One of the former special operations soldiers, who served multiple deployments in Iraq, told ABC News that drinking in moderation – “like a drink, maybe two” – was common while on deployment. “Except after the Saddam [Hussein] capture. We got housed,” he said.
It’s hardly a new phenomenon.
"We drank all the time in Vietnam -- the drug of choice was alcohol," Dick Couch, a former Navy SEAL and author of "Always Faithful, Always Forward" about Marine Special Operations, told ABC News. "We felt like we had a certain amount of entitlement."
Drinking downrange is a "leadership issue" and he added, "sometimes toward the end of a war we get a little raggedy-edged."
But usually the drinking and prescription medication use does not spill out into the open.
"It's not a problem if you're discreet about it," said a recently retired senior Special Forces officer.
Many of the sources said that medications are easy to get in Afghanistan because they are made cheaply in neighboring Pakistan. Alcohol also is easy to procure -- even in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and for many operators it helps them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and sleeping disorders such as what Gant describes as afflicting him.
"General Order No. 1 is controversial. You're killing people. The American Army has always had alcohol to deal with the horrors of warfare," Gavrilis said.
But in a recent interview, Gant's accuser Roberts said he had a moral obligation to speak up about the Green Beret's substance abuse.
"I called my company commander and told him what's going on here. 'I suspect there's drugs floating around, strange behavior, and he's not telling his bosses what's going on.' He told me to put it down in a sworn statement," Roberts said.