What a mess! Whatever happened to military discipline and the chain of command? I am glad the Navy Secretary got sacked. He was more at fault than the Captain. It is my understanding that aircraft carriers are always accompanied by a task force fleet commanded by an admiral who headquarters aboard the carrier. The fleet admiral reports to the Pacific Fleet Admiral who reports to the chief of naval operations admiral. That is three admirals in the chain of command between the Captain and the Secretary of the Navy. So why did the Secretary bypass three levels of the chain of command and personally relieve the Captain?
Did the Secretary consult with the three Admirals in the chain of command? If so, did they agree to relieve the Captain? Why didn’t the fleet admiral, the Captain’s immediate commander, do the relief? Did the Secretary investigate the press leak and have proof the Captain was the source? If he did, then the Captain got what he deserves, because he was insubordinate, and the military cannot tolerate that. Instead, he should have resigned on moral grounds stating his concern for the crew’s health as the reason and copying the media on his resignation.
Then the Secretary went aboard the ship and made derogatory comments about the Captain’s professional capabilities. What a horrible thing to do to Navy morale. The crew’s response would be why did you appoint him in the first place? The Secretary’s comments destroyed morale in that crew and now has spread throughout the Navy. Now the Chief of Naval Operations says he is investigating and if he finds the Captain was not the source of the leak, he may re-instate him.
Whether he does or appoints another commander, that crew’s morale has been destroyed and can never be rebuilt. The Navy needs to assign a new crew and start over. The sorry performance by the Navy Chain of Command may indicate a bigger problem. In recent years, the Navy has had several ship collisions that killed sailors. The investigation concluded the Pentagon at Defense Secretary and Branch Secretary levels have overloaded Navy ship crews with missions and the crews are overstressed, tired, and impaired. The Military Secretary’s response has been “shut up, gut up, and do the job!” That sounds like what happened this time.
My branch, the Army, is no better. I could not believe that White House intelligence staff LTC testified in uniform before the congressional committee and tried to get Trump impeached. Trump fired him, but the Army assigned him to the Army War College. If he is an intelligence instructor, that is a good place to park him until he times out in grade and is forced to retire. If he is a student, that is bad, because those slots typically go to future generals. That LTC should never be a general.
Author: Ralph Coker