The head of the Navy SEALs sacked 3 SEAL Team 7 leaders after team members were kicked out of Iraq

Ryan Pickrell

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  • Rear Adm. Collin Green, who heads Navy Special Warfare Command, fired three senior SEAL Team 7 leaders Friday after team members were kicked out of Iraq in response to discipline problems.

  • A deployed SEAL platoon, part of SEAL Team 7, was sent back to the States in July amid allegations of alcohol abuse and sexual assault.

  • "Everybody is accountable, even the leadership," Chief Master Sergeant Gregory A. Smith, the combatant command senior enlisted leader for Special Operations Command previously told Insider, explaining that the leadership must be held accountable "more so than anyone" because "the leadership is responsible for establishing the culture."

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The head of the US Navy SEALs sacked three senior SEAL Team 7 leaders after members of their team were kicked out of Iraq and sent home early after alcohol abuse and an alleged sexual assault that led their commander to lose confidence in their ability to carry out the mission.

Rear Adm. Collin Green, who heads Navy Special Warfare Command, relieved three senior SEAL Team 7 leaders on Friday, CNN reported, citing a statement from a command spokesperson.

"Green," the command statement read, "relieved the unit's commanding officer, Cmdr. Edward Mason; executive officer, Lt. Cmdr. Luke Im; and the team's top enlisted leader, Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler due to a loss of confidence that resulted from leadership failures that caused a breakdown of good order and discipline within two subordinate units while deployed to combat zones."

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In late July, the commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve ordered a deployed SEAL platoon, members of SEAL Team 7, to leave Iraq ahead of schedule in response to "perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods."

Read more: A Navy SEAL platoon deployed in Iraq is being kicked out and sent home early due to reported alcohol abuse

The SEALs were sent home amid troubling allegations of alcohol abuse and sexual assault, the latest in a series of high-profile scandals that have tarnished the image of the special operations community.

Read more: A Navy SEAL in the platoon being kicked out of Iraq for misconduct was reportedly accused of raping a fellow service member

Special operators have faced allegations of war crimesalcohol and drug abuse, murder, drug smuggling, rape and other forms of sexual misconduct, and the unwillingness of some individuals in positions of leadership to properly report improper behavior, among other things.

Hours before Special Operations Command announced that members of SEAL Team 7 were being sent back to the States, Chief Master Sergeant Gregory A. Smith, the combatant command senior enlisted leader for SOCOM, explained to Insider that "these ethical breaches affect the entire command and affect the credibility of our entire force, so we take that very seriously."

"Everybody is accountable, even the leadership," he added, explaining that the leadership must be held accountable "more so than anyone" because "the leadership is responsible for establishing the culture."

At the start of August, Green wrote a letter to commanders telling them that there is a problem. "I don't know yet if we have a culture problem, I do know that we have a good order and discipline problem that must be addressed immediately," he explained, according to CNN, which obtained a copy of the letter.

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