Neo-Nazi soldier who planned to ambush army unit jailed for attempted murder

An ex-soldier was sentenced to 45 years in prison for attempting to murder U.S. service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists and illegally transmitting national defense information, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

Ethan Phelan Melzer, 24, from Kentucky, planned a jihadist attack on his U.S. Army unit just before he was to deploy to Turkey and sent information about his unit's location, movements, and security to members of the extremist organization Order of the Nine Angles (O9A), a white supremacist, neo-Nazi and pro-jihadist group.

"Melzer joined the U.S. Army in approximately 2018 and infiltrated its ranks as part of an insight role to further his goals as an O9A adherent," the DOJ said.

"In approximately October 2019, Melzer deployed abroad with the Army to Italy as a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. While stationed abroad, Melzer consumed propaganda from multiple extremist groups, including O9A and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, which is also known as ISIS. For example, Melzer subscribed to encrypted online forums where he downloaded and accessed videos of jihadist attacks on U.S. troops and facilities and jihadist executions of civilians and soldiers, in addition to far-right, neo-Nazi, and other white supremacist propaganda."

In messages to O9A, Melzer wrote, “[y]ou just gotta understand that currently I am risking my literal free life to give you all this" -- in regards to the sensitive information he was sharing. He acknowledged that would likely be killed if he carried out the attack, writing, “who gives a f--- [. . .] it would be another war . . . I would’ve died successfully . . . cause another 10 year war in the Middle East would definitely leave a mark.”

Read the full press release at the DOJ's website.