It is a letter from VADM Fowler to Alumni Association Board of Trustees and the USNA Board of Directors. Let's give it a read.
Feb. 4, 2010As de Vise pointed out - at no point does VADM Fowler suggest that anything incorrect was put out at the Washington Post - and I would add here either.
Boards of Directors & Trustees,
As you are most likely aware, there have been a number of media reports regarding a recent conduct hearing here at the Naval Academy. Those reports have understandably concerned some of you. While I cannot comment on the details of the case due to privacy and legal considerations, I wanted to provide you my perspective when I consider cases of misconduct.
When I hold a conduct hearing to examine an alleged violation of our Midshipmen Regulations, I am always cognizant of my solemn duty to uphold the high standards of the Navy, Marine Corps and Naval Academy. In each case, I diligently consider all evidence available, listen to all who have information related to the individual accused and the alleged misconduct, consider the professional potential of the young man or woman who stands accused, and make an impartial decision based on my principles, experience and judgment. I make that decision without regard for my own popularity, possible media reaction, or those who may choose to critique my decision in hindsight. My concern rests solely with providing the midshipman with a fair hearing and properly representing the high ideals of our institution.
In the particular case in question, I did not detour in any manner from my established approach to conduct hearings. I was not - in this case, nor in any previous case that I have heard while Superintendent - improperly or unduly influenced by any individual who had a stake in the outcome of my decision. As blogs and media outlets began to comment on the case, they did so without the benefit of the actual facts and proceedings associated with the case. I acknowledge that when presented with the biased information that found its way into the public, a reasonable person might second-guess my decision and come to a different conclusion. The fact remains, however, that I am the one who reviewed all the evidence and received the statements from those associated with the alleged misconduct. From that evidence and those statements, I came to a decision that I continue to believe is just and proper.
I will point out that some of the information unofficially provided to the public was in many instances in violation of the midshipman's privacy rights and possibly violated Navy regulations and federal law. As Superintendent, I am committed to protecting the privacy of any midshipman who faces an administrative hearing. I want to ensure that whether I return a midshipman to the Brigade or separate the midshipman from the Academy, this individual can be successful in the future. In this case, I believe the midshipman was ill-served by those who violated privacy restrictions and distributed information, some of it inaccurate.
I assure you that the Academy is on the right track, standards remain high, and we are graduating leaders prepared to serve their nation and the naval service with honor, courage and commitment.
Thank you for your continued support.
VADM Jeff Fowler, Superintendent
A few points besides that:
- It is the Commanders decision. Full stop. I have no question that VADM Fowler came to a decision that he thought was just and proper. However, everyone is not in his Chain of Command - and his actions, like everyones, is open to comment.
- This quote is unfortunate,
As blogs and media outlets began to comment on the case, they did so without the benefit of the actual facts and proceedings associated with the case.I will give VADM Fowler the benefit of the doubt that, like many, he may confuse Blog posts with comments. Comments are a free fire zone (with exceptions here for trolls and bomb throwers). I sat on this story for days as I received more and more confirmation of the story. I managed to acquire more sources and methods to verify the story. I was exceptionally confident of the story when I ran it - and stand by every bit. Those I know in the MSM who took the story have sources I do not. Additionally, I did not post all the details I had of the story - though I knew they would come out, which most, but not all of them did. I stand by my facts. Once they become open source, they are fair game.
- VADM Fowler should not be shocked that all the facts came out. The only way to keep that stuff in is to order every MIDN, officer, and civilian employee at the USNA that they cannot talk to their brothers, sisters, boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, cousins, high school teachers or visiting alumni about what is going on at Annapolis. You would also have to, ahem, order every MIDN who gets in trouble that they are not to talk to anyone about anything that went on. Good luck with that in 2010.
So, what happens in the Fleet? What if you found that someone was smoking something that they could buy on the internet and/or from a local store. Something that isn't, how do you say, "distinctive" as marijuana when smoked?
Here you go. From a Fleet spy.
[REDACTED] is wrapping up it's Salvia Divinorum (Spice) investigation. This is not a one ship incident. It is going on everywhere. My Sailors are interacting with other commands. These Sailors using the substance are full aware of the effects of the substance, the limits of testing, the Navy's policy and most importantly how not to get caught. As one of my Sailors put it, "Spice is the ultimate substitute for pot".
I hope this information helps other commands in avoiding this problem. Please send this out on your list.
RESULTS SO FAR
-11 Convictions at Captain's Mast
-2 Pending Court Martial
-1 Not guilty (One time user who thought she was smoking a flavored cigarette.)
