Thursday, December 9, 2010

CO and XO of MCM Crew Constant aboard USS Chief - Fired. 17th CO this year!

The Commanding Officer of USS CHIEF, Lieutenant Commander Jim Rushton was relieved of command “due to misconduct” following an investigation by his boss, Captain Robert Hospodar, commodore of Mine Countermeasures Squadron 2 in San Diego, Naval Surface Forces.

The Executive Officer of USS CHIEF, Lieutenant Commander Anne Laird was also relieved for “misconduct.”

Captain Hospodar relieved both officers “as a result of an investigation into a violation of the Navy’s fraternization policy.”

As per Navy custom - biographies have been removed from the command website.

Lieutenant Commander Rushton took command of San Diego-based Crew Constant in December 2009. He is a 2004 graduate of Excelsior College (B.S) and a 2006 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School (M.A. National Security Affairs).

Lieutenant Command Rushton joins this group of COs fired in 2010:

Captain John Titus, Navy Supply Corps School Athens Georgia
Captain Holly Graf, USS COWPENS
Captain Glen Little, South Carolina Naval Weapons Center
Commander Scott Merritt, NSA North Potomac
Commander Tim Weber, USS TRUXTUN
Captain Bill Reavey, NAS Pensacola
Commander Jeff Cima, USS Chicago
Commander Neil Funtanilla, USS THE SULLIVANS
Commander Herman Pfaeffle, USS JOHN L. HALL
Captain William Kiestler, Norfolk Naval Shipyard
Commander Fred Wilhelm, USS GUNSTON HALL
Captain David A. Schnell, USS PELELIU
Commander Mary Ann Giese, NCTS Bahrain
Commander Charles Maher, USS MEMPHIS
Captain David A. Solms, TTF Bangor
Captain Murray Gero, USS OHIO


Anonymous said...

I know Jim and Anne personally. They are a great couple and were a great team aboard Chief. I've never seen a CO/XO team in better sync. They would finish each other's sentences. And they never undermined each other. And, now this.

CDR Salamander said...

Best. Anon. Comment. Evah!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are describing a husband and wife, not a CO and XO.

Anonymous said...

Also know her personally for many years. It didn't happen. An uninformed and immature ensign reported a false statement, and the product of a rumor mill at work who didn't like a strong female leader. The Navy lost a great leader today.

Anonymous said...

So how do you explain this post from the CO on Sailor Bob?

"OK folks, since this is all so very public, and so many people here know me well…

I made a terrible error while in Bahrain 11 months ago, and it got out about a month ago.

I’m not bitter with the Navy or my boss…I know and agree with the rules that Commanding Officers must abide by. I did it and I own the consequences.

This is of course incredibly humiliating for me, but my heart breaks for my crew and what they will have to go through. I also feel awful for LCDR Laird, who I considered to be a future Admiral, and has now had all of that talent and promise derailed. She was, and is, one hell of an Officer and person.

I deeply appreciate the many, many calls and emails of support I’ve received…in some ways they hurt more than the cuts.

So there it is."

Anonymous said...

Leaving the joking aside for a moment...

LCDR Laird's NPS thesis (dtd: December 2006 / yes, you can still download it) credits her husband, Robert - a fellow Naval Officer, and her infant daughter. I feel sorry for both of them in light of the unwanted attention.

Interestingly, it appears that the CO and XO were in Monterey at the same time, which raises a question as to whether or not they knew each other at that point in their careers.

Once again, I am reminded of the fact that individuals consistently fail to accurately evaluate the consequence of a specific action when it involves surreptitious behavior (e.g. sex with coworkers or misuse of alcohol). One method of living a life of integrity is to believe that whatever you do will become public knowledge at some point. With this as a foundational thought, decision making becomes much more ethical.

Anonymous said...

As a former member to MCM Crew Constant who served under Lt. Cdr Rushton and Lt. Cdr Laird I must say, I was shocked to hear the news. Though I personally do not condone the behavior of my former CO and XO, I still hold firm to the belief that one should stand tall with their superior officers.

