Monday, April 13, 2020

Lies, Damn Lies, and a Fired CO

With time we will know more details from January's firing, but I kept thinking back to reference points in my career. 

I've seen people lie about readiness, I've seen units simply refuse to CASREP broken equipment. I've seen inside the lines but incredibly sketchy manpower moves ... and I've seen some pressuring behind closed doors that left everyone feeling unclean ... but I have never seen something so incredibly brazen.
The captain of the San Diego-based guided-missile destroyer Decatur was removed from command in January for filing false position reports to the Navy, according to a Navy investigation recently obtained by the Union-Tribune. 
According to the investigation, Cmdr. John “Bob” Bowen, the Decatur’s commanding officer, ordered his crew in September not to report that the ship had gone dead in the water.

The ship had stopped to conduct maintenance on one of its propeller shafts while transiting the eastern Pacific from Hawaii to Seal Beach, California.

In order to hide the four-hour-long stop from the fleet, the crew reported inaccurate ship positions to make it appear as though the vessel never stopped, the investigation said.
I have been told of other people who have worked with/under people who lied about operational items on a regular basis - it happens, I guess.

There are lies of commission - such as this, and there are, what would we call it, lies of omission such as finding yourself inside an international standoff by just a tad and sneaking out before anyone knows - and as nobody caught you - so you don't report it; are they all the same?

I don't know, but asking an entire ship to lie in such a manner as this?

Lying is a habit, especially petty lies. A petty habit grows to big lies, and eventually it crosses a line. 

Lies become a shortcut. It can help one avoid accountability, uncomfortable reality, or to position for personal gain. Those are often tied together if there is a feeling that there is nothing to gain from the truth. Accepted truth is a narrow and unforgiving path, so in order to get from one point to another, some people may decide they need to widen the path in order to successfully make the journey. Getting to the end justifies the means to get there.

Is this what we are seeing, simply someone with a habit that caught up to them, or is this simply someone who was an otherwise good and honorable man who found himself in an environment where he thought he had to do this?

I don't know - but I sure would like to know.

Why is this only breaking above the background noise in April if it happened in January? Why hide this? Wouldn't this serve as a good example as to what we will and will not accept as an organization - to both those inside the Navy and the nation it serves? Wouldn't it be a warning to the next CO who found themselves wanting/needing to fudge reality to avoid sending out a message?

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