Monday, September 06, 2010

Tailhook - 19 years on

For a certain generation of officers, your host included, there was one foundation event for many of all designators that shaped the way they looked at leadership - both uniformed and civilian - for their entire career. They learned early that bravery in combat and cowardice in life are not mutually exclusive of each other, and can easily inhabit the same person. They learned that facts were of little importance in the face of a politically driven head wind. They learned that when the going gets tough - the top cover they hoped their senior leadership would provide for them - would fade as fast as the Romanian Army at Stalingrad. They learned not to trust - they learned that they were expendable for the right political price.

Tailhook started in 05 SEP 91. Let's back up a bit and set the stage.

SEPT 91. Look at your calendar. What had just happened? Of course, we had just come back from DESERT STORM.

We came back from DESERT STORM with senior Enlisted and Officer leadership who were junior personnel in Vietnam. Those leaders lived through the smears and lean years of the '70s and early '80s when they were looked upon as damaged goods and their military broken. Though the Reagan buildup helped, the US military was still taking the blame for the '75 Democrat Congressional loss of South Vietnam - and all the cultural smearing that came out of Hollywierd and the press about their generation. They had just regained their honor.

We JOs grew up on that reputation. At DESERT STORM, the US military earned back a level of respect not seen in a quarter century. Remember the parades? Remember the stories? I do.

We were on top of the world, we had gained respect from our countrymen. ENS, LTJG, and LTs walked a little taller and were not shy about telling strangers their profession. We took pride in helping to bring back a little more honor for the senior personnel who carried the load in the starving years.

There were some in the culture who couldn't stand that. They were looking, begging, hoping for any chance to humble those they despised. At the end of DESERT STORM, they also wanted the military's budget funds - and they had agendas to push with a reckless impatience.

So, at Tailhook they had their chance. They took an ember we unknowingly gave them - and in a series of acts that would make any Commissar or Salem Judge proud - conducted a inquisition that would leave lives, careers, and a culture in shambles.

Entire books have been written about Tailhook; a tale of cowardice and abandonment still amazing to behold. By order, squadron patches were changed for even non-tailhook squadrons, Trader Johns became off limits - the CO of the Blue Angles fed to the wolves - Admiral Arthur thrown in the volcano, and even worse; scores of innocent junior officers were threatened, smeared, and had their careers destroyed.

Never in my life did I ever see a case where "
May a hundred innocent be killed to prevent one guilty from going free" became more an official policy by small men with great power and unchecked cowardice than I did in the immediate post Tailhook 91 Navy.

Open and official hypocrisy became commonplace with the answer to, "
If LT Man is in trouble for X, then why is LT Woman not getting in trouble for doing Y?"

Answer, "Because she is a woman, and even if she was the aggressor and gibbernatched LT Z's ibbywidget in the elevator after she rubbed her nabblequash against his dobberdoddle at the pool - that is OK because she if a female. Now shut up."

You had to be a JO to see the zoo like we did. I still look back in amazement how it
all came down. All to serve a socio-political purpose - one that I supported at the time. To this day, it makes me ill knowing that so much damage was done just so something could happen a few years earlier than it would anyway - and it formed habits on evaluation and waivers that is still killing/endangering Sailors. Let's look at the IG report from the year after.
The Tailhook Association is a private organization composed of active duty, retired, and reserve Navy and Marine Corps aviators. It also includes defense contractors and others associated with naval aviation. At the 1991 [*pg 1082] convention, more than five thousand members attended, including several senior leaders of the Navy. The Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations were present, as well as twenty-nine other active duty admirals, two active duty Marine Corps generals, three Navy Reserve admirals, and many other retired flag officers.

Navy Lt. Paula Coughlin attended the convention, and she complained that she had been physically and sexually assaulted by a group of drunken aviators in a "gauntlet" formed in the hotel corridor. What followed included investigations -- and investigations of the investigations -- that concluded that the Armed Forces had overlooked the need to establish a clear criminal consequence for engaging in sexual harassment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. In the end, no one was criminally charged for misconduct in the Tailhook events.
4. While many of the officers interviewed may be telling the truth, it is reasonable and logical to conclude that some have not told the truth, especially since the investigation specifically identified 25 victims. Your options with regard to this group of officers are limited by the lack of focus of the investigations in this area, as well as by the fundamental right against self-incrimination. The investigators were completely unable to identify any members of this group who lied regarding their involvement or recollection of events. It is my opinion that any further interviews or investigation of these individuals would be unproductive and lead to the same result.
Interesting view and attitude towards your officers, no? Interesting assumption and spin, no?
8. In summary, it is important to note that the Naval Investigative Service expended over 22,000 manhours of effort and while the Inspector General spent a lesser amount, he also utilized a large portion of his assets to conduct what amounts to a very thorough, well-disciplined investigation. There was probably an element of reluctance on the part of some individuals to come forward with information relevant to the investigations for various reasons, including an effort to avoid self-incrimination. Because of this, further investigation by NIS an the IG is unlikely to be productive. There is enough information in the reports on a significant number of cases that have been sent to the chain of command for appropriate disciplinary or administrative action. Inquiries by the chain of command into these cases may well result in further leads for investigation at that level.
Here is something that still sticks in my craw. This is the SECNAV at the time playing CYA.
5. At no time while I was at Tailhook 91 did I visit or spend any time in any of the various suites on the third floor of the hotel. The closest I came to any of the suites, to the best of my recollection, was on one occasion, shortly after I had arrived in the patio area, when I walked over to the poolside entrance to one of the suites which bordered on the patio area to get something to drink. At the poolside entrance to this suite was a large container of beverages. I took a can of beer from the container and immediately returned to the area on the patio where I had been. I do not recall speaking to anyone while I was in the area of the entrance to the suite, although I may have.

6. Neither during those few moments when I approached that one suite to obtain a drink, nor at any other time that evening, did I observe any inappropriate or offensive conduct.

H. Lawrence Garrett, III
I know Junior Officers who careers were destroyed for doing less. Funny - I wonder if Garrett was given the same assumption as we saw in para 4 quoted above?

If you want to know what formed the attitude of some of your Gen-X officers, you can start there. Sad thing is, it could have only happened that way pre-internet, pre-email, pre-cell phone cameras. Now days - the truth would have come out. The Left and the media would not have had free range to misrepresent and smear without time-critical counter-fire.

I wonder - those who did the IG and those who hid from hard questions pi55ing in their SDBs in the corner just so they might get another star - are they proud of what they did? Do they feel honor in their actions? Was the price right?

Good people in hard times can make bad decisions. I shouldn't be that harsh on those in the DC storm that took place after Tailhook 91 - but I am going to let my words stand. For me, it's personal. It was a formative event for me.

It was also a national disgrace what they did; what we did; who we did not stand up for.

UPDATE: Here is a good, though not perfect, Wall of Shame and Honor.

