Friday, December 04, 2009

Admiral Harvey - be careful where you dig ....

This will leave a mark.
The Navy has relieved the commanding officer of the Norfolk-based USS James E. Williams due to loss of confidence in his ability to command. Cmdr. Paul Marquis has been reassigned to administrative duties. He will be replaced by by Cmdr. Anthony J. Linardi.

The ship's command master chief, Master Chief Petty Officer Timothy Youell, was also relieved as a result of the substandard performance of his duties. The Navy says the ship's prospective command master chief is Master Chief Petty Officer James Stuart.

The relief comes after nine James E. Williams' Sailors received nonjudicial punishment last month, following investigations of charges of fraternization between senior and junior enlisted personnel aboard the ship.

"Such a large number of fraternization cases in one command is a clear indication of a leadership failure," stated Adm. J. C. Harvey, Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. "This leadership failure fostered a command climate that allowed the fraternization to occur. The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute. It is our tradition that with responsibility goes authority and with them both goes accountability. This accountability is not for the intentions, but for the deed. Nobody trusts or has confidence in leaders who believe they cannot be held accountable for what they do. And when confidence and trust are lost in those who lead, we fail. The James E. Williams' commanding officer and command master chief are being held accountable for the fraternization that occurred on their watch."

Additionally, the Williams' executive officer, Cmdr. Daniel D. Sunvold, will be reassigned as the executive officer on USS Bainbridge.
OK, this is a touchy subject - but I will go there.

First of all, everything Admiral Harvey says is true and good. Here is the rub: this is a huge problem in the Fleet, and if we are going to have a "Not on my watch; not on my ship; not in my Navy" attitude towards Shipmates bump'n uglies - then stand the fark by.

It is widespread and largely ignored. Why is it ignored? Because it is widespread. Why is it widespread? Because people are terrified about what will happen if they hold someone accountable.

The minute you bring OS2 Nicfit to mast for gerspunkeng YNSN Bubblicious in a fan room - then the OS2 is going to say, "What about BM1 Navaljelly and ITCS Perdiemsponge?" You take ITCS to mast and then she will ask, "What about LT Firmbuns and ENS Noqual?" Oh, and half of them are married, and YNSN has 45 minutes of gerspunking video with four partners spanning three fanrooms and two sponsons, and OS2 is filing a CMEO complaint because he is the only left-handed Lithuanian on the ship and is the only one going to mast - oh and to add to your pleasure the YNSN just made a hotline complaint for lord knows what.

Before you know it you have nine people going to mast and your ISIC and/or FFOITCOC does this number.

I have watched COs twist themselves into pretzels to avoid the subject. I have seen PRD cycles adjusted to get rid of problems. I have see commands stand by and do nothing as marriages and watch sections were torn apart due to fraternization everyone knew about - all because they were terrified of what would happen if they finally held someone accountable.

If this is the start of an accountability project WRT fraternization, then very well; you have my full support. Just be advised, this will be a long, costly and expensive enterprise. This has been a nasty habit for a long time. This isn't a one ship problem, and the habit starts at a Sailor's first command - and many times in bootcamp.

Just look at the number of single mothers we produce in the Navy (as a past CNP, you know the stats). Talk to the 19-yr old Sailors who will not identify the father of their child because he is a married E6 or an E8. I have.

Talk to the COs who look the other way about the problem. I have. Watch those officers put on star after star. I have. That is the example I saw starting as an ENS.

Our officers learn it early. As we all know, this is a very common activity at Annapolis - our officers learn that habit as well - and they are not held accountable.

Is there a whole lot more to this story? Of course. What would be interesting to know is how those nine went to Mast. Was it the COs idea? Did he only do it after pressure from the ISIC?

Once again; Admiral Harvey - you've made a clear statement. Short and tight. I don't think you need to repeat it or clarify your remarks. That is D&G anyone can run with.

What I think a lot of us are looking for is the follow through. Give top cover to your COs who decide to execute your D&G. Help them survive the false accusations via hotline complaints that will come as a result. Help everyone from you to that CO to stiffen their spine when the gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes at the "unfairness" of it all comes along. When the retaliatory claims are made.

If you are serious, then you have a long, hard slog ahead. With real top-cover, you will get the results you want. If there is even a hint of a lack of top cover, then we will go back to SOP - make the lump under the rug higher and thicker - and hope no one notices until the end of the PCS cycle.

The time to act is now;
The Navy plans to target more female recruits in 2010. Currently, 15.4 percent of the Navy enlisted force are females, and the Navy wants to increase that number to at least 20 percent. While the overall active duty enlisted recruiting goal for 2010 remains the same (35,000), the Navy hopes to recruit at least 7,996 female recruits (up from 7,474 in fiscal year 2009).

According to officials, the Navy wants women in "nontraditional" ratings, such as engineering and combat systems, instead of the clerical or health care fields women have to volunteer for in the past.
With an increasing number of women - there are more opportunities for this to take place.

That is in no way an anti-female comment (I actually like women in the Navy) - that is simple biology, statistics, and the fallen nature of man ... and woman.
UPDATE: Looks like a bit more blood on the floor.
The Navy has fired the commanding officer, command master chief and five other chiefs....

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