Last week, a platoon of Navy SEALs where pulled out of Iraq and redeployed back to San Diego for drinking while deployed and following allegations of sexual misconduct.
New York Times spoke to a senior Navy official with knowledge of the situation who states, “Navy is investigating reports that the unit, Foxtrot Platoon of SEAL Team 7, held a Fourth of July party where some members consumed alcohol against regulations, and that a senior enlisted member of the platoon had raped a female service member attached to the platoon.”
The official spoke to the New York Times under the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
A civilian lawyer, Jeremiah Sullivan representing one of the SEALs confirmed that there was an investigation into reports of authorized drinking and sexual assault allegations.
When commanders began investigating the allegations against the SEAL platoon, the entire platoon invoked their 5th Amendment right to remain silent. At, that point commanders decided to redeploy the platoon back to the San Diego, including the lieutenant in command. According to same official speaking under the condition of anonymity with New York Times.
Also, during the investigation the Navy ordered the SEAL platoon to be drug tested. The results of those test are unknown, according to a SEAL officer briefed on the matter.
Maj. Gen. Hill made the decision and order the SEAL platoon back to the U.S. after the investigation determined that some of the platoon was drinking at the 4th of July party and others where aware of the drinking.
Last Wednesday, U.S. Special Operations Command released a statement on Twitter regarding the SEALs being pulled out of theater and returning to San Diego.
On SOCOM’s official Twitter page it states, “The commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (in Iraq) ordered the early redeployment of a SEAL Team platoon to San Diego due to a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods. The Commander lost confidence in the team’s ability to accomplish the mission. Commanders have worked to mitigate the operational impact as this SEAL platoon follows a deliberate redeployment. All Department of Defense personnel are expected to uphold proven standards and to comply with laws and regulations. Alleged violations are thoroughly investigated.”
With the withdrawal of the SEAL platoon out of Iraq, this becomes the latest story of U.S. Navy SEAL misconduct in theater. In the last year, SEALs have been hit with repeated reports of misconduct, drug abuse, and violence that have become major national and international news headlines.
Commander Tamara Lawerence, a spokeswoman for the SEALs spoke about discipline and accountable. Cmdr. Lawrence states, “Naval Special Warfare insists on a culture where ethical adherence is equally important to tactical proficiency,” she said in a statement. “Good order and discipline is critical to the mission. We’re actively reinforcing, with the entire force, basic leadership, readiness, responsibility and ethical principles that must form the foundation of special operations.”