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: From the early-90s JOPA team ... more Tailhook '91 patches! A little something for those who took nothing away from Tailhook but a ruined career.


Anonymous said...

I came in well after Tailhook, but even today you can see the effects: cowardly leadership willing to do or say anything to promote themeselves and to avoid trouble. I hope the post Afghanistan/Iraq military sees a surge in good leadership as opposed to the self promoting officers who put themselves ahead of their people and the Navy

Ron Snyder said...

Hard to believe that it happened almost twenty years ago.

I lost my innocence back in the late 60's-early 70's by the way in which we were treated by the media and the public.

I've had very low expectations of our politicians and our senior military leaders, especially those at the highest levels, from that point on. And they've not disappointed me.

The increasing disconnect between the military and the civilian worlds, due in no small part to the "all-volunteer" military, will only exacerbate the situation IMO.  Plus, how many of those who played CYA, or worse, are still in the military?  A larger number than should be I'm sure, and far too many in positions of influence and leadership.

I do agree with you that a clear message was sent, heard clearly, and taken to heart by the upcoming generation:  Job #1 is keep the job, keep the career path on the right path.  Duty, Honor, Country? -not so much.

LifeoftheMind said...

The year before Tailhook ate the Navy I did my ACDUTRA at Suitland during Desert Storm. The next year I was lucky enough to pull an ACDUTRA at NAVFAC Munich. The visiting JOs, maybe three of us, were pulled into a meeting on a patio where one of the rising LTs on staff read the script on Maoist Self Criticism. He took off his rank insignia, as if that meant anything in the kabuki that followed, and recited the formula urging us to look within and confess our sins. We remained silent, being an idiot I briefly tried to respond and was quicly kicked, as we were really expected to and he harangued us to speak as he was really expected to. It reminded me of General Dreedle in Catch-22 urging the men to speak up as Yossarian's friends assure him that the General is really saying "Shut up." Then having completed his duty he let us escape. The deep sense of shame I felt at watching that performance remains with me.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

FWIW, the collateral damage from Tailhook '91 spread well beyond the USN.

The whole Kelly Flinn fiasco has, IMNSHO, roots traceable back to how Tailhook was can even see echoes of the same nonsense in how the Blackhawk incident was handled.

Mark1Mod0Squid said...

Ah yes, as the junior (and senior folks of today complain about death by powerpoint so have the sands of time cleansed my soul of Navy Rights & Responsibilities. Back when diversity didn't know how to bully so they just threw wild punches that always seemed to land in the wrong place. Oh, nevermind, not much has changed.

Andy said...

Sigh.  You have reopened a wound I had hoped would stay healed, no matter how lightly.  I had to walk away from the screen for a while, just to regain my composure, for as my icon suggests, this was not "close to home," it was <span>on</span> my "home."  OK, so here goes, as a series of connected but perhaps rambling thoughts and observations.

-- The best, most factual analysis printed to date that I have read was by the redoubtable LCOL Hayes Parks in "Proceedings" a few years back.  As fine an after-action report as I have seen.  I urge everyone to find it and read it. The heroes and villans are pretty well laid out therein.

-- SWMBO was a little over one year past leaving active duty in the Army, where for most of her time she was the only woman in the entire US Army with her MOS.  She quickly figured out she could either be the lone "woman" in her specialty or be "one of the guys."  She chose to be one of the crew and got along famously with everyone, encountering no issues that she couldn't handle with aplomb. She has never carried my name and has been an enlightened feminist, as it were, for as long as I have known her.  Even before she joined the Army and throughout her time on active duty she was also a Navy Squadron Wife, with all the experience that entails.  Her reaction when I briefed her on what was happening? "WTF is wrong with everyone, can't anyone take a %^&*ing joke anymore?  If she was so offended, why didn't she turn around and clock the clown, that would have ended it right there?!?"


Andy said...

-- Villians of the First Order: Dan "The Weasel" Howard, who gleefully shoved SECNAV Garrett aside and proceeded to make us all watch his mandatory Flag Brief where he called for the banning of the Tailhook Assoc and making membership in said organization a UCMJ offense. As vile a POS as has walked the earth.  Barbara Pope, who left the daily investigation confidential brief every morning and then went to her office and called Rep. Schroeder's office and proceeded to communicate the details of the confidential briefing to the Representative.  CNO, ADM Frank "Uh, I didn't see anything" Kelso, who took the opportunity to make sure that his 1310 rivals and future rivals of his non-aviation peers were crushed for years to come by lies, innuendos and character assasination simply by virtue of what community they were a part of. His close retinue who also engaged in political purges that rivaled Stalin's gutting of the Red Army in the late 1930's.  "Me too" litigants who suddenly popped up, enabled by the plaintiff's bar (Full disclosure: I am a graduate of a noted law school and am now an inactive member of the California Bar.  No, I was never a JAG) who sought to cash in on the whole affair.  Or so they thought. NIS, who proved that you don't need make up to be complete clowns.  Ditto DCIS. Folks, it's called "The Constitution of the United States of America."  You don't get to make up the Federal Rules of Evidence to suit your master's bidding.  Or pull stunts like showing up at a person's house when you know he's away and telling the wife that he was a suspect in sexual assault at Tailhook when you had utterly nothing to that effect other than his name as a member of the Association. (SNM wasn't even at 'Hook that year, BTW)

Andy said...

-- Heroes of the First Order (at least to me): The Chief of Navy JAG under Garret (name escapes me) who told then-SECNAV Garrett <span>exactly</span> how the investigation should legally be conducted (formal Board of Inquiry, a.k.a. The Long Green Table) and who was summarily over-ruled by, guess who, Howard and Pope and then run out of town and forced to retire when it all went south.  He gave a brilliant account of the events in an interview with the old Naval Reserve Association in their magazine.  The Navy Judge who, in the only two (IIRC) Courts Martial that ever came out of this whole affair, ruled that the evidence the prosecution was using was illegally obtained (see Chief, Navy JAG, above) and suspicious on its face and that ADM Kelso was, in the face of overwhelming counter-testimony by a myriad of eyewitnesses, an totally unreliable witness for the prosecution. He knew the second he made that ruling that his Navy career in the JAG Corps was over, yet he ruled in favor of something greater than his own career, called the "Rule of Law."  The leadership of the Tailhook Assocaition, who, in point of fact, notified the senior Navy personnel the very next morning after the events in question that allegations were being made, and who's retired members, most of whom had a hell of lot more combat time than the media, members of Congress or anyone else for that matter,  stepped up and kept the Association alive for the eight years it took until a lame-duck President sent official emmisaries to 'Hook at the turn of the century to give it the official "seal of political correctness" for restablishing official recognition. (I was there for that one!)

But don't get me started, it's too early to start drinking...

MR T's Haircut said...

I was a young AW3 going through H2 FRAC in HSL-31 when I met a certain Helicopter Pilot, Female, who later was in the middle of this scandal.. her reputation preceded her... she liked a little roll with the Aircrew... maybe because she enjoyed being the one in charge.....

