Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Meanwhile, a busy month at the Navy as 4 COs/XOs get the heave-ho — and what that has to do with Nitze and Zumwalt

I see that the Navy ousted the CO of its "Beachmaster Unit 2," of which I never had heard. (No. 16) The comments of sailors on the Navy Times site ran in support of him, with several saying he is a good leader and that anyone could be nailed for misuse of government resources. It ...

history.navy.mil
history.navy.mil
history.navy.mil

I see that the Navy ousted the CO of its "Beachmaster Unit 2," of which I never had heard. (No. 16) The comments of sailors on the Navy Times site ran in support of him, with several saying he is a good leader and that anyone could be nailed for misuse of government resources. It reminds me of what the drill instructors on Parris Island told me: "If you're not breaking the rules you're not doing your job."  

And the CO of Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs, New York, was dismissed from his position after being busted for DWI. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 17 for the year. 

Also, the former XO of the USS Gettysburg also got the old heave-ho, for sexual misconduct. Apparently he was facing a choice of court-martial or retirement. The former XO of the USS Roosevelt went him one better and got a year's imprisonment for wrongful sexual contact and such.

I see that the Navy ousted the CO of its "Beachmaster Unit 2," of which I never had heard. (No. 16) The comments of sailors on the Navy Times site ran in support of him, with several saying he is a good leader and that anyone could be nailed for misuse of government resources. It reminds me of what the drill instructors on Parris Island told me: "If you’re not breaking the rules you’re not doing your job."  

And the CO of Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs, New York, was dismissed from his position after being busted for DWI. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 17 for the year. 

Also, the former XO of the USS Gettysburg also got the old heave-ho, for sexual misconduct. Apparently he was facing a choice of court-martial or retirement. The former XO of the USS Roosevelt went him one better and got a year’s imprisonment for wrongful sexual contact and such.

And a shipyard inspector was sentenced to three years for lying about welds he claimed to have inspected on submarines. It is interesting to think about making him serve his term aboard the subs he inspected. But that would "unusual," and perhaps "cruel."

I spent part of my August reading the crisply written memoirs of Paul Nitze, who among other things was secretary of the Navy in the mid-1960s. One day he turned to his aide, Adm. Elmo "Bud" Zumwalt, and complained about a personnel problem, "Why does this have to happen to me?" Zumwalt responded aptly that, "If you have more than a million men working for you, every unpleasant problem that has one chance in a million of occurring will occur at least once." (P. 254)

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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