Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Navy tosses the entire leadership of a ship

Continuing news about the relief of officers: The Navy relieved the skipper of the destroyer the USS James Williams, fired the command master chief, and for good measure, transferred the ship’s executive officer. The problem was hanky panky between the rankys. “The actions come in the wake of nine fraternization cases between senior and junior ...

575885_091207_RicksWarship2.jpg
575885_091207_RicksWarship2.jpg
USS BATAAN, At sea (September 8, 2008) –USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) receives fuel during a fueling-at-sea with the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5). Bataan is at sea after completing HURREX 08-002. HURREX was a Commander, U.S. Second Fleet directed exercise designed to test the ship's ability to respond to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief needs during the 2008 hurricane season. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeremy L. Grisham/Released)

Continuing news about the relief of officers: The Navy relieved the skipper of the destroyer the USS James Williams, fired the command master chief, and for good measure, transferred the ship's executive officer. The problem was hanky panky between the rankys. "The actions come in the wake of nine fraternization cases between senior and junior enlisted personnel on the Williams," reports the estimable Kate Witrout of the Virginian-Pilot.

I was struck by this comment, posted in response to WTKR-TV's story:

Continuing news about the relief of officers: The Navy relieved the skipper of the destroyer the USS James Williams, fired the command master chief, and for good measure, transferred the ship’s executive officer. The problem was hanky panky between the rankys. “The actions come in the wake of nine fraternization cases between senior and junior enlisted personnel on the Williams,” reports the estimable Kate Witrout of the Virginian-Pilot.

I was struck by this comment, posted in response to WTKR-TV’s story:

The Admiral of the navy and anyone else responsible for putting men and women together on a ship for long deployments should be held responsible.. There are lots of places on a ship where people can meet and not be found out… As long as men and women are on the same ship, there will be sex. Now they want to put women on subs together. What idiots.

From what I have seen, I think this is kind of true. Men and women will find a way to get together. I’m all for discipline, but there are some things more powerful than discipline. I hate to see the military lose good people for being people.  

U.S. Navy 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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