Both Lt. Cdr Rushton and Lt. Cdr Laird were both extrordinary leaders who I entrusted my life in the hands of throughout our arduous deployment to the Arabian Gulf AOR. And no matter the consequences of their actions, I still would. I did, and still look up to Lt. Cdr Rushton. A former STC, gone LDO to the ranks of Lt. Cdr with a history of 27 years shows unselflessness to serving his country. His strong sense of work ethic and "procedural compliance" was what our crew needed! Not saying that the previous three CO's of MCM Crew Constant didn't do a superflous job, but Lt. Cdr Rushton stood out amongst our crew. Many times I would see him strolling the decks at the early morning hours because he took pride in his ship. I've first hand saw him roll his sleeves up and get dirty with the rest of us. Lt. Cdr. Laird was the same way. Though having the understanding that officers didn't need to participate in some ship's business, like stores-onload, Lt. Cdr. Laird was always the first one on the brow, tossing boxes weighing more than her and showing up some of even the hardest working males on board. Though I would not have been traveling back to Bahrain under her command, I knew that my fellow shipmates, and best friends would be safe.
Again, I do not condone such behavior like fraternization. Especially between the two senior officers of the boat. But like stated in a previous comment, they really were like one person. They both cared about their enlistedmen like they did about their own children and we all felt it. I am empathetic to the greif and embarrasment they both feel. And no doubt they are dealing with some of the toughest decisions of their careers. Not to mention the criticism throughout the fleet. But as a proud former member of MCM Crew Constant I must say that Mine Warfare is losing two command keystones. And no matter their actions, or their punishments I am still proud and honored to have served under both of them. I wish both Lt. Cdr Rushton and Lt. Cdr Laird the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Nothing serves as justification for frat. I have witnessed it firsthand.

These fools threw away their careers and painted my Navy with tar.

And I could care less that the female O could throw around boxes bigger than her.

Anonymous said...

Well put.

Anonymous said...

Well put.

Anonymous said...

"And no matter their actions, or their punishments I am still proud and honored to have served under both of them. I wish both Lt. Cdr Rushton and Lt. Cdr Laird the best of luck."

So proud you posted anonymously...

Anonymous said...

For those who say they could not be guilty of this, I ask: How did it hold up at Mast? Obviously there are facts and circumstances that proved them guilty.

I was told a long time ago that 'One Ahhh Shit" cancels out a life time of "Atta Boy". Doesnt matter the number of good deeds, when you violate the rules.

Its not like they didnt know! How many have been judged and/or counseled, or lectured to, by this CO and XO during their career?

Sad, but it looks like Leadership By Example is a thing of the past.

OS1(SS/SW) USN (ret)

Sailor on USS Chief said...

Let's face it, not all fraternization is detrimental to "good order and discipline". This may have been a violation of navy rules but I see this more as "senior officers covering their asses" by punishing these two officers. It will be fun to see how this "relationship" issue plays out in the future with the repeal of DADT.

Anonymous said...

A quick story about Frat. 12 Oct 2000 USS COLE had about 300 sailors onboard. There were a number of couples onboard with one in particular between two engineers who were engaged. After the terrorist attack the male EN2 was killed. His fiance, an EN3, was understandably distraught but quickly deemed combat ineffective and flown off the ship. So with 17 KIA and 49 injured the ship did three days of damage control with one less engineer. We all know the problem with Frat in peace but need to remember those problems are 100x more pronounced in combat.

USS Chief Sailor said...


Get that through your thick heads and thin skins !

Anonymous said...

You may believe that sexual relations weren't involved, but I am not buying it. Believe what you want, and I will do the same. And there are many, many others that share my opinion as well as yours, I am sure.

Consider this....who takes care of military members after the dust has settled and military duties are over?

The Veterans Administration. Any idea how much compensation is paid out yearly to survivors of military sexual trauma? And you would be surprised how little you have to prove in order to be eligible for these payments. The tax payers pay and pay and pay for so-called 'innocent' games of grab-ass. Enough is enough.