-4 accused are on the beach in [REDACTED] awaiting our return (3 were left behind due to hospitalization for Suicidal Related Behavior after questioning. The other was at school)
NOTES FROM THE INVESTIGATION, DRB AND CAPTAIN'S MAST
Of the 14 charged:
-12 of 14 were Male
-9 of 14 were Caucasian
-5 of 14 were African Americans
-13 of 14 were Single
-22 Years old is the average age (Hi/Lo 27/19)
-14 Had HS Diploma or equivalent. No higher education
-Paygrades E4 (5) and below (9)
-Avg Time in Service 2 years 4 months (Hi/Lo 4y7mo/9mo) -Avg Time onboard
1 years 9 months (Hi/Lo 4y2mo/5mo) -GCT (AFQT) Avg 53 (Hi/Lo 87/41) (only 3 had GCT less than 50) -Operations Dept (5), Supply Dept (5), Combat Systems (2), Engineering (1), Navigation Dept (1)
-5 of 13 drug waivers upon entry into service (another 3 claimed to have smoked MJ prior to entry but there was no waiver in service jacket)
-(3) had prior masts.
- Many of these people were model Sailors and their Chain of Command did not expect what hit them.
(Location of use off-ship)
-Apartments off Base
-In the car
-In particular one apartment was the hub of all operations. It appears to -be the local hangout for many single Sailors. 3 Sailors from 2 ships shared this apartment.
(Location of use on ship)
Flight Deck (on aft lookout watch)
Flight Deck (off duty)
Bridge (inport on duty day, member was armed at the time) Fanroom Starboard Windbreak (out of the way) Stock Control Office
-Once or twice to 2-3 times weekly.
-Smoked 30 grams over 10 different occasions. (1 gram will make 3 cigarettes)
-Smoked once to more than 30 times from October 09 to January 2010
-New CO first conversation with the crew on 14 December discussed the use of Spice and other designer drugs and stated he wouldn't tolerate use on his ship. Sailors continued even after this meeting.
-Under most circumstances use was during off duty however at times it was done underway or while on watch.
-Once import on watch while armed with a rifle and Sidearm.
-Smoked unnumbered times underway on the aft lookout using Spice or Marijuana.
-Didn't know, quit when he felt the effects (multiple time user)
-Felt like home. (Servicemember entered the Navy on a drug waiver)
-Wasn't aware that it was anything but a cigarette. (The only member found not guilty at mast. Used it once and quit immediately)
-At home for relaxation, on the ship for the fun of it.
-Started smoking after grandmothers death and became addicted.
-Introduced by shipmate
-Pipe (One hitter, steel pipe with a glass bowl on end) -Tobacco Pipe
-Bowl -Cigarette (Placed a little in the end of the cigarette and smoked the entire cigarette -Cigars (Black and Mild Cigars in particular)
–Purchased from internet ([REDACTED].com), [REDACTED] Pipe and Tobacco (in [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] Street) and either [REDACTED] Smoke Shack (on [REDACTED]) or the [REDACTED] on [REDACTED]. There is a little uncertainty among the accused.
- The investigation started with 1 Sailor coming forward.
- During one interview a Sailor indicated that he and two other Sailors were at [REDACTED]. One of the three smoked so much Spice that he fell out of his chair at [REDACTED] and was unconscious with his eyes wide open. People thought he was dead and called the ambulance. He came to and ran out of the restaurant.
-The first person interviewed tipped off his roommate that evening.
-1 stated he didn't think we should have made a big deal out of this investigation.
-Most knew it was against Navy policy. Those who didn't suspected it because of the effects.
-Word got out around interview #18 to keep your mouth shut and they couldn't do anything to you. Claims by a few people were 40 to 80 users onboard. I think that number was a little high but I feel at least 30.
-One member always kept spice on him while onboard.
-Ordered Spice online at [REDACTED].com. He purchased ten, 3 gram bags at a time at a price of about $550. He claims to sold at cost to his friends to save them the added expense by purchasing locally. He estimated about $75 for a 3 gram package.
-One apartment was the hub of sales and use. Refered to Court Martial.
-"Spice is the ultimate substitute for pot" (Statement from DRB)
-These Sailors are very informed about the effects, and the Navy Policy and the loopholes. They just didn't think they could get caught.
-4 Identified Sailors off ship, command notified. Many other references to first name people that our Sailors claimed not to know any other information.
-The whole ring appeared to originate from two people who introduced Sailors to the substance, explained Navy policy and the loopholes and continued to provide the substance (free or by sale) or took them to the locations that sold the substance.
-One servicemember admitted to smoking marijuana on the ship prior to spice. He also smoked marijuana and Spice on the Aft Lookout watch. He is pending Court Martial.
Member who admitted to smoking Marijuana also said he used [REDACTED] to clean his system.
Used ship's computer to order spice.
The two Stores below sold spice to our Sailors, without a doubt.
This is the one we could locate on the net but one of our Sailors claimed it was the first exit after the tunnel in [REDACTED]. [REDACTED] is 3 or 4 exits. (They don't like uniforms and military ID cards at this store)
(They opened up this store for the convenience of Sailors)
There were a lot of people who didn't see this coming. It appears this ring remained at the most junior levels (E4 and below). E5s had heard a little talk but more about the substance than who was using. E6 and above heard nothing.
I hope this helps the next guy out.
Well, how is that for an upper Shipmate?
Let me help you with that. Want to feel better about the future? Want to see what the best of our young men and women are up to? Well, head on over to USNIBlog to see.