(U.S. Navy/Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jayme Pastoric)

A member of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6 who was named its Sailor of the Year in 2016 has been charged with pretending to be someone else over text messages so he could get nude photographs from women.

Petty Officer 1st Class Aaron Howard faces a general court-martial at Naval Station Norfolk, although his civilian defense attorney is seeking to have the case dismissed during a hearing next week.

The case is thrusting the ordinarily secretive naval special warfare community into an uncomfortable spotlight once again.

On Wednesday, a platoon of San Diego-based SEALs was sent home early from Iraq "due to a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods." And earlier this week, Navy Times reported that members of Virginia Beach-based SEAL Team 10 routinely used cocaine and were able to cheat drug tests before they were caught last year.

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Editor's note: This story originally appeared in October 2017.

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"This is some serious Navy SEAL shit we're about to do," Rob O'Neill, the former SEAL Team 6 operator who killed Osama bin Laden, said Wednesday of what he was thinking during the 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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Photo via DoD

When the body of Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar, a Green Beret with the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group, was discovered in the diplomatic housing he shared with several other special operations forces in the Malian capital of Bamako, military officials with U.S. Africa Command immediately suspected foul play. But according to an explosive new report published Sunday night, the truth may be far more complicated than the Department of Defense first suspected.

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Photo courtesy of KnifeArt.com

In 2015, The New York Times published an exhaustive “secret history” of SEAL Team 6. Included among its many revelations was the detail that, for a period of time, guys who lasted a year with the team’s Red Squadron were given a tomahawk forged by a North Carolina-based knife maker named Daniel Winkler. Some SEALs carried the hatchets on missions, and “at least one killed an enemy fighter with the weapon.” Winkler, the Times noted, also happens to be the guy who made the tomahawks for the film “The Last of the Mohicans.”

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