I was not impressed and the ruin the cockroach leadership showed damned us for generations...

thook91 said...

Salty Gator said...

what about Admiral "Zap" Zlatopper, CINCPACFLT who refused to crucify his guys in NJP who went to Tailhook  He lost his career pretty much over that.  Hell of a leader.  I met him back in 1998 during my application processes to USNA and NROTC.

cdrsalamander said...

.... and your point?

cdrsalamander said...

There were exceptions who sleep well at night.

DM05 said...

Like many here, was close enough and recall it well; what a politically correct and expedient time in the Navy. Budget $$ in the peace dividend made strange bedfellows.

Later, had occassion to be intro'd briefly to of the "ladies" (E. Hansen) pushed by the CO. congresswoman/nut job that I won't name, who had alledgedly been harrassed at flight school and was dropped. Nothing but disgust as her case helped end careers as well.

thook91 said...

Jes lettin it all hang out, man. This photo was from the event, man. Only the identities were suitably masked to protect the innocent. Both JO's were cashiered, BTW.

cdrsalamander said...

You like men it seems.

thook91 said...

No.. jes trying to fill out the whole picture. A lotta things happened there... not jes hetero stuff. The wilding of the Navy under the auspices of the Flags, CNO, and SECNAV was an important event. All the facts should come out so we can study it. It gives us a picture of how High Command is really rendered by the idiots. Diversity as we know it came out of this event as a reaction.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span> Diversity as we know it came out of this event as a reaction."</span>

Nope.  What came out of this event was the SOP of senior military leadership selling their juniors down the river for the sake of their own skins and careers.  And each and every ridiculous demand that came out of tantrums of political officials, especially Boxer, Schroeder, and DACOWITS, being answered with "THREE BAGS FULL!".  Instead of providing reasoned counsel and opposing those things that were criminally unjust.
Fast forward 18 years to Casey's spineless response about Diversity as a casualty of Fort Hood, and Mullen's sycophantic emphasis in front of Congress that his personal opinion and moral view just happened to coincide with the President's policy. 
I remember my aviator comrades on promotion boards as recently as 1998 having to PROVE they weren't involved with Tailhook.  Due process?  Try that with a DoD civilian or any other government employee and you would lose your job right quick.  But it was good enough for our GOFOs.  They should have been ashamed, but they weren't. 

John said...

Airdales were the primary targets, but everyone in a USN/USMC uniform became collateral damage.  And our sister services were all hit by the same fallout and degraded significantly.

Politicians, political correctness, and faux leadership do not mix will with real warriors.  Our present limp d!ck military capability (except perhaps our Marines) is a direct result of the triumph of the sycophants, politicians and the anti-military media in this single incident. 

Yes, the ascendency of the Diverstiy Bully business flourished after Tailhook as well, another despicable legacy of cowardice driven political correctness.

Kristen said...

I know that it's true because I've read about it so often, but I can't even imagine a time when Americans didn't love their military.  For my entire lifetime, its been one of the most respected and beloved institutions in the country.  It hurts me to think of those who served when that wasn't true.

I have a question for you, CDR.  It's NOT meant to be snarky and I'm no expert on what happened at Tailhook.  I only have a general impression of the events.  I'd like to know if you think that the behavior of the officers there was appropriate and above reproach.  I ask because it seems to me that some of the things I've heard about really weren't appropriate for an officially-sanctioned event.

FbL said...

It hurt to read all that, and I'm not even in the military.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Great dog. 

Chap said...

I add the Iowa explosion to that.  Buddy of mine failed out of the nuke school class I was in and wound up in that turret.  I also remember the foofraw over what became 'honor courage commitment' and built more cynicism.  I also remember the O5 in my course the second time around who sat around waiting to pin on the rank to which he was promoted--he didn't, after years of waiting and going through nuke school and prototype--and the endless BS reeducation sessions.

I'm sure it'll be better when I finally have to buy those smurf suits.

Perry said...

You're right to ask - the box hides his point quite well!!!  (Thank God!)

Kristen said...

URR, that makes much better sense.  I"m so grateful that we have all of the forms of alternate media now, including blogs like this one.  It's much harder to shape the narrative and convince normal people that they're out of step with the times these days.

DeltaBravo said...

Kristin, some behaved better than others.  Some were above reproach, others not so much.

The problem with Tailhook was the fact that some WOMEN who attended put themselves in literally disgraceful positions and behaved in a reprehensible manner and then called foul and MEN were punished.  The women...not so much.  It became grist for the mill for a witch hunt and purge - the effects of which have echoed through the USN for 19 years.

Says she who would NEVER venture down a hallway full of drunken men without a crowbar in hand, or let one shave her legs and then complain when things got out of hand.

The senior officers can't have it both ways... pretend they were there but had no idea what was going on (situational awareness anyone??) or say they knew it was bad and reflected poorly on the Navy but said nothing at the time.  I KNOW admirals who would only have had to walk into that situation and stare silently and a crowd of drunken aviators would have stood at attention, and turned around and left.   There ARE/WERE leaders like that in the USN in the not so distant past.  They walked into a room and people quaked, not because they were SOBs, but because they were excellent and worthy of emulation.

Having let the "boys be boys" it is unfair then to clamp down on them the morning after to kowtow to the feminazis and milquetoasts in Congress.

Me?  I would have issued an All Hands bulletin saying "Due to poor behavior, Tailhook is closed down till further notice.  The slate is wiped clean but you're being watched.  Grow up already."

Yes, it was a bad climate that was notorious in some circles and not approved by many.  But you don't change the rules midstream and selectively enforce them and dole out punishments arbitrarily after the fact.  And you don't send your men out to take the fall to save your career and expect respect in return.

DeltaBravo said...

No, Guest, the "American Public" or at least 43 percent of the public (that incidentally belonged to the Oarty of Outrage that led the Tailhook prosecution) went on to elect a CinC the next year whose own sexual exploitation of women sometimes called out for the attention of law enforcement.  Go figure.

Tell me again what the American public expects of those in uniform (and by association, those who lead them?)

Perry said...

<p><span>Your version of the effects of Tailhook is very incorrect.  The leaders you now decry as bullied by the diversity and political folks are the ones who saw the light and realized the error of their earlier ways.  Before this cleansing, the Navy was full of white, male, good ol' boy types whose main goal was preventing qualified women and minorities from reaching their potential.  Ever since, the leadership has become much more understanding that the best way to defend the country is to concentrate resources on building a diverse fleet, rather than the outmoded ideas of building ships or training.  Such a force was unable to win a war and Congress ensured that the new leaders were needed who realized that their most important task is building a <span>Navy which harvests and represents the strength of the Nation's diversity, a team whose people are treated with dignity and respect, and are encouraged to lead and feel empowered to reach their full potential.  Admiral's main job is providing Navy leadership with the tools and resources to help create and sustain a cultural awareness that values diversity and an environment where every individual prospers and contributes to the mission.  </span></span>


Perry said...

