For those who are so quick to accept the findings of an IG (as with the case of CDR Jackson) - in spite of the problems we all know about them; let the story of Capt. Robert Gamberg, USN give you pause.
In an unusual reversal, a panel of admirals cleared a Norfolk-based Navy captain who was fired for alleged misconduct aboard the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, and it found major flaws with the service's investigation of the case.BZ to Rear Admiral Shelanski.
But, despite the panel's January ruling, Capt. Robert Gamberg likely will not be allowed to return to sea command, his lawyer said in an interview this week.
Gamberg's firing was first reported in June, shortly after the Navy issued a news release saying he had been relieved of his duties as second-in-command aboard the Eisenhower. An investigation found he had engaged in "an improper relationship," the release said. Navy officials wouldn't elaborate.
In January, Gamberg faced what is known as a board of inquiry - a panel of three admirals tasked with deciding whether he should be allowed to remain in the Navy, and if not, whether his actions warranted retirement at a reduced rank and pay grade.
Because the matter did not go to a court-martial, it was Gamberg's first chance to defend himself in a courtroom setting.
At the end of the two-day hearing, the board decided that he should stay in the service. What's more, the members unanimously agreed that he had committed none of the misconduct for which he already had been punished - an outcome that Gamberg's Navy-appointed attorney, Capt. Michael Palmer, called exceptionally rare.
In written remarks attached to the decisions, the board's senior member, Rear Adm. Herman Shelanski, wrote that the government failed to meet the burden of proof for all of the charges. He criticized the Navy's investigation for relying almost exclusively on one source, the female officer's then-husband, who made the complaint that launched the investigation.
"The complainant did not provide a sworn statement, was of questionable motive and did not appear for the inquiry," Shelanski wrote.
He described the method by which the officer's husband obtained the emails used in the investigation as "illegal," saying it called into question his intentions. He also agreed with Palmer that the government could not prove the emails hadn't been altered.
"Had the totality of the evidence presented to the board been available during the initial investigation, prior to the (admiral's mast), the board believes Capt. Gamberg would not have been removed from his position as executive officer on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower," Shelanski said.
Captain Gamberg, if he had a likely successful career, would have been on the fast track to Flag Rank. Ponder.
Does this give him back his good name - not 100%. Ponder.