Navy SEAL team leaders relieved of duty for violations

The leaders of the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 7 were removed from command Friday after allegations were raised about a sexual assault and drinking while units were deployed in Iraq, military officials said.

A defense official told NBC News the action was related to a claim by a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a member of the team over the 4th of July weekend and allegations that platoon members were drinking in the combat zone.

The three team leaders are being held responsible for the character of their platoon, the defense official said.

The three, identified as Cmdr. Edward Mason, the commanding officer; Lt. Cmdr. Luke Im, the executive officer; and Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler, the platoon's top enlisted leader, will be relieved of duty and moved to other jobs, said Naval Special Warfare Command Capt. Tamara Lawrence.

One senior enlisted team member, who was not named, will also be redeployed, Lawrence said.

"The reliefs are the result of a loss of confidence in their ability to command and ability to lead, respectively, following leadership failures that resulted in a breakdown of good order and discipline within the unit while deployed to a combat zone," she said.

Related: Trail of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher

9 PHOTOS
Trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher
See Gallery
Trial of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher
FILE - In this Thursday, May 30, 2019, file photo, Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher leaves a military courtroom on Naval Base San Diego with his wife, Andrea Gallagher, in San Diego. Edward Gallagher, who has been charged with allegedly killing an Islamic State prisoner in his care and attempted murder for the shootings of two Iraq civilians in 2017, is scheduled to go on trial Monday, June 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Julie Watson, File)
Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, right, walks with his wife, Andrea Gallagher as they arrive to military court on Naval Base San Diego, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in San Diego. Jury selection continued Tuesday morning in the court-martial of the decorated Navy SEAL, who is accused of stabbing to death a wounded teenage Islamic State prisoner and wounding two civilians in Iraq in 2017. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder, charges that carry a potential life sentence. (AP Photo/Julie Watson)
Edward Gallagher, a US Navy Special Operations Chief facing murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner, leaves a military courtroom on Naval Base San Diego after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors, graphic element on gray
Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, left, hugs his wife, Andrea Gallagher, after leaving a military courtroom on Naval Base San Diego, Thursday, May 30, 2019, in San Diego. The decorated Navy SEAL facing a murder trial in the death of an Islamic State prisoner was freed Thursday from custody after a military judge cited interference by prosecutors. (AP Photo/Julie Watson)
U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher's defense attorney Tim Parlatore speaks to the media after opening arguments in the soldier's court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California , U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher leaves court with his wife Andrea, her name tattooed on his wrist, after the first day of jury selection at this court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California , U.S., June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Former U.S. army member King Cohn arrives at court to support U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher during the first day of jury selection at the court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California , U.S., June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
The entrance to the courthouse at Naval Base San Diego is shown where jury selection begins in the court-martial trial of U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher in San Diego, California , U.S., June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Defence attorney Timothy Parlatore, representing US Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, speaks with reporters at a pre-trial hearing for Gallagher's court martial for alleged war crimes in Iraq, in San Diego, California, U.S., May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Earnie Grafton
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The move followed an announcement by Gen. Richard Clarke in August of a comprehensive review of Special Operations Forces' culture and ethnics. He cited "recent incidents."

In late August, NBC News obtained a memo from Rear Adm. Collin Green, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, which called for sweeping changes and criticized a drift "from our Navy core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment" and "lack of action at all levels of leadership."

In the memo, Green lays out guidance on a "back to basics" leadership approach.

Green redeployed the Team 7 leaders, Lawrence said. The defense official said they were awaiting reassignment.

Separately in July, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher was acquitted by a military jury of murder in the death of a teen ISIS fighter when he was deployed with Team 7 in Iraq in 2017.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.