<p><span>I also agree with Guest, that the points the reactionary Phibian makes regarding due process, rule of law, and fairness being ignored in the ensuring investigation are completely without merit.  If individuals need to have their careers destroyed in order to advance the greater good, so be it.  It not only helps advance the cause, but it serves as an example to all of what happens if officers truly follow the concepts of "Honor, Courage, Commitment" rather than merely recite them.  Officers who believe that their subordinates did nothing wrong and stand up for them when the political leadership is telling them the truth and how they should act are dangerous to the proper order of things.  It is much better that leaders do not determine or, even worse, state what they believe because it might not be in accordance with the CORRECT ANSWER.  This will merely confuse junior personnel if they see disagreement between their leaders and those who manage the Truth.  Destroying the careers of such people serves as an important example to all who want to succeed and also lets aspiring leaders learn the lesson of conformity at a very early stage.</span>

Grandpa Bluewater said...

It happened in Vegas, but it came from far away, long before any participant was born. One is tempted to point to the Cubi Pt O'Club, but why add another half truth and injustice to the mountain of them?  JPJ left Leningrad one step ahead of the minions of his enemies, from much the same problem.

Not my crowd, not invited, but I have seen sailors, strong drink, and women who are of two minds about both make a devil's brew, nothing new.  Conclusions, well some...most won't like 'em.  To wit:

Men in power get there by pursuing power, usually above all else, some by fair means, some by foul.

Once there, most will do whatever they can to retain power, some by fair means, some by foul. Given a sufficient threat, Admirals hang the closest Captain, Captains the closest LT, to save themselves from bearing the cost of responsibility if that cost will include their promotion, retention, or reputation. Happened then, happened last week, next week...expect it.

Drunken sailors and women lead to trouble, particularly drunken women. 

Deadly enemies always work to change the topic from your policies and your good deeds to your (alleged) misconduct.

Juniors imitate seniors percieved peccadillos, without the subtlety or the care in selection of their fellow participants.

This was true in the Carthaginian Navy, and every one since. Everything changes but the human condition.

Steer clear of rocks, shoals, drunks and drunken brawls.

Guard your virtue and your good reputation, once they are gone they are gone. Applies equally to 15 year old virgins and Officers of any age and rank. 

Yes, to a greater or lesser degree we all were tarred with the same brush, feathered by the same enemies, and rode the same rail past the town limit, regardless of guilt or innocence.
If you were thousands of miles away, another designator, and utterly uninvolved, bless your good luck, and don't think nothing splashed on you. Equally innocent men were ruined, suffering great injustice, and the Navy's good name was dragged through the mud by cynical foes.

That pretty well covers it. What did I forget to mention. Oh now I remember...Duty, Honor, Service to Country.  Well, they weren't in the hallway when the elevator door opened. Or the witch led hunt that followed.

What to do? Remember, teach the lessons learned to the newbies, and never mention it again.

"There is no safe place": Sarah Connor.

USAF Mike said...

Interesting that GOH brought up Kelly Flinn and the Blackhawk Shootdown, because Fogleman was who I thought of as a counterpoint to the cowardice displayed by some of the senior leadership in the aftermath of Tailhook.  He went toe to toe with the Secretary of the AF and said, point blank, that if Kelly Flinn gets an honorable dischrage you can find yourself a new CSAF.  And of course, his actions and ultimate resignation after Khobar Towers.

Byron said...

Sounds like a manifesto to me...

spek said...

"<span><span>They have also realized that ships are overrated - a Navy with but a single ship which is personed by a thoroughly diverse crew is much more powerful than a fleet of a thousand ships manned by a homogeneous group."  </span></span>

<span><span>WRONG.  The most powerful ship is the one that is crewed by the most competent, qualified professionals, irregardless of their gender, religion, or race.  To ignore, minimize or skew a qualification process in order to produce a crew that looks like a Pepsi ad, is discrimination in it's most insidious form...

Anonymous said...

The president doesn't wear the uniform, and he isn't subject to the UCMJ.  He's a politician, and we hold our pols to a different standard.  I'm not saying that's the way it should be (I supported his impeachment and thought he should have been removed from office), I'm just saying that's how it is.  We all know how the game is played.  We all knew it in 1991.  We were foolish enough to give those with an axe to grind the opening they needed.  See it for what it is--an expensive lesson learned--and move on.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

So, we can't make any omelets without breaking a few eggs?  Huh.  Sort of the Lenin-Stalin philosophy.  Fine to denigrate the rights of some innocents as long as the guilty are (likely) punished?  As opposed to that annoyingly inconvenient "let a hundred guilty men go free" thing that happens to be at the core of the American judicial system? 

So the Admirals were all white and all actively plotting to keep out women and minorities?  Do you offer any evidence?  Oh, pardon.  Evidence is not a big part of making accusations in your world.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span> But as an officer, you're never just a bystander."</span>

Unless, of course, you are John Kerry claiming before Congress to have seen all sorts of atrocities and war crimes committed by US servicemen in Vietnam. 

The President as Commander in Chief does set an example, whether he likes it or not, and hypocrisy rings loudly in the ears of his Armed Forces.

Marine6 said...

Does anyone have a link to the article by W. Hayes Parks in Proceedings? The USNI archives seem to only go back to 2001 and it was in the Sep94 issue. The title was Tailhook: What happened, Why and What's to be learned.

Kristen said...

DB, yes, I understand that justice was unequally applied.  As the CDR has frequently pointed out in his Thursday posts, some animals are more equal than others...and that applies across every branch of service and is deeply resented in all of them.

I didn't have a hidden agenda in my original comment.  I really just want to know if CDR Salamander thinks the things that happened at Tailhook '91 were appropriate conduct for officers to engage in at an official event.  I don't have any idea if he'll say yes or no, because that wasn't the focus of his post.  I'd just like to find out.

Kristen said...

DB, yes, I understand that justice was unequally applied.  As the CDR has frequently pointed out in his Thursday posts, some animals are more equal than others...and that applies across every branch of service and is deeply resented in all of them.

I didn't have a hidden agenda in my original comment.  I really just want to know if CDR Salamander thinks the things that happened at Tailhook '91 were appropriate conduct for officers to engage in at an official event.  I don't have any idea if he'll say yes or no, because that wasn't the focus of his post.  I'd just like to find out.

xformed said...

HAd a female shipmate in  late 92-early 93 who had previoulsy been a GURL with aviation squardons.  Her comment?  "We knew what happened at TailHook and where.  If we wanted trouble, we knew where it was.  If we didn't, we stayed away."  She had no sympathy for those who were "surprised" by walking into that hallway, for she had know of that for years in advance.

Anonymous said...

