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May 16, 2007

COs dropping like flies

The Navy Times ran a story called 4 COs Fired in just 4 Weeks. It is not on their website yet but the 4 individual stories of the COs can be read.

Of course, as I write this entry, it seems the NT was a bit premature in writing the story because the USS Helena, a fast-attack submarine out of San Diego, just lost their CO because of "loss of confidence" What that really means, is that he probably got below averages (or failed) the major annual inspections the boats get- ORSE and TRE. I’m not bothering to spell out the acronym because if you aren’t on a boat you won’t care and if you are on a boat you despise the inspections.

But "loss of confidence" can mean so many things. It was one of the reasons my old CO on the USS Los Angles was sacked for in 2001, following a suicide by a first class nuke, the mental health office installing a revolving door for L.A. sailors, and a parse 5 of 13 Chiefs onboard. Hell, even the EDMC (the senior nuke) went AWOL to get away from that boat. Yeah, that’s right, AWOL- like the kind you watch on MASH reruns. I’ll just close by saying it wasn’t an environment that fostered esprit de corps.

The Navy Times article talks about the COs but vaguely recounts the reasons why the COs were sacked, mostly because of lack of information. The first sack seems a bit odd- the CO of a recruiting command in the NYC metropolitan area who was relieved with only 6 months away from transfer. He failed to meet mission goals. Translation- his command couldn’t get the quota for getting people to join the Navy. I always thought of Navy recruiters as having the comparable job of a used car salesman (no offense Michael).
"Hey, wanna join the Navy?"
"No, thanks."
"We’ll give you money for college and you’ll get to travel."
"Sorry. Not interested"
"You’ll get to go on a ship for 9 months to a year every year, all the while wondering how your family is doing while you pray that Islamic asshats don’t blow up your ship while it’s tied up in some shit hole country"
"Piss off!"
Another CO was fired just 9 days after taking command. He was the Executive Officer for 15 months however, before he was thrust into his new position. This guy was relieved because of fraternization. Sounds fishy to me; he gets his new title and the corner office with a view and then 9 days later he is fired? Sounds like someone tried to blackmail him and it fizzled so they dropped the F-bomb. The specifics of the fraternization case are sealed because it is still in court. Come on. Fraternization?

But the most intriguing part of the story for me was the firing of Commander Thomas C. Graves, Commanding Officer of the USS Constitution. Yes, you read that right. Old Ironsides is still in service and is kept in Boston as a historical landmark. This guy got fired from his duties as a CO of ship that doesn’t even go to sea, that people pay to get on so that they can see the sailors walk around in the ancient garb of our forefathers. The reason was "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his ability to command". How hard can it be to command a ship made up of a crew that swabs the wooden decks and acts as tour guides? This is another one that sounds fishy, Graves being only 2 months away from the end of his tour.

My glass-is-half-empty attitude towards these types of stories make m wonder who these guys were screwing and who was going to find out about it.

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