Three Navy SEAL leaders fired for 'breakdown' in discipline

Three Navy SEAL leaders fired for 'breakdown' in discipline
© Getty

Three team leaders of the elite U.S. Navy SEAL Team 7 have been relieved of duty following reported allegations of sexual assault and drinking while deployed in Iraq.

A defense official told NBC News the move was related to a claim from one woman who said a member of the team assaulted her over the July 4 weekend and allegations that the team members were drinking in a combat zone.

Naval Special Warfare Command Captain Tamara Lawrence told The Hill that the three Navy SEAL leaders would be moved to other jobs, adding that another senior enlisted member will be redeployed.


Lawrence identified the three SEALs 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.

"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," Lawrence said.

A senior Navy official with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times that no one had yet been charged in connection to the reported events in Iraq.

The firings followed an August announcement by Gen. Richard Clarke of a review of the culture inside the Special Operations Forces, citing “recent incidents.”

Rear Adm. Collin Green, commander of Naval Special Warfare Command, called for significant 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 an August memo.