iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The commander and the senior enlisted officer of a U.S. Navy SEAL team have been relieved of their duties after investigations into alleged sexual assault and sexual harassment while their unit was deployed to East Africa, officials said.Both senior leaders had been sent back to the United States in May while the allegations were investigated and could possibly face administrative punishments.“The commanding officer and command master chief of an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare command were relieved of their duties on July 9,” said Lt. Jacqui Maxwell, a spokesperson for Naval Special Warfare Group Two.“Cmdr. Jarrod Donaldson and Master Chief Jon Franklin were relieved from their position by Capt. Jamie Sands, commander, Naval Special Warfare Group Two,” Maxwell added.“Donaldson and Franklin have been administratively reassigned to Naval Special Warfare Group Two.”In early May, Donaldson and Franklin were “pulled from deployment” in East Africa after sexual misconduct allegations were made. Both leaders retained their command positions within the unit stateside while the allegations were investigated.One of the team leaders was investigated for the alleged inappropriate touching of a female service member during the deployment, two defense officials said.Both team leaders are being investigated for allegations of sexual harassment, officials said.Donaldson and Franklin were investigated by a command investigation and the Navy’s Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) investigated personal conduct allegations against Franklin, Lt. Maxwell said.They have been relieved of their duties now that the investigations are concluded. “The Navy will follow due process,” Maxwell said.Substantiated allegations are typically followed by potential nonjudicial punishments meted out by a commanding officer, a disciplinary review board or both, a defense official said. SEAL Team units deployed to East Africa typically operate in Djibouti, where the United States has a base, and in Somalia, where they assist in an advisory capacity with the Somali military.While “pulled from deployment,” both senior leaders have not been relieved of their duties as the commanding officer and command master chief of their SEAL Team. While stateside they will remain in those positions as the allegations are investigated.The Navy has eight SEAL team units, four odd-numbered units stationed in Coronado, California, and four even-numbered units stationed at Little Creek, Virginia.A ninth SEAL Team is more commonly known as SEAL Team Six, though its official name is Special Warfare Development Group DEVGRU. That elite Special Missions unit is best known for its role in the Osama bin Laden raid.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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KTMF(SEATTLE) — A family exploring Yellowstone National Park was able to save their 10-year-old son from a grizzly bear using bear spray they had rented from a kiosk nearby, according to reports. Sally Vering, the founder of the Bear Aware kiosk at Yellowstone’s Canyon Village, told ABC affiliate KTMF in Missoula, Montana, the family emailed her to thank her for selling them the spray.Park-goers can rent the spray and watch a training video on how to use it at the store, according to KTMF. People tend to rent the spray rather than buy it to save money, Vering said.“We are grateful for the bear spray and training which I am convinced saved at least one life on Thursday,” the boy’s father wrote, Vering said. The family had been walking on a trail southeast of the famed Old Faithful geyser during a snowy day on Thursday when a grizzly bear knocked the boy to the ground and bit him in the back, park officials told KTMF. Park rangers confirmed the attack to the local station.After the family used the spray to save the boy’s life, they returned it back to the rental store. The family said the spray “worked immediately,” employee Sarah Kosey told KTMF.“They were just thankful that they had it with them at the time,” Kosey said.The seriousness of the boys’ injuries from the attack is unclear. The family was heading home to Washington as of Monday night, according to KTMF.“That family knew what to do,” Vering said. “They saved their child’s life. They saved their own life. To be a part of that is astonishing.” Ohio resident Shane Burkholder watched the training video and rented a can of bear spray for his own family, he said.“The affordability of having bear spray and bear spray training right here on park premises is invaluable,” he told KTMF. Bear spray is technically made of hot peppers and sprays up to 30 feet to burn the eyes and noses of the bear.Vering said she decided to start the bear spray business four years ago. She realized how important it could be after two people died from a bear attack while hiking in Yellowstone in the summer of 2011 and after her own encounter with a bear at Yellowstone in 2009. None of the three victims who died as a result of a bear attack in the last decade used bear spray, according to KTMF.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.