Local News

Iraq death investigation links former Green Beret, contractor to current Marines and Navy corpsman

Posted January 9, 2019 6:24 p.m. EST

An investigation was underway Wednesday to determine if two Marines and a Navy corpsman had a role in the death of a contractor and former Green Beret.

An employee for defense company Lockheed Martin was supporting U.S. Special Operations in Iraq when he was found in his barracks in Erbil with “severe head trauma,” U.S. officials familiar with the investigation said.

The contractor was flown to the American Military Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where he died Friday.

Stars and Stripes identified the contractor as Rick Rodriquez, a 20-year Army veteran and Green Beret. The news outlet also reported that Rodriguez’s wife and four children, who live in Fayetteville, flew to Germany and decided to remove him from life support.

Lockheed has not confirmed the identity of the person who died.

“Lockheed Martin was saddened to learn of the loss of one of our employees, who was fatally injured while supporting Special Operations forces,” the company said in a statement. “We are supporting the Naval Criminal Investigative Service as they conduct an investigation into the circumstances of his death.”

The NCIS is investigating whether a fight early on New Year’s Day led to Rodriguez’s death, but a spokesman declined to comment about the ongoing investigation.

According to U.S. officials, the Marines and sailor who are under investigation have not been detained and remain on duty in Iraq.