Sex and the military do not mix. Condoning, allowing or participating in these behaviors sends a clear message to the juniors of it being 'ok'. Zero tolerance on this issue should be shown and it is good to know those in charge are not taking this incident lightly.

Anonymous said...

If no sexual contact took place, what does fraternization mean? Holding hands??

Anonymous said...

'Fraternization' means: the perception of any unduly familiar relationship between a senior and a subordinate. It can occur between any gender and rank. Sex is not a prerequisite. So...if other folks THINK something looks too 'familiar' it can be deemed fraternization.

Anonymous said...

Honor, Courage and Commitment.

If you cannot uphold to Navy Corps Values.........Either get out, or the Navy will assist your transition and put you out.

Good riddance......and congratulations for embarrassing the rest of us Sailors who do live by Navy Corps Values.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how everyone praise these two leaders, but the act that was done was damaging to innocent family memeber.

They deserve more than just a letter of punitive slap on the risk.

Anonymous said...

To Anon poster a couple posts up: that should be Navy Core Values, not 'Corps'.

Anonymous said...

This horrible story is not even close to being correct. They did NOT HAVE AN INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP. You people suck. If you don't know what happened, don't speculate here. I was there. I know the facts. LCDR Rushton's ISIC determined that Jim's relationship with the XO was detrimental to good order and discipline - fraternization. Leave these two officers alone. Our skipper made a mistake. His mistake cost our XO her career. He has to live with that. You all seem like you are in the Navy or have been. Grow up and act like adults.

Anonymous said...

December 10, 2010 12:58 AM,

"Not saying that the previous three CO's of MCM Crew Constant didn't do a superflous job, but Lt. Cdr Rushton stood out amongst our crew."

I was wondering just how superflous (superfluous) all these CO's were. Is this the only CO of those that got full recognition for being extraordinary superflous?


Anonymous said...

sad thing is, this was all too common in Bahrain; 'what happens at NAVCENT stays at NAVCENT'. I remember one destroyer CO getting fired for making out w/a junior sailor in port, two N2 dept LTs shacking up with each other after their spouses were evac'd in '04, the N5 (as in the O-6) shacking up w/an N2 LT in front of everyone, and a certain now-retired COMNAVCENT 3-star having comfort calls w/an LT in his command.


Anonymous said...

The real truth here is all that think, just because someone was relieved of command due to an unduly relationship, it means they were doing the deed. It proves how narrow minded and lower than sewer rats you are.

Yes, the UCMJ was violated. Yes, the CO has owned his mistake, but no... neither of them took part in a sexual relationship. To honor their families, I refuse to disclose any personal information accept to say, "You are wrong". You all suck and don't you wish you really knew what happened. Hey, but really you don't want to know the truth. It's more fun for you to believe the worst. If you knew the truth you're too jaded to believe the truth. You'll assign the worst possible judgment without the facts. I thought we no longer lived in the time of the Salem Witch Trials.

Here is another fact fellow shipmates, Mast doesn't require you to be guilty, the notion of something, or perception is all that is needed to relieve a CO of command. The Commodore in charge can relieve you for cause because of the notion that something could have been going on, even if in another world it was very innocent. Some cockroach ensign decided to take advantage of this. This cockroach is an a-hole and has no idea what anguish he has caused both families. He did this for his own childish, stupid need for retaliation over a social network post. He didn't care about who he took down with his act. He is the only one on the ship who claimed anything was going on. It only takes one to speak up even if he was lying. The NAV encourages us to notify the IG and they don't punish anyone if they are doing it for retaliatory reasons, this way they can protect those that need to come forward. But this idiot had an axe to grind and the NAV needs to take a closer look.

What you all don't know is this really is a sad day in our Navy...

Anonymous said...

I've known Jim for nearly 30 years and this is a sad outcome to an otherwise stellar career. The good news is that now Jim will be able to take his skills into the civilian sector and spend more time with his wonderful wife and family. BZ Jim Pam & I are still very proud of you.