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The Navy reportedly booted SEAL Team 7 out of Iraq after a senior enlisted platoon member allegedly raped a female service member
When the commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve unceremoniously booted SEAL Team 7 out of Iraq this week, the U.S. Special Operations Command justified it "due to a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods."
But according to an alarming new report in the New York Times, "deterioration of good order and discipline" seemed to be an understatement.
While the Navy initially indicated that an alcohol-soaked July 4th party was the core driver of the decision, a senior Navy official revealed to the New York Times' David Philipps that a senior enlisted platoon member had allegedly raped a female service member assigned to the SEAL platoon.
In addition, "when commanders began investigating the allegations, the entire platoon invoked their right to remain silent" under the Fifth Amendment, Philipps reports. "At that point, the official said, commanders decided to send the whole platoon home, including the lieutenant in command."
When reached for comment by Task & Purpose, SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw said the command was "unable to confirm the nature of any allegations that are currently under investigation."
The alleged sexual assault and subsequent circling of the wagons appeared to be the last straw for SEAL Team 7. In July, SEAL Team 7 Chief Eddie Gallagher was found not guilty of murder after being accused of stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death in Mosul in 2017 while deployed there.
During the Gallagher trial, fellow SEAL Team 7 member SO1 Corey Scott claimed that he, not Gallagher, has executed the fighter. Scott had been offered immunity as a witness for the prosecution, and the Navy subsequently weighed perjury charges against him.
As Task & Purpose's Paul Szoldra previously noted, Gallagher's court-martial revealed that other members of SEAL Team 7 constructed a bar at their compound and were regularly drinking alcohol. Indeed, Gallagher's commanding officer is scheduled to go to trial in September.
This is all to say nothing of the cocaine abuse allegations currently roiling SEAL Team 10 and the fallout from the Mali hazing incident that resulted in the death of Army Special Forces Sgt. Logan Melgar at the hands of two members of SEAL Team 6. But according to a March 2018 Pentagon report to Congress, SOCOM doesn't see any problems with ethics and professionalism in its community.
"The SOF [special operations forces] culture requires more than adherence to the minimum standards of compliance with applicable law and policy," the report stated. "SOF personnel who manage violence under the stress and ambiguity of combat require the highest level of individual and organizational discipline."
"This is more than just adherence to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and ethics regulations, the report added. "Rather, it is the cornerstone of the values system that trust and faith are built upon at every level within SOF."
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.