An elite U.S. Navy platoon has been removed from Iraq for misconduct that allegedly included drinking during a Fourth of July party and service members’ refusal to answer questions about an alleged sexual assault committed by a senior enlisted member, according to reports.
The SEAL team stationed in Iraq to fight threats posed by the Islamic State was ordered back to San Diego early after reported misconduct, military officials announced Wednesday.
Officials did not detail the allegations of misconduct, but The New York Times reported Friday that the U.S. Navy was investigating Foxtrot Platoon of SEAL Team 7. Allegations included that senior enlisted member sexually assaulted a female service member attached to the platoon, as well as reports of drinking alcohol which is against regulations for troops in Iraq. The newspaper cited a senior Navy official with knowledge of the matter and a civilian attorney representing one of the SEALs in the platoon.
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The Navy Times also reported that the allegations included drinking during the July 4 party and “potential misconduct with service women.”
After the entire platoon invoked their right to remain silent, they were sent home, according to The New York Times.
The U.S. Special Operations Command said SEALs must comply with all laws, regulations, and standards.
In a series of tweets, the command announced Wednesday that the commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve had “lost confidence in team’s ability to accomplish the mission.”
The actions of SEAL Team 7 members was recently in the national spotlight with the court martial of Special Warfare Operator Chief Eddie Gallagher.
Gallagher's rank was reduced after he was found guilty of wrongful posing for an unofficial picture with a human casualty.
Gallagher was cleared in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive under his care in Iraq in 2017. He was also cleared of attempted murder in the shootings of two civilians and all other charges.
A number of special forces members are on trial this year including a U.S. Navy SEAL who pleaded guilty to hazing and assault charges for his role in the 2017 strangulation of a U.S. Army Green Beret in Africa.
The scandals have prompted a review by the Navy’s top commanders into the behavior of the special warfare teams.