Apparently anticipating a woman SEAL sometime soon, the U.S. Navy has changed the SEAL ethos and special warfare combatant crewmen (SWCC) creed to remove references to “man” and “brotherhood.” Some of the changes make sense, others seem silly, or could have been made better.
But gender-neutral is now the new normal in the Navy special warfare community.
In the SEAL ethos “man” was changed in some places to “citizen,” in others to “warrior,” and “men” changed to “SEAL.” Pronouns like “he” was also changed to “they.” These at least make sense.
In the SWCC creed, though, “brotherhood” was changed to the cumbersome and silly-sounding “group of maritime warriors.”
This sounds a lot like Robin Hood’s “band of merry men” to me. Wouldn’t replacing “brotherhood” with “family” have been simpler and more appropriate?
While the Navy has not had a female SEAL or special warfare combatant crewman, Military.com reported a Navy official confirmed that “three enlisted women were at ‘various stages’ of the 37-week training pipeline for special warfare combatant crewmen.”
Only a very few women have attempted Navy special warfare training since restrictions on women in ground combat were lifted in 2016. As Military.com notes, both “specialties require months of physically and mentally-demanding training at the naval special warfare center in Coronado, California.”
Retired SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was pardoned by President Trump of one conviction for taking an inappropriate photo with an enemy fighter corpse, and acquitted of all other charges, blasted the changes in an Instagram post Friday.
“What a joke. Note the names that signed off at the bottom. Adm. Colin Green (part of the hierarchy that tried to use the system to put me away)~ let’s remove all male pronouns & BROTHERHOOD from the SEAL ethos,” Gallagher wrote.
Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Stroup, a spokesman for Naval Special Warfare told American Military News that the changes were made to comply with changes in the law allowing women to serve in the SEALs and SWCC.
Stroup added that “Naval Special Warfare continues to deliberately develop a culture of tactical and ethical excellence that reflects the nation we represent, and that draws upon the talents of the all-volunteer force who meet the standards of qualification as a SEAL or SWCC.”
However, the big question remains – when will the Navy change the term special warfare combatant “crewmen” to special warfare combatant crew “people?”