In a rare move, military leaders were actually punished for sexual assault and drinking in their Navy SEAL Team 7 unit while deployed in Iraq–but they will stay in the military.
“Commander, Navy Special Warfare Command Read Adm. Collin Green relieved the three senior leaders of SEAL Team Seven from their positions Sept. 6.,” US Navy Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokesperson for Naval Special Warfare Command, told CNN. “Green relieved the unit’s commanding officer, Cdr. Edward Mason; executive officer, Lt. Cdr. Luke Im; and the team’s top enlisted leader, Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler due to a loss of confidence that resulted from leadership failures that caused a breakdown of good order and discipline within two subordinate units while deployed to combat zones.”
The three men were removed from their leadership positions, but they can continue to work in the Navy and won’t receive any more punishments. They are not being accused of actually participating in drinking alcohol and the alleged sexual assault but are being blamed for leadership failure.
The unit also wouldn’t participate in an investigation into the sexual assault and that initially raised red flags.
Navy officials told CNN they could not recall a similar time when the leadership of a SEAL team was similarly fired from their positions.
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There are no more details about the sexual assault.
This is not the first time a SEAL unit has gotten in trouble for sexual assault and drug abuse. Members of a SEAL Team 10 were caught abusing cocacine and other drugs while in Virginia in 2018.
In early July, a military court decided Navy SEAL team leader Eddie Gallagher would be demoted in rank and take a pay cut for posing for a photo with a dead ISIS prisoner while he was serving in Iraq.