By that logic, everyone at Tailhook should be even more to blame, since in 1991 they had a president who was setting an outstanding moral example for the troops.  You can't have it both ways, URR.

DeltaBravo said...

Guest, only in your book, pointing out how a situation was grossly mishandled and the thousand second orders of effects that emanated from that is "playing the victim."  No one is trying to have it both ways except you here, arguing every side of the issue.

Okay, let's play:  You're right.  Cashiering the pilots and negating expensive training and years of experience of many other pilots and punishing the innocent along with the guilty was a great idea.  More of the same.  Here! Here!  Yay!  No measures taken in defense of womanly virtue are too severe.  Pass the razor and the shaving gel!   Men = pigs.  Women = always virtuous.  Politicians = libertines we excuse because they can't help themselves, bless their hearts.  Witch hunts = good.


But your premise is wrong.  How WAS the game really played in 1991?  And who changed the rules overnight without sending out an All Hands notice?  Fair warning that prior experiences at Tailhook would be history would have been better. 

And funny you should mention Abu Gharaib in the same context.   What was allowed to occur under the weak female leadership and the sexual politics at play there... could it be some people were in charge who may not have been running things if it weren't for an attitude and practice of "let's make up for past discrimination by pushing women into roles they aren't qualified for?"  The aftermath of Tailhook and the need to do "penance" probably caused all the services to hurry up and please their local congresspersons by putting women where they didn't belong and pushing women to the head of the command line.  Which caught up to them in 2004.   Command billets should be filled based on proven competence, not xx/xy chromosome ratios.



UltimaRatioRegis said...

You are equating Tailhook with alleged murders and atrocities testified to by Kerry in Vietnam?  I would propose to you that it is YOU who cannot have it both ways.  If careers of people there (or even associated with TH) were ended, be they guilty of such behavior or not, then John Kerry should have been in Leavenworth immediately following his arrest outside the room in which he testified. 

Problem is, TH did indeed end careers of people whose culpability ran the gamut from total responsibility to none at all/not involved.  Whereas Kerry was elected to Congress from MA.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>Er, hey Perry.  
Well played.  Byron, et al, I do believe Mister Perry kept his tongue in his cheek the entire time he typed this.

ShawnP said...

I was underway that time enroute to Puerto Rico to play "target" for the Gettysburg and Arleigh Burke. All I know is I got really tired and sick of the constant sexual harrasment lectures over and over because of Tailhook. How much real work time was wasted with this constant harrasment over harrasment?

Ron Snyder said...

Kristen, I have to disagree with URR in that there was a most definately a time, VN War, when many Americans, and I do agree that they were primarily ultraleftists, spoke with extreme disrepect to more than a few of us in uniform.  Occasional physical threats and minor actions, though I never personally saw anything serious happen in that regard.  Go to groups or events that have a lot of veterans from this era and it would be a challenge to find someone that didn't have a negative experience from a member of the "American Public" when they came back.  Course, for most Americans, our experience in VN is ancient history already, most Americans probably know more about the War of 1864 than about the War in Southeast Asia.

On some bases we were not allowed to wear the uniform off base during certain periods.  When I was on Okinawa (this was before it reverted back to Japanese rule and the protests against the U.S. were sometimes extreme and emotions high), there were some restrictions on when we could go off-base, where we could go and what we could wear.  I understood that. 

Salt Lake City willl always have a special place in my heart as it was the ONLY time that I remember when civilians were openly friendly and supportive, even offered to buy my lunch.  My previous experience was that unless there was a veteran around, the "American Public" did squat to support the military.

I guess that is why in my travels, especially since 9/11 (Lord, it will be ten years next weekend) and the War on Terror, it is so heartwarming to see in airports and other areas, G.I's publicly and sincerely thanked for their service.

I did not realize how much spin and support the MSM played back then.  As you point out, in todays world of blogs, twitter, FB, the ubiquitous cell phones and cameras/video, I do not think it would have been allowed to continue. 

Organizations such as Soldiers' Angels, Wounded Warriors, Rolling Thunder and other similar groups are very special and, IMO, deserve even more attention and support than they currently enjoy.


Anonymous said...

DB - If you will re-read what I posted, I think you'll see that I don't disagree with you that leadership failed us and the loss of so many careers was indeed tragic.  But the folks at Tailhook were all adults, and if you can make life or death decisions in a combat aircraft, I think it's reasonable to expect that you can discern right from wrong without having to be spoon-fed an All Hands message.  No one there should have been surprised that this blew up in the Navy's face.

The reason I say that the original post smacks of playing the victim is that it focuses exclusively on the reaction to the incident and not the things we did that created favorable conditions for a Category 5 crapstorm.  This didn't just happen to us, we did it to ourselves.  To talk about Tailhook and not acknowledge that is to see the organization as a victim.

As for Abu Ghraib, I don't think Karpinski's gender was the root cause of what happened there.  I think a lot of other factors contributed to the environment at Abu Ghraib, including a very lax detainee treatment policy set by the highest levels of the DoD.  She wasn't the highest ranking person who should have lost their career over what happened there.

URR - I don't really know what John Kerry has to do with Tailhook.  I guess you're saying that it's unfair his career prospered when good people associated with Tailhook had theirs ended.  That may be true, but life isn't fair, and I think you know that by now.  And as I said earlier, we hold our politicians to a far different standard of conduct than military officers.  I'm not saying that's the way it should be, it's just the way it is.  When things like Tailhook happen, it may make us feel better to point at someone else's conduct and say "But see, he did something just as bad or worse, and you didn't punish him!"  That didn't work with my parents when I got in trouble and my brother didn't, and it's not a particularly good comeback to a media crapstorm when you're a large taxpayer-funded agency.

Southern Air Pirate said...

I would like to add that this isn't a victim mentality with regards to how the whole Tailhook fiasco played out. Rather If you watch even the Frontline news magazine on it from a couple of years later, the then Senator Pat Schroder (D-CO) even admitted on tape that stringing some of those men up cause of what they may or may not have done was the right thing if only to put them notice that women weren't going to be abused anymore. I would also like to add some additional historical content to this incident. In July of 1991, one Ms. Anita Hill appeared on the Hill to claim that a federal judge by the name of Clarence Thomas was interviewed by the FBI as part of the background check on the judge. She stated, and these tapes were leaked to both the press and selected members of congress not on the committee, that he made comments and jokes that were of a sexual nature or potentially a sexually harrassing nature. So we had the idea of sexual harrassment rise up in the US mindset. As the Judge was approved for a seat on the US Supreme Court, Tailhook started to hit its full stride. I would also suggest that there was stronger push from those on the side of progressives to push for more women in combat roles since women were recently killed and captured during Desert Storm. So this was an opening salvo in that battle.

Southern Air Pirate said...

