The Green Beret unit captured firing on a civilian truck in Afghanistan in a viral YouTube video last January and found in compliance with the rules of engagement by a subsequent investigation had a reputation for “horribly poor judgment” during a deployment where leaders “let soldiers drink alcohol and have sex in violation of military rules,” according to a report obtained by Stars and Stripes.
- The report by Army Criminal Investigation Command, obtained by Stars and Stripes, surfaced allegations of “toxic” U.S. Army Special Forces personnel during a deployment and “failures in discipline and professionalism that carried over into operations, leading to the shooting,” as the team’s enlisted leader told Army investigators.
- Among those unprofessional behaviors, according to the NCO, was “having his authority subverted by fellow NCOs because he had taken a stand against allowing soldiers to violate General Order No. 1, which prohibits alcohol use and sex in Afghanistan,” as Stars and Stripes reports.
- “Throughout the deployment, I had to deal with toxic individuals who undermined my authority because they were being protected by the ODA officers,” the team’s senior enlisted said, per Stars and Stripes. “This behavior spilled over into our operations, with poor decision-making by these individuals and those on the ODA negatively influenced by them.”
- Briefly uploaded to YouTube under the title “Happy Few Ordnance Symphony” and first surfaced by Politico, the video of the shooting in question contained combat footage taken between January and February 2015 new Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Field, according to the report. The footage was dubbed over with the Kendrick Lamar song “Humble.”
While the team’s commander claims that the shot captured in the YouTube video “may have been the only way to get the driver’s attention,” the NCO — a 10-year veteran of Operational Detachment Alpha teams, per Stars and Stripes — is alleging these violations are part of a larger pattern of recklessness. How this discontinuity played out amid the decision by Army officials to not charge the individuals involved remains to be seen.