Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Navy's Not So Golden Thirteen (The 2010 edition)

The Navy's 13 fired COs. (6 Ashore; 7 At Sea Commands - 6 ships/1 submarine; 6 Captains - 7 Commanders; 9 behavior - 4 performance)

1. Captain John Titus, Navy Supply Corps School Athens, Georgia
(PROFESSIONALISM-Failed to adequately punish offenders)
2. Captain Holly Graf, USS COWPENS
(BEHAVIOR-Abuse of crew)
3. Captain Glen Little - Charleston, South Carolina Naval Weapons Center
(BEHAVIOR- Morality)
4. Commander Scott Merritt - NSA North Potomac
5. Commander Tim Weber, USS TRUXTUN
(BEHAVIOR-Morality/improper relationship with subordinate)
6. Captain Bill Reavey, NAS Pensacola
7. Commander Jeff Cima, USS Chicago
(BEHAVIOR-Alcohol induced comments, actions)
8. Commander Neil Funtanilla, USS THE SULLIVANS
9. Commander Herman Pfaeffle, USS JOHN L. HALL
10. Captain William Kiestler, Norfolk Naval Shipyard,
(PROFESSIONALISM-poor job performance)
11. Commander Fred Wilhelm, USS GUNSTON HALL - Navy Times Story HERE.
(BEHAVIOR-sexual harassment, assault)
12. Captain David A. Schnell (the bad Schnell) USS PELELIU, (BEHAVIOR-sexual harassment)
13. Commander Mary Ann Giese, NCTS Bahrain (BEHAVIOR-multiple inappropriate relationships)


Anonymous said...

Your apparent need to continue to grind on this topic and these people is disgusting.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Your apparent need to hide behind anonymity is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

If you don't want anonymous input, don't offer it as an option to contribute to the discussion.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Please contribute to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

These were the 13 that got "caught" and whose actions were, for one reason or other, brought to the light of day. I'm sure many of your readers could point to many other Navy leaders who could have not been turned in for similarly egregious or reprehensible/unethical behavior/performance, but for whatever reason (luck, intimidation, fear of reprisal, collusion, etc.), managed to squeak by. So be careful... no need to apparently "gloat" over others failures or weaknesses lest you (referring the the reader audience) are willing yourself to be judged.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

And in several of these cases, the Sailors involved had the courage to say 'we're not going to put up with inadequate leadership any longer' and turned these Commanding Officers in. Sailors want to be (and have every right to be) well led by morally strong, professional, and ethical leaders.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, I started searching for Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps CO's who were fired. Funny thing was, I couldn't find any.

Now, these problems certainly aren't limited to the Navy. But the Navy does make it's firings very public. The question is, why?

Is it an attempt at deterrence, in an effort to keep such behavior from happening in the future?

If so, I would say it isn't working and never will 100%.

Brian Ashpole said...

I want to respond to some of these anonymous comments.
I personally know Captain Lambert and don't see his pointing out CO firings as "grinding an axe." Quite the contrary, if you know the Captain, you'd know that these are "teachable moments." Although the commanding officer's authority is absolute, his or her leadership must be above reproach. To put it another way, the Commanding Officer's total responsibility for commnand of a unit or ship means that he or she possesses the power of life and death. As a naval service, we must be diligent and constantly prepared to go in harms way - it is the commanding officer's responsibility to prepare his/her sailors for war. If there is a question of charactor, then they must go. That's what confidence in the ability to command means.
On another note, I would never question Captain Lambert's motives. I've had the pleasure to have supported him as one of his division officers when he was the Director of Training. Notice that I said that I supported him -that is a tennant of leadership, we support up and down the chain of command.
When describing Captain Lambert's charactor, an officer senior to me said the following: "If I were to go to war and had no one to take care of my personal effects, I would ask Mike. I would trust him with my family and my finances."
We are a unique service in many ways, as are the other services. How we take care of leadership issues is a Navy issue. How other services take care of leadership issues is up to them.
I am a proud retired Chief Warrant Officer and still enjoy being around sailors.
Warm Regards,
Brian Ashpole

stephen said...

In answer to Anonymous:

I think part of the reason is that your typical 2LT (USA\USMC) gets command of larger groups of people in more detached circumstances sooner.

Your new 2LT (Infantry type) is going to be picking up about 50 people as a PLT LDR right after commisioning. Once again, he is much better schooled than his USN surface counterpart (School of Infantry, Ft. Benning PLT LDR Course, Ranger School, etc.) He is exposed to a lot more schooling and a lot more evaluation in the course of his career up to company commander where he will be responsible for 200 men as an O3.

Its pretty Darwinain, but by the time you are at the end of the first tour, you and those around and above you are going to know.

