Navy SEALs Caught Drinking in Combat Zone, Ordered Off Deployment

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As it should, the United States Navy holds its military members to certain standards. Both tactical proficiency and ethical adherence are considered of equal importance. Unfortunately for a platoon of Navy SEALs on SEAL Team 7, they could not live up to these standards and comply with the law. 

On July 24, after a “perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational period,” Navy Officials from the U.S. Special Operations Command explained in a July 25 statement that they sent about 20 SEALs home from Iraq. They were accused of drinking while off-duty but still in a combat zone.

Expectation to Uphold Proven Standards

According to the statement, “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.”

Shadow Cast Over U.S. Military Elite Special Ops Forces

This is not the first time that an incident has cast a less-than-stellar light over the U.S. military’s elite special operations forces, specifically the Navy SEALs.  Earlier this month, a member of Team 7, Special Operations Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, was acquitted of premeditated murder of a 17-year-old ISIS fighter as well as shooting at an old man and young girl while he was on deployment. His charges for posing with the corpse of the same ISIS fighter are still pending.

During the court-martial, Gallagher’s lead defense attorney painted a picture of a culture filled with drinking at night and engaging in various rogue behavior.  

In May, a member of the elite SEAL Team 6, Chief Petty Officer Adam Matthews, was sentenced to a year in military prison after he pled guilty to his part in the June 2017 strangulation of Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar during a hazing incident. 

Another July report by the Navy Times reported that 10 SEALs from SEAL Team 10 have tested positive for cocaine use earlier in the year. 

Reinforcing the Importance of Discipline

With all of these incidents, Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, with Navy Special Warfare at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, stressed that the Navy is actively reinforcing the importance of discipline, which she calls a competitive advantage. “Leaders at all levels must lead in a way that sustains and sharpens that foundation [of basic leadership, readiness, responsibility and ethical principals].”

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If you or a loved one has been charged with an allegation of misbehavior and must face a court-martial, are under investigation, or are seeking to appeal the court’s decision, the attorneys in the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We are proud to serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for each of us. We will work to get your charge or penalty lowered and in some cases, even dismissed. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us at 719-247-3111 today!

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