About two months after clashing with President Trump, the head of the Navy SEALs is stepping down. Special Warfare Rear Adm. Collin Green has announced his plan to retire in September, a year earlier than planned, after he tried to impose discipline on a SEAL whose behavior became a hot-button political issue, Business Insider reports. Insiders tell the Intercept that the strain of his reform attempts, along with personal issues, took a toll on Green in recent months. Publicly, the main public issue involved Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher—who was charged with murdering an ISIS detainee in Iraq in 2017 but beat that charge and several others in a military court. Still, he was found guilty of posing in a photo with the militant's body.
Trump got interested in the case after seeing it on Fox News. He reinstated Gallagher's rank, which was reduced in his conviction, and nixed a review board that could have taken away Gallagher's SEAL trident pin as he entered retirement. It was a humiliating public defeat for Green, who supported the review board. Green had spent two years trying to repair the SEALs' image after it was marred by criminal charges including alleged murder, drug use, sexual assault, and war crimes. His likely replacement is also a two-star SEAL admiral: H. Wyman Howard III, who reportedly solicited donations to obtain pricey hand-made hatchets used by SEAL Team 6 when he was the team's squadron commander. Word is he urged the team to "bloody the hatchet" while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Gallagher is now hawking T-shirts.)