up and run with it, obviously.


Perhaps the plan is to wait for a more accommodating Commander in Chief in the White House.

Just thinking out loud. . .


That whole “expedited change of command and NO EOT award for a CAPTAIN”…and it had nothing to do with the Gallagher case? C’mon….

5th/77th FA

Trying to stay upwind of this sh^t show.

Rule of Engagement; Kill them before they kill you!

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

Resign and move back to Venezuela Ms Bolivar and Simon ize cars for a living at your local car wash.

Huey Jock

Choice Jeff. Really choice!!!


Folks need to keep the war-stuff out of the press. If you can’t maintain OPSEC, your org is broken.

Folks need to keep JAG squeaky. Even a whiff of prosecutorial misconduct wrecks morale.

There are folks who think themselves as righteous who will use either to wreck our fighting ability.

Don’t hand the enemy any useable ammo.

Slow Joe

So, they were charged on 17 January 2017.

Nope. I can’t think of any reason why this would be politically motivated.