There is no more messing around for the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) when it comes to discipline and professionalism issues in the SEAL Teams. In a sudden move, NSWC decided to relieve the officer and enlisted leadership of SEAL Team 7 (ST-7).
According to a NSWC press statement, Commander Edward Mason (ST-7, commanding officer), Lieutenant Commander Luke Im (ST-7, executive officer), and Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler (ST-7, command master chief) were all fired “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.” An additional SEAL master chief has been fired but his name hasn’t been disclosed because of the sensitive nature of his work and the fact that he wasn’t part of the Team’s senior leadership.
Although NSWC didn’t identify the subordinate units that resulted in the decision to relieve ST-7’s leadership, all evidence points out to Foxtrot platoon, ST-7, which was pulled out from the Area of Operations (AO) over a series of Fourth of July shenanigans that took place in Iraq this past summer, and to a ST-7 detachment deployed to Yemen.
In what might not be an innocent coincidence, Chief Special Warfare Operator Eddie Gallagher was platoon chief of ST-7’s Alpha Platoon before his legal saga over war crime charges during the unit’s deployment in Iraq in 2017.
NEWSREP has reached out to both the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and NSWC for comments. As of now, they haven’t responded
They said it, now they are taking action. It has been just shy of two weeks since Rear Admiral Collin Green, the commander of NSWC, penned a directive that vibrated throughout the Naval Special Warfare community. An essentially back-to-the-basics initiative, the four-page directive was issued to all of NSWC’s subordinate units, to include the SEAL Teams and the Special Boat Teams, which are comprised of Special Warfare Combatant Crewmen (SWCC).
“We are U.S. Naval Officers and Sailors first and foremost and we will realign ourselves to these standards immediately,” wrote Admiral Green, emphasizing that a “portion of this Force is ethically misaligned.”
Admiral Green’s directive also banned all unofficial unit insignia, logos, and patches below the troop level and ordered adherence to the Navy’s grooming standards – hitherto, SEALs had the luxury to operate under relaxed grooming standards.
This is a statement. NSWC’s leadership wants to make it as clear as possible that the SEAL community is changing and that it will tolerate bad apples no more. Some might say that the two SEAL officers and two senior enlisted Sailors are being thrown under the bus for the faults of others. In the end, however, a leader is responsible for everything his unit does or fails to do.