The only group of Navy SEALs in Iraq is being sent home early following reports of a rape and unauthorized drinking. US Special Operations Command said Wednesday that the move followed "a perceived deterioration of good order and discipline within the team"—Foxtrot Platoon of SEAL Team 7, which includes 19 SEALs and four support troops—"during non-operational periods." The tweet continued to say that "the Commander lost confidence in the team's ability to accomplish the mission." Citing an official with knowledge of the matter, the New York Times reports the Navy is investigating reports that a senior enlisted member raped a female service member, and that the platoon held a Fourth of July party where some members drank alcohol.
Troops are barred from drinking alcohol at all times while on deployment, per Vox; the Washington Post adds the alleged assault was said to have happened over the July 4 weekend. The Times notes it was decided the unit would return to San Diego after all members invoked their right to remain silent. The Navy notes "the loss of confidence in this case outweighed potential operational risk" from yanking the platoon. The top US commander in Iraq and Syria, Lt. Gen. Paul LaCamera, on Friday added the military would "make the adjustment we need to keep the mission going." It's been a tough week of press coverage for the SEALs; the Navy Times on Monday reported on an internal probe that found in April 2018 that some SEAL Team 10 members were using cocaine. (Read more Navy SEALs stories.)