Top SEAL expected to resign amid disagreements with Trump administration

Jack Murphy
February 05, 2020 - 10:39 am
Adm Green

Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alex Ramos


Top Navy SEAL Rear Adm. Collin Green will reportedly step down from his position as commander of Naval Special Warfare (NSW) a year early. 

Green has led the troubled command during a particularly turbulent time as Navy SEALs assigned to NSW have repeatedly been charged with war crimes, drug use, sexual assault, the murder of a Green Beret in Mali, and other high profile scandals that have generated countless stories in the press and attracted political attention all the way up to the White House. Green was seen by some as a reformer who would clean up some of the issues the command was experiencing in recent years. Over the summer Green distributed a memorandum stating, "that a portion of this force is ethically misaligned with our culture."

Perhaps the most controversial scandal that NSW had experienced was the court-martial of Chief Eddie Gallagher, which brought Adm. Green into direct conflict with President Trump, the latter of whom intervened numerous times on Gallagher's behalf. Gallagher was acquitted of all but one of the war crimes charges brought against him, but Green decided to initiate a peer review board of Gallagher to determine if he should be stripped of his SEAL trident. The trident is a gold pin worn by SEALs after they complete their training, and is symbolic of their membership in an elite military unit. President Trump intervened to prevent this review from happening, which lead to the resignation of the Secretary of the Navy.

According to at least one report, Green is likely to be replaced with Rear Adm. H. Wyman Howard III. Howard previously commanded SEAL Team 6 where, as the red squadron commander early in the War on Terror, he is alleged to have encouraged his men to commit war crimes. At the time, Howard is said to have encouraged his men to carry hatchets during combat deployments. "Howard was often heard asking his operators whether they’d gotten 'blood on your hatchet' when they returned from a deployment," according to a 2017 report.  

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Reach Jack Murphy: or @JackMurphyRGR.