Edward Gallagher has brought shame to a community our father helped found. Now he is being emboldened to tear down our nation’s premier fighting force by a president who does not understand the consequences of his actions.
Our father, Rear Adm. Draper Kauffman, was the founder of the training school for the Navy underwater demolition teams (UDTs) that became the Navy SEALs. His heroic bomb-disposal actions at Pearl Harbor led to the creation of — and be among the first to survive — "Hell Week," the grueling five-day test of SEAL candidates that continues to challenge the strongest men our country has to offer and is still described as among the most difficult military training in the world.
We can say unequivocally: Dad would have been horrified by the actions of Gallagher and would never have allowed him to remain a part of the Navy SEALs.
Gallagher's shameful case
Gallagher was accused of heinous war crimes by his peers after a 2017 deployment to Mosul, Iraq. Soon after these allegations came to light, Gallagher allegedly began to sow discord among his team of brothers, attacking their sense of loyalty while remaining blind to his own misdeeds.
His subsequent trial, after which he was acquitted of all but one charge, again left the SEAL community deeply divided, but at least the ordeal was seemingly behind them.
Until last month, when President Donald Trump reversed Gallagher's demotion and ordered that he remain a SEAL, preventing the commander of Naval Special Warfare, Rear Adm. Collin Green, from even starting the formal process of expelling Gallagher from the SEALs: an action that drove an even larger wedge into this politically exhausted group of warriors.
Dad believed deeply in the chain of command and in honorable service to one’s nation without reward or recognition. We have no doubt that he would have acknowledged Trump’s authority to maintain Gallagher as a SEAL. We also have no doubt that he would have resigned in protest of this debasement of the high standards that elite teams like the UDTs and SEALs must uphold.
SEALs act, politicians take the glory
The Gallagher case is not the first instance in which politicians have undermined these standards, and Trump is not the first president to participate in doing so. A core principle Dad believed was that UDTs and their successors serve quietly and without seeking fame or fortune. Indeed, to the best of our knowledge, none of those who served under Dad sought to cash in, financially or politically, after the war. He certainly did not.
Presidents, on the other hand, especially those who have never served in combat, seem to find it irresistible to bathe in the reflected glory of elite military units. They are quick to trade these units and their work for political capital without realizing the effect their Rose Garden ceremonies have on those asked to be in harm’s way.https://www.yahoo.com/news/father-helped-found-future-navy-100027127.html