Additionally cause of Tailhook and Clarence Thomas hearings, the progressives had a chance to modify the social and sexual education process in America. I was in Middle School at the time and remember spending a week on it, receiving some fine undergrads from WWU and the UW schools on sociology come in and tell me that all pen is are bad and that those with them are the reasoning behind war,famine, hate, bigotry, etc. They even used the not yet completed Tailhook investigation as clause de celebrite for why all those with pen is are evil. When I stood up and said this was wrong, I was subjected to not only becoming the hated person with a pen is, but also to having to take home a scarlet letter saying that I was unwilling to accept the re-education and if I continued to not accept re-education I would be subjected to further disciplinary functions. Even today if you look at the history of sexual history texts and women's rights texts in modern American school systems you will find almost three to four pages about Tailhook and Clarence Thomas and both Ms Huntgrave, Kelly Flinn, and Ms Casgrave at the forefront as being the canaries in the mine.

Anonymous said...

To quote xformed's female friend in a post below: "If we wanted trouble, we knew where it was.  If we didn't, we stayed away."  If we're feeling less than sympathetic for women who should have known better, should we apply that same standard to the organization?  We knew Schroeder was trouble, and we knew sexual harassment was a toxic political issue.  We walked down that hallway anyway.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"<span>That may be true, but life isn't fair, and I think you know that by now."</span>

Don't play smarta**, sonny.  When that lack of fairness is deliberate on the part of an official government entity for the purpose of making political hay, it is despicable.  Much of the military leadership did so with TH.  Patsy Schroeder did.  Boxer did. 

That deliberate lack of fairness is being employed for the same reason by military leadership in the US Navy and elsewhere today under the title of "diversity".  And it is no less despicable now.  The people who perpetrate it, such as CNO, are also despicable. 

Your comment on Abu Ghraib, "<span>a very lax detainee treatment policy set by the highest levels of the DoD", is incorrect, and ignorant.  The "detainee policy" has been well-defined for many decades, and REAL soldiers follow it.  The undisciplined turds in the ARNG, and their general (Karpinski) who was put in that position because of her gender and not her competence or experience, were to blame.  What was ol' Janis' statement, even though she was in command?  "Not my fault". 

Southern Air Pirate said...

Yes, but the hallway of sexual harrassment was/is fully of all sorts of issues to begin with. Some treat all those who have pen is as being whipping boys deserving of the punishment they will recieve in the course of thier lives. Others treat the issue that only those caught with the hand in the cookie jar should be fully punished (that includes both sides of the sexual aisle). The final issue, at least in my mind, is the idea that it will happen and to prevent it is to browbeat all with the idea that it will happen and all are guilty until proven guilty of even saying such things as "Yes Ma'am", "No, Sir" in polite company.

I am not saying that the incident wasn't right, nor am I saying that Sexual Harrassment does not exsist. However, the knee jerk reactions to the point that some folks will take "innocent" commentary out of context and to say all those that are of a different gender cause they are opposers and we need to make up for millions of years of supposed injustice only weakens the arguement. Not only weakens the arguement but also creates all sorts of smoke where there isn't even a fire and then leads to a situtation similar to the classic tale of "The person who cried wolf."

Kristen said...

Ron, thank you for sharing your experiences, even though they make painful reading.  I think that Americans have always been basically well disposed toward the military, and probably were confused by the tremendously negative coverage of the troops at the time and didn't know how to respond to the men they saw in uniform.  Everyone believed Walter Cronkite.  What a tragedy. 

The MSM and Hollywood are still pretty relentlessly negative in their coverage of the military.  Thank God, Americans aren't just listening to them anymore.

GIMP said...

Don't doubt that there were tons of good ol' boys.  Don't think their main goal was preventing qualified people from reaching their full potential, but do thing they didn't give a flying F.

Don't see how concentrating resources on diversity matters a bit to combat effectiveness.  Do see how concentrating resources on training and parts rather than feeding the shipbuilding beast or funneling more money to contractors can contribute to combat effectiveness.

Agree that diversity is important for organizational success, however, do not see how ethnic diversity as a goal can even compare to diversity of thought.

Admirals' main jobs should be maximizing the capability of forces delivered to combatant commanders to perform specific tasks.  If aforementioned admirals are combatant commanders, their job is to use the military instrument of power with maximum effect toward achieving the commander in chief's goals within their assigned area of responsibility.

Every individual cannot prosper.  Some will suck and fail.  Everyone should have an exactly equal chance to prosper, but those who suck should not prosper.

The Navy is fortunate not to have a war with a peer competitor on right now.  That is the only reason it can focus on the minutiae and forget about the big things that really matter.  Things like fully functioning ships and aircraft crewed with trained, competent, current, and proficient Sailors, maintained by trained technical experts, and supplied with ready for install parts as rapidly as possible.

From what I've seen we have way bigger problems in the fleet than the percentage of one armed Ukranian midgets in command.  We have some real problems with maintenance and readiness, and those take more than memorandums, messages, and attendance to affinity group conferences to fix.  Maybe that's why our sorry leaders are focusing on appearances rather than training, readiness, and tactical performance.  That stuff is hard.

GIMP said...

Darn it, one too many glasses of fine red, red wine.  I get it, it's a joke.

cdrsalamander said...

Sorry for taking awhile - I've been at my paying gig.

Of course it wasn't above reproach.  It wasn't supposed to be.  It was a bunch of guys who just got through months of flying to the extent their aircraft and bodies could do it - they were hanging around with their shipmates in private rooms trying to be as obnoixious as possible - just trying to keep up with the standard their senior officers told them about from Tailhooks past.  Not to mention the Cubi Point O'club back in the day.  It was expected; friends blowing off steam with friends - most of whom were just a few years out of college where they did things much more obnoxious in the privacy of their dorm rooms and fraternity houses.  I know I did.

It wasn't as if anything that went on was new or unkown or exceptional.  Just the opposite - it was normal and expected.  I too talked to female aviators and others who were there - got their legs shaved - gave as good as they got - and had a good time.  Trust me - the men did much worse things to each other than they would ever think about doing with a female.

That time is gone though.  At least in that way.  People no longer have open rooms, at least not the smart ones.  They often prefer to get an off-site room - or if they were like me - only socialized with a small and select group of people I knew and trusted.  The smart ones bolt after the official fun and then head out for places where you can relax and not worry about Mr and Ms BuzzKill.  Not that anything out of control is planned - just that it is known that it didn't matter if something did or did not take place.  All it took was the accusation.  

Hard to explain - heck I am the last JO cohort to have even seen that Navy - it hasn't existed since early 2002.  What happened wasn't "appropriate and above approach" by design.  Again, lost world that the TACAIR guys still have a little shadow of ... a little.  

Tailhook was supposed to be warfighters learning about warfighting and then having some fun - in private with friends.  Gone with the wind.  I don't know if we are better because of it on average.

LifeoftheMind said...

