Two senior Navy SEALs who were fired earlier on September are striking back at their leadership.
Commander Edward Mason, the former officer in command of SEAL Team 7, and Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler, the senior enlisted leader of SEAL Team 7, have filed a complaint to the Department of Defence’s Inspector General (IG) against Rear Admiral Collin Green, the commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), and Force Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) William King, NSWC senior enlisted operator.
The complaint asks of Admiral Michael Gilday, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), who is set to visit Adm. Green and the NSWC, to “order a Command Climate Survey regarding the leadership ability of RADM Green and CMC King.” More specifically, they are requesting that the two SEAL leaders undergo a polygraph test that, they argue, will prove that they tolerated alcohol consumption by SEAL platoons deployed overseas. SEAL Team 7’s Foxtrot Platoon was pulled out from Iraq during the summer over allegations of sexual harassment and alcohol consumption. The incident was one of the reasons behind Adm. Green’s decision to fire the Team’s leadership.
The three SEAL Team 7 leaders had been fired by Admiral Green during the first week of September. NSWC had released a statement saying that the decision to dismiss the three operators was “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.”
During the leadership purge, two additional SEALs were fired. Lieutenant Commander Luke Im, SEAL Team 7’s executive officer, and an unnamed master chief who was deployed in Yemen. His name, however, was kept secret over Operational Security (OPSEC) reasons and because he wasn’t part of SEAL Team 7’s senior leadership.
Essentially, the two fired SEALs are asking the head of the Navy to relieve Naval Special Warfare’s leadership over the same or similar misconduct issues that led to their firing – calling out Adm. Green and CMC King for hypocrisy and poor leadership.
Rear Admiral Charles Brown, the Navy’s spokesperson, said in a statement to the Navy Times that it wouldn’t be “appropriate to discuss a complaint submitted for consideration and potential review by the Inspector General,” adding that the Navy reviews misconduct allegations seriously.”
The IG complaint comes at a moment of reflection for Naval Special Warfare. A string of scandals have rocked the SEAL community and brought its bad apples into the limelight, tarnishing the reputation and legacy foster by decades of remarkable service.