NAVY COMMANDER OF USS CONSTITUTION WON'T
HAVE TO "WALK THE PLANK" - CASE WON'T GO TO
COURT-MARTIAL - CDR THOMAS GRAVES TO GET
ADMINISTRATIVE "PUNISHMENT" - STRICT SKIPPER
OF "OLD IRONSIDES" BEATS JAIL TERM AND LOSS
OF PENSION AND BENEFITS - BRASS "CAVE IN"
TO "WHINERS, CRYBABIES" AND "MALCONTENTS"
Nobody ever said that Navy CDR Thomas Graves was "lovable" or even easy to work for. The demanding career officer thought a little discipline and sense of duty never hurts anyone when you've got a bunch of soft and lazy sailors on board your ship.
This boat wasn't a cruiser or even a sea-going destroyer. It was the beloved Revolutionary War era "Old Ironsides" based at Boston Harbor, and the crew members - some of them - decided to get together and make things hot for their tough boss. A series of charges that would make Admiral Nimitz blanch in shock at the absurdity of it all were filed against Graves, and all of a sudden the "politically-correct" Navy brass got out the rope.
All you retired chief petty officers out there that read MilitaryCorruption.com, you know things have gone to hell when the skipper of the USS Constitution faces 12 years in prison and loss of pension and benefits because he allegedly called a female sailor a "vulgar" name.
Oh yes, he also is alleged to have "struck" a yeoman first class with his hand. As we reported last month, the "blow" turned out to be something less than a "round-house right." In fact, the terrible crime was that Graves inadvertently touched his hand - note the word "fist" wasn't used, even by the bloodthirsty prosecuting JAGS - against the petty officer's chest.
WOW! What a terrible offense. Did Robert Santiago (described by witnesses at Grave's Article 32 hearing as a "sub-standard sailor" and constant complainer) feel "faint?" Did he crumple to the deck? What about the rest of the crew? Did they shout in horror at the sight of it? Call out the shore patrol!
Well, the fearful Navy brass showed at least some sense when they decided not to take this case to court-martial. MCC hears that Graves will be dealt with "administratively" and then leave the Navy. What good officer wouldn't retire after such a "keelhauling" as this commander got? The damage to morale for those remaining behind will be longer-lasting.
TOUGH SKIPPER WILL LEAVE THE NAVY -
A VICTORY FOR THE "TROUBLEMAKERS"
Whenever lazy and resentful enlisted people - and this writer, before becoming an officer, was a sergeant at age 20, so no "whining" e-mails, please, they'll go straight into "File 13" - don't want to do their jobs or just don't like a "demanding" boss, they know they can get him in trouble by bitching to the "PC police." Maybe they can get the ear of some civilian newspaper reporter who never served in the Navy and is looking for a sensational story. Yeah, that's the ticket.
A good thing Graves hired "flamethrower" defense attorney Charles Gittins or he might have been carted off in leg irons. God help the new commander of "Old Ironsides" when he (or she) arrives. They'd better not be "rough" on the crew, trying to maintain a semblance of sanity on a Navy warship. That would unfortunately "undermine" their military career.
Is this the same Navy that boasted great leaders like John Paul Jones and Arleigh Burke? What kind of message does the ordeal of CDR Graves send to other skippers who want to keep order and discipline? What's become of the Naval service when "political correctness" rules the day and screaming egomaniacs like the obnoxious Joe Sestak segue from an admiral's chair to a seat in Congress?
It's enough to send an "old salt" straight to the nearest saloon.