Before Tailhook back in 1982 at SWOS we recieved a Standards of Conduct lecture that was not to be confused with the Code of Conduct lecture we got at OCS from CAPT Dick Stratton. For the Standards lecture a wise old Chief Warrant came in who had been at Pearl Harbor to run a weather eye over the new JOs. He looked at us and said "Now boys we had a saying on the farm. You don't work the breeding stock and you don't breed the working stock. Any questions?" We all said "No Sir No questions Chief Warrant Officer" after which he said "Then you all have fun out there and be careful." No more needed to be said and when you get down to it no more does any good.

cdrsalamander said...

Make that early 1992.

Southern Air Pirate said...

I use to remember some family friends and my dad use to traded stories about two types of officers in the Navy, at the time of Tailhook. They have been around since the days of John Paul Jones. There is the Type "A" personality, this is the guy who fights to the ragged edge of his weapon systems. Whether that is flying their plane/squadron as if ever mission is to rescue Sgt. Striker and his platoon, running his CDC team with tapes of the Stark and throw in maybe a Sammy B incident at the same time in port on a holiday weekend, or intentionally pushing the DoS weenies out of their comfort zone in a place by having his battlegroups run a FoN near a bad guy and invite maybe a few of our allies in the region to try and get some licks in at the groups at the same time all under the idea of speaking softly and showing big stick. Then there is the "Type B" personality. They are the ones that live and die by the message and wordage. Whether that is putting down their subordinates for deviating from published doctrine publically via message light (this happened to Spruance), that if weapon worked in tests then the warfighters aren't using it properly when it fails under operational usage, finally if the politicos say "You shall abide by X to recieve Y" they will play up to that. If you note that 99% of the time Type A's are who we get after a war starts and Type B's are who rise to the top during the inbetween time.

Redeye80 said...


I'll throw in my pocket change on this. I was there. I can tell you I saw nothing but profession conduct at Tailhook '91 official events.  Well, except for an admiral ducking under a table to dodge a very pointed question, the offical events were good professional education.

For those attending the unofficial events, professionalism and decorum were lacking.  I believe the CDR said better than I could.

I also believe the real issue is the perception of Naval Aviation and of those who fly airplanes off carriers.  There seems to be this romantic perception of aviators as knights of the air, who are always "gentlemen" and fight fair.  Rubbish!  The pilots I flew with were competitive, type A personalities who lived thier lives in full afterburner.  It was always about who was the better pilot, who had the fastest car, who had the most women, etc.  They lived hard and partied harder. Was every pilot like that? No, but most were.

It used to be there were three areas to make your reputation/career.  Your flying ability, your ground job or your bar act (how much fun you had at the O'Club).  Normally, you couldn't get by with only being good in one area.  The average was two.  If you could do all three, you were going places.  Now, I am sure a good bar act is a liability.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

That's exactly why I picked those examples.  Gen Fogleman did his best to fix the people "stuck on stupid".   When he found he couldn't overcome the institutional myopia and toadyism, he took the only honorable action that remained available to him.

glab said...

Bought that patch at Osan a year later.  Still have it somewhere.

glab said...

No No, it was a baseless witchhunt.  I was called in and had to sign my name and attest that I was not there.  That was when the Senate was holding up promotions until all of us on the list said, nope, not me.  I'm a SWO.  I wouldn't be caught dead at Tail Hook.  Tail Hook is for the hookers, not SWOs.

Curtis said...

I hesitate to disagree with our host but BS.  Oceana lingerie shows at the O'club?  A unique event?  I don't think so.  It was very much a very different cultural scene.  What happened at that Tailhook was a mere reflection of what happened every Friday night at every navy airbase O'club across the world.  Any girl wanting some knew where to get it and any aviator wanting some knew where to get it and it was all no holds barred.  That was the standard equation for aviators and they applied it as they saw fit in Vegas with the expectation that all comers knew the rules.

It wasn't much like the videos of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo pilots and families having BBQ in their back yards out there in the desert.

Curtis said...


It was ungentlemanly behavior.  Not one person would have done that to his own daughter, sister or mother.

Mark T said...

Love the pic - the MS1 in the DESRON made a fortune selling those patches on the Nimitz, our first deployment after the witch trials - absolutely loved it...

Kristen said...

Redeye, you were there?  Reading that made my eyes pop.  Gives me a whole new impression of you.  :)

Believe me, I know the pilot personality, up close and personal.  Some parts of I'm crazy about...others, not so much.

Kristen said...

Your last paragraph made me sigh.  I love having a BBQ in the back yard with friends and family.  I don't want that image to be a punchline to a joke.

Kristen said...

Mmmm.  Well, I appreciate the confirmation, but I was never confused as to whether it was ungentlemanly behavior.  :)

Kristen said...

Totally agree with your last sentence.  The Type A's tend to get in trouble in peacetime, and go out and win wars in wartime.

Kristen said...

CDR, thanks for that thoughtful response.  It's a good point that they weren't doing anything unprecedented and that their mentors had done it all before them.  I guess I still feel that there was a lot of bad judgment involved and that wiser heads might have realized that buzzards like Pat Schroeder were circling.  But that's probably hindsight being 20/20. 

I don't think that I could have been a military wife in the days when O'clubs were full of behavior like that.  I don't want to be confronted with in-your-face revelry at that level.   But as always, I enjoy reading your point of view and I learn a lot from you.

Curtis said...

I don't really know.  I know 1ID named their major campaigns in Vietnam after Junction City and Manhattan but I thought the place was wonderful.  I never sensed any anti-military feeling from the towns surrounding Fort Riley.

Curtis said...

no no.  I would give anything for that last paragraph.  It was no joke.  It was the me.

Curtis said...


Had you gone to the main club you would have been wowed, dined, enjoyed and had a great time.....not on New Years eve though.  We sort of bent the spar then.  Dancing on the bar not uncommon.  Main Club, not the JO club.  I started going to main club in 1971.  I thought they were all boring old sticks.  It's funny, they did not start sharing war stories until much later.  What I got was the the impossible moron stories of the HM3 falling overboard off a Shields racing round Jamestown Island kind of stuff.

Redeye80 said...


You are right to some degree, it was part of the culture.  However, I do remember hearing some interesting stories about the 32nd Street O'Club back in the day.  So, I think over time some social activities became unacceptable.  I believe Subic Bay and Olongapo were mostly surface Navy activities.  So, I guess we could talk about what happend outside the gates there.  You tell me which is worse.

I went through Marimar in '83. I attended TOPGUN in '87, I saw a lot of the same women I had met 4 years before.  I was surprised how many I saw at Tailhook '91.

There were a lot of bad things that happened in '91 but there was also a lot of willing participants.  I always have a chuckle when you read about some of the women complaining they got thier hind quarters pinched just like the 3 or 4 previous Tailhooks they had attended.

Steeljaw said...

