In Iraq, the commander of a U.S Special Operations task force has sent a platoon of Navy SEALs for drinking on duty, said U.S defense officials. The incident has emerged for an elite force relied upon heavily by the Pentagon.
In a statement on Wednesday, U.S. Special Operations Command said that the Platoon was forced out early to San Diego “due to a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team during non-operational periods” of their deployment.
“The Commander lost confidence in the team’s ability to accomplish the mission,” it claimed. “Commanders have worked to mitigate the operational impact as this SEAL platoon follows a deliberate redeployment,” the statement added.
However, the statement made no mention that what lead the decision but two defense officials said it caused because of SEALs drinking alcohol. While talking about the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, the officials said that the SEALs violated General Order No. 1, which bans alcohol use.
The SEALs were members of SEAL Team 7, which has headquarters in San Diego when not deployed, one of the defense officials said. Though it is not clear whether the SEALs could face criminal charges or administrative punishment of some kind. The officials stated that the unit is still under investigation.
On Wednesday, in a statement, Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare Command said that her unit is “actively reinforcing” with the entire force “basic leadership, readiness, responsibility and ethical principles that must form the foundation of special operations.
“Leaders at all levels must lead in a way that sustains and sharpens that foundation,” she added. “Discipline is a competitive advantage and enforcing those standards is critical to our success on the battlefield,” the spokeswoman added. The action was taken after the independent Navy Times reported that six members of SEAL Team 10 in Little Creek, Virginia, tested positive last year for cocaine use.