A Navy SEAL platoon was ordered home early from a deployment in Iraq due to misbehavior during non-operational periods. The unidentified platoon is part of SEAL Team 7, and their misconduct appears to have been the overconsumption of alcohol during the 4th of July celebrations.
According to a statement released by the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), it was the commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq who gave the order for the early dismissal of the SEAL platoon. The reasons given were “a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods.”
The commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation (SOF) 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.”
American personnel deployed to Iraq—and to other Muslim countries where alcohol is prohibited—are banned from drinking as a mark of respect for the local culture. Despite this prohibition, it’s not uncommon for warfighters to consume alcoholic beverages during downtime and ultimately falls under the discretion of their immediate commanders. Thus, sending home the SEAL platoon is bound to raise a few eyebrows, for it’s almost certain they weren’t the only ones partying that day.
A possible explanation is that SOF commanders wish to show they’re starting to take seriously incidents of misbehavior in the SEAL community, and SOF community in general—especially in the wake of the recent stories that have questioned their ability to discipline their operators.
“The Commander lost confidence in the team’s ability to accomplish the mission,” the USSOCOM statement said, adding that “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.”
A representative from the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) added in a statement to the Navy Times that “Naval Special Warfare insists on a culture where ethical adherence is equally important to tactical proficiency. Good order and discipline is critical to the mission—the loss of confidence outweighed potential operational risk. To mitigate potential impacts of this redeployment, other NSW personnel are available to complete the assigned operational requirements.”
The NSWC representative added that the Command is actively enforcing throughout NSWC the basic leadership, readiness, responsibility, and ethical standards that are the cornerstone of SOF. “Leaders at all levels must lead in a way that sustains and sharpens that foundation. Discipline is a competitive advantage and enforcing those standards is critical to our success on the battlefield.”