In DC for my first Joint Penance tour (talk about being in the bowels of the beast), I was questioned multiple times about my membership in Tailhook and if I had attended said 'Hook (that was one I hadn't).  When I related I'd been a member since '79, I was told in no uncertain terms that in the interest of my career, I'd better quit (or else).  Most I politely askedto show me a list of charges/ specifications or be gone. 
One, an USAF O-6 I told to go f*ck himself.
Later, all the Navy officers in our Agency were rounded up and directed to mandatory sensitivity training that consisted of a three hour (scheduled) harangue by a female contractor about how to professionally treat women.  When one of us asked if she had ever ben deployed (when her credibliity to lecture the assmbled), her response was no, but she had stayed overnight at police and firestations.
Many of us walked out after that.  My immediate boss, a USAF O-5 (and RC-135 pilot) later asked me what happened and when I told him, he just nodded and said forget about it - he'd take care of anything that came down hill and that was the last I heard of it.

I never gave up my membership and am proud to point out to one and all now, as I did then, that I am a Lifetime member and have been since November 1979.

w/r, SJS

Steeljaw said...

See, here was he deal on that -- the admins were off the main drag and so if you went there, it was a conscious (well, maybe semi-conscious for some) decision.  You could attend the exhibits, the flag panel, etc. throw away a few thousand bucks at the gambling tables (like one of my XO's) and over the course of the Convention miss the admins altogether.
But those who went with either malice of forethought or opportunistic self-aggrandizement/victimhood post- are worthy of the condemnation passed their way.

Curtis said...

Trust me, Breakaway Night at 32nd Street were lame in comparison.  Don't know about you but I always seemed to find the latest inspection team at the 'party' who knew me and wandered over.  It was never as bad as the night the skipper pulled the fire alarm at MCRD O'Club and we all ended up spread eagled in the grass on the front lawn with M16s pointed at our heads.  Can one say Marines have zero sense of humor?

Skippy-san said...

Uh, its like the old joke about banks. You went to the admins because that was where the free beer was. If it had strippers and such-well that was a perk. When you are in a casino with $5 abd $10 dollar blackjack tables-you could only hold out so long downstairs.

What everyone forgot was that the Hilton was designed to isolate the third floor from the rest of the hotel. That's why all the admins were there-and when I wasn't at the tables I was on the third floor. I have ZERO guilt about that. ( Although I was not at THE TAILHOOK-I was at the four preceding ones. Two of them on SJS's dime! :-)   ).

Tailhook was about a watershed event that started the destruction of the culture of Naval Aviation. It was never the same after that-and was not as much fun. You can lay much of the blame for how ineffectual Naval Leadership is at the feet of Tailhook.

"The issue at Tailhook is not that we took a few liberties with our female party guests. We did. ;-)."

I know or served with about 50% of that picture gallery-there are some great men that were done dirt by the witch hunt. Naval Aviation deserved better. We carried the day during Desert Storm-we deserved a good party afterwards.

"Hickory Dickory Dock. Pat Schroeder can s......."

All I know is I am glad I served in the time when it was fun to go to Tailhook. (Been to seven of them).

Skippy-san said...

A post script. I was at the bar in Norfolk a couple of years later with "the barber@. After losing a few rounds of dice, (back when people actually knew how to roll-and the going to the club had not yet become a crime), he launched into his rant:

"That f*cking bitch! I shaved her G*d damn legs!"

She walked away 8 million dollars richer-especially ironic since :1) she had been foisted on her admiral and 2) she was no angel herself. (Someone should ask her what we  she was doing on the third floor that night-e.g. looking for her par amour from the previous night.)

Fortunately for me-Bad Fred Lewis was trying to kill me in the North Atlantic while Tailhook 91 was going on.

Skippy-san said...

And every aviator wanting some went to the Miramar O'club. That was the way it was supposed to be. I guarantee you every woman on the 3rd floor knew that-especially the "sales professionals" who were there in abundance.

Skippy-san said...

Wednesday night at Miramar, Thursday Night at 32'nd street ( probably has something to do with why I like Filipinas!) and Friday night at MCRD. Go to a Padres game on Saturday and PB on Sunday. Take two nights off to sober up and repeat. What's not to like about that? :-P

Skippy-san said...

Maybe in West Virginia they might.

Steeljaw said...

" Two of them on SJS's dime!"
By way of explanation -- I was the east coast airlift coordinator for two straight years, no thanks to being the junior O-4 in an office of post-command O-5's at the TYCOM.  And yes, it was a FITREP bullet.  I also believe those two years saw a significant uptick in VAW/VRC attendance too -- :)

sid said...

Before dad started to get health problems in the early '90s, he generally made Tailhook. He had been going since the early '60s.

I remember in 1988 (maybe it was '89) though, he said that it was getting a bit out of control...

Skippy-san said...

Um no-Airlant provided the TAD dollars. 87 and 88  I got paid to go to Tailhook. I was a member of the JO panel. And that is a wonderful thing. I also got to denounce Pat Schroder in front of 3000 people(when a question was asked by an old codger about the the USFSPA-little did I know it would soon apply to me.) If there was an uptick in VAW attendance it had nothing to do with me. But I did win $300 at the tables and got more than a couple of titty squezzes. (From the "sales professionals@ on the third floor.)

Old NFO said...

As an S-3 NFO I went to a couple of Tailhook conventions.  By 91 I had left active duty and was in Naval Reserve P-3's.  I knew a few people who were there at the time and said that nothing out of the ordinary had happened.  Until, of course, the diversity nazis decided to use it to put the military in it's place.  Three things I learned from the debacle;

First, don't trust the flag officers to do right by their subordinates.  Too many of them will happily hang you out to dry.  

Second, having a former Naval Aviator in the White House means nothing, GHW Bush could have stopped the witch hunt but chose not to.  Instead he allowed the worst elements of congress free rein.  To say that I regretted my support of him in the 1988 primary season is an understatement.  

Third, there is nothing the "progressives" won't do for power.  I had not seen such glee in the eyes of the left before.  They were positively aglow as they destroyed the reputations and careers of officers who had done less than a Kennedy does on the weekend.  Politicians, the press and the Navy all knew it was mostly BS but they ran with it anyhow.  The truth, evidence and testimony be damned.  They had a witch hunt to conduct in the name of the holy cause of gender equity and they certainly were not going to let truth, justice or fair play get in the way.  

As for the comments by Perry, the unfortunate thing is that his sarcasm is official policy.  

Redeye80 said...

I could have done without the reference to Paula.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Tell me THIS doesn't sound like Tailhook.  Except it comes from an oppressive dictator.  With a heavier beard (slightly) than Patsy Schroeder:

<span>TEHRAN, Iran — </span>Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told NBC News on Wednesday that he would not intervene in the court case of two Americans still held in Iran, even though their companion has been released.
The two Americans will need to "prove that they didn't want to commit any offense," Ahmadinejad told NBC News in an exclusive interview just a day after the release of American Sarah Shourd.

Guest said...

getting their tial stuck in the door still today? End Sex Laws Now.

Anonymous said...

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