SEALs Had ‘Character and Ethics’ Issues: Navy Admiral

The US Navy’s elite SEALs warfighting unit had a problem with “character and ethics,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday admitted at the annual Sea-Air-Space conference.

As reported by, Gilday stated that the SEALs went through what he described as “a comprehensive review” in 2019. The review, directed by US Special Operations Command head Gen. Richard Clarke, was called for due to a number of “prominent and embarrassing events within the command.” Clarke said these incidents threatened Americans’ trust in the force.

One such event was the case of now-retired SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was accused of war crimes by his former colleagues during his 2017 deployment in Iraq. A court martial eventually found him not guilty of most charges, but he was found guilty of taking a photo of himself with a prisoner’s corpse. 

Other incidents included allegations of sexual abuse, high-profile legal disputes, and drug use within group.

Following the review, Gilday said that the Navy SEALs have now “placed great emphasis on [character and ethics] in terms of their mentoring and their training.”


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