Friday, September 01, 2006

A great day for a NPLOR

Remember the saga of LT Bryan Black being taken to Courts Martial for having a potty-mouth? (review the balance of my other posts here, here, and here - Lex's post here, and the one that started the ball rolling from Skippy-san).

Well, the Navy decided to stop digging today. The Countervailing Force has the best details, but here is the Executive Summary: after nine months of subjecting this Lieutenant to the public eye and costing the Navy and LT Black untold tens of thousands of dollars and unimaginable hours of staff work - the Navy blinked. They decided not to take him to Courts Martial and instead sent him over to another Flag Officer at the Washington Navy Yard for Admiral's Mast. Annapolis punted.
“Lt. Black went to NJP this morning and received no NJP,” said Gittins, who specializes in military cases.

He said Black received a “non-punitive” letter that amounts to “counseling”.

The Naval Academy declined to comment due to privacy considerations of an administrative matter.

According to Navy regulations, a “non-punitive letter” is not considered punishment but intended to “remedy a noted deficiency” and does not stay in an officer’s service jacket.

At a preliminary hearing in August, Gittins told Navy Times that Black has not been teaching at the Academy for the past year, despite orders to Bahrain. According to Naval Academy spokeswoman Judy Campbell, Black has been performing “non-instructional duties.”
Now, let's let that LT go serve his country. We are at war you know. For my $.02: LT Black made a goof, a significant lapse of judgement at a distinct moment in time, but one far more benign than those I have seen Flag Officers make when they were CDRs when I was a wee Ensign/LTjg. Smaller that a lot of what I see now. On par with errors of judgement solid junior officers make because they are imperfect humans in a zero defect organization.

If people didn't feel the need to make a political statement through the public humiliation of an officer, this would have ended without the blow-back we have seen.

Never underestimate the courage and motivations of your people. I think someone underestimated what was of importance to this LT. It wasn't his career, it wasn't trying to find the quick and easy way out, it wasn't meekly extending his neck; it was his honor and his name.

You don't have to approve of a mistake to approve of the man. His mote is nothing compared to my beam.

He stood tall. He stood for what he thought was right. He would not have others define him. He was ready for whatever came his way - but on his terms.

LT Black can serve with me anyday; I just won't let him take my wife on a tour of a battleship.

UPDATE:Notice if you will, that this came out on a Friday afternoon...going into what is for many a holiday weedend. That is about the slowest news cycle you can pick. If you think that is by accident, I have a "career enhancing" billet I would like for you to consider. It will look real good in front of a board.....


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