FOD said...

One of my favorite flag quotes is "there are no second chances on integrity." Publicizing the firings, especially for lapses in integrity, emphasizes that and strengthens the culture.
I never read these posts as "gloating." In fact, I find most pretty sad... Someone who's reached the pinnacle of a naval officer's career, command (at sea), destroying themselves through personal failure. It should cause one pause for reflection, even when the skipper was truly, truly an a**hole who had it coming.

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny that "Anonymous"
is so high and mighty. I don't feel that it is dragging these people through the mud.
As a young sailor (E-1) and even now as a LT LDO I see Officers that should not be in command orjo's that lack the integrity or will to be good leaders. Yet Nothing is done inspite of the fact that everyone one knows the issues. The Navy for some reason has decided that more officers are required so we lower our standards which drives the good people out. It is a vicious cycle as standards drop more good people leave. I know if I was just coming in I would do my 4 and leave.
I choose not to reveal my name because I am active duty and I am sure if I voiced my true opinion, there would be reprecussions.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not, when you join the Navy the rules for conduct and consequences for the lack thereof are well understood. Regardless of your position on the firings I guarantee that none of it came as a surprise to those who were relieved of command. Hit and object while at sea, sexual conduct issues of any kind and if you even think about alcohol you can forget it. Even the lowliest seaman recruit knows these things. While I don't all the details of each CO's situation, none of them can say they didn't know full well what would happen to them if they stepped out of line in those areas. The Navy has been very clear on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Yes I'm going to do this in anonymity, I think the Navy has no choice but to do theses things to Senior Officers...They have been around and know how to conduct themselves. What I do have an issue with is this happening to junior officers the idea of "zero defect" has come into our lives and unfortunately people make mistakes, the navy is now practicing instruction by dismissal in many cases.

Anonymous said...

I've worked with both CAPT Schnell and CDR Cima, and never had cause to question their integrity or professionalism. I don't know the specifics of either case, but firmly believe that even the best people sometimes have bad days. I'm saddened that both have been fired, and honestly hope that the decisions to fire them were justified. If not, the Navy just lost two very good men for no good reason.

Regardless, based on my previous experiences with them, I will continue to hold them in high regard. These men, perhaps like several other former COs listed here, served honorably for many, many years. I thank them for their service, and wish them fair winds and following seas.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Anonymous from 5:19 AM,

I am more inclined to agree with this statement:

"Any CO that has gotten relieved for personal behavior --- don't fool yourself for one second --- they have been engaging in said behavior for a long time. They just never caught before. They got away with it for so long, they thought they were too smart to get caught!"

Anonymous said...

I will be the first to agree that those in leadership roles in our Navy must be held to a very high level of integrity, and I'm sure a good number of those fired crossed it. I can only speak about one of these cases - and it is with the utmost of respect for you as a retired Captain who obviously loves the Navy that I make these comments. Captain David Schnell is respected, and continues to be so, by those who know him and worked for him. Those who know him never doubted him. There may be officers as dedicated to the Navy as CAPT Schnell but you'll never find one more dedicated. He dared to try to improve the lives of his crew - he cared about every person on that ship, and that is in the end what did him in. Allegations don't have to be proven to take down a CO - and false perceptions are often born of ignorance and entitlement. The press release put out by the Navy never stated sexual harrassment - but rather stated something to the effect of him being unduly familiar with several members of his crew. Hmmm...as anyone in the Navy would know, that could mean perceived favoritism based on a CO being friendly and genuinely interested in the people he strove to mentor. The Navy may disagree with the Captain's approach - but it sickens me that CAPT Schnell was hung out to dry by the speculation that would undoubtedly come from the vagueness of the released statement. If I could speak out using my name, I would. I won't and can't for the same reasons that Captain Schnell undoubtedly doesn't - out of respect for our Navy. When another commenter wrote, "I'm saddened that both have been fired, and honestly hope that the decisions to fire them were justified. If not, the Navy just lost two very good men for no good reason." I do believe that in this case, the Navy threw one of their best away - I don't know a man with higher integrity that Captain Schnell.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:51 am

ref your comment - "I do believe that in this case, the Navy threw one of their best away - I don't know a man with higher integrity that Captain Schnell."

I hope you know some women with higher integrity - if you don't know any men. You need to find better company. Sociologists say that "you are the average of your 5 best friends." Not looking good for you.

Anonymous said...

"There are no second chances on integrity"??? What Navy does that refer to? In the US Navy that I was in, there were no second chances for _having_ integrity. I saw every possible moral, legal, ethical, and professional failing covered up, and often rewarded. It makes me wonder what these people _really_ did to get relieved.